Slots are simple games to play but they aren’t simple in themselves. The premise of the game is straightforward – spin the reels and look for matching symbols to land on paylines/winlines – click to view.
What goes on under the hood, however, isn’t quite as straightforward. Many variables and parameters are at play, working together to give you the game that you see play out on the screen.
One of the most informative pieces of information about a slot game is volatility/variance. Players often ask about how volatility affects the game during the bonus round, where the game seems to become somewhat heightened. We answer the question in this article.
What is volatility?
Also known as variance, it could be described as a theoretical measurement of risk within a slot game. It measures how frequent and how big the wins shape up to be.
- A highly volatile game is one where wins might be scarce but large in value. A highly volatile game can have series of zero-return spins followed by big, random payouts. This type of slot game is considered to be riskier.
- A low-variance slot is one where wins land more frequently but will be smaller in value. Low-variance games are generally less risky but have a lesser potential for winning big (still possible though).
How it affects the game?
Volatility applies to every aspect of a slot game. This could be wins in the base game, the rate of scatters landing, the rate of wild symbols landing, how often the bonus round lands or how profitable the bonus round is on average.
It would seem that the bonus rounds obey to the volatility measurement just like any other aspect of the slot game. However, what is important to note is that volatility is only a theoretical measurement. While on average, slots tend to behave in the way that variance dictates, in some cases they can be unpredictable. Slots are random and anything could happen – you could land a massive win on a low-variance game or enjoy fairly frequent wins on a highly volatile slot. This, however, won’t last long before the slot returns to its theoretical pace.
How it affects the bonus round
The bonus round can be as unpredictable as the game itself. With most slot games, the result of your bonus round is decided at the exact moment when you trigger it. This means that the free spins are not independent and random but are rather fragments of the bonus win as a whole, a win that is pre-determined at this point.
Nevertheless, the outcome of this bonus round is still completely random just like the game itself. By looking at the slot’s volatility, you could get an idea of how profitable the bonus rounds are going to be. But in practice, that remains unknown and subject to the randomness of slots.
Volatility does affect the slots’ bonus rounds just like it affects any other aspect of the slot game. A highly volatile game is likely to yield either low-value or colossal-payout bonus rounds; A low-variance slot is likely to yield a moderate bonus round; a medium-variance slot is likely to award you well-balanced bonus rounds that could either be on the lower or the bigger side.
It is important to remember that slots are completely random and can deviate from their volatility measurement. So can the bonus round!
The best way to find out is to try playing some slots for yourself. Always remember to only spend what you can afford and do it for as long as it is fun. We wish you the best of luck!