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How to tell if a pokie is a high or low volatility game

What is volatility
Every time you are looking for strategies to maximise your time at the pokies you are going to come across this word – volatility. You might also hear people referring to it as variance. They are one and the same. Volatility does not affect the payout percentage of a game, it simply affects the size of your payout. A low volatility game will pay out small and often while a high volatility game will pay out big but not so often.
Why volatility is important when playing pokies
Volatility can affect your enjoyment of the game. No one likes to lose on almost every spin, but many enjoy the anticipation of a big win around the corner. High stake players and other seasoned pokie players tend to go for games that are highly volatile.

Volatility can throw the edge in your favour in the short run. In the long run the casino always has an edge and, with the way that pokies are programmed, there is no way around it.
Tell-tale signs of volatility
High volatility pokies have big payouts for their top symbols and substantially smaller ones for the lower paying symbols. Taking a peek at the payout table will give you a clue. The perfect example is a progressive pokie that pays out a huge jackpot. Some of these progressives might take many years to pay out, but the anticipation of being that big winner leads many to throw a couple bucks at it at least.

The feature rounds again are another clue. There are 2 kinds of feature rounds. One is a free spins round and the other is a pick ‘em bonus round, where you select objects to reveal a value. The pick ‘em bonus rounds indicate that a game may have a lower volatility. Horror House is a great example of one such game. In fact, Horror House offers both kinds of feature rounds. Free spins bonus rounds in high volatility slots are where the big payouts often are. A free spins bonus round that offers many free spins plus lots of additional features during the feature can indicate that this pokie has a higher than average variance.
Does the gamble feature affect volatility?
The gamble feature does affect volatility in the way that it offers the chance of a big payout in one go. But it also affects the payout ratio of the pokie whereas true volatility doesn’t. if you are the kind of player that enjoys exhilarating games, playing the gamble feature can give you that excitement but the more you play it the lower the payout percentage goes for your play on that machine. Consistently playing the gamble feature on every single win can, over time, bring a payout rate from 95% to 50% over time.
Programmed to be random
When discussing how pokies are programmed the question that almost always gets asked is how can something that promises to be random also be programmed? Pokies are programmed to be random within certain limits. These limits are essentially how many reels the pokie has, how many symbols on each reel and how many stops – in other words, can a reel stop on the spaces between symbols or only one a symbol.

The more reels, the more symbols per reel, and the more stops creates more possible winning combinations. Some of the most complex pokies today have billions of possible combinations. The randomness of a pokie operates within the limits of the millions of combinations.
Closing words
When choosing your game, always choose it based on your preferences, that way enjoyment and relaxation become a priority and winning becomes a bonus.
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