Casino Guide: Variance

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Introduction to Gambling Mathemetics

A lot of people shudder when it comes to understanding maths, but everyone who enjoys playing at online casinos is using maths information, even if they are unaware of it. Not just working out the totals of their wins but using the language of maths to understand what they can gain from an online game or a particular online casino. Variance, Volatility and Return To Player percentage, (RTP %), house edge, these are all words online players are familiar with. I-gamers might not know the complex maths behind the surface interaction, but they do know it is to their advantage to use the information provided. Another name for variance in casino parlance could be Lady Luck. Unlike this formidable and unpredictable female, in mathematical terms, a variance formula explains how likely you are to deviate from the house edge. House edge is the other side of the coin to the RTP, meaning one is what the online casino is looking to receive and the other what a player could expect to have returned. So as an example the house edge is 4%, which makes the RTP 96 %. When playing mobile or online slots most software manufacturers make the RTP of the game available, for example, Immortal Romance by Microgaming is 96.86%.


Slot Variance (Risk) – An Introduction

Now if you started to play Immortal Romance and knew before you began to play what you would win, it would be a bit too simple and boring, despite the excellent themed gameplay. The anticipation of making a win on the slots is the exciting part. Depending on the player that could be an expectation of a big win or just regular smaller wins. How this is achieved is the fact that the RTP is calculated over the life of the online video slot, over millions of spins. The other aspect that keeps playing exciting is the variance or volatility of the game, both saying how risky is the slot. It all about the averages, so if you win €1.94 on Immortal Romances, you would be winning not only your 96.8 cents but 96.8 cents from someone who lost on their spin. The end game is the casino will rake in overall, 3.4 cents on every 1€. At any point in time they could be ahead with that or if a spectacular win has been won, a little behind. On average it all evens out over time to the calculated sum.It not all about the RTP though, remembers that variance also plays a part in what a player can win.


What Is It All About?

Playing a higher rate RTP video slot like Immortal Romance can be a good strategy for decent returns but it not all a player should be looking at. You also need to know about your chances of getting those payouts, be they large or small. Now as slots are random there is no definitive answer to that, but there is a way to be a little more aware of what your chances are over the payouts. A little bit of research will tell you if the online slot you want to play is classed as a low, medium or high variance. This is where Aboutslots games reviews are particularly useful as casinos do not always make the variance of a game clear. You need to ensure the game you choose suits your type of play. Do you like to win little and often? Or would you prefer to bide your time and wait for a big win?


High Variance

If you want a shot at big money, then your game needs to be a high variance, like Immortal Romance or Thunderstruck 2. The wins may be slow in coming, and you need to ensure you have the bankroll to play these games as it is expected to play at maximum bet for a chance at the big returns. High variance games tend to have infrequent wins until you trigger the elusive bonuses; free spins, stacked or sticky wilds being a very popular bonus to trigger a big win. Patience is necessary as by default these do not often come, potentially some smaller wins might be found, but mainly it is waiting for the five in a row to bring a jackpot payout. It is always a good plan when you land one of the big wins to cash out and see a return for you playing. Equally as sensible, is not to chase your losses, walk away and play another day. High variance games by their very nature are attractive, engaging and fun to play. There is the build up of anticipation as you wait for everything to click into place. Then the bells start ringing and lights flashing, and more and more coins are adding up on the screen. A fantastic, adrenaline fuelled moment that could be the result of a lengthy, determined play on a favourite high-rolling game or the result of a lucky spin sequence. Playing these games does not guarantee a win, high risk is just that but it does tell you when you do, it will be more than worth it.


Medium Variance

Falling in-between high and low variance we find the medium category; these games are offering a slightly higher risk but not enough to lose your bankroll in a short time. These are popular with players who want a taste of both worlds as they can offer both high and low payouts, adding that little bit more excitement to the gameplay.

Paying out regularly with reasonable jackpots medium variance games are very popular with players. On these games, you do tend to find higher bet values possible due to the fact these games tend to have higher payout lines, but you also find they offer a lot more of the bonuses that players enjoy. Depending on the developer and game these bonuses will frequently be triggered, these can include a range of wilds, scatters and the favourite by far, free spins. Games like Starburst or Spinata Grande from NetEnet are good examples, great fun, with enough paylines and payouts to satisfy all players. Medium variance slots have many benefits; the game developers keep supplying new and more exciting ways to win, with a variety of paying symbols, clusters machines, each way wins and massive amounts of paylines offering numerous winning combos. From classic games to video games, three reels or five you can find a game that fits into this category providing excellent entertainment value along with regular wins and some good jackpots. Most of the slots at online casinos fall into this category, to be certain, check out the paytable when you open a game and compare the amounts you can win.


Low Variance

As online gaming has proliferated in the past few years so too has the choices for playing. Playing on your PC's has evolved to mobile devices, where you can play on the go, anywhere and anytime. Game software developers keeping an eye on the variance statistics ensure that games of all genres are available for smartphones and tablets. Providing the low variance games in all the genres, that are popular for people who want some entertainment while on the move. Like to play but don't really like to lose? Then playing in the low variance category of games would suit you. These games are big on entertainment and frequent low wins, keeping you balance fairly stable. These are the games when you want a night of entertainment without a dent in your bankroll. Be aware of the gamble feature that is often added to these games, a quick way up the risk factor and see your balance disappear. How to spot a low variance game is to play it and see what the payments are like, playing for a while without hitting a winning combo, more likely medium or high. The other way is to open a game and view the paytables. As a general rule if the payout for four symbols is less than 3-4x the jackpot, five symbol payout then it falls into the low-risk category.


How To tell?

As online casinos are reluctant to label the games, reviews as from Aboutslots helps provide that information for players. Another way is to check the pay tables, five of a kind paying 500x plus is a clear indication of high variance. Check out the if paylines are fixed, or you can change the bet to lower stakes if fixed them the game is more than likely in the medium to high category.



Variance is a mathematical formula with very practical applications in the online gaming world; it helps igamers choose the games that suit them and their bankroll. Playing within your limits makes sense, knowing you can select the excitement of a high variance game whenever you like but can play to what is in your balance at any time. Aboutslots keep players up to date on all things relevant in the gaming world, and this information is paramount for a player to know. Known also by its other terms, volatility, high risk, what is essential for a player to understand is these are not definites, random chance or luck still plays its part. These are indicators of what is a complicated mathematical formula advising you about expected outcomes. In the end, it comes down to players preferences and bankrolls available, but with reliable information, the choice can be an informed one.

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