Feature Article
Clara Madeira30th Jun 2023

What is Casino RTP & Slot Volatility?

All the games you’ll find in an online casino are given an RTP rating, and in addition, every slot game is also assigned a volatility level. Therefore, it pays to understand what these are referring to and how they affect your chance of winning. This article delves deeper into each component and includes some expert tips for converting a bonus into real money.

What Is RTP?

In the realm of casino games, the likelihood of making a profit is determined by the underlying odds. These odds are quantified through a metric known as ‘Return to Player’ or its more widely used acronym: RTP.

RTP percentages gauge the average proportion of total wagers a casino game pays back to all players. While this definition appears straightforward in theory, the concept entails a high level of sophistication when put into practice.

It’s important to note that RTP is calculated over an extensive number of gamerounds, approaching infinity, and cannot realistically reflect the outcome of your individual player session. 

Consequently, it is essential to understand the scope of what RTP can and cannot indicate.

Example 1 

Consider a scenario where you possess $100 and decide to engage in a slot game with an RTP of 96%.

  • It would be incorrect to assume that by wagering the entire $100, the slot will inevitably return anywhere near $96. 
  • The accuracy of RTP diminishes when applied to smaller wager amounts.
Example 2

Now, envisage an alternate situation where you’re playing the same slot game with $1,000,000 in demo credits.  

  • The returns now would be much closer to $960,000, although again, you cannot be guaranteed of this exact amount. 
  • The accuracy of RTP increases when applied to substantial wager amounts.

The following graph presents a clearer visualisation of how RTP works. It represents 10 separate game sessions where you make 1 million bets on a 97.8% RTP slot. As you can see, although your returns won’t hit the exact RTP figure, they’ll begin to average out over time.

Visualisation of RTP
Expert Advice
Clara Madeira
Clara Madeira

RTP Game Tactics

After the second game session (which gave us a positive number of winning bets) our returns were set to come down in order to balance out the RTP. Bear this in mind when you’re playing. In some cases, it’s best to either cash out or switch games as soon as you make an early profit.

What Is Volatility?

Whereas RTP is a measurement of all casino games, volatility is found exclusively with slots. Sometimes defined as variance, it refers to the frequency and magnitude of expected payouts – or in other terms, how often wins occur in relation to their size. 

There’s three main categories of slot volatility:

Low Volatility
Expect more frequent, but smaller wins. They have a lower risk level and are generally more suitable for players seeking longer play sessions and steady payouts.

Medium Volatility
These games strike a balance between frequency and size of wins. They offer a moderate level of risk and can appeal to players who desire mixed payout values.

High Volatility
Expect less frequent wins but substantial payouts when they do occur. They are favoured by players looking for big jackpot wins, even if it means sustaining periods of losses.

RTP Win Rate

In summary, the graph shows that steeper gradients are linked to highly volatile payouts. This signifies the ‘high risk, high reward’ nature of these slots.

The flatter line represents the ‘safer’ mechanism found in low volatility slots where your balance can be sustained for much longer periods.

Key Takeaways

  • RTP, or Return to Player, quantifies the average amount that a casino game returns to players over an infinite number of gamerounds. It serves as a general indicator of the expected payout but does not guarantee specific outcomes in an individual game session.
  • Volatility measures the level of risk associated with a slot game. High volatility slots offer less frequent but higher-value wins, while low volatility slots act the opposite by providing smaller wins on a more regular basis.
  • Regardless of a slot’s volatility, the RTP will gradually influence a player’s gaming session. The number of bets made impacts the variance of your returns, meaning fewer bets result in a higher degree of variability.

Betting Strategies Concerning RTP and Volatility

Whilst a high RTP is indicative of favourable odds, the role of volatility must also be considered when coming to enhance your winning potential. 

However, much also depends on your personal circumstances and what you’re looking to achieve from your gaming session.

Here are two examples to consider:

Going for Broke! 

You may have just picked up a nice win playing in the live casino. You wish to allocate a portion of these winnings (i.e. 15 spins at $1 each) to play a particular high-paying slot in the hope of hitting an even bigger, life-changing win.

A game with a very high volatility rating is your best bet here, such as a network progressive jackpot, which comes with a significant win potential. The RTP doesn’t matter too much in this scenario as it won’t impact such a small number of spins. 

However, with this ‘all-or-nothing’ approach, you need to be mentally prepared to lose the allocated $15 in the hope of triggering the slot’s colossal payout figure.

Unlocking a Bonus

Let’s say you have just claimed a no deposit welcome bonus via AussieBonuses.com. In this case, you’ll have to satisfy wagering requirements in order to convert the bonus into real cash winnings. 

Wait… What Are Wagering Requirements?

If this same question just popped into your head as you were reading along, then it’s probably best to head over to our full wagering requirements guide before continuing. It explains how this often frustrating, but very important, term will affect your casino bonus.

To do so, you’ll need to sustain your balance to allow for the significant number of bets required. With this in mind, a game with a high RTP is recommended as this is more likely to pay out, theoretically speaking. 

In addition, picking out a low volatile game may also be in your best interest. Hitting a steady stream of wins, albeit relatively small, can preserve your balance and thus allow you to reach the wagering requirement target.

Mastering the Game: Unveiling the Secrets of RTP and Volatility

High Volatility Games
When engaging in high volatility games, patience is key. You must be prepared to endure extended periods of low or no wins. It is crucial to resist the urge to recklessly chase losses and instead stay patient for the moment a significant win occurs. 

Low Volatility Games
If you’re interested in low volatility games, the focus should be on finding slots that offer additional bonus features such as free spins. While wins in the base game may be relatively small, these bonus rounds often yield lucrative rewards.

High RTP Games
Opting for high RTP games generally presents favourable odds and flexible decision making. If experiencing losses under the stated RTP, the odds are more likely to balance out in the long run. Likewise, you may want to exercise caution after making a short-term profit. 

Low RTP Games
Low RTP games offer diminished chances of winning. In such cases, it is advisable to keep gaming sessions relatively short, especially if hitting a nice win early on. The longer you play, the lower the chances of returns balancing out in your favour.

Expert Advice
Clara Madeira
Clara Madeira

What Is A Recommended RTP?

Look for games with an RTP as close to 100% as possible! Table games typically offer the best RTP ratings in this sense, whilst although slots won’t be as generous, we’d recommend anything above 96% as favourable.

Conclusion

The factors of RTP and volatility wield significant influence over your time playing casino games. RTP provides the foundation for your expected returns and signifies the house edge, whilst volatility indicates the likelihood and weight of payouts coming your way.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that their impact can vary depending on other factors, notably your budget and gameplay decisions, as well as just blind luck. By recognising this in relation to RTP and volatility, you’ll be able to navigate casino games more strategically.