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Slot Variance

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Slot games have been one of the most popular gambling titles at Ireland’s top casinos for a long time now, and their popularity has only increased with the development of online casinos. Slots are also the only game type where the Return to Player (RTP) rate — the proportion of wagers a slot will pay out over its lifetime — is explicitly stated. Meanwhile, the frequency with which these slots pay out, along with the size of those payouts, is determined by something called the variance, or volatility. For a full breakdown of what this means for slots players, along with tips on selecting the right slots for you, read on for our guide and top casino recommendations.

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TopRatedCasinos.ie is dedicated to helping customers find the best place to play online. Your safety and well-being is a priority, which is why all of our expert casino reviews are 100% honest and unbiased, and we highlight the key terms and conditions of every casino bonus we advertise. Whilst we accept commission from the casinos on our list of recommendations, and this may affect where they’re positioned on our lists, we only recommend casinos that we truly believe are safe and fair. Of course, we can’t rate and review every casino site, but we do make sure that only the best Irish-licensed casinos make it onto our lists.

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Variance Explained

In simple terms, variance determines the frequency with which a slot pays out, along with the size of those payouts. High variance slots will pay out less often than others but in greater amounts, while low variance games will pay out more often but with comparatively smaller values.

Variance vs RTP

The Return To Player (RTP) rate of a slot describes the percentage of wagers that a slot will pay out over its lifetime. So a slot with an RTP of 96% simply means that for every €1, it will pay out an average of 96c. It should be stressed, however, that this level of payout is not guaranteed on every bet you make, as the RTP is worked out using millions of different bets and bet types. As such, you would need to spend almost an infinite amount of time, and money, on a slot to see its RTP reflected by the payouts.

Variance, on the other hand, is the frequency with which a slot pays out. It doesn’t impact the RTP value of a slot, meaning that two separate slots can both have the same RTP but pay out at completely different frequencies and in completely different volumes.

High Variance Slots

High variance slots are titles that won’t pay out all too often but will pay out in larger amounts than low variance slots when they do. These types of games require quite a lot of patience and perseverance, meaning that those with larger budgets are better suited to this game type. If you’re playing a high variance slot with a relatively small amount of cash, you’re likely to burn through it very quickly without seeing any returns from the machine.

Low Variance Slots

Low volatility slots pay out in effectively the opposite way to high volatility slots, giving players far more frequent prizes at smaller values. These types of titles are great for newcomers to the world of online slots who are looking for a bit of encouragement via more frequent payouts. What’s more, these are game types that suit players of all budgets as you won’t need a lot of cash in order to play for extended periods of time.

How to Work Out Slot Variance

Unlike the RTP of slots, which every software provider is required to disclose by licensing regulations, the variance of a title is very rarely shared explicitly. As such, there are a few techniques you can use to make an educated guess as to the payout frequency of a slot at your favourite Irish casino site.

Minimum Wagers

High variance slots will typically have higher minimum stakes than low variance slots, magnifying the risk vs reward ratio. Therefore, a budget best suited for low variance slots will likely lead to a short and fruitless session on a high variance slot, where on a low variance slot the minimum stakes enable your cash to go further.

Check Out the Paytable

A great way to get a better understanding of the volatility of a slot is by looking at the paytable. This will disclose the value of a payout for every winning combination, and it’s from here that you can see the variation between prizes. If you were to win a big payout for a 4/5 of a kind, but a smaller one for a 2/3 of a kind, then the slot may be high variance if it comes in tandem with regular free spins bonuses and high multipliers. Many slot aficionados view the 2/3 of a kind prize as the best indicator of volatility; if the value of such a combination is pretty good, then the chances are that the slot is high variance. After all, if one of the ‘easier’ combinations pays out a significant amount, the slot won’t be able to afford to offer those winnings very frequently.

Consult the Online Slot Community

Another good way to gauge the volatility of a particular slot is by looking at what other players have said about it. Visit player forums and message boards to see what the general consensus is on not only the variance of that slot but also the broad feeling of the game itself. You wouldn’t want to sit down at a game that is the right variance for you but is substandard in almost every other way, for example.

Play the Game

The best way to get to grips with the variance of a slot is simply to play the game. If a slot comes with a free demo version, then download it and see what the payout rate is like as you play. If you find yourself waiting a long time for a game to payout, but when it does it’s fairly sizable, then chances are you’ve got yourself a high variance slot. Even if a slot doesn’t have a demo version, it might be worth playing a few low value spins on it just to get a clearer idea of the gaps between payouts. If you find the payouts to be pretty sparse, there’s a decent chance the slot is high variance. The slot in question may have a high minimum stake, too, making it even likelier that the slot is geared for high volatility.

Playing Slots on Your Mobile

Slots are arguably the most popular online casino game for Irish players in ‘October, and the fact you can now play them via your mobile-only adds to that popularity. Advancements in mobile technology mean that the transition in gameplay from the desktop to your handheld device is seamless, especially when you play at a site that has its own native app. We at TopRatedCasinos would wholeheartedly recommend opting for a site’s app if it has one available –– not only are the graphics and gameplay very smooth but push notifications can be enabled to keep you up to date with all the latest bonuses and additions to the slot library. Not every top online Irish casino has a mobile app, but each site we recommend is optimised for mobile devices at the very least.

Slot Bonuses

When you’re browsing the rankings for a new slots site, the bonuses on offer can be just as important as the games selections. There are plenty of bonuses that slot lovers can take advantage of, so let’s have a look at some of the key ones to keep an eye out for.

Matched Deposits

When you first deposit at a new site, many online casinos will offer a match on your deposit’s value up to a certain amount. In the case of a 100% up to €100 matched deposit offer, the casino will match your first downpayment by 100% but only up to the value of €100. Therefore, you could deposit €100 but have €200 to play with. However, wagering requirements––the number of times you must wager the value of your bonus before unlocking withdrawals on winnings gained against it––are generally quite steep when it comes to matched deposits, so be sure to read the terms and conditions before settling on an offer.

