Online slots are a game of chance and variance. While all slots have a built-in house edge casino profits over the long run, in the short run you experience huge swings up and down. All casino games have variance, which refers to how much your results will swing between winning and losing in the short run. Slots are high-variance games, meaning you could experience long losing streaks but also long winning streaks within a short period.
The variance comes from the slot’s hit frequency and payout size. Hit frequency refers to how often a slot pays out. Slots with a high hit frequency pay out frequently but usually in smaller amounts. Lower hit frequency slots pay out less often but with bigger payouts. Higher variance slots have a lower hit frequency and bigger payouts.
Adjusting your bet size for high variance slots
High variance slots quickly deplete your bankroll if you’re not careful with your betting strategy. Here are some tips for adjusting your bet size on high-variance slots:
- Start small – High variance slots experience long droughts between payouts. If you start betting too big too soon, you could bust your bankroll before hitting a big win. Start with smaller bets to endure the dry spells.
- Set win goals, not time goals – Don’t plan to play high variance slots for a set amount of time. Instead, set a win goal amount and stop when you hit it so you don’t lose your profits chasing losses.
- Lower bets after big wins – It’s easy to get carried away after a big win and increase your bets substantially. But a single win doesn’t mean the slot is hot. Lower your bets back down after a big score to protect your profitsClick here for more info.
- Have a large bankroll – To endure the swings of a high variance slot, you need a large bankroll. Have at least 100 times your minimum bet size, and more if possible. This allows you to bet smaller relative to your bankroll size.
Watching for Streaks
Regardless of variance, all slots go through hot and cold streaks. The key is identifying when a machine is on a legitimate hot or cold streak and adjusting your bets accordingly. Here are some signs a slot is heating up or cooling down:
- Hot machines hit bonus features more frequently – Free spins, mini-games, and bonus jackpots occurring more often indicate a slot is hot. Increase your bets.
- Payout frequency increases substantially – If you notice more frequent payouts, even small ones, it may be time to raise your bets.
- Losing spins feel “close” – Near misses with two bonus symbols or just missing top jackpot combinations indicate a cold machine is potentially about to heat up.
Getting in sync with slot variance
Learning to adjust your bet sizes based on each slot game’s variance and streaks takes practice. Whether you prefer volatile high-variance slots or steadier low-variance games, use these tips to tune your betting strategy and get in sync with slot variance. Over time, you learn to ride the hot waves and avoid getting wiped out by the icy cold swings.