If you often read slot reviews then you've probably come across the acronym RTP before. RTP , as you may know, is the return to player rate of a slot. This is normally represented as a percentage, yet if you don't fully understand what the numbers mean then today's your lucky day! In this guide, we're explaining not only what a RTP percentage means, but how it affects gameplay and how you can make sure you're getting the most from the slots you play. We'll be looking at what a good RTP may be, what ‘house edge' means and how knowing more about all of this will improve your gaming experience.
As we mentioned above, RTP stands for ‘return to player' and represents the rate at which you'll receive your money back… sort of.
RTP rates are the percentage of total wins, over the total stakes played. However, they are theoretical. This means that the RTP percentage is calculated over a extended period of play, and doesn't represent what happens each time the game is played. For example, if a slot has a 96% RTP, you shouldn't expect to win an average of 96p per £1 you wager.
Thi is because sometimes, your 96p could be going towards somebody else's win, or somebody else's stake could be contributing to the £50 you've just cashed in. The RTP of a slot isn't evenly distributed as, if it was, that'd be the same as paying 4p to play rather than gambling. If the RTP was fixed on every spin, who would even play as they know they'd be losing out.
The beauty of gambling is in the uncertainty; the idea that for your £1, you could be taking five other players' 96ps and winning £4.80. An RTP is a measure of all the games played by all players, pooled together. So, for example, if you take home £250 from a £10 session, you' can calculate your personal RTP at 2500%, yet this means that it's likely that many other players have experienced an RTP lower than the advertised percentage.
Reading above, you may be tempted to think that if a game's RTP isn't even representing your gameplay, then why consider it at all?
Well, if you look at the flipside of an RTP, it shows the ‘house edge'. Every mobile casino has a house edge or house advantage on each casino game, and this is their profit. Naturally, casinos wouldn't be able to stick around if they didn't make a little something from your gaming.
The house edge is the exact opposite of the RTP. So, for example, if a slot offers a 96% RTP, this means it also has a 4% house edge.
These figures are useful if you want to see if your game's worth playing. Whilst either of these numbers won't predict what happens in the short term (as you probably know, anything can happen in the short term), they do predict the long term results of the game and ultimately, show how generous and fair your game of choice is.
A decent slot should offer no less than a 94% RTP. Any slot under this amount is probably best to avoid, yet in recent years we've also seen the rise of slots which alter their RTP based around how long you play. These kind of slots are the type that may offer ‘levels' as a feature. The more you play, the higher level you reach in the game, the higher the RTP rises.
It would seem fairly obvious then, that gamers should always choose slots with a high RTP and a low house edge. However, this isn't always the case as sometimes as players need to consider the slot's volatility (or variance) too. Volatility refers to how risky a slot is to play. Broadly speaking, low volatility slots will pay out frequent small amounts, whilst high volatility slots will pay out large sums once in awhile.
High volatility slots will often have a lower RTP (or a higher house edge), but this isn't to say they aren't worth playing. These types of slots are high risk, but do offer much bigger wins than regular games. By this we mean that when playing these types of games you run the risk of spinning for quite a while without any substantial rewards.
This is because your 96p (if we consider the example used above) is being stored up by the slot to create one huge payout. As mentioned earlier, you have no way of knowing if you'll receive the money or another player will. This considered, it's generally ok for these slots to have a lower RTP; highly volatile slots often offer an RTP of around 94% but some games can go as low as 92%.
On the other hand, low volatility slots will boast a higher RTP. These slots are low risk yet, as you can probably guess by now, offer lower payouts. Low volatility slots pay out frequently, which makes them perfect for casual gamers or those who want their budget to last longer. The RTP of these slots is higher as they're not pooling the money so often. Using the same example as earlier, this means that it's less likely that your money will go to somewhere else. That being said, low volatility slots offer much lower jackpots than high variance games.
As you can see, it's important to consider both a slot's RTP and its volatility. First and foremost, you need to decide what you want from your game. If you want your session to last longer, and you're happy with walking away only a little bit more than what you started with, then low variance slots with high RTPs are for you. Conversely, if you want to take bigger risks and test your luck at winning the jackpot, then high volatility games are what you should be playing, and the RTP of the game becomes less important.