Free Spins

The free spins bonus was designed with slot lovers in mind, giving those who enjoy spinning the reels the ability to do it for free! These can be offered out to both new and old customers, either on their own or as part of a larger bonus package. Wagering requirements may still come attached to these bonuses, however, so keep an eye out for those.

Free spin wagering requirements differ from those attached to matched deposits in that the amount you must wager is calculated against your winnings from the free spins rather than the cash value of the bonus.

No Deposit Bonuses

No deposit bonuses can be some of the most rewarding, giving you bonus funds without the need to pay anything in advance. While this does sound promising, these types of promotions tend to come with more stringent wagering requirements than other bonuses, and it can therefore be expensive to unlock withdrawals against winnings you earn with the bonus. Time limits also apply, meaning you’ll likely need to wager a substantial amount in a short space of time before the bonus, and any winnings you’ve made with it, are returned to the house. Nevertheless, the no deposit bonus can be viewed as a great way to get used to a new slot or site without paying a penny.

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How to Stay Safe

Gambling can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to protect yourself by playing responsibly. There are a number of different techniques to help you stay in control of your spending and time management.

Don’t Chase Your Losses

While knowing the volatility of a slot may seem like an advantage, you should not see these slots as ways to achieve a guaranteed win. Regardless of the volatility, slots are always a game of chance, and there are never any guarantees about how a slot will pay out in a typical session. As such, it is important that you do not chase any losses, especially when it comes to high volatility slots. The eventual prizes may be sizable, but if you’re not a high roller, you risk running out of money whilst chasing the jackpot. Even high rollers should exercise caution and take the time to budget and set spending limits, however.

Take Time Outs

When you’re playing at a casino site it can be easy to lose track of time, especially if you’re trying to chase a win on a high variance slot. That’s why it’s important to take some time out from the gambling site, either by walking away for a bit or by turning on the ‘time out’ feature that every licensed online casino is required to offer. These self-imposed time outs will block you from the site or app until the blocker elapses, giving you the chance to come back to it later with a refreshed mindset.

Always Play with a Level Head

Never gamble whilst inebriated, upset, tired, or otherwise unable to exercise your best judgement. Gambling is a risk-based pastime, and it’s extremely important to be able to make sound decisions about how much you’re spending, what you’re spending it on, and why. Always play whilst sober and level-headed –– you’ll be glad you did.

Gambling Help

Should your time at a casino site get out of hand and you find that gambling has become compulsive rather than recreational, then there are a number of charities and organisations you can get in touch with that can provide help, support, advice, and even treatment.

Gamblers Anonymous Ireland — Gamblers Anonymous has been helping those with problem gambling habits in Ireland for many years, and the support network can still be accessed via the website above. Individuals can find support for their issues by sharing them in group therapy sessions with other problem gamblers, who in turn are able to share their own experiences. It can be very beneficial to share your challenges with others and experience solidarity with people experiencing similar issues.

The Gambling Awareness Trust — The Gambling Awareness Trust doesn’t directly provide any services for problem gamblers but instead funds those that do. With the cooperation of Irish gambling companies, the Gambling Awareness Trust is able to award grants to those organisations who help further research and education into problem gambling, as well as those who prevent it.

Gambling Therapy — Gambling Therapy is a globally-run organisation that helps those with problem gambling habits find the support they need. Online support groups and forums can be accessed to allow individuals to share their experiences with those who are similarly struggling. There is also the opportunity to access one-on-one text-based support with trained advisors who can provide emotional support and practical solutions to those struggling with gambling problems, as well as their friends and family.

Medical Advice –– Gambling addiction is a recognised medical condition in much the same way as substance addiction. An appointment with your doctor could be the first step in your road to recovery, as they will be able to provide the tools and support you need to get back on track.

Ready to Play?

Slot variance can seem like a pretty confusing and difficult thing to wrap your head around, but in reality, it’s actually a pretty simple concept. Once you’ve understood how it works, you’ll be able to find the right slot game for you. So, whether you’re a beginner with a low budget, or a more experienced player looking to make use of your large bankroll, you should now be able to find the slot game that is right for you. Just read through our list of top Irish casino sites, compare games libraries and bonuses, sign up, and get started.

FAQs

  • Low variance slots do pay out at more frequent rates than high variance slots, but that does not mean they should be seen as guaranteed wins. Gambling is at its core a form of entertainment and not a viable way to make a profit, so low variance slots should not be treated as such. What’s more, gambling companies have to make a profit in order to stay in business, so it is unlikely that you will be able to land many significant wins from a low variance slot.

  • Of course. Mobile gameplay is at the forefront of a lot of what online casinos do nowadays and so pretty much every bonus offered by an online site can be claimed on a mobile device. Some casinos may even offer mobile-specific bonuses so you would do well to keep an eye out for those if and when they appear.

  • Just like high and low variance slots, you can also come across medium variance slots. These games are a good middle ground, paying out larger prizes than low volatility slots at a greater frequency than high variance games. These titles are a good next step for players who have started out at low variance slots and want to move to the next level, although it’s worth noting that these kinds of slots are harder to identify than their low and high variance brethren.

  • Unlike the RTP, software providers are not legally required to share the variance of a slot. As such, there are a number of different tactics you can use to ascertain the payout frequency. Reading various slot forums is a great place to find out both the volatility of a slot as well as the general quality of it, while the paytable can give you a solid understanding how much a slot will payout for certain combinations. But, at the end of the day, the best way for you to work out the volatility of a slot is to play it and get a feel for it yourself.

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