Chances are you’ll you have come across the concept of volatility in various aspects of life. Nevertheless, evidence would seem to suggest that when it comes to online slots, volatility can be a confusing subject for the average gamer. The problem is that if you don’t fully understand the ins and outs of volatility, you could find yourself making costly mistakes.

Volatility – also referred to as variance or dispersion – refers to the level of risk involved in playing any particular game. In terms of slots, volatility refers to the likelihood of the game in question paying out a prize. An entirely different concept to RTP percentages, volatility is all about the sizes of the prizes paid out and the likelihood of claiming one respectively.

What are high volatility slots?

Right at the top of the table, high volatility slots are those that have the potential to pay out the biggest cash prizes. Nevertheless, there’s a sliding scale in place when it comes to the probability of actually claiming a prize. Put simply – the bigger the prize, the lower your chance of winning it. In the case of high volatility slots, prizes on offer may be generous, but the likelihood of winning anything at all is as low as it gets.

A perfect example to illustrate the point being any slots with progressive jackpots. In some instances, progressive jackpots can go right up into the millions. Nevertheless, the odds of winning the jackpot itself are often lower than those of winning the lottery. Somebody in the world will indeed claim the jackpot, but in a statistical sense at least, it’s almost guaranteed not to be you.  In addition, progressive slots are also extremely frugal when it comes to smaller payouts. They pay out prizes on an incredibly infrequent basis, in order to continually add more funds to the primary jackpot.

With a high volatility slot, you could spin the reels 100 times and not take home a single penny. Nevertheless, if you’re lucky enough to hit at least some kind of winning combination, the prize could be extremely generous.

Should I play high volatility slots?

High volatility slots are typically recommended only for those who have relatively plentiful funds to play with. As a rule of thumb, you’re almost guaranteed to lose, lose and lose again, before standing any chance of winning. You have to accept the inevitable losing streak and have the kind of bankroll that can comfortably accommodate it.

That said, you could also look at high volatility slots like progressives a little like playing the lottery. Spending small amounts of cash here and there, on the off chance you might strike it lucky. What’s more, it’s also true to say that when it comes to pure adrenalin, there’s nothing quite like playing with the prospect of scooping up a small fortune.

Above all else, it’s only advisable to play high volatility slots if you are able to exercise complete control over your behaviour and your bankroll. In some instances, slots allow players to stake more than £500 on every spin. Lose sight of common sense at this end of the scale and the consequences could be disastrous.

What Are Low Volatility Slots?

Unsurprisingly, low volatility slots are the exact opposite of high volatility slots.  In this instance, you’ll typically find that every prize on the pay table is relatively modest. Even when it comes to the biggest jackpot on offer, it’ll still be somewhat frugal in nature. Life-changing cash prizes being entirely out of the question with most low volatility slots.

However, you’re considerably more likely to win at least something with any given spin. Spin 100 times with a high volatility slot and you may not line up a single winning combination. Spin the same 100 times with a low volatility slot and you could win 30 times. Each of these 30 wins may return next to nothing in terms of cash, but you’ll still pocket something for your efforts.

When combined with a high RTP percentage, it’s possible to play low volatility slots for an extensive duration without losing a great deal at all. If the machine is programmed to pay out 97% of its takings and is also at the bottom end of the volatility scale, you’ll probably trigger plenty of wins along the way.  Nevertheless, you’re unlikely to pocket anything particularly impressive.

When should I play low volatility slots?

As for when it makes sense to stick with low volatility slots, these are undoubtedly the best slots on the market for those who play primarily for fun.  If looking to minimise losses and play for as long as possible without exhausting your bankroll, low volatility slots are a perfect choice. Likewise, if you only have limited funds available but still want to maximise your enjoyment, you’ll find low-volatility slots far more suitable.

You could also find low volatility slots a better choice if you’re the kind of gamer who’s inclined to make poor decisions in the heat of the moment. That said, you may be better off walking away and avoiding gambling entirely! One of the benefits of low volatility slots being that it’s often impossible to rack up heavy losses, given the relatively modest maximum wagers.

Last up, low volatility slots are also great when simply looking to kill a few minutes with a handful of spins. Unlike high volatility slots, you’re unlikely       to spin the reels dozens or even hundreds of times, before pocketing some kind of prize.

Try Before You Buy!

Rounding things off on a final note of importance – always remember you have the option to try before you buy. If you’re unsure as to how the whole volatility thing works, why not give free-play a shot before handing over any cash? This way, you’ll get to know exactly how the slot works and decide whether or not it’s for you.

Playing for free might not be quite as exciting, but it can certainly prevent poor decision-making when there’s cash on the line!

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