High-Variance Slots

High-volatility slots offer fewer wins but with much larger payouts. Most massive jackpot wins happen on highly volatile slot games.

Are you looking to quadruple your bankroll through just a few spins at slots? High-Variance slots can offer that intense anticipation of incredible payouts with just a few spins.

Slot variance (or, slot volatility) is equivalent to the risk present in the game. Players and software providers use this data to indicate the risk-vs-reward rate of a game.

Can high-volatility slot games help you collect a fortune, or will they quickly empty your bankroll instead? The way you approach slots with higher volatility is completely different from playing low-variance slots – they both follow almost opposite strategies. We answer that question by taking a close look at real money slots with a high variance.

High-Variance Slots Explained

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High-variance slots offer rarer but larger payouts than low-volatility slots. With a high-volatility slot game, you may go through long and low-paying spins before hitting a decent payout.

Obviously, a smaller number of wins tends to have bigger payouts to compensate and reach the machine’s return-to-player rate. Generally, these wins are triggered by matching high-valued symbols or triggering one of the game’s bonus features.

While massive payouts make high variance slots appealing, the risk involved can lead to an empty bankroll. If you are looking to get a massive return or one of the progressive jackpots, you need a significant starting bankroll when playing high variance games.

10 Best High-Variance Slots

NameDeveloperVarianceRTP
Immortal RomanceMicrogamingVery High96.86%
Ice and FireYggdrasilHigh96.64%
Book of DeadPlay’n GoHigh96.21%
Jurassic ParkMicrogamingHigh96.67%
MontezumaWMSHigh95.86%
Medusa MegawaysSG GamingHigh96.28%
Punk RockerNoLimit CityHigh96.01%
300 Shields NextgenHigh95.29%
Pink ElephantsThunderkickMedium to High96.10%
Blazing StarMerkurHigh96.31%
LIst of the 10 Best High-Volatility Slot Games

1. Immortal Romance (Microgaming)

Microgaming’s Immortal Romance is a high-variance real money slot game with a return-to-player rate of 96.86%. Its main feature is its Chamber of Spins that comes in four different flavors. Each mode offers varying numbers of free spins of 10, 15, 20, and 25 as well as bonus features such as a 5x bet multiplier and Rolling Reels.

To select the modes with higher free-spins, you need to trigger The Chamber of Spins’ available modes four times. You will need to spin the reels for a significant period to unlock the mode with 25 free spins and the Wild Vine mechanic. 

Immortal Romance (Microgaming)
Immortal Romance (Microgaming)

2. Ice and Fire (Yggdrasil)

Shared Wilds Feature from Yggdrasil's Ice & Fire slot game.
Shared Wilds Feature

With a cascade-reel mechanic, the popular Ice and Fire slot game developed by Yggdrasil boasts two 5-reel grids and stacked symbols. Ice and Fire offers action-packed high-volatility and an RTP of 96.64%. This slot’s prominent feature is the Shared Wilds, which creates copies of its wild symbols to the opposite reel grid within the same position. Shared Wilds will retrigger after creating a match as long as there are wilds in the opposite reel.

Upon triggering the Free Spins feature, select the Ice or Fire dragon to receive up to 15 free spins with 100 or 150 Wild symbols.

3. Book of Dead (Play’n Go)

Using a simple 5×3-reel and 10-payline mechanic, Book of Dead by Play’n Go may seem underwhelming on the surface. You receive 10 free spins when matching the Scatter Symbol along with a random Expanding Symbol, which is either one of the high-valued symbols. Book of Dead offers a relatively high return-to-player rate at 96.21% and high variance.

When selecting the Expanding Symbol, you can create a match on the reels, and the symbol expands to cover the reels and is matched regardless of any reel between them.

Book of Dead by Play'n Go
Book of Dead by Play’n Go

4. Jurassic Park (Microgaming)

Based on Stephen Spielberg’s movie, Microgaming’s Jurassic Park slot game comes with a 5×3 reel grid and 243 ways to win mechanic. It embeds a 96.67% RTP rate and is a rather high-volatility slot. During the base game, the slot’s T-Rex Alert Mode will randomly activate to add 6 free games along with up to 35 wild symbols.

Just like the diverse range of dinosaurs within the park, this slot offers five Wild Dinosaurs features with different features. You have the Tyrannosaurus Rex that creates Wild Reels within random reels. Another example is the Velociraptors Wild that creates a Wild symbol with a massive bet multiplier around the reels.

Jurassic Park slot game by Microgaming
Jurassic Park is a high-variance slot game by Microgaming.

5. Montezuma (SG Gaming)

What makes SG Gaming’ Montezuma slots’ Free-Spins feature is its bonus wheel. You can win around 3 to 25 spins when you match at least three of the Shield Scatter symbol. Additionally, WMS has a medium RTP rate at 95.86% and a decently high variance level.

Upon winning your set of free games, you spin a second wheel to determine your bet multiplier. Throughout the free-spins mode, you can extend the bonus mode by matching the Shield Scatter symbol. You get the most out of the bet multiplier of Montezuma’s bonus mode when you keep matching the scatter symbol.

Montezuma Slot by WMS (SG Gaming)
Montezuma Slot by WMS (SG Gaming)

6. Medusa Megaways (Nextgen & SG Gaming)

Medusa Megaways is a high-RTP slot game (96.28%) with high variance developed by Nextgen and SG Gaming. In this tumbling-reel slot game, Medusa Megaways introduces a progressive Win Multiplier within its Bonus Mode that keeps growing every time you match any symbols. Thanks to its cascade reel mechanic, you can increase your Win Multiplier more than once in just one spin.

