The Best High Variance Slots UK - 2022

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Variance is one of the most influential background mechanics in online slot games, and it can have a major effect on how a slot plays and pays out to you. Compare the best high variance slots and where you can play them, and brush up on the concept with our in-depth guide to how slot variance works.

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Variance, or volatility, is arguably the most important factor to consider when you’re selecting an online slot.

Our guide below will take you through everything you need to know about what it is and how it works.

If you’re already in the know, or our guide whets your appetite, our rankings of the best high volatility slots will show you the best high-risk, high-reward slots and where you can play them.

Compare sites and slots, read expert reviews, and sign up to your best fit.

The Best High Volatility Slots - July 2022

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Rank Slot Game Reels Paylines VARIANCE RTP Claim Bonus
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at Plaza Royal
Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead of a classic online slot that you'll see featured at the top end of most online casino's slot catalogues. It's a firm favourite among players and it's frequently featured for free spins bonuses and welcome bonus packages. This Play'n GO game is a high volatility slot with a decent RTP at 96.21%, minimum bets of 1p and maximum bets of £100. The Egypt-themed slot features a free spins bonus round with an expanding wild, and there's a maximum multiplier of 5000x for the luckiest players. Read more
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at Race Casino
This gunslinging slot from NetEnt is another popular one among slots fans set in the Wild West. With high volatility it's not for the faint of heart, but it has a solid maximum RTP of 96.82% to sweeten the deal. You could accrue a huge multiplier of 13,888x your stake if you're lucky, with sticky wilds and free spins to help you along the way. Its maximum bet is £18, which isn't the highest, but lower limits can be beneficial for high volatility slots players expecting rare payouts. Read more
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at Duelz Casino
In recent years, Microgaming’s Immortal Romance has been one of the best slots for winning. There are 243 different ways to win on this 5x3 video slot, producing an RTP rate of 96.8%. Wagers range from 30p to £30, with a jackpot payout of 12,150x the stake. Immortal Romance is a high variance slot – big wins are extremely hard to come by, and players should expect frequent but smaller payouts instead. In fact, Immortal Romance’s hit frequency of 31.21% means that on average, players will find a winning combination almost every three spins.
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at Vegas Spins
Based on the iconic Spielberg film adaptation, Microgaming's Jurassic Park slot brings the easy spectacle of dinosaurs while its high volatility replicates the terror one bearing down on you. There are 243 paylines on this slot across a 5x3 grid, with symbols featuring various dinosaurs and characters from the 1993 classic such as Dr Ian Malcolm, velociraptors, and the scene-stealing T-Rex. Read more
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at Aztec Wins
NetEnt’s Steam Tower comes with five reels, 15 paylines, and an RTP of 97.04%, making it one of the best paying slot games in the UK. Bet limits range from £0.15 to £150, with the biggest jackpot win paying out at 2,000x the stake. During the free spins bonus round – triggered by stacking Wild icons – all bet lines are subject to the in-play multiplier, which updates prior to each free spin and according to the level players are on. Read more

Before You Play, by TopRatedCasinos

Online gambling can be great fun, but it isn’t without its pitfalls. So before you wager your hard-earned cash, let Before You Play arm you with the essential knowledge you need to maximise your enjoyment.

Take a look at Before You Play

How to Play the Highest Variance Slot Games

If you’d like to play some of the best high variance slots around, all you have to do is follow these simple steps.

  1. Browse through our suggestions of the best high variance slots and pick out one you like the look of.
  2. Click through to the casino that’s hosting the game, then head to the sign-up page and fill in your personal information.
  3. Once the casino has completed its identification checks — which may involve uploading some forms of ID — you’ll be ready to make your first deposit.
  4. In the cashier section, review the payment methods on offer and pick your preferred option.
  5. If you’d like to opt-in to a welcome bonus, now is the time to do so. Before you opt-in, it’s essential to read the associated terms and conditions. This will include stipulations such as wagering requirements, time limits, winning caps, game weightings, and payment exclusions — all of these are significant, so make sure you know what’s expected of you in order to turn the bonus into cash.
  6. Make your deposit and spin the reels!

