If you’re a newbie player the chances are that you don’t know a whole lot about online slots, how these games work or what payback means. In general, you don’t really need to know these things. Slots are simple machines where all you need to do is set your bet, hit the spin button and hope for the best. Right?
Well, not exactly. Yes, slots are games of chance so whether you win or lose on a certain game depends purely on your luck. But on the other hand knowing how slots work and what payouts you can expect to get on certain games can be a huge asset for you. You can plan which games to play at the casino, which bets to use and the expected payouts you can get in return. In the end all of this will help you become a better slots player and increase your chances in making a real money withdrawal at the casino.
Return to Player (RTP) explained
One of the first things most players look for when they encounter a slot which they know nothing about is the RTP value. This is the promoted value which the slot is expected to return to the player in forms of winnings, over a period of time. The RTP value differs from one slot to another.
Some slots have a higher RTP value, while others have a lower one. In general, online video slots come with a promoted RTP value of around 96%. So what does this mean exactly? Let’s see a few examples.
Playing 100 spins on a slot with an RTP value of 91%
Playing 100 spins on a slot with an RTP value of 99%
Playing 100 spins on a slot with an RTP value of 96%
So let’s assume that we are playing flat $1 bets per spin in all examples above with a starting bankroll of $100. Once the spins are over our actual bankroll is as follows:
Bankroll of $153
Bankroll of $83
Bankroll of $112
Not quite the results you expected are they? So, why is this so? Well you see the RTP value of a slot is not fixed at all times. This value will be reached, but only after millions of spins. In the meantime, a slot with a promoted RTP value of 99% can have a current RTP value of 40%, 400% or any other value.
Depending on what the RTP value was for those 100 spins you got different results. In the first example the slot hit a bonus round and you got a nice payout. Thus the profit of $53, despite the lowest promoted RTP value. To understand this even more keep on reading to learn about other mechanisms which affect the payouts in slots.
Understanding how slots work
In reality, from a player’s point of view, slots are very simple games. There are no special rules which you need to learn and no betting patterns to abide by. The only options you have available are the size of your bet and the spin button.
When you hit the spin button the reels will spin and the symbols will land on the screen, giving you a payout or not. But what makes slots work and what affects the payouts on the screen? How can one slot hit a payout of 1,000 times the total stake on the fifth spin, while another can eat away hundreds of dollars without paying anything decent. Let’s take a slot apart and see what generates the payouts on the reels.
Random Number Generator (RNG)
The RNG is a mechanism which makes sure that the outcome of every spin in the slot is random and in no correlation with the previous one. This is what makes predicting the outcome of the next spin impossible. You never know when the slot with hit a bonus round and pay big.
If you did, well you’d be a millionaire by now and probably close a few casinos along the way. But in reality there is no way to tamper with the RNG of a slot game or affect the payouts in any way.
A common myth among many players is that when the slot starts hitting 2 Scatters on the reels a bonus round is nearby. So the advice here is to raise the bet and catch the bonus on a higher bet. What happens next? Sometimes this can work and you hit a bonus round and win big.
But many other times it doesn’t and you end up losing your entire bankroll. In reality it doesn’t matter what was happening on the reels in the previous spins. The game can shell out a bonus round without hitting one single Scatter in the previous 100 spins. The RNG makes sure that you can’t predict when a bonus will hit.
The slot variance is another important factor to take into consideration when you play slots. This is also a great indicator for the slots payback and what you can expect to happen on the reels. In general slots are divided into Low, Medium and High variance games. So what does this mean in terms of payback?
Well it’s very simple actually. The slot variance is the frequency of payouts on the reels. Low variance slots will produce small but frequent payouts, medium variance means fewer payouts which are bigger in size, while high variance slots should pay big, but only after you put in a big number of spins. Many experienced players refer to the variance of slots as measures of luck. Low variance slots are lucky games with frequent payouts, while high variance slots are unlucky machines which can eat away your bankroll pretty fast.
