The term “Variance” is closely related to the Mathematics & The theory of Probability and Statistics. Before we jump to the names of high variance slots and list of the most popular software providers featuring high-risk games, we need to understand the variance at a fundamental level and how it affects slot machine play. If you are a casual slot player, you are probably wondering what this term has to do with slot machines & weekend gambling action.
You may be surprised, but in fact, the variance and theory itself are at the core of slot games and gambling in general. Game developers and gaming experts rely on it, and modern slot machines, as well as standard casino games, wouldn’t exist in a present form & shape without the basics found in the law of probability and statistics. The probability theory was born in the 17th century and mathematician & philosopher Blaise Pascal was one of the key figures responsible for it, especially in his work Problem of Points which highly influenced the new field of probability. (Article source: Poker-Boss.com)
Blaise Pascal 1623-1662
Furthermore, it’s The Law of Large Numbers (LLN) that secures casino advantage as well as profits in the long term. Millions of spins and millions of bets are needed in order for the RTP (Return to Player Percentage) to be close to the expected value, especially with the high variance games. Once upon a time, one of the greatest minds in human history said: "You cannot beat a roulette table unless you steal money from it." For Albert Einstein, there was no doubt about that and no one so far proved otherwise. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there are no big wins and lucky streaks. We see it every day at Lilly’s part of the Universe. Thousands of lucky winners prove that casino’s tiny percentage is mathematically secured only with a large number of betting rounds.
By its definition, the variance is the average of the squared differences from the Mean. You may find a mathematical representation of variance as squared sigma (σ), squared S or simple VAR(X).
Mathematical formula to calculate the variance
Don’t panic for a moment! As difficult as it may seem just looking at the formula above, the concept itself is not really hard to understand. Simply speaking, the variance is providing us with the useful information of how much is set of numbers (data) spread out – compared with their average value.
Let’s dive into the simple example. Lilly has just met with her buddies celebrating a huge winner at SpaceLilly this month. Lilly is the tallest person around measuring 180cm, with the Gonzo following her with 154cm. We will find out the variance of the following data set - height of 6 persons, or let’s just say space buddies. Their heights are as follows: 80, 38, 180, 154, 36, 62.
Forget about the mathematical formula, we will divide our problem into 3 easy steps.
3 Easy Steps to Calculate the Variance
- Firstly, let’s find the Mean. In our example, it’s the space buddies average height. It’s pretty easy, as we have 6 buddies, we just need to sum up their height values and divide it with 6.
Mean = (80 + 38 + 180 +154 + 36 + 62) / 6 = 550/6 = 91.67
The arithmetic mean, or an average height of our space friends is 91.67cm or rounded: 92cm
- Now it’s time to calculate each buddy’s difference from the Mean (average height). Simple, minus 92 from each buddies height value.
80-92, 38-92, 180-92, 154-92, 36-92, 62-92. And we have following:
-12, -54, 88, 62, -56, -30.
- Finally, we have all the info we need to calculate the variance. Let’s take each difference and square it, sum it up and divide by 6 (number of space friends).
((-12)² + (-54)² + 88² + 62² + (-56) ² + (-30) ² ) / 6 =
(144 + 2916 + 7744 + 3844 + 3136 + 900) / 6 = 18684/6 = 3144
S² = 3144. So the variance is 3144.
One more term is important to mention at this point. It is a standard deviation (SD). Once we have a variance value, it’s really easy to calculate the standard deviation. The square root of variance will do the job. In our example, it’s a square root of 3144: √3144 = 55.8 or rounded value: 56. But, why it is important? The really good thing about SD is that we have a way of knowing what is in the range of so called “normal values” and which values fall above or behind.
Technically speaking, standard deviation measures the dispersion of particular set or in other words, it is a measure of volatility. Take a look at the picture below – all the values (heights) that fall within one standard deviation are between the two blue lines. We can freely say that Lilly falls into the group of very high girls and above one standard deviation in our example.
Values between blue lines are within one Standard Deviation
Variance & Slot Games
If you have read the previous chapter, you probably have a clue about the connection between slot machines and variance along with some common terms such as the standard deviation and the mean. As with the example of our space creature heights, we can take any data set and measure the variance. Of course, real-life datasets are much bigger, as well as combinations or outputs of modern-age slot games.