Slot Variance Quickstarter

While all machines will pay out the very smallest prizes with some regularity in order to keep you interested, you will often hear of online slots being referred to as:

Low Variance — which pay out more often, but the value of these payouts will be quite modest. Low variance slots are a fantastic option for beginners, or for players who are looking for a more steady, low-risk and low-reward gambling experience.

Medium Variance — which pay out more often than high variance slots, at higher values than low variance slots. Medium variants slots are arguably the most popular, offering the best of both worlds, although beginners and high-rollers alike will likely prefer playing on the low and high variance ends of the spectrum respectively.

High Variance — which pay out less frequently, but when they do the value of the payout is often large. These slots are recommended for high rollers; it takes a well-laden pot to make the most of high variance slots, but the potential is always there to win a considerable payout.

You may also come across medium-high and low-medium volatility, and these function as you would expect based on the three core variances above.

It’s important to remember that these aren’t firm definitions — a particular casino slot gains a reputation for being either low or high variance after having been played often, and after its payout size and frequency has been experienced and discussed between players. It’s rare for a developer to divulge information on how a game is intended to pay out beyond the return to player (RTP) percentage, which is a regulatory necessity for UK-licensed gambling sites.

Volatility is a sliding scale, and no two slots are alike regardless of how their variances have been defined, but it’s safe to assume that there will be a marked difference in how high and low volatility slots pay out. For example: two high variance games will pay out with differing frequencies and prizes, but they should both pay out less often and with higher prizes than low variance slots.

How Slot Volatility is Measured

The short answer is how slot volatility is measured is: not very easily! Slot developers always present the RTP rates alongside their slots, but are less forthcoming when it comes to volatility. The best way to measure volatility is to spin the reels and run the numbers yourself, but you’ll need to work up a decent sample size before you can draw any conclusions. This is where free-to-play slots come in handy — if you want to work out a slot’s variance, we recommend this method to avoid risking your own cash.

There are a few clues that you can use to help you work out a slot’s volatility level. The first is to take a detailed look at the game’s paytable: if there’s a large gap between symbol values, then this is a decent indication that volatility is high. Similarly, if the maximum jackpot win is 40–50x the value of the maximum stake, then this also points towards high volatility.

Thankfully, many slot reviewers include the volatility of games in their reviews, including right here at TopRatedCasinos.

Variance Does Not Affect RTP

Variance isn’t directly related to RTP, which is the percentage of all money put into the machine that is paid out over time. The payout percentage is preset and often governed by strict regulations, and it doesn’t change whether a slot machine is high or low variance. For example, a machine with a 95% RTP rate can be high or low variance, or anywhere in-between.

High Variance: High Risk, High Reward

The key takeaway should be that high variance slots are not for everyone. Generally speaking, new players or those with a small pot to play with are better suited to low volatility slots, where there will be more wins at lower values, without the inherent dry runs that high volatility slots often deliver over a play session.

If you have the capital, time, and experience to make the most of high variance slots titles, however, and you’re playing slots with ambitions of winning big, get started with one of our recommended titles at a top rated casino.

Why It’s Important to Understand Variance

While many players, especially new ones, are oblivious to the existence of slot variance, gaining an understanding of it can help you work out which slots games are best for you. If you’re a new player with a small pot to play with, high variance slots are almost certainly a bad pick. Conversely, high rollers looking to wager and win big will find themselves out of position on a low variance game.

Selecting a slot that suits you, and managing your betting style to reflect the game’s variance, are key when it comes to playing on both high and low variance slots. With high variance games, having the knowledge can help you out in the following ways:

Moderation is a Virtue

Lots of players simply run out of money before they hit a big win without even realising they’re playing a high variance machine. Once you know you’re playing a high variance machine, you can expect a long wait for a payout and adjust your stake accordingly. By betting small stakes you won’t run out of money before hitting a win. Generally speaking, you need a bigger pot to play high variance, but extending your play with shrewd wagering is nonetheless recommended.

