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How Does Variance Affect the Way Gamers Play Online Casino Games?

In this article, we would like to talk about variance or volatility.  These are terms we most often hear when we talk about the games of chance such as slots, roulette, and craps.  Of these three games, the ones with the greatest range of variance are the slots and the slots games with the highest rate of variance are the progressive jackpot games.

It is also true that there is some variance in the games of skill like blackjack and video poker and we will segue in that direction later on in the article.  For now, let’s concentrate on slots since they are by far the most popular game category at Jackpot Capital casino.

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What is Variance?

As we said, the terms variance and volatility are essentially the same.  Some casinos prefer one term over the other and in this article we will use the term variance.

Variance refers to the ratio of win totals per winning spin when we compare that to the percentage of spins that result in a win.  It sounds quite complex but it really isn’t.  Slots in which gamers win more spins usually pay less per win than slots that have a winning spin less often.  In other words, if your spins win more often, you win less money per win and, if your spins win less often, you win more money per win.

Return to Player Rate

It still seems quite complicated so we will add a percentage that everyone calls the return to player rate or RTP.  This is a percentage of all bets that all players taken as one large group receive from their wins.

If the RTP for a slot is about 97% which is very common here at Jackpot Capital online casino, all players taken together will win 97% of all their bets.  Some players get lucky and win over 100% of their bets and some players have a dry spell and win perhaps only 90% of their bets.

RTP and Variance

You as an individual gamer are more interested in how much of your bets you will win back.  In slots with high variance, you will have many more winning spins that will generally pay back small sums.  In slots with high variance, you will have fewer wins but the wins will generally return larger sums of money.

Players who want to play more than they want to gamble should almost always play slots with low variance.  You’ll have lots of small wins and all of these small wins taken as a whole will bring you very close to that 97% RTP we spoke about.  It will take only a small amount of luck in these games to reach a 100% or greater RTP.

Players who are prepared to be more adventurous and to gamble on getting one big win that will send them over the 100% RTP mark, will usually enjoy the high variance slots.  These players very often play progressive slots.  It should be obvious that a slot with a very large progressive jackpot will also be a slot with very high variance.

They are the perfect game for some but not for others.  This leads us to a Shakespearean aspect of slots.

To Thine Own Self Be True

Shakespeare knew what he was talking about in more ways than one!  Slots players truly do need to know themselves well in order to decide what type of slots to play.

This is the same in investment strategy.  A person who wants less risk will also accept less expected return from an investment while a person who likes a bit more risk might willingly invest in a more volatile asset.  For instance investing in commodity markets is said to be the highest risk and the highest reward type of investment.  It is certainly not for the faint of heart!

The same type of thinking applies to vacations.  Should you take a very expensive hotel or should you be satisfied with a less expensive hotel?  If you splurge on an expensive hotel, will you later say that you didn’t get your money’s worth?  If so, then you are probably also a low variance slots player!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with playing for low bets and for low variance.  A lot depends on your individual personality combined with your gaming budget.  Just as you wouldn’t buy an expensive wine just to show that you can if the price of the bottle far exceeds your budget, so should you play slots in accordance with your overall nature and bankroll.

Progressive Slots

As we said, these slots have the highest variance.  You can play many other slots with high variance but still with much lower variance than the progressive slots.  The point is that you don’t have to play progressive jackpot slots to play games with high variance.

Variance in the Games of Skill

We alluded to this above.  The RTP for video poker is about 100%.  The RTP for blackjack is about 99%.  On first glance, it would seem that playing these games is about as close as you can come to playing essentially for free even though you place a bet on every hand!

The kicker as far as RTP and variance in the games of skill is concerned is that the expected RTP assumes playing with the best strategy.  Players who guess at their next move in these games often have an RTP that is lower than the expected rate.

It takes some practice to learn the best strategy for any variation of blackjack or video poker.  For players who prefer low variance, learning the best basic strategy is a must.  Yu might not be able to pay every variation but you will have a very high RTP for the variations you know.  For players who can afford to play by hunch, it may be less important to learn the best strategy.

When you play these games of skill with best strategy, it takes only a small measure of luck to achieve a RTP of greater than 100%!

Variance and You

We always tell our gamers to see online casino gaming as a fun activity above all else.  This means understanding your own attitude toward risk.  If you can afford some risk, then the games with high variance may appeal to you.  If you prefer low risk, we urge you to play the games with low variance.

Finally, for players who want no risk at all, we offer unlimited free play!  In that way, we maximize the fun side of online casino gaming.

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