# WTHeck is "VARIANCE"?

#### Mavin1

##### Dormant account
I have often wondered why Variance is used so much anymore as it was a term I had never heard of before. My thoughts were that is the trade off for saying, "you're having a bad run" and as much as I dislike the term, I want to know what it really is. I know there has been threads regarding this issue, but instead of digging them up, thought I would start anew.

Definitions of 'variance' (vâŕē-əns, văŕ-)
Dictionary.com · The American Heritage® Dictionary - (5 definitions)

(noun)

The act of varying.
The state or quality of being variant or variable; a variation.
A difference between what is expected and what actually occurs.
The state or fact of differing or of being in conflict. See synonyms at discord
Law
A discrepancy between two statements or documents in a proceeding.
License to engage in an act contrary to a usual rule: a zoning variance.
Statistics The square of the standard deviation.
Chemistry The number of thermodynamic variables, such as temperature and pressure, required to specify a state of equilibrium of a system, given by the phase rule.

So then I look for more info and type in my search "Variance of slot machines" and come up with this link;

The word ‘Variance’ essentially refers to risk-over-time on a slot machine. In a nut shell; a low variance slot will give you a longer play time, at lower risk, than a high variance slot. BUT the chances for huge wins are quite slim. Whereas a high variance slot may not give as much play time, as each wager is higher risk, but the wins it provides can be staggering! There is the middle road as well – medium variance; on these slots you can play for a good long time (depending on your bankroll and bet size) and still stand the chance to make a crushing spin.

Find the Variance of a Slot Machine
One way to get a feeling for the variance of a game is to play it for a while in fun mode. If after a hundred spins or so you have gotten many small returns and your balance hasn’t decreased much – it is probably low variance. If on the hand your balance is depleting rapidly OR you have had a crushing win – it is probably high variance.
Another way is to look at the paytable for that game. The button to view it is labeled differently within each casino software, but with the game open; look for a button named, ‘Help’ or ‘Pays’, or ‘Paytable’.
If the pay for getting 3 of a kind is not much less than it is for getting four or even five of a kind, it is most probably low variance.
If four and five of a kind pay a lot more than three of a kind, it is most likely high variance. If four or five scatters pays several hundred times your bet or five wilds pay 7500+ coins it is probably medium to high variance. If there is a bonus round with triple or even four times pay during free spins it is probably not a low variance game. Some games just have to be played to know for sure.

Create your own Slot Machine Variance
If you have a favorite slot and you determine that it is a low variance game, but you wish to play high variance now and then, you don’t need to look for another game – you can create your own variance! Lets say you normally bet 20 lines at .05 each for \$1.00 spins (this will work for any sized wager) to increase your risk as well as your possible return (increase the variance) and still bet \$1.00 per spin, all you have to do is bet five lines at .20 each, or ten lines at .10 each. (Many slots have numbered lines alongside the reels so you can just click on the number you want. Many also have – and + signs or up and down arrows on the coin selection so you can do this with ease)

The winning combinations are just as likely to occur on line one, or seven, or twenty. The point is that you are increasing your risk to get a greater reward. As you are still betting \$1.00 per spin (or whatever your usual wager is) but have increased your risk on the lines you have bet, you will get a greater return on each winning line – and this can be significant – if a certain combination pays 100:1 your previous payback on a one-line win would only return \$5.00 whereas if you have reduced your lines to five lines and increased your wager per line to .20 it will now pay \$20.00

Bonus rounds that are based on total bet will not be affected. Free spins bonuses may be – for better or worse… it’s all in the variance.

Play Slot Machines for High and Low Variance/Risk
For a leisure evening and a small bankroll – low variance is the way to go – you’ll get lots of spins for your money, many small wins and plenty of playtime. If you want to go for the gusto, all or nothing, and hope for a crushing win now and then – high variance is your game.

An example of high variance slot machines would be progressive slot machines where slot players can win the jackpot which is usually in the millions. While a low variance machine would be a 3 reel slot machine that generally has smaller payouts but a player will win on a more frequent basis.

Now this all sounds fine and dandy, but my question is, have all the games gone to High Variance, where did the low variance games go? Is there really such a thing as low variance anymore?

#### silcnlayc

##### Just one more spin pleez!
PABaccred
PABnonaccred
Mavin, I , too had a hard time with this one word when it was tossed around like a salad..by everyone in every other sentence in every other question..
and I too questioned it in another thread as you said...

I like this one the best which shows exactly what is happening...
A difference between what is expected and what actually occurs.

So, that is the definite answer to what is going on...we are told one thing (the expected will happen they keep saying) , ahh it just variance... you are in a rutt etc etc..but it will change..but the other is really happening(the actual occurrence of non wins non stop)...due to changes made in the software payouts...

Am I making sense? Well, that is what variance is...a nonsensical word
nonsensical - Definition [nŏn-sĕńsĭ-kəl]
(adj.) Lacking intelligible meaning: a nonsensical jumble of words.
.there is no such thing (in my mind) that there are variables in online gaming anymore otherwise...we would see more players winning...the variable (a nonsensical jumble of words) has been taken out of online gaming totally..it is now..a lottery and the one that catches the ticket is the one that is going to get a great ride on those that have invested in this ticket that are taking a beating..so...1 out of a 1000 will get the cake..

