Low Variance vs High Variance Pokies Games Explained

Have you ever felt ripped off while playing the pokies at your local Aussie or New Zealand club or casino?” No bonus wins, no wins in the base play, not even a decent payout even just once? If this is so, you probably have experienced the “slot variance” factor. Exactly what does the term “slot variance” actually mean to punters?

Pokies Variance Quick Start

Let’s take a second to break down the word “variance” so that you may have a better knowledge of what we are battling when it comes to playing the pokies. More so, your gaming experience will not only be more fun but possibly a more a profitable one as well.

To cut to the chase, the work “variance” means “risk.” The basics: when you play a low variance pokies machine, you are playing a “low risk” pokies game. However, the risk element does not affect the expected payout overall. Buy no matter if game that you are playing has an expected RTP (return to player) of between 93% and 97% and it has either a “low variance” or “high variance” level it has no effect at all on overall payouts over a period of time.

The RTP % is always the deciding factor on how much the game is programmed to pay-out.
The important point to note is the variance does affect is how the pokie pays out. This variance will dictate how much you bet per spin, how much of a budget you will need going in and how quickly you are to lose your money. Strategy is very important when it comes to playing.

Key Points Pokies Variance Levels

The key points: Low variance pokies game will pay you a combination of half decent what we call “keep you seated” wins more often than any big wins. In contrast, a high variance pokies machine will give you mostly not many wins at all and very more big size wins. Well the big size win just makes up for all the small wins the machine did not pay-out. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other so to speak as it all evens out over time thanks to the RTP %.

How do you know if a slot machine is low, medium, medium to high, or high “risk?” The paytable may help with some information, but it’s not a true indicator. Sometimes the slot may have a star rating from one to five of the variance factors on the help menu.

When disclosing the variance rating of pokies slots, most casino providers tend to keep this a to themselves. Normally you will find the most popular games are usually the ones with the highest payouts.

High Level Variance Pokies

These games are win big or go home, not for the faint hearted or beginners or those who want to play for a long time on small budgets.

Low Level Variance Pokies

Don’t have a big budget or want to play for long time, low variance pokies are the game for you. Playing low variance games can still result in some pretty good pays.


So, there you have it, an explanation of high variance versus low variance and many variances in-between just to add to the confusion.

Playing high variance pokies is a bit of a roller coaster ride aka. lots of excitement, but while playing low variance pokies it’s more like a Sunday drive in the country aka. some enjoyable time wasting, and nothing wrong with that.

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