What Is Slot Machine Volatility?

What Is Slot Machine Volatility?

Explanation and Examples about Slot Machines Volatility

If you’ve ever set foot in a casino or even visited an online casino, you will have seen every casino’s staple: The slot machine. Online slots have become increasingly popular due to their easy accessibility and wide range of themes. For some, these can be an easy way to test the waters with gambling, especially if you’re wondering, are slot cars still popular? For others, they can be intimidating, confusing, black holes that gobble up money. A big key to understanding slot machines is being familiar with the idea of slot machine volatility. Not all slot machines are built equal. For instance, low volatility slot machines will give you frequent but smaller wins, while games like the West Town slot or Aztec Magic slot may have a different volatility index. Depending on what you’re after from your gambling experience, slot machine volatility will determine which type of slot machine is best for you.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.


The great news is, that understanding volatility is quite straightforward—certainly easier than understanding the Blazing Blackjack rules or even what are horse racing slot machines.

In essence, there are two variables when playing the slots: How often you get paid and how much you get paid.

Slot machine volatility speaks to these two variables.

A low VM will pay out more frequently, with smaller wins, while a high volatility like the Aztec Magic slot will pay out rarely, but when it does, the wins will be significant. In essence, volatility describes the risk vs. reward equation: Low —low risk, low reward; high volatility—high risk, high reward.

Let’s look at an example to understand a little better.

An Example:

We can compare slot volatility to the sales industry.

Someone working as a car salesman would be the equivalent of a low volatility slot machine. This is similar to the scenario if you’re playing low volatility slot machines: you’re expecting frequent, but smaller wins. The car salesman expects to make sales fairly frequently, perhaps every day or so, with a reasonably small commission each time. This means a steady cash flow and rarely any big fluctuations from paycheck to paycheck.

A real estate agent, on the other hand, would be the same as a medium volatility slot machine, similar to the West Town slot. An agent works hard, advertising and chasing up leads, all in the hope of making a sale or two per month. Every sale brings in a good chunk of commission, making the month’s work worthwhile.

Finally, a salesman selling luxury yachts would be like a high volatility slot machine. For this industry, one or two sales per year are expected—but when they come, their commission is huge. Patience and a good bankroll are required, yet when the sale is made, all that time spent behind the scenes pays off.

The question is—when you play the slots, how do you know if you’re sitting down to be a car salesman, a real estate agent, or a luxury yacht seller?

How to Tell:

Slot machines will rarely advertise their volatility overtly, just like in casino tournaments. However, just like when you’re playing blackjack online, there are a few things to watch out for that can be a giveaway.

If you see a slot machine that is based on a popular movie or celebrity, it will usually have a low volatility, somewhere around 250-500 times the bet. Machines that come with many bonuses and different features will typically be of medium volatility. However, if a machine like the Aztec Magic slot advertises a big jackpot, chances are it’s going to be a high volatility machine, as high as 10,000 times the bet made.

Some slots have even made it easier for players to see, by labeling with tags such as ‘win often’ or ‘big pay out’—look for anything similar to this, which will indicate where it sits on the volatility spectrum

What is the Best Slot Machine Volatility?

The type of volatility you choose in your slot machine really depends on your reason for gambling in the first place.

A low volatility slot machine, much like the kind often found in casino tournaments, means you’ll typically be able to play for longer. If you’re just after a bit of entertainment or intrinsically enjoy casino games, then a low volatility slot machine will be the best bang for your buck.

Medium volatility slot machines strike a good balance—there’s a chance of getting a good win to pay for your whole evening’s drinks; however, you still get to have a bit of fun playing along the way, whether you’re at a physical casino or an online casino. This could be the case when you’re playing a game like the West Town slot, which provides a balance of risk and reward.

The highest volatility slots are either just a real stab in the dark, or for someone committed to the big win. Games like Aztec Magic slot fall into this category. Having a spin can be fun, but if you sit down with the expectation of winning, or playing for a long time, chances are you’ll be disappointed. However, if you have the bankroll to commit, a high volatility slot machine may well be your ticket to a million dollars.

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