Explaining Volatility in Slots

While payouts and paylines are common concepts to veteran slots players, one term that even long time slots players may not be familiar with is the term volatility. Used to describe the variability in payouts offered by a slot machine, volatility can be a great way for players to evaluate whether a slot machine is right for them.

What the Term Means

If a game only pays outs in extremes, the game is said to have very high volatility. A highly volatile slot machine will almost always result in either a huge win or a very big loss; there are very few in-betweens. Machines with high volatility, then, are often the machines with highest potential payouts, but they often require the largest upfront bets, as well. For some players, this sort of high risk, high reward game is exactly the sort of thing they want. For others, though, these machines require too much with no guarantee of reward.

Evaluating a Slot Machine's Volatility

Players can determine a machine's volatility by consulting the payout table that each slot machine should have published. Players can look at the various paylines or different combinations of symbols to see how much each potential win pays out. When compared to the amount of money required for a minimum bet on that machine, players can easily evaluate that machine's volatility.

High volatility games are often the games with the largest jackpots, and, as such, they can be very attractive to players looking to win big. However, the smartest players usually stick to low volatility games in the hopes that a number of small wins will result in larger bankrolls.