# How to determine the variance?

##### Senior Member
My first post...gulp!

Apologies if this has been posted elsewhere, but I am still trying to find my way around the site, and through the myriad of postings on here.

So...How do you determine the variance of a slot? I have received a request from CasinoMeister regarding the "What type of variance Poll" that is currently active, but I have no idea what the variance is of the slots I play.

I understand (sort of) what variance is, after reading Simmo!'s explanation.

BUT...

I still don't know how to determine the variance. Is the clue in the paytable, or is there something else I need to know about?

I have read that slots with insanely high variance have equally insane high payouts, as well as equally insane cold periods.

However, isn't that true of most slots - the insane hot/cold periods, I mean, not the insane high payouts.

And most of my favourite slots I play regularly have a love/hate relationship with me that borders on insanity (mine, not the slots! )

Some of those slots (totally clueless regarding the variance) are: The Twisted Circus, Cashanova, Hot Ink, Reel Gems (I once won over \$3500 playing a \$6.25 bet), Zombirthday, Puppy Love Plus, Alkemor's Tower, Bloopers, Peter and the Lost Boys, Skulls of Legend (only just started playing these last two, and I lurvve them!).

Cheers all.

#### Jasminebed

##### Game old gal
No expert here by any means, but you'e listed a few games I really like.

Variance on slots like Reel Gems and Hot Ink depend very much on how you play them. The RTP is quite high on them, and they are banned from bonus play sometimes, so always check if you are playing a bonus.

There's actually a mathematical formula which was over my head, and it surprised me somewhat, as some slots I thought as medium were high.

Cashanova has been a favourite since I started playing online nearly a decade ago. I'd have to say it's solidly just a smidge up from medium.

It's not like the medium variance slots NEVER hit big, perhaps not insanely big, but they have enough middling wins to keep you trying for the bigger one.

You can't get much more than about 35Xbet in the bonus round, and that's not common. But it's also quite rare to get less and 12x, and 20-25% is quite common.

The Egg feature has some big potential, and a game with lots of line pays (including less than bet back).

Twisted Circus also has a max pay on the bonus round that is not all that high. But it would be rare to go 300 spins without hitting one.

A few sites rank volatility, such as Slotty Vegas, but not everyone agrees they are right in how they determine it.

Really low variance is only good for losing slowly. Which is not without its charms, if you enjoy the game or want to play a long time with a small amount of money. Or if you are trying to get spins in a contest, or meet a WR within the rules.

I enjoy playing slots. I rarely start straight off with high variance. I want to have a certain amount of playtime, which even medium low slots do not always produce. But if I hit a point where I'm up enough, or happy to finish the night, I do gravitate towards higher bets on medium slots.

Up a hundred or so, might go \$2 bets until I lose \$100 on something a little more risky if I've played enough to be happy.

It may not be scientific, but fun or free play is a great way to "feel" how a slot plays. Not just a couple of hundred rounds, but way more.

Some slots that are allegedly medium variance have huge gluts of dead spins, others have lots of less than your betsize spins, but you do get more spins on those one.

I seem to be rambling, and it's beer not wine at my house, so I should have stopped at I'm no expert.

But everyone agrees DOA is high variance. But I do find it produces some wins along the path to empty pockets. I'm statistically unlucky on that slot, but I have been statistically lucky on others.

#### Harry_BKK

##### Dormant account
Rule of thumb for volatility/variance:

low variance: smaller wins more often
medium variance: in between
high variance: big win potential but quite rare.

Your balance will last longer with a low variance game as it will have smaller wins very often but does not have the potential (or just very small) for monster wins.

#### goatwack

##### Get dunked, big buns!
low variance: ZZZZZzzzzzz
medium variance: Is this game gonna do something or what??
high variance: Oh look! My balance says 0!

##### Senior Member
Jasmine, What a gem of a post. Thank you very much.

No expert here by any means, but you'e listed a few games I really like.

Cashanova has been a favourite since I started playing online nearly a decade ago. I'd have to say it's solidly just a smidge up from medium.

It's not like the medium variance slots NEVER hit big, perhaps not insanely big, but they have enough middling wins to keep you trying for the bigger one

You can't get much more than about 35Xbet in the bonus round, and that's not common. But it's also quite rare to get less and 12x, and 20-25% is quite common.

Re Cashanova: I have just looked at the paytable, and 5xRoger is 15000 coins, so that would be large (\$1500 @ \$3 = x500 if I am guessing correctly) but most of the other top paying symbols would only be x25 (5xHenrietta is 750 so \$75 @ \$3 = x25), assuming you are lucky enough to get all 5. So does the fact that most of the wins are in the 20-25% range place it in the medium variance category?

A few sites rank volatility, such as Slotty Vegas, but not everyone agrees they are right in how they determine it.

