The Return to Player Percentage, aka RTP, is the most cited characteristic when it comes to slot machines. The game developers, review sites, experts, players and casino themselves will highlight if the RTP of a slot game is high or not, inciting excitement to readers so that they try their luck.
The truth of the matter is that the RTP is always negative, meaning that the casino will have the long-term odds in its favor, indifferently to the pokies you will select to play. But let’s not again ahead of ourselves and start with the basics.
What is the Return to Player (RTP)?
To understand the RTP, we must first highlight how Class III slots and casino games operate online.
All games have a set number of cards, balls, symbols, reels, paylines and so on, which will involve betting from the player, a waiting period and the outcome. In-between betting and seeing the result of the game, a software system is running to produce a random outcome. This software system is called Random Number Generator (RNG), which is a program that produces random patterns that cannot be guessed by humans.
However, developers have the freedom to program the RNG of a slot machine in a way that it will be random, within a few parameters. The one discussing here, the RTP, is programmed by the gaming providers to produce a predetermined sequence of patterns that will, in the long run, pay out less money that the ones wagered on the slot.
Each slot carries its own unique RTP, which is reflected in percentages, with the average number being 96%. Such an RTP illustrates that the casino will have 4% edge over players. The sole fact that the RNG can be manipulated, and it is not totally random, is why it is called Pseudo Random Number Generator (PRNG).
Keep in mind that only thanks to technological advances, and the RNG itself, we can gamble online. The existence of the RTP is just there to indicate how close to fair a casino game is, but without this edge, no one would bother housing online casino games.
For an indication of the RTP across casino games, for the safest betting strategies on each see the below list:
- Average RTP of video slots is 96%
- Roulette – 97.30%
- Blackjack – 99.72%
- Video Poker – 99.54%
- Baccarat – 98.94%
- Sic Bo – 97.22%
- Keno – 75%
- Craps – 98.59%
Knowing what is the RTP and how it comes about, we can now share with you the official definition of slot games RTP: “RTP stands for Return To Player. The RTP percentage is a measure of the percentage of stakes a game returns to players (generally over a minimum of one million plays) and is a generally accepted guide to how a game will perform.”
Money Wagered versus Deposited Amount
It might have gone unnoticed, but above, we used the phrase ‘money wagered’ and not ‘money deposited’ on a slot machine. Here, I am trying to highlight a common mistake that ‘experts’ conduct when referencing the RTP, which is to say that if you deposit such amount, you will win such amount – or rather lose, since the RTP is never 100%+. There is no such guarantee, as the slots RTP is calculated on average across millions to billions of spins.
For example, on a slot with an RTP of 97%, a player might play $1,000 and lose everything five times in a row. This would mean that the RTP is 0%. In contrast, another player might wager $50 and win $5,000, which would mean that the RTP for this player 1,000%.
The above example illustrates how a slot game with an average 97% could have completely different outcomes in the short run, indifferently to how the game performed across millions spins, during the testing period.
That’s why the RTP is always referenced as a theoretical value, since no player would actually play these many spins
Further, it is also good to know that different software providers will calculate their games’ RTP on a different scale; for instance, Quickspin runs 1 billion spins to determine the theoretical RTP of their slot machines, with other providers doing the same across 1 million spins.
Brick and Mortar vs Online Pokies RTP
Although most people consider brick and mortar casinos superior to online casinos in terms of payouts and winning odds, the reality is very different. For instance, the RTP of slot machines at physical casinos usually ranges between 75 – 90%. In contrast, most online pokies have an RTP of 88 – 98%, with those on the lower end being progressive jackpot slots, which justifies how a percentage of their returns builds up the multimillion pot that a single lucky player will bag.
On the other hand, both physical casinos and online casinos carry similar odds on roulette, blackjack, craps and such games, since they operate in the exact same fashion, although this is done online through the programming of an RNG. Nonetheless, players can find online casino games variants that come with alternate odds and payouts, which is again in favor of online casinos, who offer bigger variety for players.
