Slot Variance - A Guide to Its Understanding

May 19th, 2014
Back Slot Variance - A Guide to Its Understanding

Most players believe that Slots is based on pure luck, but that is not entirely true. Every game of chance takes a bit of luck and in most cases a certain amount of skill. Blackjack and Poker for example require more skill than spinning the reels on Slots. Skill defined means the ability to do something well or in an expertise way. A gambler who doesn’t have a clue as to how to play Baccarat wouldn’t be wise to walk up to the table and lay their chips down. Chances are they will lose their bankroll faster than any other skilled player they are rubbing elbows with at the table.

Slots is a popular favorite across the world gaining the most revenue for operators in Casinos both online and land based for this most highly played game. One of the reasons for its popularity among the gambling community is the simplicity of the game that doesn’t require a study guide or rocket science to figure out.

The Slot however has evolved from a single reel to colossal reels, over 1000 different winning combinations, Bonus games including Wild and Scatter symbols. Because of the unique features when playing a new Slot for the first time, may have players reaching for the Help button. If you have run across some Slots that appear more loose than others that’s because they probably are.

What is Slot Variance

Let’s first understand what the word “variance” means; the statistics or square of the standard deviation of a sample or set of data. More confused? So was I when referring to the dictionary so let’s put in gamblers terminology: risk factor. Now that is a language we can all understand. The variance is determined by a few factors including the odds of winning big, the winning streak and what affect it will have on your bankroll. This is not to be confused with the payout percentage which is the expected return. Instead the variance is determined by HOW the Slot game pays out.


There are three types of variances including:

Low Variance – players can expect a fair amount of average sized wins but the chance of hitting a major win is rare. This will in essence give the player the smallest profit during game play but the advantage is longer play time.

Medium Variance – players are at a slightly higher advantage of hitting bigger jackpots while still receiving an average amount of smaller wins. It is considered the middle of the road for smaller and bigger wins.

High Variance – Generally these type of machines have higher payouts but are not consistent. Small and medium wins are also less frequent. This type of machine is for a player seeking bigger win combinations.

Deciding what variance is best for you depends on the size of your bankroll and how important the length of play time is for you. Starting out on a small bankroll is better suited for low variance machines while a big bankrolls are ideal for high variance games.

How to Spot Low/High Variance Slots

To determine the variance of a Slot it’s important to look at the Pay Table that is available on every machine. Good rule of thumb to follow is to pay close attention to the size of your bet and the multiplier on a winning combination. For example if 5 scatters pay 500x your total bet then that is considered a massive win. Free Spins should next be considered, whether or not there is a multiplier and how big is that multiplier 3x or better? Now look at how much 5 matching symbols pay across the reels and compare it to 4 matching symbols. Is there a big difference and wider gap between the two payouts? If so along with the other factors that is considered a high variance machine.

A quick and easy way to know what slot is low, medium and high is by the software who provides the variance of each game. Unfortunately not all software do.


Real Time Gaming Software Slot Variances


Low Variance Video Slots – Basketbull - Bulls & Bears - Crazy Vegas - Derby Dollars - Diamond Dozen -Enchanted Garden - Fruit Frenzy - Hen House - Incan Goddess – Mice Dice – Small Fortune – Spirit of Inca

Medium Variance Video Slots – Achilles – Aladdin’s Wishes – Aztec’s Treasure (FG) – Builder Beaver – Cleopatra’s Gold – Coat of Arms – Fame and Fortune – Funky Monkey – Goldbeard – Golden Lotus – Green Light – It’s a Mystery – Lock Nest Loot – Mayan Queen – Mermaid Queen – Ocean Oddities – Santa Strikes Back – Tritons Treasure – White Rhino

High Variance Video Slots – Aztec’s Millions – Aztec’s Treasure – Big Shot – Caesar’s Empire – Count Spectacular – Dream Run – Goblins Treasure – Hillbillies – Jackpot Cleo’s Gold – Jackpot Pinatas – Loose Caboose – Mystic Dragon – Naughty or Nice – Rain Dance –Return of Rudolph – Rudolph’s Revenge – T-Rex – Warlocks Spell

Very High Variance Video Slots – Crystal Waters – Glitz & Glamour – Vulcan


IGT Software Slot Variances

Low Variance – Cleopatra – Davinci Diamonds – Kitty Glitter – Treasures of Troy – Cashino – Cluedo – Ghostbusters – Elvis the King – Monopoly - Monopoly Money – Star Trek Against All Odds – Transformers – Wheel of Fortune

Medium Variance – 100,000 Pyramid - Cleopatra ll – Coyote Moon – Pharaohs Fortune – Rainbow Riches – Wolf Run – 100 Pandas – Battleship – Bejeweled – Cats – Spiderman – Vegas Baby – Wolf Run


High Variance – Diamond Queen – Day of Dead – Siberian Storm


WMS Software Slot Variance

Low Variance – Egyptian Riches – Emerald Eyes – Enchanted Dragon – Gem Hunter – Fortunes of the Caribbean – Rome and Egypt

Medium Variance – Griffins Gate - John Wayne – Palace of Riches ll – Star Trek – Super Jackpot Party – Wizard of Oz – Wizard of Oz Ruby Slippers – Zeus – Zeus 3 - Bierhaus – Black Knight – Crystal Forest – Gusher – I Love Lucy – Venetian Romance

High Variance – Amazon Queen – Bruce Lee – Raging Rhino – Wizard of Oz Wicked Riches


Novomatic Software Slot Variance

Low Variance – Beetle Mania – Columbus – Just Jewels Deluxe – Rainbow King – Reel King – Sizzling Hot Deluxe

Medium Variance – Indian Spirit – Katana – Lucky Lady’s Charm –Mystic Secrets – Power Stars - Sea Sirens – Xtra Hot

High Variance – Book of Ra – Book of Ra Deluxe – Dolphins Pearl Deluxe – Fairy Queen – Lord of the Ocean


Net Entertainment Software Slot Variance


Low Variance – Blood Sucker – Secret of the Stones

Medium Variance – Starburst – Victorious – Beach – Scarface - Pandora’s Box - Aliens – Creature From the Black Lagoon – Pandoras Box – Thief – Vikings Treasure – Wonky Wabbits

High Variance – Dead or Alive – Piggy Riches – Wild Water


Microgaming Software Slot Variances

Low Variance – Heavy Metal - Moonshine – Cool Buck Munchkins – Pharaoh’s Tomb – Monster Mania – Chef’s Magic Slot –Age of Discovery – Avalon – Big Top – Carnaval – Fruit Fiesta – Gift Wrap – Harveys – Hitman – King Cashalot –Lotsaloot – Magic Spell – What a Hoot – Wowpot 5 Reel - Vinyl Countdown – The Dark Knight

Medium Variance – Immortal Romance - Tomb Raider – Tomb Raider 2 – Big Kahuna – Bush Telegraph – Dog Father – Dino Might – Elementals – Gopher Gold –Halloweenies – ISIS –Ladies Night – Skull Duggery – Spring Break – Summertime – Thunderstruck – Treasure Nile – Witches Wealth – The Dark Knight Rises - Playboy

High Variance – Cashville – Supe it Up – Golden Goose – Dolphin Tale – Prime Property – Golden Goose Golden Treasure –Golden Goose Winning Wizards

Spinning to Win

Understanding Slot variances will set you on your way to a wiser spinner. Deciding what variance is best strictly depends on the player. Gamblers and their betting style vary across the playing field from Low Rollers, Medium Rollers and High Rollers. Your budget should determine what Slots to play. Combining the variance and payout percent of each game will help give you the winning edge.

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