Patience is Key

Without knowing that you’re playing a high variance game, you can easily get frustrated by the persistent but natural losses. High variance slots often require a fair amount of patience before you make any returns, so knowing this beforehand will mean you have a better idea of what to expect from a high variance online slot.

Capitalising on Victory

The frequency of a win is determined by the same probability for each spin, meaning the previous spins have no effect on the next one. You’re always less likely to win on a high variance machine than a low one. A win can still appear anytime on either type of machine, even consecutively, but because a win is always unlikely on high variance you should capitalise on big wins when they come and walk away once you’ve struck lucky.

How to Identify High Variance

Identifying a high variance slot machine can be a tricky task on a machine you haven’t played before. The only way of finding out for sure is to play a machine and experience its winning frequency for yourself. Of course, this only works if you have the time, money and inclination, or if someone has done it for you. Read on for a quick guide on judging volatility.

Check in with the Community

Slot reviews, including those you’ll find on TopRatedCasinos, will often give a clear indication of a slot’s volatility, so these are a great place to start. The iGaming community is broad and vocal, too, so referring to quick Google searches and message boards are also a good way to gauge other players’ experiences of an individual slot.

Read the Paytable

Before playing, and in addition to finding out what the community’s sentiment is around a slot’s volatility, the paytable can be a strong indicator of how frequent and large the payouts will be.

The paytable will tell you what the payout is on each combination, plus details of any multiplier symbols, wild symbols and bonus rounds.

A slot machine with a high payout on 4/5-of-a-kind and a small payout on the 2/3-of-a-kind might be a high variance machine when found in combination with a generous free spins bonus and a high multiplier.

However, other expert advice recommends looking solely at the 2/3-of-a-kind payout; if this is high, then the game is high variance. The logic goes that a machine can’t afford to pay out frequently if the lowest possible reward is actually quite good. Also, any machine with a multiplier symbol should be considered a possible high variance game, a likelihood that increases when the multiplier is higher.

A big jackpot might come in the form of a generous bonus round, so you should also see what the table has on offer. If it looks big then you could have found a high variance slot.

Bear in mind that this is not an exact science, and these tips are for not a guaranteed way to gauge a slot’s volatility.

Check the Developer’s Website

While rare, it’s not unheard of that a developer will give an indication of a slot’s volatility on its website. Navigate to the developer site for the slot in question, which should contain a full catalogue of their available games. Head to the section detailing RTP, and the developer may include Low, Medium, or High to indicate the game’s volatility.

The 5 Best High Variance Slots

There are thousands of casino games out there, but if you’re looking for the best high variance slot games, take a look at our hottest picks below.

Medusa Megaways – 97.6% RTP

Developed in collaboration with NextGen Gaming and Scientific Games, Medusa Megaways builds on the success of the original Medusa title by utilising the famous Megaways payline structure. The use of this mechanic generates 117,649 different ways to win on this high variance slot, which also comes with an RTP of 97.6%.

The game takes place among the ruins of ancient Greece, where Medusa has laid her snare. There are loads of bonus features to look out for here, including free spins, avalanche reels, multipliers, wilds and scatters. The free spins bonus round also incorporates a gambling function, where players can opt to spin again in the hope of more lucrative returns. Bets range from 25p to £63, and there’s a top prize worth 750x the stake.

Jammin’ Jars – 96.8% RTP

Head to the disco with Push Gaming’s Jammin’ Jars and feel like you’re on the set of Saturday Night Fever. Fans of Bejewelled Blitz and similar titles will be right at home here, with players required to find combos of four to trigger a win and launch the avalanche feature.

We’re only interested in fruit in this high variance slot, with apples, oranges, plums and all manner of berries filling up the reels. The only exception are the jam jar wilds, which build multipliers whenever they’re included in a win — land three of them anywhere on the 8×8 grid and you’ll receive some free spins, during which the jam jar wilds stick in place. There’s a max jackpot worth a huge 20,000x the stake and bets range from 20p to £100.