No variable about it..anymore IMO...it is just a coined word (a nonsensical jumble of words) used by many that have no other explanation or thing to add to this mess that is now happening..I , myself call it...a lottery now..they have taken the fun out of the game..it is actually boring to play in real mode anymore..I have more fun playing for fun..cause I can bet BIG...and not have a care in the world..

Most of the operators have shot themselves in the foot by being sneaky and underhanded in the way they have changed things..as if a long time player wouldn't know...

.

#### Nate

##### Paleo Meister (means really, really old)
webmeister
CAG
PABinit
Low / Medium variance slots were supposed to give smaller payouts more often...

Yeah right... Where i play, I don't matter.. You Lose on Low and Medium variance slots and they act worse than the high variance at times...

Sometimes 200 - 300 spins and getting the feature once and it pays 10 x your bet.. Total cost = \$200... return = \$10

Or on the other hand , getting the feature 5 times, each time it pays 10x or less and it actually cost you more to hit it than it paid...

Go Figure

#### nerv

##### Dormant account
Now this all sounds fine and dandy, but my question is, have all the games gone to High Variance, where did the low variance games go? Is there really such a thing as low variance anymore?

I have a feeling you mixed up variance and house edge (HE) a bit. Both of them influence how much time you'll have at your slot or how much you can expect to get.

I would like to use this little nice example to clear thing up.

Imagine you play two lotteries. Same rules: jackpot is 6 correct out of 49 numbers. At one lottery L! jackpot is 2 millions but at the another lottery L2 jackpot is 3 millions.
It is still the same game. You have equal chance (assuming you play one combination) to win jackpot at L1 as well as L2 (same variance), but at L2 you will get more money for your bet. Thats HOUSE EDGE.
House edge is lower at second lottery (meaning more money for you - player).

Now, if we have same two lotteries and both have jackpot of 2 millions and first one giving jackpot at 6 correct numbers, but second one decided to jackpot poll spread to all players guessing at least 4 numbers.
Now, prize pool is the same. Both of them will return same amount of money - same house edge.
At first lottery your chances are much lower to get a prize (but it will be huge). On the other hand, chanced to get a prize at second lottery are much better but you can be certain that , besides you, a whole bunch of people will succeed to get at least 4 correct number and jackpot pool will be divided between this group. Therefore your prize will be lower. Better chancer at the cost of lower prize. Lower variance.

#### Rusty

##### Banned User - repetitive flaming
You seem to have a good handle on it Mavin.
Variance and HE are inextricably linked of course but I think what you are basically saying is that low variance slots are now hitting as infrequently as high variance slots except the high variance slots are hitting even more infrequently which of course would also mean a lower RTP or higher HE.

If that really is the case then alarm bells should be ringing because it would mean that not only has the RTP been lowered but that the variance is controlled by algorithms rather than the product of paytable values and natural probability of wins relevant to the reel strips and total possible combinations.

Hang on what's that noise?

DrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRing!

#### Tinrap

##### Dormant account
WOW ,this IS deep
and all this time I thought an "honest" slot (random number generator) determined your outcome from the decay of Isotopes ( in that there random number generator)
Like yer first spin Could be the jackpot Or you might win nuthin' fer hundreds of spins because of those Isotope outcomes.

I better do some more readin"

#### Mavin1

##### Dormant account
A difference between what is expected and what actually occurs.

I'm not sure if I have a handle on it or not, pretty much share the feelings Silc has expressed only I totally quit gambling as that "Variance" has become to wide a chasm or to much of a barrier.

But I still can't help but wonder what and why is it so different now, really. I wonder also how many players are told they are just on a bad run and just how few players are actually winning more than they have invested.

When I did enjoy for instance, RTG slots, I was excited with Triple Twister, T-Rex and games like that as you knew the bonus rounds, freespins would usually be well worth the time it took to finally get them. In the beginning the wins were pretty decent, then it was like the tornado had blown away and took Rex with him.

How many players got these freespin/bonus rounds and came out of it with \$6? Why should it now take 40-50-80+ spins to get the freespins and bonus rounds?

Thanks Nerv, now I will have to work at understanding house edge, more homework.

But is true RNG now a thing of the past?

Not sure what the isotope thing is?

Yes Rusty, that alarm bell thing rang loud and clear for longer than necessary.

#### funeral979

##### Dormant account
PABaccred
@Mavin1

If you are looking for low variance slots, the best example you could probably find is Munchkins/Twister/Ho Ho Ho with Microgaming. I believe the free spins on those slots hit about every 70 spins or so. You just get really mediocre pays (usually) on them.

If they still put out these low variance slots anymore though is beyond me since I can't get their new games.

#### chuchu59

PABnonaccred
CAG
PABinit
Low variance slot (MG) - Skullduggery

Low variance slot (Rival)- metal Detector and Cleo's Coins.

