What Is Volatility in Slots? Games with different Volatility in online casinos Canada.

Updated: October 30, 2023

In this article, we will put under the microscope what is Volatility in slots machines and the link between Variance and other technical aspects of online games.

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When a player selects a slot, he is likely to make his choice based on:

  • Theme
  • Provider
  • Graphics and animations
  • Design and layout
  • Attractive name
  • Engaging features and symbols, etc.

While these are important factors – in terms of entertainment (showing what kind of amusement the slot can provide), in addition to fun, it is smart to check the impact factors – in terms of technique (which reflect the overall expected performance, gameplay, and action style).

Most components in this second group are theoretical (what to expect) as each spin is supposed to be unique (controlled by an RNG), which leads to each session being different, and logically, entering a different  Canadian casino with a different prize pool will have a different influence on the profitability of the selected slot. This category includes:

  • RTP
  • Volatility
  • Min/Max Bet
  • Maximum Prospect etc.

The 2 main technical aspects in slots are RTP (Return to Player) and Slots Volatility index.

While the first (RTP), tells the odds of winning/losing in a long distance, the second (Volatility), reveals the level of risk running through the game – in a long range as well.

Unlike the first, which is a statistical number determined from billions of simulating spins, the second, is embedded by the developer inside the mathematical model – what size of payments will be distributed with what kind of repetition.

It is not without reason that NetEnt and Games Global are regarded as the best casino game developers around the world and in Canadian online casinos as well. Their creations have an RTP usually between 95% and 99%. With other developers such as Novomatic and Playtech, this index can be 94% and below. And when it comes to your real cash deposits, trust us: even 2% is a lot in the long session and can be dramatic for your wallet.

Also, find important information on our list of online casinos in Canada without verification on withdrawal.

Determining the slots volatility index

  • The most common way to find out what is the Variance of one slot is to visit the official site of the producer. Reputable software developers always place the most important technical details on their pages.
  • Another channel to quickly get stats is to browse through the pages of informative sites like ours (casinoonlinecanada.net), where we not only publish such critical attributes (as RTP and Volatility) but also leave advice and recommend game strategies.
  • There is a third method, related to finding the pattern between the Variance and the maximum exposure (prospect) of the game:
  • Max outlook of less or equal to 1000x total bets, usually associates with Low Volatility;
  • Max outlook of 2000x to 5000x, is closely tied with Average Volatility, and
  • Max outlook of 5000x/10000x and even more are bound to have High Variance slots.
  • Last but not least, there is the calculating approach to define slots volatility index. While not applicable to all slots, it is still a viable system to assess the Variance by judging the paytable. Then the calculations that have to be made are as follow:

Determining the Volatility

Variance for online slots represents the:

  • instability,
  • unpredictability,
  • inconsistency of the behaviour.

The combination of these 3 elements signifies:

  • the amount of the payouts,
  • the frequency of the payouts,
  • the level of risk in the game.

The fluctuation of the game sessions from frustratingly long losing streaks to some fantastic winning rounds could be explained exactly by the Slot Variance.

Consider our article as an informational slot-pilot and cautionary tale of what might happen when choosing low, average or high volatility slots.

The connection between volatility and cycle

There is a direct connection between the variance and the cycle length. All games work in cycles of winning and losing, which the provider tries to hide. However, our team reveals this information in the slots reviews (in the section – hidden data).

At the beginning of the cycle, the slot has to collect money to fill the prize pool. When the pool is loaded, it’s the end of the cycle, and the slot becomes “Hot”. This is when it can fire at any moment, and you have a high possibility to get some Mega Big Win.

With our help, you can learn how to define the phases of the cycle.

What is volatility on slots?

What is variance in slots?So, we have already established that the Variance is closely related to the danger that your money is exposed to. Simply put, if you are betting for small wins, it’s better to choose Low Volatility slots. While players who can afford to lose a lot and expect a huge prize in return should pick the High Volatility games.

And here we will remind you that just like in normal life “anything that promises to pay too much can’t help but be risky”, i.e. if one slot is advertised with giant max potential – you should know that this is most certainly paired with High Volatility.

Our team has the ambition to test, analyze and expose as much important information about all casino games (hidden data regarding new and old slots) as possible. By using the following links, you can familiarize yourself with the hidden parameters of games from different providers:

Choosing the right slots volatility index

Leaning toward a specific volatile type that matches your intent is generally down to: personal viewpoint, money management, and game strategy.

Some punters at Canadain Casinos appraise high variance slots as a “goldmine.” Others, consider them boring due to the lack of frequent win action.

