High Variance Slots - The Definitive Guide

We often get asked what slot variance means and which the best high variance slots are, so keep reading and you'll be an expert in no time...

What is Slot Variance?

Variance is the risk involved in playing a slot and how often a slot will pay out. While we’re here, we’ll also give you the answer to another much-asked question, ‘What does volatility mean in slots?’ It means the same thing as variance.

Different online casinos use the terms interchangeably. So, next time you’re playing a slot and you’ve yet to hit, despite 200 spins at $1.00 per spin, chances are, it’s high variance.

What is a High Variance Slot Machine?

High variance slots are for risk takers with bigger budgets. In general, these types of slots don’t pay out small or medium-sized prizes often, nor do they feature many high payout symbols. However, when they do pay out, they pay out BIG. As always, we advise you to set a realistic bankroll and don’t spend what you can’t afford.

Our Top 10 High Variance Slots

Now we’ve clarified what variance means, those of you who already knew are probably keen for us to reveal the best high variance slots. Well, thrill-seekers, we’ve cherry-picked 10 premium titles for you to devour:

  1. Bonanza – Big Time Gaming
  2. Immortal Romance – Microgaming
  3. Book of Dead – Play ‘n GO
  4. Dead or Alive 2 – Netent
  5. Jurassic Park – Microgaming
  6. Great Blue - Playtech
  7. Raging Rhino - WMS
  8. Mega Moolah - Microgaming
  9. Montezuma – WMS
  10. Viking Runecraft – Play n’ GO
Is RTP related to variance?

Variance is a combination of a slot machine’s payout rate, which is how often a slot pays, and RTP (return to player), which is the expected percentage of wagers a game will return to a player over time.

How to Determine Slot Variance

There isn’t a definitive way to figure out the variance of a slot machine, but you can get a better idea by looking at the paytable for the following:

  • To determine whether it’s a high variance slot machine, look for major gaps between payouts. If three of a kind offers a low payout and the next level of payout is 6x more, the next award level is unlikely to hit often. Usually, the difference between the second top prize and jackpot in high variance slots is 40x to 70x greater.

  • To determine whether it’s a low variance slot machine, look for a range of medium payouts that move towards the highest jackpot. Check to see if the payouts rise in increments of about 3x to 4x. The difference between the jackpot and the second top award should be about 10x for a low variance slot.

  • Find out how many symbols are required for each prize - the more symbols required usually means the slot is higher variance. Landing three symbols on the payline of a 5-reel slot is a lot more likely than landing four or five.

We’d also recommend that you first play slots for free to get a better sense of variance. Compare how much and how often they payout, how much you have to spend before you hit a winning combination, and how much the average payout is.