More than often, players confuse the term variance and RTP (Return to Player) percentage. Those are totally different beasts and we will illustrate this with a simple example. Let’s for a moment imagine the simplest slot machine ever. There is only one pay-line and only one winning combination, and every time you hit the spin button at $1 per spin, you get a $0.95 win. Simple, right? No chance to ever hit it big, right? Boring, right? Indeed, it is! But, what about the RTP (Return to Player) percentage? Our simplest slot machine produces exactly the same RTP as all of the modern slot games - in the range of 95%. So, what’s the catch? You guessed it, right – it is the variance. Our slot game sample has a dataset with the same value(s) of [0.95] – and the variance is a big, fat – zero!
We can freely say that the variance is the key to all the excitement that gambling delivers. If you have ever wondered why players choose the high-variance slots over low-variance ones – the answer is obvious. High variance games deliver all of the excitement and possibility of that mega big win. Of course, it’s not all black or white, but you get the point. Based on the variance value, we can classify all the slot machines into 3 major groups:
- Low variance
- Medium variance
- High variance
Of course, many of the games fall in-between, such as low-mid slots or mid-high slot games. Furthermore, some of them may be classified as extremely high or extremely low variance games.
Low variance slot games are the ones with relatively frequent wins, but the ones you can’t expect to run with a massive big win. At least not with one spin of a button! Mathematically speaking, dispersion of data-set (in this case – values of possible winning spins) is near the arithmetical mean and usually within the standard deviation. Generally speaking, players looking for smaller wins but longer sessions prefer low-variance slot machines. Often, low-variance slots are referred as low-risk games. It’s worth mentioning that usually, low-rollers with a tight budget prefer low variance slots to prolong the session and build a bankroll for riskier games.
Low Variance Graph - No of spins/Profit
High variance slot machines – It’s all or nothing. It’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’. It’s Dead or Alive – as the name of one of the classics and extremely high-risk games suggests. With high variance beast, you can’t expect frequency in wins. However, what you are looking for is a massive hit. One spin could change the game & bring the big win excitement. High volatility slot machines are often named as high-risk games. Therefore, it’s also important to emphasize – there are always two sides of the coin. High volatility slots could bring you a life-changing amount & massive jackpot win. On the other side, it could kill your nerve with a long & losing session. Overall, high-variance slots are the ones Gambling Forum Members talk about and post screenshots of big wins often over 3000x bet range.
Check out the graph below representing the High VS Low Variance Slot play. (x – No. of spins ; y – Profit/Loss). You can see that low variance curve is nearer the Mean, while High Variance one has higher dispersion.
High Variance VS Low Variance
Medium variance slots – the best definition of medium variance slot games would be a mix of a low-variance and high-variance slot machines. For some players, they represent the perfect balance between the possibility of a big win, while at the same time balance survival is preserved with the regular smaller wins. Most of the modern slot games fall into this category. Not surprisingly, though! Generally speaking, medium variance slot machines pay quite often and include wide-range of win amounts. From medium balance-savers to even 1000x bet-size wins. Naturally, there are many benefits coming with the medium variance pokies. Ideally, it’s for the casino players that don’t want to risk way too much but still have a tight chance to win a huge amount in one single spin.
How to find a high volatility slot machine?
Many game providers do not provide information related to the slot variance value. So, how do you find a high volatility slot game, for example? Simple, follow our complete guide to high volatility slots. In the next few chapters, we are listing high variance machines by their software (game) providers. If you want to find them on your own, there are several clues which could reveal which games go towards higher variance values. We will not go deep into the subject here, but here are few suggestions.
Firstly, you need to look at the definition of the high-variance. Simply speaking, high-variance games gives you less frequent, but higher wins. A quick look at the pay-table could reveal some useful info. If you line up the top paying symbol, how much is it paying? Mathematically speaking, how much is the dispersion over the average win? The higher the dispersion equals the higher the variance. Ask yourself the simple question – is it possible that one combination could boost your balance by x2000 bet-size? If so, you are definitely into the high-variance action.
Quick look at Break Da Bank Again Paytable
Secondly, take a look at the bonus feature or free spins feature. Many high-variance beasts rely on bonus features. With high volatility machines, you will often find that base game pays the only tiny amount of overall RTP. It’s the bonus game that brings a boost in player’s bankroll. Bonus multipliers, all kind of wild features and bonus retriggers could be a positive sign towards high volatility slot machine.
Lastly, play the game in demo (free-play) version. If you see dry spells, but eventually massive hits – there are no doubts about it. Finally, you can always contact friendly support at Lilly’s part of the Universe. They will be more than happy to answer all of your questions related to the game variance as well as other useful info.
