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High volatility slots are perfect for the player who wants to strike it rich. Although you cannot expect to win often, when you do, there is a much higher chance of walking away with an obscene jackpot. These slots are for those who love the rush of hitting big wins and who don’t mind going long stretches without getting a single symbol combo.
If this sounds like the type of game you would enjoy, we have a treat for you! This guide looks exclusively at high volatility slots and where to find them. We explain what volatility is, what you can expect from a high-volatility game, and even give tips on approaching this type of slot. Also, we provide extensive lists of the most popular high-volatility slots for your enjoyment!
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Some software developers appear to specialize in high volatility slots, as you can see from our initial table. The three main producers of popular high-volatility games at real money casinos are currently:
Big Time Gaming is an incredibly popular developer that specializes in video slots. Many people may not know that the powerhouse live dealer developer Evolution also owns them. Big Time Gaming was the original developer of the Megaways™ slot system and has an incredible range of slot titles like the industry-changing Bonanza slot.
NetEnt is another hugely popular developer of video slots and table games. This includes two of the most popular titles of all time – Gonzo’s Quest and Starburst. It also includes one of the most popular and lucrative progressive jackpot games of all time – Divine Fortune. With titles such as Dead or Alive and Dead or Alive 2, they could quite easily make the list and are highly recommended to play if Penny slots appeal to you.
Lastly, we have Pragmatic Play. This software developer creates video slot machines and live dealer games and is known for its amazing graphics, animations, and fun gameplay. Some of their most popular games include Sweet Bonanza, Big Bass Bonanza, Wild West Gold Megaways, Book of Vikings, and Gates of Valhalla.
Other companies will often release high volatility slots, like Playtech and Relax Gaming but for real money casinos, they are not as readily available yet, but the above three slot machine powerhouses do a consistently good job with these games.
You can select one of the above real-money online casinos to play any of the volatility slots covered on this page. These are licensed by the US states they operate in and provide games by Big Time Gaming, NetEnt, Pragmatic Play, IGT, and several other companies. They are safe to play and provide several bonuses to players. If you use our links, a no deposit casino bonus and a first-deposit match offer are pretty much guaranteed.
List of the 25 Most Popular High Volatility Slots
Some high-volatility video slots remain popular options. This could be due to their potential jackpot prizes, RTP percentage, graphics, and overall gameplay. Below, we have hand-picked 25 of the most popular high-volatility slots for your enjoyment:
|🏆Rank||🎰Slot Name||🧑💻Developer||💯RTP||✅Casino to Play|
|1||Wild Depths||Pragmatic Play||96.48%||888 Casino|
|2||Gates of Valhalla||Pragmatic Play||96.46%||Caesars Casino|
|3||Colossal Cash Zone||Pragmatic Play||96.47%||Caesars Casino|
|4||Apollo Pays Megaways||Big time Gaming||96.51%||BetMGM|
|5||Rock Vegas||Pragmatic Play||96.64%||888 Casino|
|6||Silverback Gold||NetEnt||96.10%||Golden Nugget|
|7||Christmas Big Bass Bonanza||Pragmatic Play||96.71%||Unibet|
|8||Smuggler’s Cove||Pragmatic Play||96.50%||Caesars Casino|
|9||Diamond Fruits Megaclusters||Big time Gaming||96.23%||bet365|
|10||Magician’s Secrets||Pragmatic Play||96.51%||888 Casino|
|11||Reef Raider||NetEnt||96.02%||DraftKings Casino|
|12||Crystal Cavern Megaways||Pragmatic Play||96.46%||Unibet|
|13||Secrets of Christmas||NetEnt||96.72%||BetMGM|
|14||Big Bass Bonanza Megaways||Pragmatic Play||96.70%||Caesars Casino|
|16||Spicy Meatballs Megaways||Big time Gaming||96.57%||Unibet|
|17||Twin Spin Megaways||NetEnt||96.05%||Golden Nugget|
|18||Chocolates||Big time Gaming||96.60%||888 Casino|
|19||Book of Vikings||Pragmatic Play||96.50%||Caesars Casino|
|20||Cyberslot Megaclusters||Big time Gaming||96.36%||bet365|
|21||King of Cats||Big time Gaming||96.72%||DraftKings Casino|
|22||Fruit Shop Megaways||NetEnt||96.60%||Mohegan Sun|
|23||Chilli Heat Megaways||Pragmatic Play||96.50%||888 Casino|
|24||Gonzo’s Quest Megaways||NetEnt||96.00%||Harrah’s Casino|
|25||Fruit Party 2||Pragmatic Play||96.53%||Unibet|
12 Best High Volatility Slots
Some high-volatility slots are admittedly better than others. Some titles frequently pop up in online casinos and remain fan favorites. Below, we have picked 12 of our favorite high volatility slots for you to play; as the US real money market casinos continue to add new developers, there will be a wealth of other greats slots worth playing with developers such as Play’n GO, Relax Gaming, NoLimit City and Push Gaming still to fully reach US players.