Genie Jackpot Megaways – 96.5% RTP

Another slot on our list that follows the Megaways payline structure, Genie Jackpot is a product of the Blueprint Gaming studio. The best thing about this slot is the genie himself, who will appear randomly to present players with three magic lamps: select one of them and you’ll receive a gift from the genie.

The base game itself will bring small returns, but players can make up for this during the free spins round, where locked wilds, unlimited multipliers and other bonus features come into play. Bets can start as low as 10p, rising to a modest £10 — players could win 10,000x their stake on this slot.

Pink Elephants 2 – 96.1% RTP

Thunderkick’s Pink Elephants 2 is the most alternative slot on our list in terms of style, owing much to the zany world of Lewis Carroll’s stories. Stakes range from 20p to £100 in this game, offering players a potential max jackpot worth 10,000x their wager.

As well as the striking pink elephants, which are this slot’s highest paying symbol, you’ll want to look out for the golden peanuts. Landing anywhere between three and six of these on the reels will trigger a round of free spins: three peanuts will gift seven free spins, while six peanuts will deliver the maximum number of 19.

Book of Dead – 96.8% RTP

Since its 2016 release, Rich Wilde and the Book of Dead has become a mainstay across the UK’s online slots scene. Regularly offered as the targeted game for free spins welcome bonuses — a rarity for slots with high payout potential — Book of Dead sees the eponymous Rich Wilde take on Osiris and Anubis in this 5×3-reel game.

Play’n Go offers a huge range of stake options here by giving players the chance to alter the number of paylines as well as the number of coins played on each spin. This slot’s multiplier can reach 10,000x your stake during the bonus rounds, with a potential max jackpot of £500,000.

Best Playtech High Variance Slots

You might have noticed the absence of three major software developers in the list above, but we’ve reserved spaces for high variance slot games provided by Playtech, NetEnt and Microgaming, starting with the three top titles from Playtech here:

  • Buffalo Blitz (96% RTP)
  • Great Blue (94.3% RTP)
  • White King (90% RTP)

Standard RTP percentages are around 96%, so players should note that Great Blue and White King are both below this benchmark. At 90%, White King is a long way off the average rate, so bear that in mind before you start spinning its reels.

Best NetEnt High Variance Slots

Here are our top three NetEnt slots in the high variance category:

  • Dead or Alive (96.8% RTP)
  • The Wish Master (96.6% RTP)
  • Rome: The Golden Age (96% RTP)

Best Microgaming High Variance Slots

And finally, here are our recommendations for high variance Microgaming slots:

  • Immortal Romance (96.9% RTP)
  • Jurassic Park (96.7% RTP)
  • Break Da Bank Again (95.4% RTP)

Ready to Play the Best High Variance Slots?

High variance slots aren’t for everyone. For those just starting out in their online gambling ventures, it’s generally better to stick to lower volatility games, where bankrolls are supported by a string of small but regular payouts.

But if you have the capital, and you prefer to spin the reels of games with higher payout potential, then take a look at our recommendations of the best high variance slot games on the market.

We’ve taken the time to organise the top high variance casinos into rankings, so you can easily compare, sign up, and start playing at your ideal site.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • High variance slots offer larger payouts at infrequent rates. Online slots can be categorised into low, medium or high variance games.

  • Although variance and volatility refer to the same thing, there are slight nuances in their definitions. Variance is a term derived from poker, referring to the rate at which outcomes deviate from the expectation. Volatility simply refers to how often players win, and how big the win is when they do. But for the purposes of online slots, these two terms are interchangeable.

  • There are loads of low volatility slots available at online casinos. Three of our favourites are NetEnt’s Starburst, Microgaming’s Thunderstruck II, and Real Time Gaming’s Enchanted Garden II.

  • Medium variance slots sit between the high variance and low variance thresholds. This means that payouts will be a mixture of large and small and will occur at fairly regular intervals.

  • Yes, many slot developers host free versions of their titles on their own websites. Free games offer a good way to practise spinning the reels with zero financial risk.


Guy is a writer for TopRatedCasinos with a keen interest and expertise in the online gambling space. He’s also an avid fan of football and cricket, often found lamenting the fortunes of his beloved Tottenham Hotspur.

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