RTP Slots: All You Need to Know in One Place
If you've been playing slots for any length of time or have just been watching streamers play online slots, you've probably heard the term RTP mentioned more than once. Even if you have no idea what it means, it is clear that this elusive RTP is an important factor for an online slot game. In this article, we'll explain everything you need to know about this concept, how it is integrated with slots, and how it can influence your decision about what games (or not) to play.
RTP Slots In a Nutshell
RTP stands for Return To Player and describes the amount a slot pays back to the players over a large number of spins, usually expressed as a percentage. For example, when you play high RTP slots with a return percentage of 97%, you'll get €97 for every €100 you put into it. So, this piece of information basically explains how much you can expect to lose while playing a particular slot game.
It is important to understand that this number is calculated based on a huge number of spins, usually millions. So, over a short session of a few hundred or a few thousand spins, anything can happen, which is exactly what makes playing slots exciting. A slot game that would pay back exactly €95 after 100 spins played at €1 would hardly be entertaining to play.
The different types of RTP slots:
Setting up RTP for a slot machine is a complicated process and it gets harder the more elaborate the game is. If there are many features and a large number of paylines involved, game developers need to figure it all out in such a way that, when it is all said and done, the game returns exactly the percentage expected.
In a nutshell, though, a slot is always programmed in a way to give back the percentage of the total money that goes into it. The distribution of the RTP can vary, which we will discuss in a moment, but at the end of a day, a slot with 98% RTP will give back 98 percent of all the money that goes into it over an infinite number of spins.
Slot providers often create slot games with varying RTP. These slots' RTP falls under three categories: low RTP, average RTP, and high RTP slot machines.
Low RTP slot games:
These are slot machines with an RTP between 90% - 93%. Most slots with low RTP have a Jackpot bonus feature with a fair payout range. An example of a low RTP slot is Count Duckula, a vampire-themed slot by Blueprint Gaming.
Average RTP Slot Games:
These are slot machines with a return to player percentage of 94% - 96%. Monster Pop is an example of a medium RTP slot with an RTP of 94.7% and is designed by Betsoft.
High RTP slot games:
Slot machines with RTP between 97% - 99% are categorized as High RTP slots. Relax Gaming's Book of 99 is an excellent example of a high RTP slot with a return percentage of 99% and a max win potential of 12075x your initial bet.
RTP: Complicated Math Behind the Scenes
Setting up the RTP for a slot machine is a complicated process; the more complicated the game, the harder it gets. If there are many features and a large number of paylines involved, slot game developers need to figure it all out in such a way that, when it is all said and done, the game returns exactly the percentage expected.
In a nutshell, though, slots are always programmed so that they give back the correct percentage of the total money that goes into it over a high number of spins. The distribution of the slots RTP can vary, which we will discuss in a moment. However, at the end of the day, a slot with 98% RTP will give back 98 percent of all the money that goes into it over an infinite number of spins.
Variance & RTP: two similar but different things
The RTP is often mistaken for variance of a game (and vice-versa). Although these two concepts are usually closely related, they aren't the same thing. We've already explained Return to Player and what it means. Let's now briefly touch upon a variance.
Variance basically defines the way in which the game's RTP is realized. Lower variance slot games are programmed in a way where you'll have frequent smaller hits, which will help you keep your head above the water and play many spins without busting. High-variance slot games usually have a lot of their RTP situated in bonus features and can provide some really big hits. However, to compensate for these big hits, these RTP slots don't have as many small to medium wins in the base game.
This is to say that not all high RTP slots are necessarily very friendly on your bankroll. In general, games with higher RTP are always a better choice than the ones with a lower percentage, but if you choose a high volatility slot, you can go through many thousands of spins before coming anywhere close to true RTP.
How to find the RTP of a slot?
Slot game providers are required to display the RTP on the slot site for transparency. You can find the RTP for a slot game in the game rules section, often represented by three-lines.
Land-based vs. Online Slots: Which Has a Better RTP?
Most players who transition to online slots from land-based casinos will soon conclude that online slots pay better. Although the gambling world is full of fallacies and wrong beliefs, this isn't one of them.
Most online slots, even if it is the exact same game, have significantly higher RTP. Land-based slots are usually set to return anywhere from 70% to 90%, with very few games ever going over 92%. Online slots that are under 94%-95% are usually considered less desirable, and many of the newer games have RTPs north of 96%.
This isn't some brick-and-mortar conspiracy, though. Slots in physical venues are set to return less because land-based casinos are limited in space, so they have to make more money from physical machines placed on their floors to keep up with expenses and make a profit.
