Since their first appearance on the scene in the late 1800s, slot machines have been fairly easy to operate – but not so easy to understand when it comes to the payout.
The CasinoPlay experts have gone into the nitty gritty details of this immensely popular pastime to try and make it a bit clearer for players both online and at land-based casinos.
While WHERE we play online versus at physical slot machines is different, the actual HOW the playing goes down is essentially the same.
The biggest issue for players, especially new players, is interpreting the slots payout mechanics. RTP, volatility, percentages, house edge – they can all confuse players and stop them experiencing the full thrill that modern slots can offer.
Payout percentages are the average amount of money that a player will get back compared to the average amount of money a player wagered.
This may seem a bit confusing and you may think that it is a given for every time you hit the slots but it’s important to note that this is an AVERAGE. It’s a mathematical or statistical number that is developed from a long-term observation of players on that game.
The payout percentage does not guarantee what you will be getting out, but it does give you an indication of how often you can get a win IN GENERAL.
Playing slots games with higher payout percentages will keep you playing far longer than those with lower percentages and give you more winning opportunities.
Because this formulation does not take into account the reason why players gamble – LUCK. While over the long run the slots game will pay out at 94%, there is always that chance that it will hit the right reels for you and pay out that jackpot.
RTP or Return To Player is just another way of saying Payout Percentages. For South African players, we normally see RTP rather than Payout Percentages but they mean the exact same thing.
Payout Percentage is the percentage of money paid out versus the amount of money gambled.
RTP is the amount of money returned to player versus the amount of money gambled.
Same thing, different words.
House edge is another term you will often hear in the gambling world. It’s closely related to Payout Percentage and RTP and is, in fact, the mirror of those terms. While Payout Percentage and RTP refer to the statistical average of how much aa player can expect to get back from a game or slots machine, house edge is the statistical amount a casino will make off the player.
In the above example, the slots game had an RTP or Payout Percentage of 94%. This means the house edge is 6%.
There is always a house edge. Different games have different house edges. Slots games have different house edges because there are so many different games. The house edges on table games are more set, and more in favour of the player. For example: baccarat house edge (betting on the banker) 1.06%, blackjack (single bet) 1.5%, Pai Gow Poker 1.3%.
You can see that the house edge and by inference the RTP is far more favourable to the player in table games than in slots games. This is because table games have more of an element of skill and don’t rely purely on luck like slots game.
Variance or volatility is refers to how often a slots game pays out winnings or jackpots. It also related to the size of the winnings.
Classica Vegas-style 3-reel slots are normally low to medium variance. Regular small wins that keep the game ticking over.
Progressive slots are the perfect example of high variance slots, not many wins but if you do hit that jackpot you can expect a multi-million, life changing amount of money.
At online casinos you can normally find the RTP posted on the information page on the game screen.
Land-based casinos are a bit different. The casinos and game developers don’t always publish the RTPs of their games and the casinos are able to affect the outcomes on a game-by-game basis (not illegal in any way but it is up to the casino to decide how they want the Payout Percentage to be set).
For online and land-based casinos though it is as easy as doing a Google search for the slots game. Try the game name + RTP and you should find the information you need.
By understanding RTP, house edge and variance you can choose the slots game that suits your style of play and your playing goals.
If you are looking to spend some time on a slots game and play consistently, look for a game with a high RTP (above 97%) and a low to medium volatility. Now you can expect lots of small wins which keeps your bankroll ticking and allows you to enjoy your game for as long as you want.
If you are looking for a big win, look for a good RTP (above 95%) and high variance game. Progressive jackpots are an example. This is where you can win those huge jackpots – but you will be waiting for a while between any wins. Remember, to qualify for the biggest wins you’ll need to play at max bet which will burn through your bankroll very quickly.
There is one more term that you may encounter when playing slots. It’s not often used in South Africa, and is definitely more of an American thing, but you may find casinos talking about ‘loose’ or ‘tight’ slots. This is just another way of talking about RTP.
A ‘loose’ machine refers to a machine with a high RTP. A ‘tight’ machine is a machine with a low RTP. The looser the machine, the more often the player will hit wins.
There are so many online slots games available, and so many online casinos that offer online slots games, that is almost impossible to point to any one game.
However, the CasinoPlay crew do know that choosing the right online casino can go a long way to putting you in front of the online slots games you’re looking for.
Take a look at our preferred online casinos for playing online slots offer a range of RTPs and a variety of volatility options to cater to every need.