Low volatility slots are low-risk and low-reward titles with frequently activated special features. Wins come in fairly regularly but none of them will make you rich. What you are likely to get is longer playing sessions and, providing you’ve chosen a high RTP slot, a fair chance of ending up with a small profit. This may be a good time to clarify that the theoretical return (RTP) and variance aren’t one and the same.
RTP represents the percentage of the amount wagered the game is likely to pay back. It’s calculated over a long period of time and many, many spins. Variance, on the other hand, indicates the risk stemming from win frequency and size. Both should be considered when one is deciding which slot to bet on. If the developer hasn’t provided variance info, check the game’s max win potential and ease of triggering its special feature. A massive top reward and difficult to enter bonus rounds are usually indicators of high variance.
Players wondering whether it’s better to play low or high variance slots should answer this question: would you rather receive instant gratification created by frequent, smaller payouts, or suffer long losing streaks in the hope of eventually hitting a jackpot?
Best Low Variance Online Slots
Identifying low variance slots isn’t easy. If the developer doesn’t provide the information, you can either play the game or look for clues:
- Look at the paytable and check the difference between the payout for a five-of-a-kind (or whatever the biggest possible combo) vs the second highest. In low variance games, the first usually pays only 3-5x more
- Check the maximum win potential of a single spin; the higher it is, the more likely you’d have to cope with numerous non-winning spins
- Use fun mode to judge how easy it is to trigger bonus round
Here are a few popular low variance titles to use as a benchmark:
has an RTP of 96.09%, 10 paylines and a maximum win of 50,000 coins. During the Starburst Wild feature, Wild icons expand to cover the entire reel and remain fixed while other reels re-spin.
from Microgaming pays 243 ways and offers an RTP of 96.65%. There’s one randomly activated feature and 4 bonus rounds. The max win potential is 2.4 million coins (but don’t hold your breath for that one).
1429 Uncharted Seas
by Thunderkick features extending Wilds and free spins triggered by 3+ bonus symbols. The game plays with 25 lines, has a theoretical return of 98.6% and offers a top prize of 67,000 coins.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Low Variance slots
- Your bankroll will deplete at a much slower pace if you choose to play a low variance slot than it would while betting on a highly volatile alternative
- Bonus rounds are far easier to trigger and players get multiple opportunities to benefit from special features
- Low variance slots are less likely to bankrupt those playing with a limited budget
- Playing low variance slots can usually win you up to 250-500x the bet or at best 1,000 x your stake. This is significantly less than highly volatile games are able to pay
- Many spins will pay less than the amount that was wagered so that even outcomes which are considered to be positive (a win) decrease the player’s balance
- In order to win large amounts, one has to place relatively big bets
Low variance slots are ideal for players with relatively small bankrolls and those eager to play as long as possible. Frequent small wins might not make them rich but will help keep the balance positive. One thing to watch out for are payouts smaller than bets; they might make one feel like a winner despite the negative impact on the bottom line. Having learned about potential pitfalls and advantages of low variance titles, use the newly acquired knowledge to improve your performance.