In reality, from a player’s point of view, slots are very simple games. There are no special rules which you need to learn and no betting patterns to abide by. The only options you have available are the size of your bet and the spin button. When you hit the spin button the reels will spin and the symbols will land on the screen, giving you a payout or not. But what makes slots work and what affects the payouts on the screen? How can one slot hit a payout of 1,000 times the total stake on the fifth spin, while another can eat away hundreds of dollars without paying anything decent. Let’s take a slot apart and see what generates the payouts on the reels.
Random Number Generator (RNG)
The RNG is a mechanism which makes sure that the outcome of every spin in the slot is random and in no correlation with the previous one. This is what makes predicting the outcome of the next spin impossible. You never know when the slot with hit a bonus round and pay big. If you did, well you’d be a millionaire by now and probably close a few casinos along the way. But in reality there is no way to tamper with the RNG of a slot game or affect the payouts in any way.
A common myth among many players is that when the slot starts hitting 2 Scatters on the reels a bonus round is nearby. So the advice here is to raise the bet and catch the bonus on a higher bet. What happens next? Sometimes this can work and you hit a bonus round and win big. But many other times it doesn’t and you end up losing your entire bankroll. In reality it doesn’t matter what was happening on the reels in the previous spins. The game can shell out a bonus round without hitting one single Scatter in the previous 100 spins. The RNG makes sure that you can’t predict when a bonus will hit.
The slot variance is another important factor to take into consideration when you play slots. This is also a great indicator for the slots payback and what you can expect to happen on the reels. In general slots are divided into Low, Medium and High variance games. So what does this mean in terms of payback?
Well it’s very simple actually. The slot variance is the frequency of payouts on the reels. Low variance slots will produce small but frequent payouts, medium variance means fewer payouts which are bigger in size, while high variance slots should pay big, but only after you put in a big number of spins. Many experienced players refer to the variance of slots as measures of luck. Low variance slots are lucky games with frequent payouts, while high variance slots are unlucky machines which can eat away your bankroll pretty fast.
RTP, RNG and Variance in real play
Ok, so now you know how slots work and what makes them spin. Let’s see how all of these factors translate to the reels in a real game. Again we will use a few examples of slots with different values.
High Variance slot, RTP value of 94%
Low Variance slot, RTP value of 99%
Medium Variance slot, RTP value of 96%
Once again we will play 100 spins on each game with a starting bankroll of $100. Once the spins are over our results are as follows:
Bankroll of $563
Bankroll of $112
Bankroll of $61
So let’s explain what happened to the payback, based on the slot variance and the RTP value. In the first example the high variance slot shelled out a great bonus round with a payout of 500 times the total stake, giving us a hefty profit. Considering the variance and the RTP value this was not expected, but again the RNG came into action and surprised us.
In the second example the slot did what it was expected. We got steady payouts in most of the spins, leaving us with a small profit of $12.
In the last example the slot simply failed to meet our expectations. We were expecting a small profit or a minimum loss, but instead we ended up losing $39, meaning that the promoted value of the slot during the spins was only 61%.
So you can easily see how the payouts can be predicted on some slots and work in your favor. But this is never consistent, since all of the mechanisms work together and form the payouts on the reels. This is why you can hit a great bonus round fast on a high variance, low RTP slot and win big or lose hundreds of dollars on a high RTP, low variance slot.
Advantages of knowing the slots payout
The biggest advantage players can have from knowing the slots payout is to know what to expect during the game play. But, as we explained before, you also need to consider the variance of the game and the RNG, knowing that the results you expect may not happen. So how can you create a strategy for playing slots based on the promoted payouts? Well quite simple.
You know that low variance, high RTP slots are games which will create frequent payouts which are smaller in size. So which strategy can you use here? The first one is to simply make a bigger deposit, claim a bigger bonus and play these games on higher bets. In theory you can gradually increase your balance because you are playing on higher bets, without losing any of your balance. You can easily switch among slots with similar promoted values and after some time you can rack up a hefty amount for a withdrawal. Other players like to use these games when wagering massive bonus amounts, with pretty much the same strategy. The goal here is to keep as much of your winnings as you can, while clearing the wager.
Another strategy many players use is to target high variance slots with medium or small bets. The strategy here is to simply put in enough spins in order to force the game to award you a bonus round and pay big. But since high variance slots are highly volatile a bonus round may not come at all. On the other hand, you can trigger one in the first 50 spins and end up with a massive payout. In the end it all depends on the current slots payback and your luck on what will happen on the reels.
RTP values of online slots vs land based ones
Online slots have an average payback value of about 96%. So in theory the casino has a house edge of 4% when it comes to payouts from slots. Why is this important? Well if you compare the slots payback value at online casinos to land based ones you will see that it’s considerably higher. Online casinos in general have a lot less running costs than land based casinos. So they can afford to offer their players slots with a higher payback value. At land based casinos the slots payback is regulated by law. Depending on the country in question the casino can have slots with a payback as low as 80%. You can easily do the math and see that for you as a player it’s much more profitable to play slots at online casinos, rather than at land based ones. In the end online casinos don’t have to buy properties, set up casinos and hotels or employ hundreds of employees to run everything. This results in more money going back to the players, in form of winnings.
How do you find the slot RTP value?
This is relatively easy to do. Most software providers will display the slot RTP value in the game rules or game information. All you need to do is open up a game and visit the rules section in order to find out the right value. Some providers will also display the slot variance there. If such information is not available, you can visit the provider website and do some research there. But some providers in the industry don’t offer this info to players. The values are kept confidential for business customers only. So in order to learn the value you would need to open up an online casino and see how the entire process works. Another simple way to learn the RTP value for a slot is to do a basic Google research. There are many affiliate websites, including our own, which will display the RTP value for certain slots. As you can see the choices are big. All you need to do is decide which method works best for you and you can find the payback value for pretty much any slot you want.