Slots Odds And Variance
When you go into a live casino or log into an online casino to play casino games, there is one thing that must be understood. All gambling games that are played against the house are negative EV (expected value) games and the house always keeps some kind of edge.
To explain this on a very simple model, if you were playing Heads or Tails against the casino, both outcomes would be even-money to happen, but the casino would likely pay you $0.98 or $0.96 on a dollar every time you win, taking the full dollar when you lose, thus keeping an edge.
When it comes to slots, the same principle applies, with most slots paying back some 95% to 98% of all the money inserted into them. This is not to say that you cannot win in any given session as there is a good chance of winning 10 or even a 100 times your initial stake every time you sit down as well as lose your stake.
This is called variance. Variance when it comes to slots means that some players will win big, while others will lose big, with some maintaining their bankroll for quite a long time. Only in the long run is it that all players will lose some 2 – 5% of everything they stake.
So What Are My Chances?
Every online slot is programmed to take a bit of money for the house in the long run. This is not done by cheating the players, paying out in any kind of flawed patterns or any of the other dubious things many gamblers think casinos are doing to them.
On the contrary, slots win money off the players because they simply pay a bit less for every win than they should when you consider how likely the win is to happen. As explained above, an even money proposition at a slot will always be paid out at less than even money, simple as that.
The small edge the casino keeps can, however, be avoided for quite some time. For instance, you could get lucky with a free spins no deposit bonus on your first couple of spins, win big in the feature game and just walk away right after you’re done with the wagering requirements! This would make you a huge winner for the session and certainly feels very good when it happens.
The chances of something along these lines happening are not bad at all. While many times you will bust the cash you deposited, quite a few times you will win big as well. In the long run, you may lose a dollar or two on every hundred you bet, but you will have many winning sessions along the path and I personally know gamblers who have not lost that much money at all even though they play slots quite a bit.
Proper bankroll management and not betting too big at a time will ensure that you are never losing huge at online slots and every particular session can be a big win if you have a bit of luck on a given day.
High Variance vs. Low Variance Slots
Online slots are audited by independent auditors, which makes them more reliable than live slots. While some live slots pay back only 70 to 80% of the wagered money, most online slots pay well over 90% back to the players, which means there will be more winners and fewer losers.
But not all slots are the same either. Two slots may for instance both have a 97.5% payout rate, with one of them being a real money drainer and another keeping your bankroll quite steady. This depends on the variance of the slot. Slots that have single huge payouts are usually high variance, while other slots have more consistent payouts and no jackpots and are much lower variance.
Some players prefer to play the high variance slots hoping to win thousands of dollars for just a small investment, while others prefer to play for hours on lower variance machines. Which you prefer is up to you, but just remember to check the paytable before you start playing to understand whether the slot is high or low variance.
Beat The Odds
The odds of all online slots are against you by default, but this is not a reason for you to give up. Beating a 2 – 4% edge casinos leave for themselves is very much possible and with a little luck any player can still beat the odds. We recommend staying away from the huge jackpot games as they tend to carry tons of variance with them, but all non-jackpot games can be beaten on quite a regular basis. Take a look at the highest paying online pokies to find one right for you.
Best of luck at the slots and we hope you beat those odds and have variance on your side for years to come!