Games of chance: RTP and variance

Are you curious about how to spot online slot machine that’s about to give out a big win? Imagine if you could find that perfect, lucky slot!

In this easy guide about RTP and variance, we show you how to know when a slot game is worth playing. We simplify all the technical details that help you understand a game’s payouts so you can see how often and how much you might win.

RTP Explained

When you play games at best online casinos that use cryptocurrencies, you might come across words like “variance” and “RTP.” RTP means “Return to Player,” and it’s shown as a percentage. This number tells you how much money bet on a game will return to players over time.

Here’s an example of the RTP calculation:

  • A slot game has an RTP of 94.5%.
  • A player wagers 0.05 ETH for 200 spins, spending 10 ETH.
  • They can expect to get back 9.45 ETH or 94.5% of their bets.

This scenario means that the casino (or the house) has an edge of 5.5% over the player. If casino games operated strictly by these statistics, players would gradually lose a consistent fraction of their bets, which would be less entertaining.

RTP, or Return to Player, is a number that shows how much a casino game is expected to pay back over a huge number of plays, like millions or even billions. It’s a way for casinos, including those that use cryptocurrencies, to make sure that in the long run, the games don’t give out more money than they take in.

But in real life, it could be more complex. The outcomes are very random, meaning sometimes players might win more money than they bet, and other times they might win less. This chance of winning or losing is what makes gambling exciting and risky.

Online Casino Games RTP

Casino games have an RTP percentage that tells you how much money you could win back. You can usually find this number in the game’s details. Most games have an RTP between 94% and 98%, with the average around 96%.

Games with 93% RTP or lower are not the best choice because they don’t pay back as much money. However, this doesn’t apply to progressive jackpot slots, which can have lower RTPs.

The best slot games have high RTPs, around 97% to 98%. Since online casinos have lower costs than physical ones, they often offer games with higher RTPs.

What Is Variance?

Casino games have a feature called variance, sometimes called volatility. This measure tells you how often and how big the prizes from a game might be. It’s like a way to understand how risky the game is when you play it.

Variance can be simplified into three main categories:

  • Low Variance – the game will pay out smaller amounts more often.
  • Medium Variance – somewhere in between the two.
  • High Variance – the game will pay out more significant amounts less often.

Checking the variance can show how often a casino game might pay out and how much risk is involved. It’s a handy tool to pick games that match how you like to play and what you’re willing to spend.

How To Calculate Variance?

Slot games have a volatility index, which tells you how unpredictable they can be. Game makers don’t usually share this info openly, but you can still get an idea of a slot’s volatility by looking at a few clues.

First, check the paytable for the prizes of symbol combinations:

  • If the jump from a prize for 4 symbols in a row to 5 is really big (like 10 times bigger), the slot is probably high volatility.
  • If the prizes for 3, 4, and 5 symbols don’t change much, the slot might be low or medium volatility.

Also, look at the highest bet you can make. Slots with high volatility often have lower max bets.

Try playing the slot for free. If you often get many small wins, it’s likely a low volatility slot. If wins are bigger but less frequent, it could be medium or high volatility.

You can also find online slot reviews listing the volatility and Return to Player to help you choose a game that suits your style.

How to choose RTP and variance?

Casino games have different Return to Player and variance levels, which can guide you in choosing a game that matches how you like to play.

Here’s a quick guide:

  • Casual Players: If you play just for fun and don’t want to spend much, go for low-variance games with average RTP. These games, like “Starburst” by NetEnt, give you small wins often, so your money lasts longer.
  • High Rollers: High variance slots are your thing if you’re after big wins and don’t mind the risk. Games like “Fat Rabbit” by Push Gaming can use up your budget quickly but offer huge prizes.
  • Medium Players: If you’re in the middle, wanting some good wins without too much risk, choose slots with medium to high RTP. “Gonzo’s Quest” by NetEnt is a great example, offering the chance for big wins but not too risky.
  • Jackpot Hunters: For those dreaming of massive, life-changing wins, progressive jackpot slots are the ticket. They usually have a lower RTP, around 90%, and are very high variance, meaning wins are rare but can be huge when they happen.

How To Use RTP and Variance?

These ratings are helpful guides for each casino game, but you can use them to improve your gameplay. Here are some great tips for using these ratings to get better at casino games:

✔ Try out slot games for free first to find what you like.

✔ Remember, games that pay out often usually don’t pay out a lot at once.

✔ And games that can pay out a lot might not do so very often.

✔ Choose games with a higher chance of winning unless you go for the big jackpot. But remember, no game is guaranteed to give you a big prize.

✔ Always decide how much money you can spend before you start playing and don’t go over that limit.

Can You Trust Casinos?

You might wonder about this when you see that casino games don’t pay back 100% of your bet. But there’s a system to ensure everything is fair and random.

This system uses something called Random Number Generators, or RNGs. These mini-computers create billions of random numbers for games like online slots. This randomness makes sure that each spin is independent and not fixed.

Crypto casinos go a step further with something called provably fair technology. This lets players check the fairness of each game themselves, so they don’t just have to trust the casino or the people who make the rules.

RNGs need to learn about the players and how much they’re betting. They just make sure each game result is random.

Online casinos must also follow strict rules to treat players fairly and use RNGs correctly. These rules are there to protect players and make sure everything is legal.

What Are Chances To Win?

Casino games use random number generators, so everyone has the same chance of winning. Each game spin is separate from the last, so there’s no such thing as “lucky streaks.”

The likelihood and size of payouts can be guessed by looking at a game’s return-to-player rate and how much it varies. But remember, these are just rough guides to help you manage your money.

It’s up to each player to set a budget and stick to it. Casino games are about luck, so the main thing is to have fun. If you’re not having fun anymore, it’s time to stop playing.


Learning about the Return to Player and the game’s variance can help you pick better slot games online. RTP tells you how much money you might get back from a game, and variance shows how often and how big you might win. Choosing games with the right RTP and variance for you can make playing more fun.

But remember, slot game outcomes are random, so there’s no guaranteed way to win. Always play for fun, set a budget for your gaming, and stick to it. This guide gives you the tools to enjoy online slots wisely and responsibly.

FAQ about RTP and variance
What is a good RTP rate?

Online slot RTP rates vary widely, from 85% to 99%. On average, online slots have an RTP of 96%. So, any slot with an RTP of 97% or higher is considered “high.” All the slots we mention as having the highest RTP online meet this standard.

Are slot machines 100% random?

If you dig deeper, you’ll find a complicated science making sure every spin is random, and outcomes can’t be predicted. This is true for all gambling sites, including those that pay out winnings on the same day.

How do I find high RTP slots?

Good slot games in real casinos and online usually tell you their RTP in the rules or where they list the payouts. Check here for information on how the game pays out.

What is the variance in slot games?

All slot games have variance, which tells you how often and how big you can win. Games can be low variance, with many small wins, or high variance, with fewer but bigger wins.

Which casino game has the highest RTP?

Some slot machine games have high RTPs, even above 98%, but they’re not that common and can differ between casinos. Games such as “Ugga Bugga” by Playtech, “Mega Joker” by NetEnt, and “Ooh Aah Dracula” by Barcrest are known for having high RTPs.

Zigmas Pekarskas

Written by:

Casino card games and poker expert

Founder and CEO of also well known poker professional player, with more then 15 years of playing poker and other card games. 10 years of writing articles, doing reviews of poker rooms and teaching other poker players how to improve their game.