RTP, RNG and Variance in real play
Ok, so now you know how slots work and what makes them spin. Let’s see how all of these factors translate to the reels in a real game. Again we will use a few examples of slots with different values.
High Variance slot, RTP value of 94%
Low Variance slot, RTP value of 99%
Medium Variance slot, RTP value of 96%
Once again we will play 100 spins on each game with a starting bankroll of $100. Once the spins are over our results are as follows:
Bankroll of $563
Bankroll of $112
Bankroll of $61
So let’s explain what happened to the payback, based on the slot variance and the RTP value. In the first example the high variance slot shelled out a great bonus round with a payout of 500 times the total stake, giving us a hefty profit. Considering the variance and the RTP value this was not expected, but again the RNG came into action and surprised us.
In the second example the slot did what it was expected. We got steady payouts in most of the spins, leaving us with a small profit of $12.
In the last example the slot simply failed to meet our expectations. We were expecting a small profit or a minimum loss, but instead we ended up losing $39, meaning that the promoted value of the slot during the spins was only 61%.
So you can easily see how the payouts can be predicted on some slots and work in your favor. But this is never consistent, since all of the mechanisms work together and form the payouts on the reels. This is why you can hit a great bonus round fast on a high variance, low RTP slot and win big or lose hundreds of dollars on a high RTP, low variance slot.
Advantages of knowing the slots payout
The biggest advantage players can have from knowing the slots payout is to know what to expect during the game play. But, as we explained before, you also need to consider the variance of the game and the RNG, knowing that the results you expect may not happen. So how can you create a strategy for playing slots based on the promoted payouts? Well quite simple.
You know that low variance, high RTP slots are games which will create frequent payouts which are smaller in size. So which strategy can you use here? The first one is to simply make a bigger deposit, claim a bigger bonus and play these games on higher bets. In theory you can gradually increase your balance because you are playing on higher bets, without losing any of your balance. You can easily switch among slots with similar promoted values and after some time you can rack up a hefty amount for a withdrawal.
Other players like to use these games when wagering massive bonus amounts, with pretty much the same strategy. The goal here is to keep as much of your winnings as you can, while clearing the wager.
Another strategy many players use is to target high variance slots with medium or small bets. The strategy here is to simply put in enough spins in order to force the game to award you a bonus round and pay big. But since high variance slots are highly volatile a bonus round may not come at all. On the other hand, you can trigger one in the first 50 spins and end up with a massive payout. In the end it all depends on the current slots payback and your luck on what will happen on the reels.
RTP values of online slots vs land based ones
Online slots have an average payback value of about 96%. So in theory the casino has a house edge of 4% when it comes to payouts from slots. Why is this important? Well if you compare the slots payback value at online casinos to land based ones you will see that it’s considerably higher. Online casinos in general have a lot less running costs than land based casinos. So they can afford to offer their players slots with a higher payback value.
At land based casinos the slots payback is regulated by law. Depending on the country in question the casino can have slots with a payback as low as 80%. You can easily do the math and see that for you as a player it’s much more profitable to play slots at online casinos, rather than at land based ones. In the end online casinos don’t have to buy properties, set up casinos and hotels or employ hundreds of employees to run everything. This results in more money going back to the players, in form of winnings.
How do you find the slot RTP value?
This is relatively easy to do. Most software providers will display the slot RTP value in the game rules or game information. All you need to do is open up a game and visit the rules section in order to find out the right value. Some providers will also display the slot variance there. If such information is not available, you can visit the provider website and do some research there. But some providers in the industry don’t offer this info to players.
The values are kept confidential for business customers only. So in order to learn the value you would need to open up an online casino and see how the entire process works. Another simple way to learn the RTP value for a slot is to do a basic Google research. There are many affiliate websites, including our own, which will display the RTP value for certain slots. As you can see the choices are big. All you need to do is decide which method works best for you and you can find the payback value for pretty much any slot you want.
Best payback slots online
Ok, so we explained in detail pretty much all you need to know about how slots work and how the payouts are formed. Now what about the best payback slots online? Which games take home the title? Well this question can be answered in two ways.
