Of all casino games, slots most often get held up as an example of a game that requires no strategy.
A slot is powered by a random number generator, which is tested by independent auditors to make sure the outcome is fair and random. But this doesn’t mean that each slot is programmed with the same specifications. In the casino industry, they talk about terms like variance or volatility.
A high variance slot is more likely to have longer periods of sterile wins but can suddenly payout large wins, hence the term ‘volatile’. A low variance slot is more likely to offer more frequent small and medium-sized wins.
Neither type of slot is ‘better’, but it’s important to know when you take into consideration the amount of money you are willing to spend and the time you have to play. The Mummy slot machine is low variance, whereas Great Blue is regarded as high variance.
A progressive jackpot is a prize pool designed to be awarded randomly to a single player. If, for example, you visit the slots section at casino.com/ca/slots/, you will find dozens of jackpot games, with top prizes ranging from a several thousand to several million dollars. The idea of a progressive jackpot is to stress the random nature of the award, but is the payout tipping point really random?
Let’s look at the approximate figures from some of the popular slots at casino.com: Dirty Dancing (average jackpot, $12,400 Cad), Jackpot Giant (average jackpot, $8.57 million Cad). These averages tell us something about when those jackpots will pay, i.e. there have been certain parameters set by the software developers in creating the games. We know, for example, that Dirty Dancing’s jackpot is not going to suddenly wait until hitting $10 million, as time and time again it has been triggered at an average of around $12,000.
We spoke about variance earlier, but there is also something to be learned from RTP (Return to Player). This is essentially a virtual house-edge, with a higher RTP meaning the slot will pay back more to players over time. Again, this is tested independently by bodies like eCOGRA and TST.
Most online casinos will publish the RTP of each game on the site (often found in the game’s rules section), and that can tell us a lot. Cinerama, at 96.94%, is often cited as a good example of a jackpot slot with a high RTP, whereas, Ghost of Christmas (92.33%) is a slot with a relatively low RTP. As with variance, it doesn’t mean that Cinerama is more likely to pay out for you in a single session, but it does mean more is paid back over time. RTP is not everything, but it should be on your check list as you build a slots strategy.
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