How Does Variance Play a Role in Online Slots?

How Does Variance Play a Role in Online Slots?

Whether you play online slots for fun or you hope to earn a bit of extra money, there is no doubt that you are always searching for the latest tips and tricks. Some of these can be rather intuitive while others are more technical in nature. However, many players overlook tech-related suggestions due to the misconception that they are overly complicated or difficult to understand. This is particularly the case when referring to a concept known as “variance”. In order to understand why variance is important when playing slots, we first need to look at the RTP (return-to-player) principle.

How Does Variance Play a Role in Online Slots

What is RTP?

Return-to-player (normally abbreviated as RTP) is simply a means to express how much the game will payout over a set period of time. For instance, let’s imagine that you wager £100 pounds. If the game in question pays out an average of £96 pounds in prizes, the RTP will equate to 96 percent.

However, keep in mind that we mentioned prizes. An RTP of 96 does not necessarily signify that you will win money 96 percent of the time. The chances are high that other awards such as free spins and bonus symbols will represent a sizeable portion of the overall RTP. From a general point of view, it is normally best to choose a slots platform that is associated with an RTP of 96 percent or higher. So, how does this principle relate to variance?

Variance in Slots Explained

All online slots can be defined by their inherent variance. As you might have suggested, variance is defined as how often players can expect a win. Variance can be generally classified into two categories:

  • High variance
  • Low variance


High variance games pay out on an irregular basis and therefore, the sums tend to be larger. Games with a lower variance will pay out within more predictable time frames and yet, the amounts awarded tend to be lower. This is when the personality of the player will need to be addressed.

If you approach slots with a more conservative mindset, it could be wise to choose a slots platform that offers lower variance rates. While you are not likely to hit the jackpot, the chances are high that you will enjoy rewards on a more regular basis. If you are instead a fan of “letting it ride” in the hopes of a massive win, games with a high variance are generally the best options.

We can now see that there is a clear relationship between RTP and variance when examining a game of slots. The good news is that both of these statistics can normally be discovered in a matter of seconds by consulting third-party review sites. They may also be described within the terms and conditions offered by the provider in question.

Although these concepts might not be as important if you play for fun, they are crucial in order to increase your chances of earning a lucrative side hustle.

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