Finding the best volatility slots is not as straightforward as finding, say, the best jackpots. In that case, most players can agree that the higher the jackpot, the better. But when it comes to volatility, there is an element of personal preference as well as playing style – there is no one size fits all across the board.
There are three types of slots when it comes to volatility:
- Low volatility slots
- Medium volatility slots
- High volatility slots
In this article, we will be talking about different variance slots for different kinds of players. You’ll notice we used the word ‘variance’ just now. The terms volatility and variance as interchangeable and both refer to the combination of three elements of a slot game: the frequency of the payouts, the amount paid out and the game’s level of risk. We go into more detail on variance in our guide.
The most popular low volatility slots
Low volatility slots have a lower level of risk than those with a higher variance. These games are quite exciting because wins are fairly frequent, every five to ten spins on average.
In most cases, the wins are not enormous (though these can and do occur) but they are enough to keep a player’s bankroll going long enough to enjoy a length gambling session.
1. Starburst by NetEnt
If you have ever read anything about online slots, you will have heard of Starburst. This low-to-medium volatility slot from NetEnt is a favourite among casinos who award free spins as part of their welcome bonus.
It’s colourful, easy to understand and includes Expanding Wilds. It uses a win-both-ways system to calculate payouts and is a favourite among new players finding their feet.
2. Esqueleto Explosivo by Thunderkick
There are skulls exploding all over the place in this colourful slot from Thunderkick. The game uses cascading symbols instead of reels and it also includes multipliers, re-spins and chain reactions, which happen when a win clears some of the skull symbols and more winning combinations take their place.
3. Thunderstruck II by Microgaming
The Thunderstruck series of games from Microgaming remains popular with players even now, over a decade since the arrival of the first one. While Thunderstruck has a high variance, Thunderstruck 2 has a more forgiving low-to-medium volatility.
Players can look forward to win multipliers, free spins and a choice of four bonus features that have the potential to boost the payouts that this slot offers.
The most popular medium volatility slots
Medium volatility slots sit in the middle of the road – they offer potential wins less often than low volatility slots but those wins are usually more significant. A player’s bankroll is much less likely to be decimated in between wins than on a slot with higher risk/volatility.
1. Game of Thrones by Microgaming
The strategy, betrayal, deception, guts and glory that is the HBO show have been made into a slot game of the same name! Possibly one of Microgaming’s most highly anticipated slots, Game of Thrones comes in with a medium volatility.
There are two ways to play, with either 15 paylines or 243 ways to win, and each of the noble houses – Baratheon, Lannister, Stark and Targaryen – add their own unique bonus features to the free spins rounds.
2. Vikings Go Berzerk by Yggdrasil
The Vikings look even more fearsome thanks to the 3D design and the Rage Meter keeps track of their growing anger, which is then put to use when defending against monsters. There are also bonus chests to open, with prizes inside, and a free spins feature.
3. The Great Albini by Microgaming
Technically, this game is made by Foxium, an exciting young studio that has caught players’ attention with its creative, high quality games. The Great Albini is the perfect example of this.
Our hosts are the magic man himself and his lovely assistant. Players can look forward to a free spins feature as well as the Mystery Box, which can help boost wins by locking in place and triggering re-spins.
The most popular high volatility slots
High volatility slots are the kind that have the largest margin of risk and are the most unpredictable (though of course, RNG technology means that no game is predictable to any degree). Players may spin a hundred times and never win once, only for the next spin to reward extremely well.
The risk is, of course, that the player runs out of money before that one big redeeming win can take place. For some players, that makes the experience even better and this is the kind of volatility online slots must have for that level of risk.
1. Book of Dead by Play N Go
This foray into an ancient Egyptian temple comes with the prospect of big wins if you have the stomach for it. Book of Dead from Play’n Go features intrepid adventurer Rich Wilde as he hunts for treasure and the game includes a free spins feature, expanding symbols and a gamble feature, further upping the ante for risk-loving players.
2. Dead or Alive by NetEnt
The sequel to this 2009 game has already been made but Dead or Alive remains a popular choice for thrill-seeking players. The combination of sticky Wilds and free spins means that on a particularly lucky spin, players could be looking at gaining over 1,000 times their initial wager.
3. Immortal Romance by Microgaming
Vampires never go out of fashion it seems and Microgaming’s 2011 bloodsucking romance slot is no different. Immortal Romance is one of those high volatility slots that has become a mainstay for a certain kind of player.
With an engaging story line, four different bonus games and a quartet of attractive characters, it’s not wonder we keep coming back to this game.
The best volatility slots for each player will depend on the kind of gambling experience they are looking to enjoy. High volatility slots will suit the ‘go big or go home’ kind of player while casual players who enjoy playing for extended periods of time will appreciate low volatility slots more.
Not sure what level of variance you want? Give a few of these games a try and see which sort appeals most. Remember, you can also test these games out in demo mode at most casinos!