How Volatility & RTP Work In Online Slots

Slot games can be quite entertaining. The game mechanics are usually very easy to understand, and you can win as much as you lose. It can be exciting as you never know what the next result will be. However, you may increase your chances of winning if you understand how Volatility and RTP work in online slots.

It’s a good idea to learn how online slots work, as it can help you increase your chances of winning and can help you predict your results and maximize your earnings in the long run.

What is “RTP”?

Return to Player or RTP is a term that refers to the percentage the player wins on their stake whenever they place a bet. Typically, this percentage is between 94% and 99%, with the average being around 95-96%. However, keep in mind that this percentage won’t tell you how much you can win during any session.

Let’s say that an online slot has a 96% of RTP. That means that the remaining 4% will go to the online casino. Hence, the casino gets $4 whenever $100 is wagered. The slot game distributes the $96 among the players that have won their sessions.

It’s worth noting that calculating the RTP of a slot machine implies using a practically infinite spin number. Hence, as we’ve said above, this percentage will not express your potential earnings whenever you win during a session. Plus, the slot doesn’t give the earnings to a specific player, as all players get a specific portion of it. 

What is “Volatility”? 

Volatility, also known as “variance,” is a term that refers to the payout frequency of a particular slot game. Most games have a different volatility ratio, and it can be either low, medium or high. There isn’t a particular standard in the industry, so it’s something the game providers decide on their own.

There are significant differences between the volatility ratios. A low-volatility slot game may grant you more frequent wins, but you’ll only earn small amounts of money. On the other hand, a high-volatility game may require you to try for a while to win finally, but in the end, you’ll be able to earn a higher percentage.

Still, it’s possible for you to win considerably high earnings in low-volatility slot games. That depends on the game you’re playing and the operator. For example, “Take Santa’s Shop” has an RTP of 96.08% and low Volatility and allows a maximum win of $11,049.


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How to determine a slot’s Volatility

There are different ways to determine the Volatility of a slot game, although they are situational. For instance, it is very common for online casinos to tell you the Volatility of their slot games whenever you check their description. However, this information is not available in all casinos.

You can also try looking it up in your preferred search engine (it’s recommended to use google for the best results). You can search using the name of the slot game plus “volatility” and see what you can find.

The next method would be testing out the slot in demo mode. This way, you can have an overall idea of the slot’s Volatility, a can help you know whether the game is for you or not. It’s always recommended to test out the demo version of the game before using you start using your bankroll.

How do RTP and Volatility relate?

Both terms express entirely different ideas and are independent of each other. Thus, it’s possible to find a low-volatility game with a high RTP or a high-volatility game with a low RTP. 

The RTP percentage describes the percentage returned to the players when they win, while Volatility expresses “how” those funds will be distributed, taking into account the individual wins of each player. Both terms are different, but both are essential in understanding the functioning of a slot game.

Neither of these concepts can guarantee results. You can still lose all your money in a single bet in a slot game with high Volatility and a relatively good RTP. Similarly, you can also walk out with the highest win the slot allows.

What is more important: RTP or Volatility? 

As you may have assumed from earlier sections, both terms are quite essential as they give you an overall idea of the payout structure used in the slot game. However, which would be more important if you compare both terms?

In this case, we could say that the RTP percentage holds more importance. That is because punters can choose a slot with a high RTP percentage and expect to win more than those who chose a slot with a lower RTP percentage. You can come up with this conclusion after understanding the basic concept of the return-to-player percentage.

Despite that, it’s quite common for players to choose a slot with high Volatility instead of looking for a slot with a higher return-to-player percentage. 

What to choose

It all comes down to what you would like to experience as a punter. For instance, if you want to maximize your earnings, perhaps a slot with a higher RTP percentage. Even if you risk more and are more vulnerable to losses, when you win, you can expect to win big.

It would help if you chose a slot that resonates with your way of managing your bankroll. Plus, while we’ve stated that RTP is quite important, that doesn’t mean that you should lead Volatility aside. 

Volatility expresses the math model that will be used during your gameplay and can define important aspects of it. For instance, if you’re wagering a no-deposit bonus, playing on a low-volatility slot is highly recommended.


RTP and Volatility are two of the most important regarding slot games. Understanding these concepts can help you determine what slot game is better for you based on your play style and how you manage your bankroll. Hence, the choice will be easier, and you’ll be able to make your betting experience more pleasant.