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In the descriptions of slot machines for online casinos, there are often such concepts as variance and volatility.Usually they are used as interchangeable, thus explaining the deviation from the calculated mathematical expectation, that is, the level of risk in the game. But are these terms really synonymous? Experts Slotegrator offer to understand and understand whether there is a difference between variance and volatility.


The term “variance” is most often used in poker, but at the same time it applies to online gaming machines.Dispersion is a statistical term. It describes the size of the range of deviations from the mathematical expectation. If we talk about games in online casinos, then the variance shows a deviation from the specific value of RTP (the percentage of money back to the player).

Here is an example: in the slot, the RTP size is 98%. This means that 98% of the invested money will be returned to the players. This percentage of return is calculated based on a large number of players and in a long game. Thus, with a small number of spins, RTP will not be respected, and the dispersion will begin to increase. At the same time, with a large number of bets, the variance will decrease and the percentage of RTP will tend to a given value.


Unlike dispersion, volatility is more associated with the process of the game itself. It indicates the qualitative and quantitative indicators of the winnings: how often will the cash prize fall and in what size. There are 3 types of volatility: low, high and medium. Let us consider each of them in detail.

Low volatility

Slots with low volatility are games with little risk. As a rule, winnings fall out here often, but their sums are small.Such slots like gamblers who do not chase large jackpots, but prefer to receive small but frequent payments throughout the game process. Of course, in slots with low volatility, you can also break a big jackpot, but this is a big rarity, the probability of winning a large jackpot here is minimal.

Slots with low volatility: Justice League (Nextgen), Playboy Gold (Microgaming), Flaming Reels ( GameArt ), All Ways Win (Amatic).

High Volatility

High volatility is directly opposite to low. That is, a player can long run back and stay at zero, but at some point he is lucky – and he breaks a big win. Slots with high volatility are very popular among those who like to play big and wait patiently for a big win, losing backs behind.

Slots with high volatility: Crystal Sevens ( Platipus Gaming ), Cinderella (Platipus Gaming), Medusa II (Nextgen), High Society (Microgaming).

Average volatility

It is easy to guess that the average volatility is the golden mean between high and low. That is why a large number of modern online gaming machines have an average level of risk. In such slots, there are mostly average wins, and therefore players do not have to hunt for cash awards for a long time.

Slots with medium volatility: Fortunium ( Microgaming ), Sakura Fruits (Amatic), Snowing Luck (Spinomenal), Jack O’Lantern vs The Headless Horseman (Red Rake).


It is a mistake to think that the volatility and variance indicators are abstract – on the contrary, they are easily measured. Based on their own and others’ game experience, by studying the description of slots, as well as statistics on the loss of winning combinations and their sizes, gamblers can determine the level of volatility of the gaming machine.

Based on this indicator, you can choose slots according to your personal preferences: to win big, but at great risk to lose all funds in a short period of time or to play for a long time, while getting the minimum wins.

Knowing the level of variance will be more useful to online casino owners in order to track the profit of the project.Let’s give an example: if there are a lot of gamblers in the online slot machine, but they all bet $ 1, then the variance will be low. And if the same high-roller high-roller game starts to play, which bet on $ 100, then the variance will increase. After all, the payout ratio x100 for $ 1 and for $ 100 is a big difference.

Schematically, the level of variance can be represented as follows:
online casino online gambling
Red line – high dispersion at large stakes.
Green line – low dispersion at low rates.


Oddly enough, the concepts of volatility and dispersion are often confused, using them as synonyms. However, if you look at the details, you will notice that these terms are different. In descriptions of the characteristics of slots, it is more correct to use the notion of volatility in the sense in which the term “dispersion” is commonly used. Thus, volatility is put into the game by the developer and denotes a certain level of risk, to which the player goes, when choosing a particular slot. A variance is the spread of the amount of wins relative to the size of the rates.

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