Conversely, for the foolhardy bettors, the gamblers who like low-risk dynamic and eventful games may seem to be playing a pointless game as they can never hit a big win. That is why it is central to determine from the start what kind of slot you want to play.

Volatility metrics will enable you to select the best slot for you:

  • You will probably want to play low variance online slots that involve fewer risks if you have a small budget. This could extend your session with lots of minor but recurring wins.
  • Opposite to this, if you are more of a risk-taker with a larger budget, you’ll want to play medium to high volatility slots. They can generate sizeable wins but seldom.

Online slots with high variance at casinos in Canada

If you have read our article thus far, you have already learned that the Variance of the slot is the central technical element that determines the degree of uncertain probability of an outcome.

High Volatility → High Risk → High Outcome.

There are a lot of advantages to playing high-risk slots. With them is likely to receive some sparse payouts or hit a completely dry period, but when the machine bestows you with the real win, it is absolutely worth the wait!

Most high volatility in casino slots comes with lucrative multipliers and bonus features.

Take under consideration the following 3 slots from 3 different software companies:

  • Dead or Alive (NetEnt),
  • Book of Dead (Play’N GO),
  • Thunderstruck II (Microgaming/Games Global).

Each of them is assigned a satisfactory RTP of 96%+ (suggesting fair play), on top of their high volatility!

Sure, that all is enticing for the risk-takers!  But…

Gamblers, choosing these games have to withstand the potential pain of seeing their bankroll disappear. Also:

High Volatility does not apply to players who:   Easily panicking  Rattled by failures  Quickly agitated  Terribly confused  Stiff and inflexible
High Volatility requires from the bettors:  Self-assurance  Keeping composure  Courage and daring  Unwavering Determination  Focused on a successful outcome

Aspects to realize before playing highly volatile slots

Aspects to realize before playingThere are a few basic preliminary factors one should not ignore before starting to play at an extremely volatile slot:


It is recommended that you only choose a high variance online slot if you have enough time to play. Be patient and hold on tight, especially when many slot actions don’t live up to your expectations. You have already chosen a high-risk game, now wait for the lucky moment when the big win comes.


To avoid the moments of disappointment and pressure when hope fades and your balance shrinks, be prepared with a strategic money plan. Budget management should be your compass on which level to play and what bet to place. It is recommended to choose 1/500 of your balance as the bet per single spin when you play a high volatility slot. This way, you can survive longer during the series with dead spins.


Be realistic, control the suspense and your expectation without being excessively hoggish. Show the right mindset for the game with a high variance – cool, calm, and collected, because only with these traits can you persevere until the coming of a huge win.


High volatility game necessitates proper focus and regard. It can only serve well players with a balanced temper and years of experience. Unprepared rookie punters, who still don’t possess the poise and acceptance of win and loss, will feel uncomfortable and frustrated playing high volatility slots.

Identifying the best slot for me

The choice of Variance is certainly not a factor in qualifying one slot as good or bad, it is simply a matter of the habits and preferences of the players.

Please check below what your Volatility Type is, and prepare yourself with adequate reactions.

Select LOW VOLATILITY slot when:

  • You are still a novice gambler
  • You feel discomfort when taking big risks
  • You have a limited bankroll
  • You are playing mainly for fun
  • You want to extend your game time maximally
  • You want to see rewards often happening (regardless if they are small)
  • You don’t want to wait long for the bonus to trigger

Select MEDIUM VOLATILITY slot when:

  • You have sufficient slot experience
  • You feel like you played more than enough low variance online slots already
  • You have gathered the confidence to advance to riskier gameplay
  • You have a healthy budget
  • You like playing for fun but also want to win
  • You are seeking proportional frequency and size of the payouts
  • You are aiming at the wins from a larger scale
  • You enjoy the game with more bankable bonus features even if they are very few

Select the HIGH VOLATILITY slot when:

  • You are more than experienced and know a lot about the slots
  • You have a big bankroll
  • You are a big adventurer and risks-taker
  • You don’t mind waiting for the bonus features to be triggered
  • You are chasing a mighty win even if that doesn’t come easy
  • You are certain you will finish your game session once you’ve spent your planned budget

Identifying the appropriate slot volatility

It makes sense to play with 1/50 of your balance (per spin) when you want to increase the risk in your session.

It makes sense to play with 1/500 of your balance (per spin) when you want to reduce the risk in your session.

To get the best effect, both actions must be applied at the right time.

You should avoid playing with 1/50th of your balance on high Variance slots as your chances of winning are very low (i.e. there is a high chance of losing your entire balance).

