What Does Volatility Mean in Slot Machines?

This year marks the 128th anniversary of the first recorded slot machine. Since their invention, slot machines have become synonymous with casinos and gambling, popping up in establishments all over the world. From high-end casinos in Monte Carlo to backroom pubs in Australia, slot machines are everywhere—even making their way increasingly into the online space now. We look at what volatility means in slot machines and break down one of the most important concepts of the staple slot machine.

Why Does Volatility Matter?

For some, slot machines can be a great easy way to get into the casino environment. For others, they are confusing and intimidating.

Regardless, it’s important to understand the concept of volatility in slot machines. In essence, there are two variables when it comes to slot machines: How often they pay out prizes, and how big these prizes are. A low-volatility slot machine will pay out smaller prizes more regularly, while a higher-volatility slot machine will pay out larger prizes, more infrequently.

There are different pros and cons to each type of volatility, so depending on the gambling experience you’re looking for, you will want to select a slot machine with volatility that matches your preferences.

An Example of Slot Machine Volatility

Often it’s helpful to understand slot machine volatility with the use of an example. Let’s look at different careers, and how they would correlate to different types of slot machines.

A car salesman would be like a low-volatility slot machine. The car salesman knows that provided they show up to work and put in the effort, they will make fairly regular sales, perhaps a few per day. The commissions received on these sales will be reasonably small, and regular commissions are required for it to add up to be a healthy earning. A real estate agent, on the other hand, would be like a medium volatility slot machine. They know that if they work hard, they’ll make sales reasonably frequently, which will provide them with a healthy commission—perhaps one or two sales a month, that will enable them to earn a good living.

Someone selling businesses, however, is like a high-volatility slot machine. They may work for a year or two on a deal without making any sale, but when they get a big transaction across the line, the payout is huge. That one commission will often be enough to live off for the rest of the year, or more.

How to Determine What Volatility of Slot Machines to Play

With an understanding of volatility, now the question is: Which is best to play?

The answer is, it’s entirely up to the gambling experience that you’re after. If you want to pass some time and play for a long period, low volatility is usually better, as it will return some of your money regularly and extend your ability to keep having spins. Often this type of slot machine also comes with great bonuses as well, and you can find some great online casino bonuses here for those who are looking to gamble online.

However, if a big win is what you’re after, and it doesn’t really matter if you lose the money you’re betting, then going with a high-volatility slot machine is best. This will usually end in nothing, but when you win, it will be a big one that will make your night—or even your year.

Huynh Nguyen

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