- 🥇Gonzo’s Quest Megaways (NetEnt/Red Tiger Gaming)
- 🥈Starburst XXXtreme (NetEnt)
- 🥉Big Bass Bonanza (Pragmatic Play)
- 🎖️Fruit Party 2 (Pragmatic Play)
- 🏅Book of Vikings (Pragmatic Play)
- Reef Raider (NetEnt)
- Fruit Shop Megaways (NetEnt)
- Gates of Valhalla (Pragmatic Play)
- Rock Vegas (Pragmatic Play)
- King of Cats (Big Time Gaming)
- Silverback Gold (NetEnt)
- Wild Depths (Pragmatic Play)
#1. Gonzo’s Quest Megaways (RTP: 96.00%) By NetEnt/Red Tiger Gaming
Gonzo’s Quest is perhaps one of the most iconic video slots. It is an endearing slot with beautiful graphics, fun gameplay, and some brilliant special features. This game from NetEnt and Red Tiger Gaming has an RTP of 96% and is arguably the best-known high-volatility slot.
Gonzo’s Quest has a brilliant avalanche reels feature. After each winning combo, the winning symbols disappear, and more symbols tumble into place, triggering more wins. There is also the chance to win up to 10 free spins with multipliers.
The Megaways version of this game has various ways to win and can result in some crazy prize money too. Aside from the game mechanics, we like the theme and music of this title and the main character Gonzo too. Players can win 20,000x their bet in this high-risk game.
#2. Starburst XXXtreme (RTP: 96.26%) By NetEnt
The original Starburst game is an all-time great, and Starburst XXXtreme is following suit. This high volatility slot from NetEnt has an RTP of 96.26% and a traditional 5×3 reel layout. The graphics are smooth and crisp, and the theme is about precious gems with the different base symbols being colored stones.
This game has numerous bonus features, including Starburst Wilds, random wilds, and XXXtreme Spins. The Starburst Wilds expand to fill the entire column during winning combos and have a random multiplier. Random wilds, in contrast, are randomly activated after a spin or re-spin and can place up to 3 Starburst Wilds on the reels.
Alternatively, you can purchase XXXtreme spins. Starburst Wilds are guaranteed during this feature, and you can pay 10x your bet for 1x guaranteed Starburst Wild symbol. The maximum win is 200,000x, which explains the extreme name!
#3. Big Bass Bonanza (RTP: 96.70%) By Pragmatic Play
Big Bass Bonanza is one of the most iconic high volatility slots from Pragmatic Play. With a respectable RTP of 96.70%, this game has good potential, which benefits from multiple free spins and bet multipliers of up to 10x your bet value.
This game is all about fishing and catching mega bass! The graphics are superb, and as you play, a lively musical number adds to the enjoyment. The best basic symbols are the fish you can catch, each with a different value. This value is randomly added to the free spins money pot and thus can accumulate some amazing cash prizes.
Aside from this, the Big Bass scatter symbol is also used to trigger the free spins. You can win up to 20 free spins, and during these bonus rounds, you get various multipliers and can also trigger additional free spins with a winning potential of 2,100x.
#4. Fruit Party 2 (RTP: 96.53%) By Pragmatic Play
Fruit Party 2 builds on the success of the original Fruit Party game by Pragmatic Play. This vibrant video slot has a non-standard reel layout with seven columns and seven rows. As a result, there are many more ways to win. The game has a decent RTP of 96.53%, and the potential maximum bet multiplier you can win is a ridiculous 5000x.
The theme here is simple – fruits! The graphics are in-your-face and bright, and the game looks fantastic. Across the reels, there are different fruit symbols, such as strawberries and plums. An interesting feature of this game is that after every winning combo, the winning symbols disappear. This is known as the tumble feature and thus can lead to multiple wins from a single spin.