Low Variance games at casinos in Canada

The slots with low variance are mostly exploited for fun or are used by bonus hunters. However, being a bonus hunter is not easy. You need patience and discipline to meet the wagering requirements. The chances of succeeding and winning one satisfying amount are very slim. Plus, you can’t expect to win big on low volatility slots. 500x – 1000x the total bet is the overall maximum for such slots.

When should you play games with Low Variance?

  • When you want to be excited, but you don’t like risky operations;
  • When you don’t mind playing with minuscule bets (of 1, 9, or 10 cents per spin);
  • If you don’t mind making tiny profits as well;
  • When you want to play in a stretched-out session;
  • If you have decided you prefer simple rules and basic (but not austere) features;
  • When you want to play from time to time and you do not want to leave with empty pockets;
  • When you want to see uncomplicated gameplay and effortless characteristics.

Of course, do not think that you cannot win from such slots. They can also deliver wins of 100x+ total bet in the base spins, and sometimes up to 1000x total bet across the entire game structure.

When should you play games with High Variance?

When should you play slots with high volatility?Want to feel the real adrenaline of gambling? If so, then high variance slots are for you. Games like this allow you to gamble on a higher (profit-wise) level and thus compete for the Mega/Big/Giga-Win.

Check out the symbolic Wall of Fame (Rome: The Golden Age slot from NetEnt) we have created with the most powerful titles (in terms of max exposure and Variance) currently on the market.

Handing out life-changing prizes that will make you fly high with your own victory dance can happen only with Jackpot games and High Volatility slots. While they do indeed have huge potential on board, remember that they are highly unpredictable and can devour your balance hoggishly in no time.

What is High Volatility slot machine at casinos in Canada

Recognizing and accepting the slot variance will prepare you for the emotional and financial risks you are ready to take. With an available big budget – you can choose the high volatility slots.

On a lucky day, you can book a Big Win with such slots very fast (at the beginning of your session). As these are the games with a higher risk of loss, we only recommend them to experienced gamblers.

We think that playing the best high variance slots is suited for adventurous players, but they should keep in mind that it is very possible to lose their starting capital shortly after launch. Therefore, being daring is not enough. It is best to play if you have money that you can afford to live without.

Is the Slots Volatility index easy to establish?

In theory, one can calculate the Volatility of 1 machine if the fall frequency of each winning combination and the associated probabilities are known.

In reality, it is a complex and multifaceted math equation (determining the precise variance index) that is only known by the people who have built that machine.

In an ideal world, all slot machines will be released with their slots Volatility index shared with the players as soon as they hit the market.

However, accurate information about Slot Variance is not something that all software developers like to make public.


Volatility in Slots machines signifies the slot’s ability to render payouts of different sizes with a certain frequency. You have to recognize the reciprocity: the higher the variance, the greater the chance of a Super Big Hit (a payment combination that yields an immense reward).

We advise having a minimum bet reserve on the balance according to the following scheme: low variance – around 100 bets; average variance between 100 – 200 bets; high volatility slots between 300 – 500 bets.

It is expected that you did your research and found the variance of your preferred slot prior to launching the game – via web investigation, professional articles (like these on our site – how to win section), and forums.

After that, it is important to play in demo mode so that you can confirm/identify the slot variance from self-experience.

This way, you can examine the slot mood at certain bets, and determine the size of the bet that is optimal for you.

Just after that, you will be ready to play at a Canadian online casino with real money.

FAQ about What Is Volatility on Slots
Who decides what volatility should be assigned to a slot?

Naturally, the Producer builds the game with a specific mathematical model, which is based on the paytable. This calculation model determines how big and with what frequency the wins will come. They are expressed by the Slot Volatility.

Why is the Slot Volaitility important?

Because the Variance explains the danger that your money is exposed to. So, it is nice to know in advance what to expect when you make an investment (with real deposits). In short, if you are spinning with small wins in mind, it's better to choose Low Variance slots.

Is there a connection between the Volatility and the Cycle of the game?

All slots operate in win-and-lose cycles. The length of the cycles and their repetition is directly tied to the behaviour of the slots - hot/cold. Also, the Volatility gives a general idea of ​​whether those cycles are short or long.

If Low Volatility signifies a lower risk for the balance, then is it always better to play games with Low Volatility?

You might think so, but you have to remember that the machines with such volatility also have embedded low prospects. So, in the end, it is up to you - to play a risky game with an outlook for a super high reward or to play a moderate and low-risk type of slot, which cannot promise huge wins.

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