Guide to Slot Volatility

Last Updated on by James King

When it comes to a player’s online casino experience, slot volatility can often play an important part, however, many have not heard of the term or even know what it relates to. This comprehensive guide will take you through all of the elements of slot volatility and the role that it plays in the online casino industry.

What does slot volatility mean in the online casino industry?

With regards to what ‘slot volatility’ means in the online casino industry, this relates to the level of risk that an online slot has associated with it. Therefore in this sense, the higher that the slot volatility is for a particular slot means that in order to win more, you need to gamble more per stake, thus explaining its association with risk.

When it comes to finding an online slot site, many enthusiasts are enticed by a number of different features including the content, gameplay and in a lot of cases, the potential jackpot that you can win, however many do not really understand the ins and outs of the technical features which in the case of slot volatility has an influence on the latter reason.

It does tend to be the case that those slots which have a higher jackpot have a higher slot volatility percentage.

How can you understand the Volatility of Slots?

When it comes to determining and working out the slot volatility in the online casino industry, there are a number of things that you can do. This is because there are a number of factors which can help to define the volatility of a slot and as a player if you are wanting to know what you can do to find ways of working out levels of volatility, there are a series of things that you can do.


Play slots on Demo mode

One of the best ways of working out the volatility level of a slot is to play it in demo mode, making between 500 and 1000 spins. While this may seem time-consuming, it will give you an effective indicator as to whether the level is high or low.

You are able to get a good idea of this by noting the results of each round and how often they occur, but also the frequency at which bonuses are presented as well as credit payouts.

When working out slot volatility, it makes no difference whether you use real money or free credit via demo mode; they are all programmed the same.


Understand the Paytable

For every slot, there is a paytable which is basically a way for customers to see how much they will receive for the different reel combinations that are produced. The amounts which are listed in these are often changed accordingly in order to what stake is placed in some sets, however, in others they remain the same.

It is sometimes the case that slots which provide lower payouts are more liberal with their winnings, while conversely, the ones that offer bigger winnings have these more spaced out for more infrequent hits.

The way in which players can find out the lowest value is by finding the icon that has the least value associated with it and see what it pays out for three symbols; this often being the smallest combination. Because in low volatility slots, the wins are generally small, it means that they are distributed more aggressively in order to compensate for this. Some games that have small wins, however, also space out their winnings, while others that have significant volumes usually have more frequent prize money for players. This trait is often associated with high volatility slots.


Bonus Frequency

Out of all casino games, slots usually are the ones which have the most amount of bonus features, due to the depth of randomness that is associated with them. This means that the more bonuses which are included in slots, gamblers can expect a much lower hit frequency, though usually, bonuses are a bolster to winnings which are included in the slot without players needing to make any wagers.

This means that when a considerable amount of bonuses are in place, it means that players have more of a chance of winning a lot more than what they staked initially. The size of the bonus also has some determination on how frequently it lands, so if the slot has a free bonus round of spins, this means that it is much more likely to land with one rather than 20.

The most common of any hit rewards, tend to be wilds because their main purpose is to help the completion of winning combinations, while free spins and multipliers also have their role in determining the volatility in slots.


Examine the RTP Rate

This is a component which is predefined by the developer of the slot and as a result gives an abstract indication of the amount that players can expect back in winnings. These percentages are worked out after scrutinizing games over a particularly substantial period of time and this can be over thousands of rounds. While these predictions are as accurate as they can be, they are just predictions however, they do act as useful benchmarks of what players can expect in a slot from a payout perspective.

As a rule, those slots with higher RTP rates means that players have a greater chance of winning, though, those which do have a lower volatility level, with an RTP rate as high as 99 percent. Consequently, those slots which have a lower RTP percentage have a higher volatility level, because there is more risk associated with them.


Check the Software Provider

While there are over a hundred software developers, the majority appear to be synonymous for specialising in creating slots with a certain type of volatility level. Industry-renowned developers such as NetEnt are known for creating slots which have a higher level of volatility, while Microgaming also falls into this category.


Slots with different volatility levels

Now we have explained exactly what slot volatility is and the effect that it has on the gameplay, you may now be thinking about slots in a completely different way and what volatility levels some of your favourites may have. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular slots across the various levels of volatility.


High Volatility Slots

These are the type of slots to look out for if you have a high risk tolerance to playing slots, meaning the higher stakes that you place for each spin, the higher potential reward you will receive in winnings.


Immortal Romance

Courtesy of one of the industry leading software developers; Microgaming, this vampire themed slot is one of those titles which have a high volatility rate, which also has five reels and 243 different ways to win. With Lionhead scatters, multipliers and wilds, it is also relatively easy to gather 25 free spins. Furthermore, this has a return to player rate of 96.86 percent.


Dead or Alive

One of the most popular slot titles with a high volatility level, it is easy to see why with this being developed by NetEnt. Boasting five reels and nine win lines, this gun-slinging slot has a ‘Wild West’ theme accompanied by sticky wilds and a wild symbol, though this depends if you are playing via demo mode or with real money. In line with high volatility slots, it also has a high return to player rate of 96.82 percent, which is certainly respectable.


Book of Dead

With a return to player rate of 96.21 percent, this fast paced and exhilarating, adventure themed slot, perhaps rightly has a high volatility level, considering the daredevil nature of the gameplay. Uncovering the secrets of Ancient Egypt, there is plenty to discover in this slot and with five reels and 10 paylines, this Play’n GO slot carries a 96.21 percent return to player rate.


Low Volatility Slots

In terms of slots which have low volatility levels, there are perhaps more than you would think, especially some of those which you may play on a regular basis.



Arguably one of the most popular slots ever created and what helped developer NetEnt to make a name for itself. This title has 10 fixed bet lines across a range of levels and coin values, while there is also a 22 percent hit rate. For a low risk player, this is definitely a perfect option due to the fact that it has a minimum bet of only 10p as well as a generous 96.09 percent return to player rate.


Sunny Shores

This 5x5 reel slot from up and coming developer Yggdrasil, has gone from strength to strength since its release in 2017 and as a low volatility option, there is not a lot to argue with. With 27 paylines and a low volatility score of 24 out of 100 plus a 96.2 percent return to player rate, it is also very calming on the eye; perfect for a low risk player overall.


Thunderstruck II

The sequel slot to the highly rated ‘Thunderstruck’, this title is surprisingly a low volatility slot considering that it is from software giant Microgaming. Equipped with five reels and an impressive 243 paylines, this has a Norse mythology theme with a number of triggers and multipliers and a 96.65 percent return to player rating.



Slot volatility is arguably one of the most important factors when it comes to understanding how much you can win on a particular slot. The crucial point to remember is that the higher the volatility of the slot, the more you will need to wager at a time to be in with a chance of winning the jackpot, however, the random number generator in the slots means that there are no guarantees. Ultimately, never gamble with more money than you can afford and do not use it as a way to try and ‘get rich quick’. Slot volatility is one thing that will catch you out.


James King
James King is an iGaming journalist with over a decade worth of expierence. Having worked as part of varous online casinos digital content team, he moved into journalism covering the latest news and devlopments in the iGaming world.