It used to be that the only way that you could work out if a slot machine were loose or high-paying was by watching others sink in money. A lot of the time, playing a slot machine was opportunistic, with you just waiting by the bar for the player to give up before swooping in and triggering the long-awaited payout.
Nowadays, it’s all about online gambling, with the global market expected to grow from a mighty $45.8 billion in 2017 to an incredible 94.4 billion in 2024, according to Statista’s calculations. With the gaming of slots moving online, many more opportunities to learn about the mechanics of each game have emerged, with people sharing information about how they work and what influences the games.
Online slot gaming is a huge part of the massive global online gambling industry, with many people weighing in with their findings and calculations. Two elements that slot players have eternally sought out are if a slot is ‘loose’ or ‘high-paying’. Being ‘loose’ refers to it paying out regularly, while ‘high-paying’ often refers to ones that release larger sums when they pay. At Betfair’s online casino, there is a diverse range of slot games that fall into the categories of loose or high-paying, as well as the outlying form of slots, the progressive jackpots. So, we’re going to be delving into what you need to look for when choosing which slot game you want to play.
Shown as a percentage value, the Return to Player number indicates the percentage of money that goes into the slot game that is then paid out over time on average. Many players seek high RTP percentages as they believe it’s the online equivalent of the term ‘loose,’ with games at 95 percent or higher RTP being coveted by regular spinners.
Variance is the decider
When people discuss a run of play on an online slot game as either being loose or high-paying, they’re more than likely discussing what they’ve seen of the game’s variance. Variance, sometimes known as volatility, is effectively a rating of the scale of risk of not getting a return on each spin. However, with high risk, or high variance, comes high reward.
On average, high volatility games will pay less often but in great quantities when they do spin in a win. Low volatility games tend to be ones that regularly top up your balance with smaller wins while you try to build toward higher-earning events in the game, such as a bonus round. There’s a wide range of games from low to high in variance, with the likes of Heart of the Frontier sitting in the middle with medium volatility, Savage Jungle creeping up a bit to medium-high volatility, and then games like Buffalo Blitz, which boast high volatility.
The deal with progressive jackpots
Some games buck these categorisations by virtue of their ever-increasing jackpots. The progressive jackpot slot games, like Ascot Sporting Legends, are often found to be quite low by regular in payments in the base game. However, as at any moment, a player could claim the massive jackpot, the volatility of its pays becomes high. It’s difficult to define these games in the way that you’d categorise regular online slot games, but most players don’t click on them to go for base game rewards as the jackpot is the goal.
Finding a game’s RTP is important as is it shows, on average, how much money going in comes back out. But regarding your preferred play style, the variance is a good indicator of the way that the slot pays, be it in regular smaller amounts from low volatility ‘loose’ games or larger amounts with less frequency in high volatility, ‘high-paying’ slots.