#### Mavin1

##### Dormant account
@Mavin1

If you are looking for low variance slots, the best example you could probably find is Munchkins/Twister/Ho Ho Ho with Microgaming. I believe the free spins on those slots hit about every 70 spins or so. You just get really mediocre pays (usually) on them.

If they still put out these low variance slots anymore though is beyond me since I can't get their new games.

Thanks Funeral, I agree on the games you say are low variance at MG, however since they migrated, it certainly has changed. Mayan Princess used to be a favorite, it was medium Variance, you would frequently get 3 alligators, that would return at least your bet, keeping the player on a somewhat even keel for longer play. Since the migration, that game now rarely gives the 3 gators.
After losing the original MG and being migrated to the US MG, the play has changed so drastically this is one of the reasons I quit, I just don't have the trust in it anymore.

Low variance slot (MG) - Skullduggery

Low variance slot (Rival)- metal Detector and Cleo's Coins.

Thanks ChuChu, I agree on Metal Detector from Rival, it can keep one playing for a good amount of time, never did any good with Cleo's Coins, but also never gave it much attention for a real evaluation.

I have also wondered about the paytables, why if a symbol for instance, the Frankenstein on Boogie Monsters pays x amount for 3 symbols, does it pay less depending on the line up of the symbols?
Frankenstein can pay for instance 75 cents straight across, but pay 50 cents at an angle. I haven't studied the paytables that well but is this presented on the payout tables?

#### KasinoKing

##### WebMeister & Slotaholic..
webmeister
PABnonaccred
CAG
MM
I have also wondered about the paytables, why if a symbol for instance, the Frankenstein on Boogie Monsters pays x amount for 3 symbols, does it pay less depending on the line up of the symbols?
Frankenstein can pay for instance 75 cents straight across, but pay 50 cents at an angle. I haven't studied the paytables that well but is this presented on the payout tables?
No, it nothing to do with the pay-table - it's just how many win-lines the 3 symbols appear on.

e.g. If you got 3 symbols on line 1 you only get 1 x payout.
But if you got 3 on line 4, you would also have 3 on line 34 as the first 3 symbols "overlap".
Some of these slots also pay out for just 2 of a kind - with these you can hit anything from 2 to 4 wins with the same 2 symbols, depending on where they fall.

This happens on all slots with a high number of win lines; once you get past 27 lines it is impossible for further lines not to overlap on the first 3 positions (on a 3 row slot).

KK

#### slotplayer

##### Paleo Meister (means really, really old)
webmeister
The word ‘Variance’ essentially refers to risk-over-time on a slot machine. In a nut shell; a low variance slot will give you a longer play time, at lower risk, than a high variance slot. BUT the chances for huge wins are quite slim. Whereas a high variance slot may not give as much play time, as each wager is higher risk, but the wins it provides can be staggering! There is the middle road as well – medium variance; on these slots you can play for a good long time (depending on your bankroll and bet size) and still stand the chance to make a crushing spin

Sounds like "hit frequency" to me. A slot with a high hit frequency will give you a lot of small hits but seldom a big win (same as low variance). The land based slot Wheel of Fortune is considered to have a high hit frequency with something paid back at more that 50% of the spins.

A slot with a low hit frequency (same as high variance) suchas the land slots Red, White, and Blue and Five Times Pay and Ten Times Pay nearly all wins are for more than the wager but are not that often.

I know for land slots, generally the higher the lowest reward on the paytable, the lower the hit frequency.

#### silcnlayc

##### Just one more spin pleez!
PABaccred
PABnonaccred
slotplayer Quote:
The word ‘Variance’ essentially refers to risk-over-time on a slot machine. In a nut shell; a low variance slot will give you a longer play time, at lower risk, than a high variance slot. BUT the chances for huge wins are quite slim. Whereas a high variance slot may not give as much play time, as each wager is higher risk, but the wins it provides can be staggering! There is the middle road as well – medium variance; on these slots you can play for a good long time (depending on your bankroll and bet size) and still stand the chance to make a crushing spin

Sounds like "hit frequency" to me. A slot with a high hit frequency will give you a lot of small hits but seldom a big win (same as low variance). The land based slot Wheel of Fortune is considered to have a high hit frequency with something paid back at more that 50% of the spins.

A slot with a low hit frequency (same as high variance) suchas the land slots Red, White, and Blue and Five Times Pay and Ten Times Pay nearly all wins are for more than the wager but are not that often.

I know for land slots, generally the higher the lowest reward on the paytable, the lower the hit frequency.
Thats the problem. The "hit" frequency has all but disappeared for all levels...

.

#### Tinrap

##### Dormant account
The Isotope thing is explained with a search for "How HotBits Works"

#### Mavin1

##### Dormant account
Thats the problem. The "hit" frequency has all but disappeared for all levels...

.

Yes, that is so true and that is what helps players finally quit, we lose continually, the casinos lose permanently, can't be good for business.

Thanks Tinrap, I'll check out your info, sounds interestring.

Thanks KK, your explaination does help understand the line win better, I always wondered about it, but never thought to ask before.

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