There is also the chance to win up to 25 free spins via the scatter symbol. We also like that you can buy free spins too for real money.
#5. Book of Vikings (RTP: 96.50) By Pragmatic Play
Pragmatic Play has some brilliant themed games, and one of my favorites is Book of Vikings. This has an RTP of 96.50% and has a bonus buy feature where you can instantly trigger the free spins. Once you have bought free spins, the bonus rounds are immediately triggered and can result in some epic wins – up to 5,500x. Be aware, however, that they are not cheap to buy!
The animations in this game are fantastic, and as you play, you will see Viking ships sailing across the screen accompanied by a range of epic sound effects and music – it really is an immersive game.
The free spin round is a special feature that makes this game stand out. Before this round starts, a symbol at random is chosen to be an expanding symbol. During the free spins, when it appears, it expands to fill all the rows on the reel – thus increasing your chances of hitting big prizes.
#6. Reef Raider (RTP: 96.02%) By NetEnt
Reef Raider by NetEnt tells the tale of a rum-colored crustacean and his Quest for piracy and treasure! This game is so much fun and offers a range of non-traditional game mechanics that contribute to its 96.02% RTP and high volatility gameplay.
Firstly, the game has a 7×7 reel grid. Secondly, it also has the Treasure Trail special feature. This has 15-meter bars and charges each time a wild symbol is removed from play due to a cluster win. You activate the free spin bonus rounds if you get to the maximum charge of 15!
The game also has many other features like the anchor drop, random wilds, mystery chest, and cannon blast. These are all pirate-themed and give different bonuses like multipliers or modifiers to symbols on the grid. The game also has avalanche symbols, and cluster pays instead of traditional paylines, paying up to 8,500x.
#7. Fruit Shop Megaways (RTP: 96.60%) By NetEnt
Fruit Shop is another exciting Megaways title from NetEnt with an RTP of 96.60%. During each spin, the Meagways feature is active. This means that the number of symbols on each real is random, from between 2 to 7. As a result, the number of ways to win and potential payouts can vary hugely – from very little to very large.
The game itself has a fun fruit theme. The reels are contained within a wooden fruit stall, and all the different symbols are fruits, letters, and numbers. In the top left-hand corner, you can see the current number of ways to win due to the Megaways feature.
Fruit Shop also has wild symbols that can appear on reels 2, 3, and 4 and substitute for any symbol. There is also the chance to win free spins. During these spins, you can trigger additional bonus rounds indefinitely, which can lead to amazing winning combos that payout 20,000x.
#8. Gates of Valhalla (RTP: 96.46%) By Pragmatic Play
The Gates of Valhalla is another epic Viking video slot from Pragmatic Play with an RTP of 96.46%. It looks completely different from Book of Vikings, however, and gives you some different gameplay features too. This game is fun to play, has amazing sound effects, and also some brilliant features that can lead to huge wins.
The basic symbols are different gems and statue carvings, and there is also a wild symbol and a free spin symbol. As with other Pragmatic Play games, this game has tumbling reels. Therefore, the winning symbols disappear after a win, and more fall into place – this can potentially rack up large successive wins.
We also like that this game has a roaming wild. If you get a winning combo and a wild is in play, it will randomly change position during the tumbling reels. This can also lead to additional winning streaks with a maximum of 10,000x pot.
#9. Rock Vegas (RTP: 96.64%) By Pragmatic Play
Rock Vegas is not what you expect. Would you expect a game about Las Vegas and casinos, right? Wrong! This Pragmatic Play game with an RTP of 96.64% is all about prehistoric times and cavemen! The background features a dense jungle, and the symbols are different animals like a dinosaur and mammoth.
This makes for a fun experience, enhanced by the lively jazz music playing in the background. The feature that makes this game stand out is the Mega Hold & Spin feature.
If you get three or more bonus symbols, this feature is triggered. During this round, a new 10×10 grid appears. The symbols are also different. During each round, winning symbols stay on the reels, triggering respins and more turns. As a result, you can accumulate some brilliant multiplies up to 500x your bet value.