I will start looking for this, and see if I can understand their reasoning.

But if I hit a point where I'm up enough, or happy to finish the night, I do gravitate towards higher bets on medium slots.

This is exactly how I play.

Up a hundred or so, might go \$2 bets until I lose \$100 on something a little more risky if I've played enough to be happy.

It may not be scientific, but fun or free play is a great way to "feel" how a slot plays. Not just a couple of hundred rounds, but way more.

Again, exactly what I do. Are you sure we are not twins?

I seem to be rambling, and it's beer not wine at my house, so I should have stopped at I'm no expert.

Beer O'Clock is as good as Wine O'Clock in my book. It's Teetotal O'Clock days that I hate.

##### Senior Member
Rule of thumb for volatility/variance:

low variance: smaller wins more often
medium variance: in between
high variance: big win potential but quite rare.

Your balance will last longer with a low variance game as it will have smaller wins very often but does not have the potential (or just very small) for monster wins.

Thanks Harry - this is how Simmo! describes it although I couldn't quite grasp the meaning properly.

Using DOA as an example: I have only played DOA since coming across CasinoMeister, and now know it can pay out a monster win. However, if I was playing it for the first time, I would have thought it was low variance - loads of constant small wins which have been enough to warn me off the game for life..

So really the only difference between low and high variance slots is the fact that a high variance slot has the capacity for a big win (which is noted in the paytable) but otherwise they both really play the same with loads and loads of constant, small wins?

##### Senior Member
low variance: ZZZZZzzzzzz
medium variance: Is this game gonna do something or what??
high variance: Oh look! My balance says 0!

:notworthy

#### Harry_BKK

##### Dormant account
Thanks Harry - this is how Simmo! describes it although I couldn't quite grasp the meaning properly.

Using DOA as an example: I have only played DOA since coming across CasinoMeister, and now know it can pay out a monster win. However, if I was playing it for the first time, I would have thought it was low variance - loads of constant small wins which have been enough to warn me off the game for life..

So really the only difference between low and high variance slots is the fact that a high variance slot has the capacity for a big win (which is noted in the paytable) but otherwise they both really play the same with loads and loads of constant, small wins?

DOA in base game is actually low-mid variance. You get usually plenty of spins for your buck.

The bonus rounds are the part with very high variance, paying mostly less then 10× bet but have the potential of 1000's × bet.

The one thing with DOA is that usually you watch your balance trending towards zero and will guaranteed hit it if you don't get at least the 5 extra spins or better a WL in the bonus round. Other slots you can rescue your balance with a few medium paying bonus rounds, DOA is mostly hero or zero.

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##### Ueber Meister

Having exchanged rapings with DOA pretty much consistantly throughout the past year through 90% of my gambling online, i'd like to agree that yes it likes a lot of small wins and could come across as a low variance slot if you haven't played it regular enough. Add that to the fact that it can produce one bonus round for an uber heart attack style return, add those two thoughts together and it is understandable why it is ''banned from play during wagering of a bonus'' on many sites.

I've had 14 or 15 wild lines during the bonus round ( that is where the money is) and 3x five scatters(2500x stake) on it over the past year since playing it. But pretty much solidly playing it, and pretty much only it (if i play slots online that is, not that i wake up and turn it on before breakfast lol).
Usually it doesn't mind dropping in a bonus round, or a few, or a fair bloody few! and as you noticed it (usually) doesnt mind little wins in the base game to keep ticking you over. despite draining at the same time.

There are occasions it will take 2-3 hours and produce just 3-5 bonus rounds, and each feature won't hesitate to offer between 1x - 10x bet. But on that slot it's all about the bonus round (unless you roll in 5 scatters in the base game!). The bonus round will consistantly pay peanuts, to the point it will drive you insane. If i could upload a pic and accept being humiliated, i'd show you i have chunks of hair missing just to prove it ;d.

you could have 200 of the free spins rounds and only hit above 100x stake once during those 200 rounds. the other 197 bonus rounds probably paying below 50x bet, with 2 of them paying maybe 50-100x bet. and that is what will eat your bankroll alive, leaving you wondering how the hell it can do it over such a long period, with the other exceptional not worth noting bonus rounds paying something variably (yet useless) inbetween, and almost always usually at the lower end.
And of course, it will take a while to acheive 200 free spins bonus rounds, and money too. leaving you scratching your bald head as to why not one feature has paid over 100x stake in the past 35 hours of added up gaming time.

But, within those bonus rounds it has the capability to throw vomiting producing hits.
I play it, and pretty much only IT (on low stakes only though), so i get to see the variance. Infact it pretty much is the IT from the movie IT, teasing your curiosity, then grabbing you when you didn't expect it - but never letting you go.

