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Understanding the RTP on Slot Games: The Definitive Guide

By Elisha Franklin, Updated: June 2, 2024

Slots may be an entertaining form of gambling and they are easy games to play. However, if you want to have the best chances of winning, you will want to learn about the RTP of a game. By learning how the RTP works, you will have a better understanding of how slots operate and will also know what to expect when you access these popular casino choices.

Understanding the RTP on Slot Games

What Exactly is RTP?

When a casino refers to the RTP of the game, they are referring to the Return to Play percentage. These numbers are often provided at online casinos in a list that contains all the percentages for all game at the site. At land casinos, the RTP may not be displayed but can be obtained by asking customer support.

When it comes to slot games, the RTP is usually between 93% and 97%, though some games can be lower or higher. In general, the RTP is the average amount of money that will be won while playing a slot. You need to keep in mind the term average. A slot game with a 95% RTP will pay $95 for every $100 wagered. However, this does not mean betting $100 will guarantee a $95 return. The RTP is a figure that is based on average play and over a period of time.

Even when you choose a game with a high RTP, there is no sure way to know whether you will win. It may be possible to lose all of your money on a single slot without seeing those payouts coming back.

Are Higher RTP Games the Better Choice?

You may immediately think that by playing a game with a high RTP you will benefit from frequent payouts. This is not always the case. Even though these games do have a lower house edge and are appealing, there is never a guarantee you will win. It all comes down to luck. A game with a high RTP may offer small maximum jackpots that are won more frequently.

If you are looking for larger one-time wins, you may benefit from choosing a game that has a lower RTP. These usually have a larger base game and jackpot payouts. Slots that are linked to progressive jackpots typically have a lower RTP. The base game payout will be small, but if you are lucky, you may win that massive progressive.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a slot game and the RTP is just one thing you need to learn about when playing any slot game for real money.

Volatility Plays an Important Role

Volatility is something you should always consider when you are making any slot selection. This refers to how the game actually behaves and whether it is a risky game or a predictable one. Slots that have low volatility will pay more often, but the wins will be for smaller amounts. A game that has high volatility does not pay as often, but you stand the chance at winning larger rewards. When choosing a game, you need to consider the combination of RTP and volatility.

  • Low Volatility and High RTP – Games with low volatility typically have a higher RTP. They pay often but offer small rewards. The money that is wagered on these games are not pooled for large jackpot funds, so you will have more opportunities to collect base game payouts. These types of games are perfect if you are a casual gambler or have a smaller casino budget.
  • High Volatility and Low RTP – High volatility games are just the opposite and they have a much lower RTP in place. These games are often progressive jackpots slots where wagers are pooled to fund the massive jackpot. While you have the chance to win some amazing payouts, you will not benefit from frequent wins and you will find the base game payouts on these slots to be quite low. These are considered high-risk games and are better suited for high rollers.

Choosing the Right Slot Game

Now that you understand how the RTP works, you will be better able to choose a game that meets your gambling needs, fits into your budget, and offers decent chances at winning. Aside from the RTP, there are many other factors you will need to consider when playing any slot. Of course, you will want to have the top chances of being a winner, but you also need to make affordable decisions.

There may be times where playing a game that offers a lower jackpot and more frequent base game wins will be the wise option. This can extend your playing session and actually offer you more opportunities to earn a larger payout over time.

If you are playing video slots, the RTP is not overly important. You will benefit more from focusing on the number of paylines, the betting options, base game features, and bonus rounds. Video slots that have multiple bonus rounds tend to be more rewarding.

Unless you have a hefty budget, you may want to stay away from the risky high volatility games that feature progressive jackpots. These games can be expensive to play and do not offer good returns unless you actually hit that jackpot.

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