Pros and Cons of High volatility slots

The pros and cons of high volatility slots

Nov 18, 2020
Written by Philippe

Ever wondered what a higher volatility slot is? Well, there is no need to wonder any longer as we have written a short but informative article to answer the question.

We鈥檒l find information that we need to know about high volatility slots, including the pros and cons.

First things first, there are three types of volatility: low, medium and high. A low volatility slot is one where we tend to win often, but the size of those winnings tends to be somewhere around the size of our wager. This is the least exciting type of win.

On the other hand, we tend to win a little less often playing a medium volatility slot, but when we do, the amounts tend to be a little larger.

Frequently, both of these types of slots will include bonus games, extra wilds, sticky wilds, and free spins bonuses. Mainly, these features will help to stretch our bankroll so we can play for longer.

We can typically identify a low or medium volatility slot because the stated maximum payouts are usually up to around 250x or 1,000x total bet respectively. The volatility of a slot is determined by its random number generator (RNG) which is designed to have specific odds.

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What does high volatility mean in slots?

High volatility, also known as high variance slot is one in which the payouts can involve huge wins compared to low or medium volatility slots.

It is essential to understand that higher volatility slots are unpredictable.

A high volatility slot has potential payouts that are much more significant, typically around 3,000x, 5,000x, 10,000x or even higher. There are also high variance slots such as Dead or Alive 2 and some of the Megaways slots that can reward prizes of somewhere around 50,000x to 100,000x bet!

VarianceTypes of winsWin frecencyRisk-factor
MediumSmall to mediumMediumMedium

How does a high volatility slot machine pay?

To answer this question, we will use Book of Dead from Play鈥檔 GO as an example. Book of Dead is a high volatility slot with a real money jackpot win of up to 250,000 coins.

Book of Dead slot by Play'n GO

The first thing to remember is that winning amounts on a high volatility slot anywhere near the maximum is extremely difficult.

For example, the probability of a Mega Win from 2,000x to 5,000x total bet is about one in 500,000 spins. The probability of a Mega Win of 5,000x total bet or more decreases to one in 2 million spins.

The probability of winning on the Book of Dead slot machine:

Type of prizesSize of the prizesWin
No win0x1.5
SmallUp to 10x3.2
Small10x to 20x80
Medium20x to 100x500
Large100x to 250x1,000
Very Large250x to 500x10,000
Huge500x to 1,000x50,000
Mega1,000x to 2,000x 100,000
Mega2,000x to 5,000x500,000
Mega5,00x or more2,000,000

The low probability is why it is essential to understand that the maximum payout in a high volatility slot can be considered more a theoretical amount. Compare this to the probability of winning a small amount of up to 10x total bet, which is about 1 in 3.2 spins and 1 in 80 spins for wins from 10x to 20x.

Best RTP slots? Here you are!

As one can see, the higher the volatility, the higher the potential payout but, the lower the probability of winning. This probability is not unlike a lottery draw.

Size of wins paid out by Book of Dead, Jumanji and Starburst:

High volatility slots: Volatility comparison between Book of Dead, Jumanji and Starburst

The advantages of high volatility slots

It is no surprise that many players in Great Britain and around the world for that matter prefer to play very volatile slots simply because of the massive win potential, but let鈥檚 try to better understand the reasons

  • Love the Big Wins: High volatility slots are all about the potential for massive payouts, even life-changing jackpots.
  • Pure Thrill Ride: High volatility means intense highs! The adrenaline rush of a potential mega win is unmatched by low volatility slots.
  • High Risk, High Reward: It鈥檚 a gamble, just like the lottery, but with a higher return to player (RTP).

The adrenaline rush is much more intense than a low volatility game offering relatively small wins.

Disadvantages of high volatility slot machines

One of the significant drawbacks of a high volatility game is that it will likely require a bankroll that鈥檚 higher to play it for longer. What are the other disadvantages of high volatility slots?

  • Beware the Drain: High volatility slots can devour your bankroll faster due to less frequent wins. Expect your balance to potentially hit zero before experiencing a huge win.
  • Small Wins Are Scarce: Forget frequent small wins to keep your balance afloat. Wins between 20x and 200x your bet are less common in these games.
  • Not for Everyone: This risk makes high volatility slots a less popular choice for most players who prefer the steadier gameplay of lower volatility options.

The reality is that it is not unusual to drain a bankroll by playing a high volatility slot without even winning a single bonus round.

For these reasons, most players choose to play slots with low volatility or medium volatility instead.

WinsHigh potential payoutsWins occur less frequently
JackpotsOften offer much larger jackpotsSmaller wins are less common
ThrillExcitement of potentially big winsCan be frustrating with long stretches of losses
Bankroll ManagementRequires stricter bankroll management due to fewer winsMay not be suitable for casual players with smaller budgets
GameplayCan be more engaging with the potential for big winsMay feel slow or unrewarding with infrequent wins


High volatility slots are a higher risk and higher reward proposition. The odds of winning large amounts, however, are small. Players who decide to play a high volatility slot should understand that they are just as likely to lose their money as they are to win a modest amount.

This reason is why high volatility is not for everyone. Of course, nothing can replicate the thrill of playing for the chance to win huge sums which is okay, provided that we follow the principle of responsible gambling.

Players prepared can find the best high volatility slots at the UK Gambling Commission licensed and regulated PlayOJO.

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  1. […] High-volatility slot machines have pros and cons that you need to be aware of to find out which type is best for you. […]

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Common questions about The pros and cons of high volatility slots
What are high volatility slots, and are they right for me?
High volatility slots are online slots known for massive win potential, including life-changing jackpots. However, these wins come less frequently compared to low volatility slots. They offer a high-risk, high-reward experience, ideal for players who enjoy the thrill of the chase and have a larger bankroll to manage potential losses.
Should I only play high volatility slots?
Not necessarily. While high volatility slots offer the biggest potential payouts, they also come with a higher chance of losing your bankroll before hitting a big win. Consider your playing style and budget. If you enjoy frequent smaller wins and a steadier gameplay experience, low or medium volatility slots might be a better choice.
Do high volatility slots offer any wins between 20x and 200x my bet?
Generally, less frequently. High volatility slots prioritize larger, less frequent wins. You might experience longer stretches without wins compared to low volatility slots that offer smaller but more frequent payouts between 20x and 200x your bet.
Isn't the return to player (RTP) lower for high volatility slots?
Not necessarily. RTP (Return to Player) is a theoretical percentage of wagered money paid back to players over time. In general, RTP should be similar across slot types. However, the payout structure can differ. High volatility slots might have a high overall RTP, but with a larger focus on those infrequent big wins, which can lead to a feeling of lower returns during gameplay.