Four symbols at the top of the second, third, fourth, and fifth reels can randomly turn into expanding wilds or scatter symbols during the bonus mode. You can continue growing the Win Multiplier by matching more Scatter symbols thanks to this special bonus feature.

7. Punk Rocker (NoLimit City)

Punk Rocker offers a 96.01% return-to-player rate on top of nerve-wracking high volatility.

No Limit City’s Punk Rocker Scatter symbols hold a rich selection of game features. One of these features is the xWays Mystery Symbol that holds 2 to 4 symbols and expands them within the reels.

While the base game of Punk Rocker has only 5 reels, the Civil War and Anarchy Freespins mode unlocks the 6th reel that boosts the 243 ways to win mechanic to 729 ways. Both modes also have their features such as Scatters becoming Jumping Wilds throughout the free games.

8. 300 Shields (Nextgen)

300 Shields from Nextgen Gaming standout mechanic is the Battle Feature Free Games that has a sword bar to the right side of the reels. Every time two Shield symbols appear on the reels, you receive 5 free spins. No wonder you get an RTP rate of 95.29% alongside a loved-by-all high variance.

When you match two Shield symbols during the bonus game, you receive a 5x bet multiplier. This bet multiplier increases to 25x by matching six more Shield symbols and up to 300x upon getting 12 more shields.

9. Pink Elephants (Thunderkick)

Using a 6×4 reel grid, Pink Elephants by Thunderkick has a whopping 4,096 pay ways and a robust Bonus Feature. The return-to-player rate sits at 96.10% with a medium-to-high variance level.

During the Bonus Mode, four-character counters to the left become active. Pink Elephant symbols with a glowing orb fill each of the counters. When a character symbol is full, the symbol turns into a Pink Elephant symbol for the succeeding free games.

You can rack up the payout rate of your Bonus Mode upon turning all four character symbols into the Pink Elephant, allowing you to frequently match the highly valued symbol.

10. Blazing Star (Merkur)

Merkur developed Blazing Star slot game with an RTP rate of 96.31% and relatively high volatility. Blazing Star boasts a 5×3 reel grid, 5 paylines, and no bonus features. Despite being your basic 5-reel slots, Blazing Star showcases the authentic high-variance experience. About four of the fruit symbols give you five times your bet when you match five of them.

This slot’s titular Blazing Sun symbol pays out about 100 times your bet upon matching five of these. With a simpler mechanic, Blazing Sun offers a straightforward experience of high-risk gameplay.

High-Volatility Slots: Pros & Cons
High-Volatility Slots: Pros & Cons

Why People Play High-Variance Slots

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While players have various reasons for playing high-variance slots, people have two motives when looking for these games.

Incredibly High Payouts

High payout slots have their gravity field, drawing people in with their promise of a fortune for anyone lucky enough to win them. Much of these fortunes can go beyond $1 million such as the ones offers by Mega Moolah. Reasonable payouts that are non-jackpot amounts among high-variance slots can go up to $50K.

Simple or classic-theme slots let you win these incredible payouts by matching three or five of the high-valued symbols. Other slots have their best possible payouts hidden behind a bonus feature such as a jackpot wheel.

Exciting Wins

Imagine 10 boxes in front of you. Only three of them contain a prize and you can only choose one box. With a 3 to 10 odds of picking a winning box, imagine the excitement and adrenaline rush you are likely to feel when you choose one with a prize.

Players can experience the same thrill with high-variance slots. With a long dry spell, wins become a spectacular sight to see since they provide large payouts than low-variance slots.

Reasons To Avoid High-Variance Slots

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Despite the exciting risk-vs-reward aspect, there are two solid reasons why people do not want to spend their money on high-variance slots.

Fewer Wins

Not everyone is comfortable with betting their bankroll on a slot that is less generous of its cash payouts. High-variance slots have a low win percentage, resulting in a trickle of payouts after spinning the reels several times. While certain players can be lucky enough to get a huge return on their bet, a majority of patrons will likely experience a long drought of winless spins.

Large Bankroll Requirement

Slots that payout the most are likely to empty a patron’s bankroll within minutes because of the volatility. High-variance slots can easily eat 20 to 200 times the minimum bet within an hour. You will need a significant starting bankroll of more than 200 times the bet to see a significant return.

High-Volatility Slots: FAQ

To help you understand what is a high-variance slot, we collected the most common questions about this game and provide an answer to each of them.

What are high-variance slots?

Highly volatile slots offer riskier gameplay with a large payout. With a risk involved, only a small percentage of your overall spins will give you a payout or significant returns.

Do they offer better payouts?

Payouts from high-variance slots can break past the $1 million marks. You can also double or triple your initial bankroll when you match five of the high-paying symbols or trigger a slot’s bonus feature.

Are high variance slots different from high-RTP slots?

Variance is a measure of win percentage while return-to-player measures your expected return after several spins. High-volatility slots tend to have low to medium RTP due to their volatility.

Can you find high-variance slots in Las Vegas casinos?

There are several high-variance slots among all Las Vegas casinos. Microgaming’s Champions is one example, which a Viking-themed 5-reel 30-payline slot.

Is playing high-volatility slots worth it?

When you want that life-changing payout or a chance to get 10 times your bankroll, high-variance slots are worth playing. Keep in mind that volatility can change your luck in an instant.

High-volatility slots offer a heart-pounding experience through their low win percentage with high payouts. Those who are willing to take the risk can find a rich selection of high-volatility slots among various casinos.