On the other hand, an online casino can have hundreds or even thousands of machines available for play at any given time with no physical restrictions. Thus, they can afford to offer games with much higher RTP.
Truths and myths about RTP in slot games
Over the years, players have developed a number of ideas about how RTP works and what can and can't be done, so we'll try to put some of these to rest.
- Online casinos can manipulate the RTP of their slots
This is not true. Online casinos don't own the slots they offer. They merely rent the slots from game developers, and games are usually stored on the developers' servers, which means that casinos don't have the kind of access required to change core settings such as RTP. Some providers offer games with several RTP variations (like Play'n GO), but casinos can't change a random game at will.
- RTP is completely irrelevant for a single session.
This is both true and not true, depending on certain factors. While anything can happen in a single slot session, and the actual RTP of the game is unlikely to be reached either way, on average, a slot with 96% RTP will pay better than the one with 85% RTP. So, while you can still win and lose on both, you'll win more often in the game with higher RTP, so you're better off playing that one.
- Progressive jackpots influence the real RTP of a slot.
This is true in most cases. For example, a progressive jackpot slot may have advertised RTP of 94% on the slot site, but a part of that RTP is usually realized through progressive jackpots. This means that unless you win the jackpot, you'll be playing the game with RTP significantly lower than advertised.
Aboutslots' Top Ten RTP Slots
Now that you know what RTP means, let's look into some of the slots that offer the highest Return to Player. These games aren't necessarily your best choice if you're after a big win, but they usually pay pretty well and will give you a decent amount of play time.
- Mega Joker – up to 99%
Topping the list of our highest RTP slots is Mega Joker. It is a NetEnt classic slot with three reels and fruity symbols. The game's RTP actually changes depending on the stake level you play at. You'll need to bet 10 coins to reach the best return. Additionally, this game has a slight skill element, as you need to know when to collect the winnings from the Supermeter.
- Jackpot 6000 – up to 98.8%
Jackpot 6000 is another classic slot from NetEnt, quite similar to Mega Joker. You'll also need to play this game at the maximum bet of 10 coins and study the Supermeter strategy a bit to reach the best possible returns. This is a good game for those players who like to be involved and actually able to influence their results, at least to some extent.
- Chess Mate -98.7%
Chess Mate is a game from a relatively unknown developer, MultiSlot. This colorful and nicely animated slot offers 15 paylines, a couple of bonus features (including free spins with a win multiplier up to 9x), and a very high RTP of 98.7%. Although the game isn't available at many online casinos, it is definitely worth a try if you come across it.
- 1429 Uncharted Seas – 98.6%
Developed by Thunderkick, the 1429 Uncharted Seas slot is one of the older games from this developer. While this slot doesn't bring anything spectacular in terms of graphics or features, its very high RTP of 98.6% makes it worth a few spins.
- The Catfather - 98.19%
Developed by Pragmatic Play, the Catfather slot features a mobster-cat theme with a free spins feature and a bonus game to win exciting cash prizes. The slot has an RTP of 98.1% which is maintained in both the base game and the bonus game round. You also enjoy the 4x multiplier and expanding wilds, making things more fun.
- Monopoly on the Money – up to 98.1%
Developed by Barcrest, Monopoly on the Money is a slot themed after one of the most popular board games ever invented. In the base game, this slot has an RTP of just 94%, but it is the Big Bet mode that changes the game, as it has anRTP as high as 98.1%.
- Bloodsuckers – 98%
Bloodsuckers is another game from the stables of slot provider NetEnt, but unlike the ones mentioned previously, this is actually a proper video slot with two different bonuses, 25 paylines across 5 reels, and very low volatility. If you're into vampire-themed slots], Bloodsuckers is well worth your time with its outstanding RTP of 98%.
- Starmania – 97.87%
Created by NextGen Gaming, Starmania will definitely remind you of another well-known game that we don't even need to mention if you've ever taken free spins at an online casino. Set among the stars with colorful symbols on the reels, this 10-pay line slot pays both ways and features an RTP of 97.87%.
- Kings of Chicago – 97.8%
We're coming back to NetEnt and their Kings of Chicago slot, a game entirely based on poker. Instead of classic win combinations, you'll get paid for making poker hands here, such as trips, straights, flushes, full houses, and quads. If you love poker and casino gambling, this game is a perfect combo for you, especially with its very high RTP of 97.8%.
- Devil's Delight – 97.6%
The final NetEnt slot to be featured in this list, Devil's Delight, comes with an RTP of 97.6%. This nicely animated game with several bonus features and the entertaining Soul-O-Meter would be well worth a try, even without this high RTP. With it, it is definitely a must-play.