Are High Variance Slots a Good Idea?

Jack Harris
by Jack Harris
High Variance Slots Machines

Slots, in general, are some of the most popular casino games on the planet for a number of reasons. For starters, they give players the chance to win a lot for a little, as they are a lot more affordable compared to table and card games. They are also some of the most captivating and entertaining games to play. No special skills or experience are needed, with the exception of video poker games that require the use of some strategy / a certain level of knowledge. Most casinos on the web offer loads of excellent incentives in the form of free spins for playing pokies for real money – yet another powerful argument that contributes to their popularity.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Most gamblers are rarely bothered about the type of slots they play online. Since most games offer pretty much the same winning odds, game features/action, players will randomly select whatever catches their eye first and indulge in fun hours of gameplay. The good news is that most of today's games are powered by software companies that use advanced solutions, designs and features that for a flawless experience. So not having a favourite you play all the time is not necessarily a bad thing. Diversity and versatility keep players happy and casinos filled with customers.

On the other hand, having some knowledge on the way a game has been designed and its payout structure can ease the selection and make it more satisfying. All slots come with their particular features that attract players for one reason or the other (theme, jackpots, bonus rounds, paylines, number of reels, special symbols). There are also certain aspects that can put off players, as they considerably affect the way a game is played, as well as its payout: variance.

What Are Slot Variances?

All slot games feature a certain level of variance and this refers to the level of "risk" involved. Knowing what each level means can significantly improve your game and help you know what to expect even before you start to play.

Low variance slots are good for players who are aiming to play as much as possible with their money. They are considered low-risk games thanks to their design. You place a low bet on each spin but the rewards will be low as well. 

Medium variance slots provide players with a medium type of risk thanks to their format and structure.

High variance slots usually require players to use a large bankroll, given their specific structure with high payouts listed on the pay table. Since they can trigger massive winning combos on any payline that has been activated, they can also be extremely rewarding.

Variance is not the same as the house edge or the average return to player a game of slots is prone to trigger over a gameplay session. The return to player refers to the average amount of money that can be paid out in the form of a percentage of the total money that has been wagered on just one game.

Are High Variance Slot Games Worth The Risk?

These games usually rely on the Wild Multiplier symbol in order to beef up the value of winning combos formed with the help of these symbols. The same goes for the winning potential of the bonus games found within the main games, thanks to their free spins with huge multipliers. Players can also come across the so-called “pick to win” rounds that enable them to choose various locations off the screen for an unlimited number of times until they come across the Game Over symbol.

The ugly side of these high variance games comes from the fact they are highly risky to play, as they can cause players to lose a lot of money given their high requirements. Plus, there is a smaller number of low and mid-sized winning combos that compensate the large winning combos and the high-paying bonus rounds.

High variance slots owe their great success in Australia thanks to the mind-blowing success that the Megaways game of slots has recorded since its release. Designed under the umbrella of Big Time Gaming, the game is one of the most sought after slot titles thanks to the small fortune in winnings it can potentially bring to its passionate players. Other games like Book of Dead by Play'N Go or Red Tiger's Laser Fruit also offer similarly high levels of risk with the potential of winning massive jackpots. These hot games are heavily promoted by casinos, and review sites are packed with high variance slot reviews and recommendations.

Are these games truly worth the risk? This is a question very few players have found the answer to.

  • The wins may not be as frequent as hoped, and the large wagering volume needed prior to a big hit may not be something all players can indulge in.

  • The odds of hitting a rare high payout spell are extremely small.

  • However, when the Luck Fairy does decide to drop by unannounced, the payouts can skyrocket compared to low or medium risk variance games.

  • If you love adrenaline and taking chances every time you can, these games are definitely for you. Also, if your budget/bankroll allows you to seek for those big win sequences without too much worrying, these games are also probably suited for you.


Whether or not you should play these high-tech games is entirely up to you and your attitude toward gambling/budget size/willingness to take a chance. If smaller risks and more frequent (and smaller) wins are more on your liking, you might want to stick to your regular small and medium variance slots. Australia Casino recommends a rich selection of slots for real money, on top of free play games.

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