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High variance slot machines: features and functioning

Published on March 27, 2019, 2:10 am

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

The final countdown slot
Big Time Gaming’s The Final Countdown High Variance Slot Game

High variance slot games have become increasingly popular in recent years. This has in part been down to the success of Australian game developer, Big Time Gaming, and their high profile Megaways™ slots. With the well-publicised wagering records set by volatile games like Bonanza and Extra Chili, now other game studios have been racing to grab their slice of the action by creating similar titles that offer high risk gambling with massive win potential.

The net result is that these games are hot stuff - online casinos are promoting the games hard, and popular slot fan sites like The Slot Buzz are now packed with high variance game reviews and listings for players eager to find the latest releases.

So it’s very tempting to test your luck.

Indeed, you may have seen some evidence of the possible prizes on offer in the ‘big win videos’ on You Tube in which slot streamers score epic wins on slots like Red Tiger’s Laser Fruit.

But how frequent are these wins, and are they worth the high volume of wagering required before they hit? Here we uncover the maths behind high variance and take a look at two of the latest blockbuster hits to see if you should take a spin on their reels.

What is high variance and why is it so popular?

Variance refers to the variation from the house edge or average Return to Player (RTP) that a game is likely to produce over the course of a gambler’s session.

The RTP is the average amount of money paid out in prizes as a percentage of the total money wagered on a game. So, if for example a game has a high variance and a 95% RTP then whilst over millions of pounds in wagering the game will pay out on average 95%, during that time there will be long spells when the actual RTP is much lower, and infrequent, short spells when the RTP is much higher.

It is this characteristic of these games that makes them high risk – the odds of hitting one of those rare spells of high payouts is very small. But when they come, the prizes are astronomical in comparison to those from more balanced, low variance games. It is also this characteristic that makes the games so popular amongst slots fans who crave the adrenalin rush of one of those blistering big win sequences.

A Big Win Video on You Tube
A Big Win Video on You Tube

So should I play high variance slots?

Whether or not you wish to test your own luck on these high-tech fruit machines depends on your attitude to gambling. If you love high risk and big potential then these slots will be right up your street. Just remember that when approaching a game like Play n Go’s famous Book of Dead for example, you should always tread carefully. The nature of the maths behind any high variance slot means that more often than not it will burn through your bankroll in no time with little or no prize payout before you even get close to one of the legendary big wins.

So if you do decide to give high variance a try, always set yourself a sensible budget, and drop your stake value per spin to a level which will give you a decent amount of play time even if you don’t get many winning spins.

And if you prefer less risk and a smoother gambling experience with more frequent, smaller wins, then we advise you to stay well clear!

2 high variance slots we recommend to try

To conclude, let’s look at two of the best new high variance slots to play.

1) The Final Countdown – This is Big Time Gaming’s long-awaited follow-up to Danger! High Voltage, a classic high variance game loved by slots players. This one features a classic 80s rock soundtrack and has the stand-out features of cloning reels and wild multipliers. That means up to 4 reels can display identical symbols during a spin, and wilds with 256x multipliers on them can appear simultaneously. This combination with free spins added in too makes for some edge-of-the-seat gambling with up to 36,000x payout potential.

2) Lightning Strike Megaways™ – This Norse-warrior themed game from Blueprint features Big Time Gaming’s Megaways™ engine under license. We recommend it because you get the best of Blueprint’s excellent design and creativity mixed with the hard-edge of the Megaways™ mechanic. The result? A beautiful looking game with an abundance of wilds, expanding wilds, free spins and multipliers, that combine to drive epic wins when the stars align.

In our opinion, these are two of the best new high variance games. Try them if you dare and remember to play responsibly.


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