I've roughly had around 4000 free spin rounds during my battle with it over months to achieve the results i've had, maybe a bit more.... but as said thats only over the past 14-16 months, whichin the scheme of things regarding the wild lines and 5x scatter drops, is pretty bloody good, as i am handsomely ahead on it to the tune of respectable amounts.
Many a time i have put £20/£25 into it on 0.09p bets for 1 or 2 bonus rounds during the entire session. at least a handfull of times it has taken £20-£25 with 0 bonus rounds on £0.09p bet, and has eaten me alive.
After a while you come to expect 3-10x bet on each and every free spins round. And if the base game is being equally crap, game over ma'am.

Went on a bit there, sorry.

Just a warning. do not be fooled.... it does like little wins during the base game fairly often. but it also likes to give little wins during 200 consecutive bonus rounds on a regular bloody basis!

Went on a bit there sorry. Welcome to CM!

##### Ueber Meister
wrote all that bohlarks, during which harry slipped in and was just as informative, yet using only 2 lines! crap!
Luckily i can blame the red stuff too! ;d

#### Jasminebed

##### Game old gal

With regards to Cashanova, I was talking about the Bonus Round, not the Free Spins Bonus (the egg one). That has some very good potential if you pick a decent number of spins and a good multiplier. I've had 300x wins on it.

There are higher variance games I've had much larger wins, but maybe only once or twice.

We might be twins, but I think my mom counted her chicks carefully. Not as sure of my Dad's behaviour back in the 50s.

#### nikantw

##### Banned User
So...How do you determine the variance of a slot?

You would need to know all possible wins and the probability for each win. That you can’t know (the probability) only game providers know that. But we know the RTP of all games is close to 96%, so there are clues for the variance in the payout table. If 5oak of the lowest paying symbol pays 4x bet, then you have a low variance game. You can go lower payout / higher variance from there.

Another clue is the max allowed bet. High variance games have small max allowed bet because of the big win potential and the popularity of the games.

The following example of variance I think can help you to better understand it.

Imagine a coin toss game. Heads pay 0, tails pay 1000x bet. That is very high variance.

Another game, also has a highest payout of 1000x bet, but has winning combinations that pay anything from 1x bet to 900x bet. Just from that information we know that the 2nd game has lower variance than the 1st one. How much lower it is determined by the probability of a 4x bet win (and other small wins like that).

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#### dunover

##### Unofficial T&C's Editor
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You would need to know all possible wins and the probability for each win. That you can’t know (the probability) only game providers know that. But we know the RTP of all games is close to 96%, so there are clues for the variance in the payout table. If 5oak of the lowest paying symbol pays 4x bet, then you have a low variance game. You can go lower payout / higher variance from there.

Another clue is the max allowed bet. High variance games have small max allowed bet because of the big win potential and the popularity of the games.

The following example of variance I think can help you to better understand it.

Imagine a coin toss game. Heads pay 0, tails pay 1000x bet. That is very high variance.

Another game, also has a highest payout of 1000x bet, but has winning combinations that pay anything from 1x bet to 900x bet. Just from that information we know that the 2nd game has lower variance than the 1st one. How much lower it is determined by the probability of a 4x bet win (and other small wins like that).

Not at all. I have seen games paying 3x bet or less for lowest paying 5OAK but are high variance. One example Immortal Romance 3.33x stake for 5oak 9's. Plus a recent game I reviewed pays 2 x stake for lowest 5oak but transforms to 243-ways in the bonus round with sticky wilds hence the chances of multiple hits in free spins.

Variance is simply the frequency of symbols on the reels and odds attributed to them. BDBA is a great example, a low win frequency and half the symbols at 10/J of which 3 don't even pay near 1x stake unless with a wild. Yet the less frequent gold bar and sapphires pay way over 1x for 3oak.

Basically if you spent £1 on getting EVERY possible reel combination ONCE you would end up winning 96% back. The variance is how frequently a win appears in while doing this. For example if you had a 6-reel 10 symbols slot and had nothing but 9's on the reels that paid 0.96x stake for 6oak then you have a zero-variance game. If you had say 6 reels of 10 symbols and there were 9 x 0's and 1 x 7 on them and wins only paid 6oak and 6 x 7's paid £960,000 then then you have the ultimate high variance.

Obviously the slots we play, except St*rb*rst, fall somewhere in between.

#### brianmon

##### Ueber Meister
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mm4
Not at all. I have seen games paying 3x bet or less for lowest paying 5OAK but are high variance. One example Immortal Romance 3.33x stake for 5oak 9's.

Although the sites who do give some indication of variance, such as SlottyVegas, all list IR as low variance

#### Jono777

##### Ueber Meister
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No proof and who am I to argue but I think most of the information provided on sites (not singling any particular ones out at all) with regard to variance (Not TRTP as this has to be accurate) is guess work.

