Understanding Volatility in Casino Games

Date IconLast Updated: Dec 7th, 2023
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Understanding Volatility in Casino Games

When playing at new casino sites in the US, you'll quickly learn that not all games are created equal. After all, part of the appeal is the range of entertaining options available which includes those with different themes, mechanics, and RTPs. One factor in particular that contributes to payouts is the volatility of the games. In this article, we learn more about variance and what the different volatility levels mean for you as a player.

What is Volatility in Casino Games?

When you start playing casino games, you may encounter volatility or variance. These terms both refer to the same thing. The word volatile relates to something subject to unexpected or fast changes.

The volatility in casino games varies, with low, medium, and highly volatile slot machines. The software providers who develop these games use different risk & reward ratios, which determine the frequency and size of wins a player can expect.

Volatility also applies to table games. For example, a straight bet in roulette has a 35-1 payout and hits less frequently. It has a higher volatility level than an outside bet with a lower 1:1 payout that occurs more often.

The volatility levels in casino games can be hard to find, but generally, you can tell after playing for a while. At Gambling.com, we have a collection of free-to-play games. You can try these titles in demo mode to test the volatility with no upfront risk.

Low Volatility Slots

Low volatility casino games are fantastic for beginners and those who don’t like high-risk gaming. These slots offer smaller wins with regular frequency. Players can enjoy a longer gaming session, hit small wins regularly, and experience the best online slots and features with fewer spins required to hit the bonus.

Low variance games are less risky than other titles. The maximum win on these slots is generally under 1,000x and lower than medium or higher-level titles. We’ve listed some of the best low volatility slots to play at casinos.

  • Blood Suckers (NetEnt)
  • DaVinci Diamonds Dual Play (IGT)
  • Starburst (NetEnt)
  • Bear Money (Inspired Gaming)

Medium Volatility Slots

Medium volatility slots are the next step up and offer a medium level of risk with less frequent but more significant wins. Seasoned players appreciate these titles for the chance to win big while still hitting enough regular wins for an entertaining time. Compared to lower variance games, the dry spell between wins can be longer; however, the amount you can win also increases.

Casino games with medium volatility can give players bigger max wins, with many reaching over 1,000x the spin. They offer an excellent chance to win big. However, watching the bankroll is vital because the sessions may include losing streaks.

  • Action  Jack (IGT)
  • Chilli Gold (Lightning Box)
  • Big Bad Buffalo (High 5 Games)
  • Cleopatra (IGT)

High Volatility Slots

High volatility slots provide the biggest wins online. However, they fall into the high-risk category, and wins can often be few and far between. The high-variance model provides significant payouts, with maximum wins reaching over 5,000 – 10,000x the bet.

High volatility games can be exciting and frustrating, with lengthy periods of no wins, complemented by large wins that can pop up out of nowhere. They have unique features, such as free spins bonuses with progressive multipliers and enhancers to boost payouts. These games are more suitable for experienced players who understand the increased risks.

For example, you may play a highly volatile slot, press the spin button and win big immediately. Yet, you could play it the next day and may not win for 30 spins. To experience this gameplay style, you can try the slots listed below.

  • 88 Fortunes (Light & Wonder)
  • Divine  Fortune (NetEnt)
  • Forge of Gems (Play’n Go)
  • Fortune Free Spins (Inspired Gaming)

The volatility in casino games is an essential factor when looking for the best titles to play. It all comes down to personal preferences. If you like big wins with more risk, then highly volatile titles are the way to go. However, if you're a beginner, we recommend low volatility games for the reduced risk and more chances to hit smaller wins frequently.


What does volatility mean in casino games?

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Is high or low volatility better slots?

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What is a good strategy for high volatility slot games?

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