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What is Volatility in Casino Games? | How to Choose Slots That Match Your Playing Style

Volatility refers to how much risk is associated with a casino game. It describes how often and how much you can expect to win. Riskier, high-volatility games pay less often but reward you more when you win. 

On the other hand, when you play less risky, low volatility games you'll get payouts more frequently, but they will usually be quite small.

high volatility vs low volatility slots

Keep reading to discover what slot volatility is and how it changes the way each game behaves. Learn how to choose games according to your risk profile, so you always get what you want out of playing.

How is volatility different from RTP?

Unlike RTP, Volatility is something specific to slot games and doesn't apply to table games like Roulette or even Game Shows like Cash or Crash or Crazy Time

Where RTP explains how much you can expect to get back from a casino game in the long run, slot volatility tells you how often you can expect to win and how much money at a time. 

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Where a low RTP casino game will literally pay out less money overall, a low volatility game will just pay out more slowly. The total amount the game pays is always the same no matter the volatility, but the payouts will either be smaller and more frequent, or bigger and less frequent.  

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High vs low volatility slots

High volatility slots can often give you long dry spells where you have 10 or 20 spins with no combinations landing and paying out. But when a win does come on a high volatility game, it's usually big enough to get a big chunk of your losses back or possibly even put you in profit again

Hey, you might even walk away thousands of Rands richer!  

what is volatility in slot games

The opposite is true of low volatility slots. When playing these games, you'll score winning paylines quite often, but the payouts you get will generally be smaller. You can still hit a big win every now and then, but usually the payouts will only be enough to pay for your next 1 or 2 spins. 

Which is better - high or low volatility games? 

There are both pros and cons to playing high and low volatility games. Understanding their differences can help you decide which slots you want to play. Whether you choose to play high or low volatility games really boils down to what kind of punter you are and your goals for the playing session.

Because risk is involved, it also comes down to your betting budget and how much you can afford to spend playing. High volatility slots are likely to cost you more for a bigger reward and low volatility slots are likely to cost you less for a smaller reward.

HIGH VOLATILITYLOW VOLATILITY
Bigger wins, less oftenSmaller wins, more often
More excitingMore entertaining
Lots of bonus featuresFewer bonus features

How to choose the right game for you

Let's look more closely at what slot volatility means while you're playing to help you choose the right game for you. 

If you're the kind of person who likes to take big risks and prefers to go for a big win than playing it safe, then high volatility slots are for you. High volatility games require patience because wins are harder to come by. On the plus side, your payouts will be quite significant when they hit.

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Conversely, if you're a more cautious person who likes to play for long periods of time then low volatility slots are ideal. Expect the reels to be kinder and regular small wins to keep you entertained. But don't expect your account balance to move up or down that much at a time.

Where can I see the volatility of a slot?

Unfortunately, it's not always that easy finding the volatility of a slot on the Information or Help pages. But luckily, you can see the volatility of any game just by looking at the paytable

hot hot fruit habanero paytable

Launch the game and check to see what the average symbol pays out. If the symbol values start quite high and the biggest pays out something like 100x, the chances are you're playing a high-volatility game.

Conversely, if there are quite a few Low Win symbols on the paytable and the highest-paying symbol doesn't pay out a huge amount, then you're probably looking at a low volatility game. 

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Another easy way to discover the volatility of a game is to try typing into Google the name of the casino game you're playing followed by "Volatility" (e.g. "Wealth Inn Volatility"). Most games are categorised as low, medium or high volatility, so take a look to help you decide!

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Pragmatic Play games show the volatility at the bottom of the screen when you load any game on Supabets. To find the volatility of a game when playing on Hollywoodbets, click the Information (i) button at the bottom right of your screen and look under "Game Rules".

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Volatility isn't everything!

While volatility is an important consideration when choosing a game, all slots have the potential to pay out big. Playing a low volatility slot won't ruin your chances of winning a large amount of money.

So remember that big wins are possible on all types of slot games, they just happen at different frequencies on high and low volatility games.

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RTP is arguably more important than volatility because it directly affects your total winnings, whereas volatility only affects how often you win and how much at a time. 

You can think of high vs low volatility as getting paid R3000/month instead of R100/day. The amount is the same, it's just that one is spread out over a longer timeframe. 

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Some good advice

We recommend looking at the RTP of a game first and only then deciding whether you like the volatility of the game or not. Find a game with an RTP of at least 96% and then play it to see how often it pays out.

If the payouts are too small for your liking, pick a game with more volatility but expect wins to come less frequently. And vice versa.

In summary, in the world of betting and casino games, you can't have your cake and eat it. Taking more risk means the potential for bigger rewards, but more likelihood of losing. Taking less risk often means smaller rewards but the chances are better you'll live to fight another day!

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For more about online sports betting, casino games and lotteries in South Africa, visit the Betting Guide homepage to find bookmaker reviews, promotions, betting tips and more.

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