The simplest way to answer this is to take the slot RTP value into consideration. So the best payback slots would be the ones which have an RTP value of 99% or even more. Yes, this is possible. Even though the house edge on these slots is very small, the casino will still make a profit in the long run. But the problem with most of these games is that the payout potential is simply too small to be worth playing.
This is why for many players the best payback slots are high variance slots and progressive jackpots. The answer can be a bit strange as you know that these games are very hard to win on and they can eat a lot of balance without paying anything decent in return. But here we are talking about the best payback slots in terms of payout potential.
So let’s take a look at Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune for example. These are the two most popular progressive jackpots in the world. The top prize in these games is pooled over the entire Microgaming and NetEnt network, so it easily reaches tens of millions of dollars. So, what are the chances of winning the Mega jackpot? Well astronomical to say the least.
But consider another detail. The top prize in these slots can be won by any player, playing on any bet. This means that you have a chance of winning the top jackpot while playing on minimum bet. Like we said the chances are astronomical as the games are played by thousands of players across the world each hour. But, nevertheless this has happened. A player from the UK won £13 million on Mega Moolah, while playing on minimum bet. That payout equates to 52 million times the total stake. So you can easily see why for many player’s progressive jackpots which can be won on minimum stake are the best payback slots which you can play across online casinos.
Other Important factors to consider when playing slots
When choosing which slots to play at online casinos you need to take other factors into consideration, rather than just the promoted RTP value and the game variance.
The paytable in a slot is very important if you want to know what payouts the game can produce during base play. This is best done when you consider the payout potential a slot can have, without the bonus features involved. It’s a very simple process where you take the lowest, the medium and the highest payouts the slot can produce in terms of times per bet payouts.
For example, the lowest payout in a slot can be 0.5 times the bet, the medium payout can be 5 times the bet, while the highest payout can be 20 times the total bet. But another slot with the same RTP value and variance can have a better paytable.
The lowest payout can be 1 times the total bet, the medium payout can be 8 times the total bet, while the top payout can be 30 times the total bet. Naturally it would be better for you to go for the second slot.
Why is this important? Simply because the base play payouts dictate your bankroll as you play the game. If the base play payouts are higher, then you can put in a bigger number of spins in the game and have a bigger chance to trigger the bonus round.
The bonus features are another important factor to consider when looking for the best slots payout. If the game in question has a solid paytable you want to see a good bonus feature which can create bigger payouts.
For example, a slot has a top paying symbol of 50 times the total stake and a free spins bonus with a x3 win multiplier. So the top payout per payline can be 150 times the total stake. But another slot with the same top payout has a Sticky Wilds or Wild Reels free spins bonus.
So here you have a chance to land a big number of Wilds and hit much bigger payouts. By carefully planning on which slot you want to invest your money according to the bonus features you have a better chance in hitting big payouts.
Maximum promoted payout
The maximum promoted payout in a slot usually correlates to the paytable and the bonus features. If a slot has a weak pay table and simple bonus features, you can expect the maximum promoted payout to be lower. But on the other hand slots which have a rich paytable and attractive bonus rounds will surely come with a higher maximum promoted payout.
In all fairness hitting the maximum payout in the game can be a Sisyphean task, but it doesn’t mean that with some luck on your side it won’t happen. So when it does it’s better to walk away with a payout of several thousand times the total stake, rather than a few hundred.
Our Final Thought on best slots payback
We hope that after reading our guide on the best slots payback you managed to understand how slots work a little better and how to find the best payback slots across online casinos. As we explained this is pretty easy to do. All you need to do is devote some time for research and come up with a play strategy which suits you the best.
Our advice is to play all of the slots in fun play first, before you make a real money deposit. This will easily give you an idea on how the games will behave during real play and what you can expect in terms of payouts. You can later use this info when you make a real money deposit. It’s also advisable for newbie players to start playing with a bonus first.
This way if you don’t have any luck with the best slots payback you won’t lose too much of your own money. It’s always a good idea to try the game’s first with minimum risk to your bankroll and what better way to do this than with some free money from the casino.