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Slot machines have variance

Slot machines have varianceMost slot machine players select games based on a wide variety of factors. Usually they will go for the flashiest or the one with the theme closest to their heart. Trying to predict the outcomes of a video slot machine is pretty hard to do because of the random nature of its results. But now there are independent testing labs which can very accurately determine pay-out rates.

This pay-out rate represents the percentage of money that the machine gives back to the players over its lifetime. For example a slot game which has a 97.6% pay-out rate will technically pay that percentage out of every dollar that goes into it.

A lot of times this pay-out rate is confused with the game’s variance. The variance actually refers to the risk associated with playing the machine over a short period of time. They come in three types:

  • Low Variance: This type of machine provides a lot of playing time with a lot of token pay-outs which are there to keep a player engaged but they have very limited Big Wins.
  • Medium Variance: These games have a nice balance between playing time and few token pay-outs. They also have small jackpots available and even some infrequent big jackpot opportunities.
  • High Variance: Machine which offers limited playing time with just a few token pay-outs, but a bigger chance of hitting a jackpot. Usually these are the progressives.

Players can use all of this information to make a decision on what they really want to play, depending on their playing styles and expectations. Beginners will most likely enjoy games with lower variances because these would allow them to play for longer periods of time and not spend so much money. While they won’t get a chance to hit any big jackpots, over time they might make a small profit. High rollers on the other hand will generally go for high variance machines, hoping to win it big with a jackpot. Most of them are willing to have more infrequent returns, as long as those returns are hefty sums.

When trying to figure out the variance of a particular machine, players can find reviews or published information regarding a machine’s variance. If that is not available they will have to determine the variance on their own. A good method of doing this is if the machine has a Demo feature. If using a sample size of, let’s say, 100 spins, players should be able to notice the frequency of money and token pay-outs. Thus they can determine if the machine has a smaller or higher variance. When Demo Play is unavailable, checking the pay-table can also give some hints to what they can expect from that particular machine.

So when a player wants to find a slot game which fits his preferences he should check the return rate, variance, bonuses and other features which influence the outcome of every spin. Checking things online is one of the best tips that can be given when searching for a particular game in the vast pool of available slot machines.

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