To sum up this chapter, it all comes to personal preferences. We couldn’t say that low variance or extremely high variance ones would be a perfect fit for all the casino players. It is no good or bad. It all depends on personal views and of course Luck Lady. Keep in mind that slot machine play is purely a game of luck and almost no skill is involved into the action. However, Captain, as well as Lilly, would always suggest a mid-high variance one. That way, you can always preserve a killer advantage over an online casino in the case of a massive hit. Follow next lines to learn more about cracking high volatility slot machines listed by Software Providers you can play for real or free money! If you are looking for a high variance machines, you are the right spot. We are listing high volatility games by their names and filtered by the Software Provider.
Names of High Variance Slots by Software Provider
If you are eager to find out the names of high variance slot machines, you will not have to wait for too long. This chapter will reveal some of the most popular high variance online slots sorted by industry-leading software providers. Also, we will mention some known land-based casino game providers along with the few of the high risk games you can play at your favorite brick and mortar casino.
NetEnt (Net Entertainment) is one of the most recognizable game providers in the industry. The company was established in the year 1996 and since then it’s been committed to remain excellence. Nowadays, Net Entertainment portfolio counts over 200 casino games and more than 100 online brands are powered by their casino solution. The platform is based on instant-play technology, playable on PCs as well as different kind of mobile devices.
Choose the risk in NetEnt's Jungle Spirit Bonus Game
NetEnt Slots are well-known by their uniqueness & variety, and more importantly, copy/paste principle is not Company’s cup of tea. Whether you are into classic 9-liners or ultra modern slot machines filled with stunning animations, you will find your preferred one at your favorite Net Entertainment powered casino. Regarding the variance, you will find games on both sides of the specter. From very low variance slots, such as Starburst or Jack Hammer to extremely high ones such as The WishMaster. However, most of the slot games fall into medium variance category.
Check out our list of the top 7 NetEnt’s High Risk Slot Games:
- Creature from the Black Lagoon – In partnership with Universal and based on the 1954 horror movie, NetEnt developed a 5-reels and 20-paylines high-variance slot machine. The key is in the sticky-wild symbols both in Free Spins mode & Base Game. If you are brave enough to kill the Creature in Free Spins Feature, you will get additional 10 Free Spins with expanded wild and almost guaranteed massive payout!
- Dead or Alive – As simple as it can be with 5-reels and 9-paylines configuration, this extremely high variance & western-themed slot is exactly what the name suggests – Dead or Alive. Although the base game can produce some pretty nice hits, Free Spins mode is what you are looking for. To be exact, wild-line in Free Spins mode, which received a cult status amongst casino players. Get an early wild-line and your balance will skyrocket for over 4000xbet-size.
- Gonzo Quest – Join Gonzo on his adventure of a lifetime in the mystical city of Eldorado. The story is based on the real character Gonzalo Pizarro – a Spanish conquistador in XVI century. The avalanche feature (tumbling reel) is in the core of the game and can reward you up to 5xmultiplier in the base game & 15xmultiplier in the Free Spins game. Get a solid winning-line in Free Spins mode with a 15xmultiplier and massive payout is on your way!
- Jack and the Beanstalk – Based on the classic English fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk slot is one of the most beautifully designed games from NetEnt collection. Although it belongs to the group of high-risk slot games, base game can keep your balance healthy thanks to the unique Walking Wild feature. Free spins mode is pretty damn hard to get, but once you collect 3 scatters – the real action starts with the possibility of stacked & expanding wilds. Free spins mode is capable of producing wins over 10,000xbet-size.
- Jungle Spirit: Call of the Wild – It’s always nice to see a newly released game belonging to a group of high-volatility ones. Released in 2017, Jungle Spirit is a wild nature themed machine with 5-reels & 243 ways to win configuration. Symbol expansion is the main game feature, along with the random Butterfly Boosts feature and Free Spins mode. By choosing the animal in free spins, you are actually choosing the variance – from high-risk Tiger to low-risk Snake. Take a risk with Tiger and hope for a 5 Expanding ones with a top payout of 7678 times bet-stake.
- Reel Steal – NetEnt’s classic and old school slot is a simple 5-reels and 9-paylines game with massive winnings potential thanks to the wild symbol multiplier. This heist themed game features 5 times wild multiplier in the base game. All the winnings in free spins are also multiplied by 5 times win amount. Get a winning combination with a wild in free spins and your win will be multiplied with 25 times your bet stake!
