How to choose the right online slot

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Have you ever lost some serious money with slots and felt afterwards, that you played the wrong slot? Or that you played too long? Or did anything else wrong?

Of course, it is easier to say afterwards what could have gone better. Everybody makes mistakes. Most important is that we learn from mistakes.

We made hundreds of thousands of spins with the 50 most popular slots. To get an idea of how slots work and to understand when and how often the massive prizes are paid out.

Prizes paid out by slots are different for all slots, making them unique

We found out that all slots are different.

  • Some pay out prizes very often; others don’t.
  • Some pay out massive prizes; others don’t.
  • Some have bonuses or free spins; others don’t.
  • Some have a high variance; others don’t.
  • Some have a high RTP; others don’t.


Slots are so different, which makes them extremely interesting. We are not only talking about the graphics and the sounds but mainly about the financials of slots.

Below, we give you some tips and tricks on slots. See these as a guideline to help you choose the right slot and more critical, understand when you have to stop.

Before we do, we will briefly explain some critical measures for slots such as the theoretical RTP and the variance of a slot.


How online slots differ from each other – 4 slot characteristics

Below we describe briefly the four financial characteristics of slots and what makes each of the slots unique.

The Theoretical return of slots

The theoretical return to player of slots (theoretical RTP) tells you how much the slot pays out in the longer term. If, for example, the Theoretical RTP of a slot is 96%, you can expect to get $96 paid out in prizes for every $100 that you stake. The $4 is then in-built casino house edge. After all, the casino also needs to make money.

The higher the theoretical RTP, the better it is for you as a player.  Usually, online slots have a theoretical RTP between 95% and 98%. If it is higher than 96%, we classify it as reasonable.

Don’t play slots that have a theoretical RTP below 95%. In that case, you are giving too much money away, and it makes sense to find a better paying slot – lots of online slots have a theoretical payout percentage of over 97% or even 98%.

The variance of the slot – higher prizes equals higher variance

Slot variance is an indicator of how often huge (or even mega) prizes are won when you play a slot.

A slot with a high variance has more potential to pay out huge prizes than one with low volatility. When playing low or medium variance slots you can, on rare occasions, maybe win up to 100x to 500x of your bet. Compare that to some high variance slots where you have winnings up to 3,000x, 5,000x or even a mind-blowing 10,000x your stake.

High variance slots, when it comes down to it, offer you an “all or nothing” scenario. Win massive payouts or lose your shirt in a hurry.

Prize distribution of slots

The prize distribution of a slot is linked strongly to the variance of a slot. A high variance slot pays out more massive prizes. Low variance slots pay smaller prizes: these are paid out much more often though. The latter is the major advantage of low variance slots.

Features and free spins

Many slots offer attractive features and free spins. Some slots have many of these, and some slots do not. It is not necessarily the case that slots with more features pay out more. Nevertheless, players get a feeling that this is the case.

Slots work with a Random Number Generator (RNG). The features and the free spins are a visualisation of the prize you have won, which is determined (in advance) by the RNG.

What is the best slot to play? How many spins do I need to make?

Now, that we just took you to the more theoretical part of this story, let’s get to the real deal. The key questions are:

  • What type of slot do I want to play? A high variance or a low variance?
  • How many spins do I want to make?
  • How high should the total bet per spin have to be?
  • How high is my bankroll?
  • When do I stop playing?

Once you have made clear for yourself, what you prefer to do, you can select the right slot and strategy.

These questions look trivial: unfortunately, they are not. We found it is easier to identify ourselves with one of the player profiles we see below.

Do you identify yourself with one of the four slot player profiles below?


Recreational players prefer to take a limited risk. It is more important to have long playtime and not lose too much.

Recreational players don’t expect to win anything more than 1 or 2 times their initial bankroll (with a bankroll of $€100, a profit of $€100 to $€200).


These are players who like to take some risk but don’t want to overdo it. Typically, these players are cautious. They understand that you need to take some risk when playing slots.

They are happy if profits are doubled or trebled. With a bankroll of $€100, a profit of $€200 to $€500 is more than enough.


These are players who accept a lot of risks and accept that there is a good chance that they might lose their entire stake. Nevertheless, they do want some form of entertainment while playing. They prefer to lose everything after a long session rather than lose everything in 5 minutes.

These players typically aim for a profit of 5 to 20 times the initial bankroll (with a bankroll of $€100, a profit of $€500 to $€2,000).


These players want to win huge and accept that chances to lose the entire bankroll are much higher than to win big. Recreation is not so important as winning. Doing spins of $€10 or $€100 is not a problem either.

These players typically aim for a profit of at least 50 times or even 100 (or more) times the initial bankroll. This boils down to a profit of at least $€5,000 or $€10,000 (with a bankroll of $€100).

Decide what your player profile is (low risk or high risk) and choose the slot that meets your wishes best

Below you see what type of slot is most suitable for each of the player profiles we described. Choosing the right slot is not everything, though. Equally, as important is to decide how much you stake per spin.

  • If you are “recreational,” it is better to stake $€0.10 or $€0.20 per spin (assuming your bankroll is $€100). The better slots are the low variance slots.
  • If you like to take more risk, but not overdo it, it is better to have spins of $€1 and play the medium variance slots.
  • If you are a “risk-taker”, you can go for the high variance slots and also increase your stake to say $€1 or $€2 per spin. Alternatively, you aim for the extremely high variance slots and limit your stake per spin to $€1.
  • If you identify yourself with an “all or nothing” player, you have better chances to reach your (very ambitious) goal if you have spins of $€5 or even $€10 (if your bankroll is $€100). You also need to play the high or even the extremely high variance slots. The result is that your session may end after a couple of minutes!


Conclusions – choosing the right slot and stake per spin avoids unnecessary disappointments.

When you play slots, make sure you select the slot that fits best with your player profile. Also, make sure your stake per spin is not too high or too low.

One way to make the right decision is by finding out what the best player profile is (recreational/cautious, moderate risk taker, high-risk taker, all-or-nothing player).

If you are an all or nothing player and you play a low variance lot, you will not reach your goal and therefore most likely lose your entire stake. If you stake only $1 per spin, you will not reach your target either.

If you are a cautious/recreational player, you have much better chances to make a modest profit with a low variance slot rather than a high variance slot.

In the end, there are thousands of slots to choose from. Below you see a list of the most popular low variance slots, medium variance slots, high variance slots and extremely high variance slots.