They may drop lucky and be accurate on occasion but as I say most of it is not based on fact and is inaccurate.

Prime example above in Brian's post in that we all know IR is far from LV!

Same applies to this 'Hot' and 'Cold' malarky, stuff and nonsense IMO.

#### brianmon

##### Ueber Meister
webby
mm4
Maybe that's a way of getting an idea of some games' variance..go to SlottyVegas?
You don't have to be a member, since their slots are shown on the homepage, without having to log in. just hover the mouse over each game and the volatility is shown.

I would assume these ratings are based on the game providers data, rather than player opinion.

#### brianmon

##### Ueber Meister
webby
mm4
No proof and who am I to argue but I think most of the information provided on sites (not singling any particular ones out at all) with regard to variance (Not TRTP as this has to be accurate) is guess work.

They may drop lucky and be accurate on occasion but as I say most of it is not based on fact and is inaccurate.

Prime example above in Brian's post in that we all know IR is far from LV!

Same applies to this 'Hot' and 'Cold' malarky, stuff and nonsense IMO.

I'm not sure about that. I've played though the WR of a bonus, exclusively on just IR or just TSII, many many times.

#### dunover

##### Unofficial T&C's Editor
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Although the sites who do give some indication of variance, such as SlottyVegas, all list IR as low variance

Yes, because sometimes they don't know their own product. IR is not a low-variance game! They have probably got the figures (like Netent provide) of win FREQUENCY and as it's every 4 or 5 spins on average have decided that makes it 'low' variance. DoA we know is VERY HV yet that too gives very frequent wins on average about every 3-4 spins.

Basically refer to my example in the previous post. Of that 960,000 you would get back from 1 million £1 spins, say 60,000 came from a hit of top-paying 5OAKs ad 800,000 from wins of between 0.2-2 x stake and the other 100k from 'medium' combos it would be an EXTREMELY HV game. If, like St*rb*rst the highest (never seen!) win of bars is 500x stake and 90% of the rest between 0.5 and 20x stake and the other 10% of wins are 21-500x stake then you have a very LV game.

#### Jono777

##### Ueber Meister
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I'm not sure about that. I've played though the WR of a bonus, exclusively on just IR or just TSII, many many times.

Fair point and so have I, numerous times.

On the other hand I (as I'm sure you have also) have been mercilessly wiped out with nothing above 10x on these games.

I've seen your nice IR videos recently (Michael x2 IIRC springs to mind) but what about the times inbetween?

I play IR every deposit and cannot recall my last BR over 150x which is bad, Thunderstruck II had gone 8 deposits with not ONE bonus round until this week just gone!

I would err that TSII is medium variance and IR Medium High.

A lot of the information in my opinion on websites is aimed at lesser experienced players who will never even question it or in some cases not even understand it.

It is only the more experienced (such as us lot) who will maybe question it in threads / forums such as this and we make up only a small percentage of online players so they can 'get away with' partial facts or information based on limited experience/knowledge and not years of play and hands on experience.

#### nikantw

##### Banned User
Not at all. I have seen games paying 3x bet or less for lowest paying 5OAK but are high variance. One example Immortal Romance 3.33x stake for 5oak 9's. Plus a recent game I reviewed pays 2 x stake for lowest 5oak but transforms to 243-ways in the bonus round with sticky wilds hence the chances of multiple hits in free spins.
...

Key words, “clue”, “lower payout / higher variance” and “high variance games have small max allowed bet”, so you basically just proved me right. My example is kind of perfect actually.

#### nikantw

##### Banned User
Variance is simply the frequency of symbols on the reels and odds attributed to them. BDBA is a great example, a low win frequency and half the symbols at 10/J of which 3 don't even pay near 1x stake unless with a wild. Yet the less frequent gold bar and sapphires pay way over 1x for 3oak.

That is not what variance is, but you can calculate the variance if you know that and the payout table, so basically we are talking for the same thing, no problem. Of course this is the actual reel that is invisible to us players. What we see spinning is just a visual effect.

#### dunover

##### Unofficial T&C's Editor
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Key words, “clue”, “lower payout / higher variance” and “high variance games have small max allowed bet”, so you basically just proved me right. My example is kind of perfect actually.

Yes, I missed your context there!

DoA has quite high 5OAK awards though, which makes it odd, as the lowest paying 10's and jacks are very infrequent, less frequent than higher-paying AK.

In essence we need to see the reel strips to make a concrete conclusion, Symbol frequency and awards.

##### Senior Member
Still learning, so thanks very much everyone for your replies (can't use the Thanks button yet, I'm afraid, but I am working on it! )

So...it appears that everyone seems to know what variance games they like.

BUT...knowing exactly what games have that variance is far more difficult to ascertain, e.g. IR, TSII seem to have divided opinion.

Do I get my gold star yet?

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