Payout and Volatility

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Let’s start with the basics

If you’re no rookie to playing on slots then you know that not all machines are created equally. Slot machines rely on a random number generator to determine a hit on a win but how frequently do wins occur? This is called a “payout percentage” or a “return to player” percentage. This is the theoretical amount, over hundreds of thousands of spins, that the slot game is programmed to pay you. For example if you bet 1.00€ on a slot game that has a return to player percentage of 95% then over thousands and thousands of spins the average amount you would win back would be .95¢. The remaining 5¢ goes to the house. That is not to say those are the odds every time you spin but that is the average payout percentage over many bets for that machine. Each slot machine has a different payout percentage, there’s more on that over here.

So is payout percentage all that matters?

The amount the game pays out over time to you as a player is different than how far away from the average payout the slot machine can go. This is game volatility and each slot is unique in it’s variance per spin. Volatility is basically the risk associated with making the bet. If you bet 1.00€ on a low volatility game with a payout frequency of 95%, you are more likely to get a win that’s closer to 95% of your initial bet. Each time you spin you are more likely to win something (small but frequently).

Broadly speaking, there are three main categories:

  • 1. Low Volatility: these games have a high payout percentage and will pay back more frequently. These games can be fun to play because who doesn’t like winning?! Not to mention wins of any size can trigger some really amazing graphics in a game.
  • 2. Medium Volatility: a mix of smaller payouts and bigger payouts. For players who are used to playing low variance games, medium volatility games can be a little frustrating since they don’t return as frequently.
  • 3. High Volatility: these games are not for the faint at heart. High variance slots won’t pay back nearly as frequently as low volatility games. Sit tight and get ready for the potential of losing before triggering any wins.

How do you find this information on your favorite games? Usually, a quick search of the game itself will tell you what you need! Game providers aren’t trying to hide anything from you and the game information makes your experience that much better. We’ve done the leg work for you at Ikibu, feel free to ask our Chat Hosts for some game recommendations. We’re happy to help!

Does bet size matter?

Typically in an online or a physical slot machine, the more you bet, the higher your payout frequency. So, the higher the denomination, the higher the potential for getting a high return on your bet. Some slot games, like Starburst, allow you to add more lines to the bet. Adding more lines can multiply your payback odds and can be flashy to watch on screen. However, typically you will have a higher return percentage by betting that same amount and with fewer lines. Higher denominations in bets will probably trigger higher payback percentages. Then it’s up to that random number generator to land on a win or a loss.

Ultimately the way you like to play is up to you. Everyone’s strategy is unique – how much patience you have and what kind of gameplay experience you’re looking for! At Ikibu we have a variety of slot games, there’s truly something for everyone. Sticking to a budget while you enjoy a variety of games helps you experience a range of slots without going overboard. Beyond that, it’s all up to the luck of the spin!