- The WishMaster – Make your wishes come true with the very unique and extremely high variance game – The Wish Master. Be careful though! The WishMaster is one of those all or nothing slot beasts. It’s all about the Genius Free Spins feature. Base game would literally drain your balance if you don’t see that magic lamp on the reel. Once you get the free spins, you can expect wide-range of features including Wild Reels, Random Wilds, Expanding Feature, Multipliers (2,3x) and Extra Wilds.
Microgaming is the biggest Software Provider on the online gambling market with over 600 casino games in its portfolio. Established in 1994, they are one of the pioneers in the gaming industry with over a two-decade experience in providing superb gambling products. They offer both downloadable & instant-play version of the platform with the full support for computers & mobile devices such as Ipads, Iphones, Blackberries and Android-powered devices.
Astonishing win - Immortal Romance from Microgaming
Microgaming has a massive catalog of slots which makes almost half of the total number of all their casino games. Furthermore, Jackpot Pool from MG Jackpot Games is the largest you will find online. So far, over half a billion Euros have been paid just from the Jackpot Games. Some of the biggest wins in the online gambling history come from their Jackpot Network. It’s sufficient to say, with such a large collection of slots that you will find all types of slot variances. From low-risk games such as Big Kahuna to middle ones and high-risk extremes such as Break da Bank Again.
Follow our list of the High Variance Microgaming slots:
- Break Da Bank Again – Break Da Bank Again slot has the exact same configuration as NetEnt’s Reel Steal game. And you can indeed break da bank if Lady Luck is on your side. Wild, represented as “Break da Bank” symbol is the key-figure awarding 5xmultiplier in the base game and sweet 25 times multiplier in Free Spins mode. Watch for the Diamonds, Gold Bars and cold hard Cash, as they are the top-paying symbol in this highly volatility Microgaming 9-liner.
- Deck the Halls – Festival-themed slots are highly popular amongst slot lovers, especially during the holiday’s season. Deck the Halls is Christmas themed game being played during the whole year. The reason for this lays in a Free Spins mode featuring 2xmultiplier and stacked wild symbol. Santa symbol is also stacked both in both base & free spins game and therefore you can experience big wins even in the base game.
- Game of Thrones – There are two versions of the popular Game of Thrones Microgaming slot games – 15 lines & 243 pay-lines version and both of them belong to a high variance group. Based on the popular HBO TV series, this Microgaming release achieved popularity in no time and for a good reason. The standard game mode has a big winning potential with the stacked symbols, but Free Spins are hiding ultra massive potential with different free spins & multipliers to choose from. If you are into the ultra-high volatility go for a 15-lines game!
- Immortal Romance – We can surely say that Immortal Romance is on the top of the list of most popular Microgaming slots and online video slots in general of all the time. Slots configuration is similar to the earlier game release – Thunderstruck II with 5-reels & 243 paylines. There are four different Free Spins Bonuses which are unlocking as you progress throughout the game & extra randomly activated Wild Desire feature which can turn up to 5 reels wilds. This vampire themed machine with awesome sound track and superb graphics will either eat your balance or give you some serious cash. Rarely, you will experience so called “in-between” action.
- Isis – Both Isis Slot and the second progressive version Mega Moolah Isis are known as high-risk slot games by all means. There is no much difference, except that the Mega Moolah version is a progressive jackpot game and belongs to a group of slots connected to the Microgaming Jackpot Pool often exceeding top award of few millions of Euros. Watch for scatters in this Egyptian-themed slot, as they will award you with up to 30 Free Spins and a tasty 6x multiplier.
- Rhyming Reels Hearts & Tarts – Microgaming’s Rhyming Reels series is based on the traditional nursery rhymes and besides Hearts & Tarts include titles such as George Pogie, Jack and Jill and Old King Cole. Top paying symbol Queen is stacked in the normal game mode as well as in free spins, while Wild Symbol (Hearts & Tarts logo) is stacked in Free Spins bonus. Three Crowns symbols will earn you 10 free spins with a 2 multiplier and possibility of a huge 2,400,000 coin win.
- Santa’s Wild Ride – One more Christmas themed video slot took its place on our Microgaming high variance list. This time it’s a 243 lines machine delivering some extra features even in the main game. Santa’s Wild Symbol will multiply your win by 2,3 or even 4 times and Gift Symbol on the reel will reveal extra prize for you. But, as with most of the high-risk games, the real money action starts with Free Spins. Get 3 keys for a bonus and choose between Stacked Wild, Expanding Wild or Trailing Wild Feature!
