Page updated on: 15.03.2019

Finding the right slot machine - Low, medium and high variance

Even though it is not obvious, there a quite a few different types of slot machines. The slot variance describes the frequency of how often you will win, and if it's a larger or lower amount. Depending on how much money you have to play with, what you want to stake and how much you are aiming to win, you can determine what kind of slot you should play. The variance should also not be confused with the return to player payout percentage. The average RTP is not affected by the variance.

Low variance

The low variance pays out often, but usually lower amounts. These games are suitable for players who play with a lower budget as well. When playing a slot with a low variance, you will win more regularly, although it's mostly your stake, and larger wins are harder to get by, but you will be able to play more rounds, and maybe you will get a chance to hit a higher paying combination.

Medium variance

As 'medium' already suggests, these slots are neither of low, nor of high variance. The winnings will occur every now and then and the amounts will reflect it. You should win slightly higher amounts more often, but the big win is hard to come by. This type of slot machine is suitable for players who don't want the full risk of a high variance slot with massive wins, but rather a decent win every now and then. However, this means that wins are less regular than in low variance slots, so you will have to keep in mind to play this slot longer, which means you need a larger bankroll.

High variance

High variance slots are the slots that pay out monster jackpots! When playing these slots you will quickly find that they don't pay out very often. Every now and then you will get a smaller win, but when you win big, it's really big! These slots are mainly for players with a larger bankroll, as the game might need to played a very long time before it pays out. These games have the highest risk, and if you are a careful player and want to make the most out of your game session, then you might want to try a low or medium variance slot. Keep in mind that many progressive slot games are of high variance, and winning larger amounts in these games won't happen often.

How to tell if a slot is low, medium or high variance

Now this is where it gets tricky. The slot games are not declared as either low, medium or high variance. The developers will not give you this information, also for the reason that the classification is subjective. One way of finding out if a game is suitable for you is to play the slot in play money mode. Since operators are obliged to use the same return to player payout percentage for a free slot and for the real slot, you will get a good idea of how the slot pays out when you play it for free.

You can also look at the payout tables of the game. A high variance slot often has very high jackpots for 5 of a kind combinations, which means that these combinations will occur less often. A lower variance slot usually has much lower 5 of a kind jackpots, and the gaps between 3 or 4 of a kind combinations is much smaller. As mentioned above, keep in mind that many progressive slot machines are of high variance.

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