Always losing at slots? You are doing it all wrong!

Added: May 25, 2022

Last updated: May 9, 2023

What are the biggest mistakes slots players make?

How many times have you asked yourself: “Is this slot rigged?” You can’t seem to win, whatever you try.

Do you get the feeling that the slot is not paying out as much as it should have? You have put in 1,000 or even 2,000 spins, and your winnings are not even close to the theoretical RTP, the return that is “promised” by the slot?

How often have you experienced this?

That’s because you are doing it all wrong.

Even though it may sound counter-intuitive, there are significant differences in the chances of winning when you compare low, medium and high variance slots.

The theoretical RTP is the payout in the longer run, not after a couple of hundred spins

The theoretical RTP (Return to Player) is what the slot pays out over the longer term. For example, if you make 100 trillion spins of $1.00 each, you get close to $ 96 trillion in return (it will certainly not be $ 95 trillion or $ 97 trillion).

What happens if you do fewer spins, for example, only a couple of hundred spins?

In that case, the chances are significant that you get paid out (very) differently. It can be more. Unfortunately, in many cases, also less. We explain this phenomenon further below.

The most obvious questions are:

  • How often do I get paid less? Or more?
  • Is it possible to lose my entire stake? What are my chances of doing so?
  • Do I have realistic chances to double my stake or even get a massive win of 10 (or more) times my stake?
  • Are there any differences if I play a low, medium or high variance slot?

We will explain your chances of winning (or losing) specific amounts of money when you play a slot.

We will also explain why these chances differ per slot.

Expect a payout that differs from the theoretical RTP, especially if you play a high variance slot.

Put in a few words: If you do lots of spins with a low variance slot, your winnings are closer to the “promised” theoretical RTP.

If you do fewer spins with a high variance slot, you get much more widespread results. You can end up with (almost) nothing OR get paid out hugely!

What is slot variance?

Slot variance is an indicator of how widespread the payout of a slot is. The more widespread these are, the more often massive prizes are paid out. There is a downside with high variance slots: chances of losing (a large part) of your bankroll are also higher.

What characterizes low, medium and high variance slots?

The easiest way to explain slot variance (or slot volatility) is by comparing the prize distribution of slots. How often are small, medium-sized, large and massive prizes paid out?

We have selected 4 of the most popular and well-known slots:

  • One low variance slot (Starburst: theoretical RTP of 96.10%)
  • One medium variance slot (Gonzo’s Quest: theoretical RTP of 96.0%)
  • One high variance slot (Book of Dead: theoretical RTP of 96.76%)
  • One extremely high variance slot (Jammin’Jars: theoretical RTP of 96.83%)

Why did we choose these slots? Simply because these are top-rated slots. They are extremely popular and have a proven track record.

 The prize distribution of slots

Below, we have a table with the size of prizes paid out by each of the four slots.

With Starburst, you see that a prize of 20x to 50x the bet is paid out once every 180 spins. Starburst stands out for this size of (medium-sized) prizes. Compare this to Book of Dead, which pays out this size of the award once every 500 spins.

With Starburst, we have not seen prizes paid out higher than 500x the total bet. If it is paid out, you should consider yourself not just lucky but extremely lucky.  On the contrary, with Jammin’ Jars, an extremely volatile slot, such high prizes are expected pretty often. For example, wins in the range of 1,000x to 2,000 the total bet, are paid out once every 20,000 spins!

You see that the prizes paid out of these four slots are the difference between day and night! We conclude that low variance slots pay out smaller and medium-sized prizes more often than high variance slots. The high variance slots, on the other hand, pay the real massive prizes more often.

So, what are my chances of winning with low, medium and high variance slots?

You have seen what type of prizes are paid out by each of the slots. Let’s now examine what your chances are of winning or losing with each of the four slots.

We have done so by playing 100,000 sessions of 100 spins with each of the four slots. We counted how often we won and how often we lost and by how much.

Curious about the results? See the table below for the outcomes.

mistakes slots players

You see that the results at Jammin’ Jars are much more widespread than with Starburst or Gonzo’s Quest.

With Jammin’ Jars, the chance you lose more than $50 (after 100 spins of $1.00 each) is pretty substantial: 47%.

Compare this to Starburst or Gonzo’s Quest, where the chance of losing $50 or more is much less: 11% and 21%, respectively.

Your chances of having a winning slots session with a decent profit are highest on Jammin’ Jars

With Jammin’ Jars, you have a much bigger chance of winning something extraordinary. The probability is 0.63% that you earn $1,000 or more.

It is a realistic chance, and if you do, you certainly have a great day!

Don’t expect such winnings when you play Starburst.

With Gonzo’s Quest, the chance of winning anything as substantial is also incredibly slim (0.001%)

biggest slots mistakes

Which slot should I play? A low, medium or high variance slot?

This is a tough nut to crack. It is because it depends on your preferences. Some prefer to drive a BMW, and others prefer a Ford.

If you like to have a go at a massive win and don’t mind bearing a risk, you should have a go and play the more volatile slots such as Book of Dead or Jammin’ Jars.

If you are not so keen on taking this risk, as the chances of losing a significant share of your bankroll are too high for you, better play the less volatile slots such as Starburst or Gonzo’s Quest. It implies that you have much less upwards potential, though.

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