Lastly, online casinos are also tested more frequently than land-based casinos, since checks come about by the licensing body, 3rd party testing companies, review sites and millions of players who can share their personal experiences on public forums.
Top 30 Slots with the Best Winning Odds
Due to the nature of RTP highlighting the long term payouts of a slot game, many players search for extensive lists of options that come with good winning odds. Thus, we pilled up this table of the top 30 best paying slots, or in other words – the best 30 RTP video slots.
Goblin’s Cave – 99.30% (Playtech)
Ugga Bugga – 99.07% (Playtech)
Book of 99 – 99% (Relax Gaming)
OOH AHH Dracula – 99% (Barcrest)
Monopoly Big Event – 99% (Barcrest)
Mega Joker – 99% (NetEnt)
Jackpot 6,000 – 99% (NetEnt)
1429 Uncharted Seas – 98.60% (Thunderkick)
Dr Jekyll Goes Wild – 98.20% (Barcrest)
Marching Legions – 98.12% (Relax Gaming)
The Catfather – 98.10% (Pragmatic Play)
Blood Suckers – 98% (NetEnt)
Money Train 2 – 98% (Relax Gaming)
Rainbow Riches Pick n Mix – 98% (Barcrest)
Jokerizer – 98% (Yggdrasil)
Ragnarok – 98% (Genesis Gaming)
Starmania – 97.87% (NextGen Gaming)
Cowboys Go West HD – 97.84% (World Match)
White Rabbit Megaways – 97.77% (Big Time Gaming)
Rainbow Riches Fortune Favours – 97.75% (Barcrest)
Rainbow Riches Home Sweet Home – 97.75% (Barcrest)
Zeus Lightning Power Reels – 97.73% (Red Tiger)
Golden Tour – 97.71% (Playtech)
Devils Delight – 97.60% (NetEnt)
Simsalabim – 97.50% (NetEnt)
Sushi Bar – 97.50% (Betsoft)
Reel Gems – 97.49% (Microgaming)
We have shared some of the highest RTP slot machines above, but we also want to highlight one more thing in relation to this metric. Many of the above slot games can have a maximum RTP as referenced above, but it can also be lower, depending on the game mode you play. Aspects that can make the RTP of pokies to range include:
- Maximum bet
- Ante bet
- Big bet mode
- All paylines active
- Bonus buy
Besides the above, there can also be other aspects involved into the RTP of a slot machine, which can make it range. Thus, it is important to not get carried away by the RTP of a game, unless you have read its in-depth review to see how it actually operates. Unfortunately, some slots are more rewarding for those that can be higher amounts per spin, although this shouldn’t be surprising.
10 Best Paying Online Pokies
Although the RTP defines the long-term returns of a slot game, high RTP slots do not necessarily pay big sums at once. Still, most players will confuse the RTP metric with the volatility of a slot, another parameter that defines the payout size and win rate of a slot machine. Slots volatility is separated into three groups, namely:
- Low (pay very often but small amounts)
- Average (medium-sized payouts that come regularly)
- High (rare payouts that are big in size)
Players looking for a long-term success should focus mostly on high RTP pokies, while those that look for high payouts should check out one of the following high paying slots:
Starburst XXXtreme (NetEnt) – 200,000x
Super Boost (Electric E.) – 200,000x
Peking Luck (Pragmatic Play) – 180,000x
San Quentin Xways (No Limit City) – 150,000x
Robin Nottingham Raiders (Peter & Sons) – 121,500x
Wild Flower (Big Time Gaming) – 114,100x
Pirate Pays Megaways (Big Time Gaming) – 104,400x
Lil’ Devil (Big Time Gaming) – 103,000x
Dead or Alive 2 (NetEnt) – 100,000x
Rome: The Golden Age (NetEnt) – 100,000x
The above does not consider progressive jackpot slots, as those can take months to payout.
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