Unlike Microgaming & NetEnt, GameArt Company is a relatively new game provider on the online gambling market, although people behind the scene have extensive experience in both land-based and online casino business. Since they opened the door in 2013, their games selection is constantly rising, and the result is growing number of casino websites powered by the GameArt products. GA games are based on the web-platform and boosted with HTML5 technology. All slot games are fully mobile friendly and accessible from a variety of mobile devices.
Reveal a mysterious symbol - Crystal Mystery Free Spins
GameArt platform is completely focused towards slot machines. In fact, the online solution is strictly based on slot games. Many of the GameArt slots are quite unique, especially in the terms of bonuses, extra features or free spins features. Highly innovative bonuses & features along with the RTP of games in the range of 96% are key aspects where GameArt shines. Just recently, they have introduced a Jackpot Games – addition of MINI, MINOR, MAJOR and GRAND jackpots to their existing slot catalog. Related to the variance, we will not list all of their high volatility slots here and for a good reason. Most of the GameArt Slots are mid/high variance games. If you want to try high-variance extreme, our suggestion would be 5-reels & 5 lines game Money Farm.
Top 3 GameArt’s High Volatility Slots:
- Crystal Mystery – High-risk game from Gameart is by configuration and features similar to Book of Ra & Book of Dead slot games. The main symbol Scull acts both as a wild and a scatter. As with many high volatility machines, base game will not provide you survival if the bonus feature is not on the horizon. However, it’s all been compensated with the Free Spins round. Spin a wheel to reveal a mysterious symbol and watch for it on the reels as this symbol will expand and form extra winning combinations. On the top of that, Free Spins mode can be retriggered unlimited amount of times – providing you with additional 10 spins with every retrigger.
- Explosive Reels – Explosive Reels is a gold rush themed and action packed 5-reels and 10 paylines video slot. As with Crystal Mystery and many of the GameArt slots, the main symbol (Explosive) acts as wild and scatter. Hit at least scatters to enter the exciting Free Spins round. At the beginning of the bonus, “exploding symbol” is randomly selected amongst the symbols you can find in the Pay Table. Watch for the selected symbol in Free Spins, as it will expand to all the positions on the reel, and unexploded symbols will be moved to the right side of the screen. Free spins bonus can be retriggered giving you higher possibilities for a massive payout.
- Money Farm – Local village farm was the inspiration for one of the most popular video slots developed by GameArt peeps. With only 5 winning paylines and unique bonus feature, this game hides a large winning potential. Whenever you line up a winning combination which includes the Hen (wild symbol), the bonus round is triggered awarding you with 5 free spins. Watch closely for a special Golden Egg symbol during the spins, as it will reward you with the win amount you have won by triggering the feature. Win the feature by lining up top paying symbols and colossal win is almost guaranteed!
Other Software Providers & Land-based Casinos
In this article, we have covered some of the best software providers on the online gambling market and superb high risk slots they are offering. We haven’t included all the high-variance games available, as that would be nearly impossible. At least, a good-sized book would be needed to describe them all. Releases like Medusa (I & II), 300 Shields, Raging Rhino, Bonanza and Great Blue are just some of the titles which could perfectly suit with the term – “high variance” or “high risk”. Nevertheless, some of the games we have described would surely be a good starting point to discover the world of variance & gambling.
As with the online casinos, brick and mortar casinos and slot clubs have their high variance machines. If you are planning to visit Vegas or your nearest land-based casino, check out the following software providers as they are known for developing high-risk games:
- Merkur Gaming
Buffalo, Book of Ra, Cleopatra, Fire of Egypt, Kronos Slots, Kingdom of the Titans, Magic Mirror, Pharaoh’s Fortune, Rumpel Wildspins are just a few of the slot titles you will find at land based casinos. In any case, if you are just looking for the high variance machines, there is no need to pay an expensive trip to Vegas or drive to your local casino. You will find a greater selection online and at your favorite internet casino.
No matter if you love or just hate high risk games, we hope that this article revealed some myths about the variance. Simply speaking, high variance equals to high-risk. And high risk equals to just that – high risk. All the risky games have two sides. Next time you want to break your monitor as you haven’t received a bonus for 500 consecutive rounds, or the one you have just triggered earned you few euros – think for a second. There is a guy on the other side of the globe just smiling and celebrating an insanely huge win on the Dead or Alive slot. Actually, Lilly has just congratulated one of them this morning. As for the slot games mentioned in this article, you will find them at Lilly’s part of the Universe in all forms, shapes, and sizes.