Pokies Volatility Explained: Best High, Medium & Low Volatility Games in 2024

By Mike Fatouros | Updated: May 27th, 2024

Casino players are part of the personality type that is after adventure, competition and risk. Slot machines might be a single-player game, which is purely luck based, but for a person to play slots often, there needs to be an element of a competition.

As a person engages with more and more slot machines, they realize that some operate different from others. That realization does not come lightly, as a winning spin from a losing spin can be a matter of thousands of dollars.

So, it takes quite some time and experience with slots until a player will land on a blog like this, where we discuss the elements that affect pokies gameplay, in spite of the luck element – in particular, the slots volatility.

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What is Volatility?

Although video pokies operate with a Random Number Generator in place, which ensures that each spin is random thanks to a certified algorithm that lights up these games, there are some elements that players can explore in relation to a slot machine. These will not necessarily increase the winning chances, rather set punters’ expectations straight beforehand.

Volatility is the most important amongst those elements, with the rest being hit rate, bonuses, RTP, jackpots, bet levels etc. and we will highlight here why

The slots volatility, also referred to as variance, is a measurement that illustrates the frequency and the size of the wins of a game. Most developers rate their slots as Low-Medium-High volatility, on a scale out of 5 or 10 and rarely out of 100. A low volatility slot is a game that payouts out smaller amounts but more often, a medium volatility game is average in terms of payouts and payout rate, while the high volatility pokies pay bigger amounts less often.

As you can see, there is no perfect slot machine – a game that pays out often and big. Rather, there are styles of games that you should be aware of, prior to selecting a slots game. For instance, if you plan on depositing $10 at a casino, wagering them on a high volatility slot is not advised. On the other hand, if you fancy betting $2,000, then a higher volatility slot is more suitable for you, as the chances of landing a really big win during five thousand spins is not very unlikely.

Volatility vs RTP

Most gambling experts reference the games’ RTP, or Return to Player Rate, as the determining factor for selecting a slot game. We are not arguing here that the RTP is not important, as it does indeed illustrate the overall payouts of the machines over millions of spins. For clarification, all slots come with a negative RTP, meaning lower to 100%, as the casino always secures an edge over players.

Still, the higher the RTP of a slot, the better the winning odds in the long run.

Now, why do we argue that volatility is more important? Well, most players will have between 50 – 2,000 spins per gaming session, which is such a small number of rolls that the value of the return to player rate is pretty much irrelevant to the actual winning probabilities. In contrast, the volatility rates unfold right away. For instance, you could play 50 spins in Gonzos Quest Megaways, which is a very volatility slot, and land a couple small wins only. On the other hand, you could have a very large win, over 200x your bet, within your first 20 spins for the same reason.

Based on the above assessment, what do you think is most important – the RTP or the Volatility Rate of a slot game?

What Exactly Makes Pokies Volatile?

Pokies volatility is a generic way to highlight the overall payouts and their rate but it does not provide specific details on the why a slot machine is ranked as such. To understand the volatility behind a slots game, you would need to read the full review of the slot, to learn more about its hit rate, bonus features, paytable, jackpots and betways.

For instance, most Megaways slots tend to be of high volatility, as they usually carry 6 reels and up to 7 rows; the rows can be as low as 2, with that concept resulting in slot machines that can carry as low as 12 betways to 300,000 or more per spin. To get a big win, you would need to have at least a 5×5 reel/rows spin, which could take a while, but when this happens, your win is likely to be quite hefty.

Another straightforward example of a game carrying high variance can be observed through its bonus features. So, many modern video slots pay a very small amount of coins or multipliers during the base, with as low as 5x your bet level for five identical high paying symbols. In such games, landing a big win during the base game is impossible, but often, such slots offer rewarding bonus rounds or jackpots. Thus, you might be bagging very small wins for thirty minutes, and the bonus round could then give you a payout of 300x your betting amount. Such slots also usually fall under high volatility. Other slots types that are often ranked as high volatility include:

Best High Volatility Pokies

Many of you are likely to have landed on this page to identify the best slots with high volatility. Below, I will share my favourite high variance pokies:

Starburst XXXtreme is one of the new NetEnt pokies, and the follow up to the popular Starburst slot. With a 10/10 volatility and a 96.26% RTP, this game is ideal for high rollers, as it can payout up to 200,000x your original bet!

Eye of Horus Jackpot King is a Blueprint Game, with a 93.20% RTP and a very high volatility. Win up to 10,000x your bet during the free games or bag a progressive jackpot that could forever alter your life.

Spartacus Super Colossal Reels is a WMS slot game with very high variance and RTP, at 96.76%. With a max win of $250,000, stacked wilds, 100x wilds and up to 220 free spins, it’s an unmissable title for the high rollers amongst you. 

Best Medium Volatility Pokies

For those after a more balanced gameplay, the below games are what you should be trying out:

Immortal Romance is a Microgaming slot with medium volatility and a stunning RTP of 96.86%. The game is filled with bonuses that will keep you entertained and are likely to maintain your bankroll at high levels.

Asgard from Pragmatic Play is a top-notch medium variance game with stacked wilds, raining wilds, stacked symbols and free games! The RTP is also decent, at 96.48%.

Chilli Heat is a pokie carrying three fixed jackpots, of up to 2,000x your bet, free games, wilds and a hot theme! Play medium variance games like this, for a chance to also win big!

Best Low Volatility Pokies

Those with a tight budget, or punters that like to play slots for many hours, should stick to pokies with a low volatility. Signature games that can keep you entertained for hours, even if you deposited just $10, are:

Starburst pays both ways and offers free re-spins through its wild symbol, both aspects of a game that pays out often. Still, the lack of bonus rounds removes the possibility of huge wins, with a jackpot at 500x your bet.

Avalon 2 is a low to medium volatility pokies, which can reward you up to 16,200x your bet if you are lucky. The RTP of the slot is average, at 95.92%, while the 5+ bonus features will keep you on your toes.

1429 Uncharted Seas is one of the highest RTP slots around, at 98.50%. When you also consider the low variance and the maximum win of up to 670x your bet, this Thunderkick slot is amongst your best low volatility picks!

Which Volatility Level is the Best?

The main reason that we offered you pokies from different volatility types is that there is no better or worse option – rather, it is a personal choice. High rollers should feel better playing pokies with high variance, as they are more likely to payout 5,000x their bet – even if they have to invest quite some funds.

On the other hand, players looking for a good winning potential with less risk involved should turn to medium volatility slots.

Lastly, those on a tight budget, as well as punters who have a lot of time their hands, should stick with our selection of low volatility games.

Personally, I wager $1 per spin with $100 bankroll, so the ideal option for me tends to be medium volatility pokies – as they keep me in the game but also entertained.


Low Volatility SlotsBest for tight budgetBlood Suckers, Esqueleto Explosivo, Tomb Raider, The Mummy.
Medium Volatility SlotsIdeal for players who are after medium sized wins with a budget between $100 – $500Diamond Strike, Guns n Roses, Hell’s Kitchen, Reel Rush 2, Count Duckula Jackpot King.
High Volatility SlotsPlayers wagering $4 or more per spin hoping to bag $2,000+ wins should play high volatility gamesPiggy Riches Megaways, Medusa Megaways, Break Da Bank Again Megaways, Fluffy Favourites Megaways Jackpot, Genie Jackpots Megaways.

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