#10. King of Cats (RTP: 96.72%) By Big Time Gaming
King of Cats is a revolutionary high volatility slot from Big Time Gaming with a great RTP of 96.72%. This safari-themed game has many features, including the Player Select™ feature. This means that the game is continually changing and unpredictable, which can lead to some magnificent winning streaks – up to a whopping 56,620x the stake.
The game looks great and is available on both desktops and smartphones. In the background, there is the beautiful Serengeti, and the symbols have a cool colorful tribal design. The Player Select™ feature effectively gives you two different types of spin – Puma or Lion. Each has different symbols and bonus rounds, giving you two entirely different gaming experiences.
#11. Silverback Gold (RTP: 96.10%) By NetEnt
Silverback Gold is a fun title from NetEnt that was released in 2021 with a decent RTP of 96.10%. It has a standard 5×4 reel layout and 1024 paylines. Its high volatility is due to the silverback attack feature, the bonus rounds, and the free spins that can hand out up to 45,000x.
The game looks superb, and the background is a golden jungle where the silverback prowls. Also, the symbols feature different jungle animals like snakes and tigers. The highest paying symbol is, of course, the silverback gorilla.
We love the Silverback attack feature, which randomly triggers. When this triggers, the silverback attacks with a cool animation. This randomly places 6 to 20 silverback symbols onto the reels, which can lead to some mega-winning combinations.
#12. Wild Depths (RTP: 96.48%) By Pragmatic Play
Wild Depths is a fun underwater and marine-themed game from Pragmatic Play with a respectable RTP of 96.48%. This high volatility slot looks great and has a vibrant cartoon graphic design. The background shows a colorful underwater world; the symbols are different fishes and sea creatures.
Aside from the basic symbols, there is also a wild symbol with a twist. Each wild symbol has a different multiplier value that is applied to your winning combo. There is also a scatter symbol that triggers up to 12 free spins. The scatter symbols also result in a huge bet multiplier too of up to 100x.
If a wild symbol hits on a winning combo during the free spins, more free spins are added. This can lead to some amazing winning streaks and large free spin prizes. If you play Wild Depths, you could win up to 5,000x your bet.
How is Slot Volatility Determined?
So what is volatility, and what are the factors that determine a game’s rating? Two main factors make slot volatility:
- Frequency of wins
- Value of wins
The frequency of wins relates to how often you can expect to hit a winning combination of symbols. For example, if you play ten spins of a slot game and win four times. This is sometimes reported by slot developers as the hit frequency and listed as a percentage. A 20% hit frequency equates to an average of 1 win every 5 spins.
The value of wins relates to the cash prizes you get for different combinations of symbols and bonus features. For example, you get 5x bell symbols and win a cash prize of $50.
Volatility looks at both of these factors in tandem. It looks at how often you win but also the value of those wins when they are triggered.
Types of Slot Volatility
There are three main levels of volatility for video slots – low, medium, and high. Understanding the differences and what this means for your gaming experience is important.
Low Volatility Slots
If you want low-risk gambling, then low-variance and low-volatility slot games are for you. When playing a low volatility slot, you can expect to win frequently. However, the cash prizes are much lower, and there are few and far between large jackpots. The maximum wins on offer can still be big compared to table games, but for slots, let’s say expect 100x stake wins as a good baseline.
Low Volatility = Frequent low-value wins.
These are for the gamer who likes to take things steadily and doesn’t like living on the edge. You can expect to play for long periods and make consistent wins, but you may never hit that elusive mega jackpot.
Medium Volatility Slots
If you want the best of both worlds and don’t mind a little more risk, medium variance slot games are a great choice. When playing medium volatility slots, you can expect to win less frequently than low volatility slots. However, the frequency of higher-paying prizes is higher.
Medium volatility = Less frequent wins but more potential jackpots
Medium volatility slots are essentially a balanced option between low and high – for the player who likes to sit on the fence.
High Volatility Slots
If you want to risk it all and go for large wins, high-volatility slots are where the action is at! High volatility slots have some of the largest jackpots and multipliers available, and the potential ceiling for winnings is much higher. However, these epic prizes are offset by long periods of zero wins.
High Volatility = Much less frequent wins but much higher cash prizes.
High volatility slots are for those who love the thrill of slots and only want to walk away with high payout prizes. These people don’t care about small wins; instead, they want to win big or nothing!
Our Favorite High-Volatility Slots
You have seen our list of the top 25 high volatility slots, but which do I recommend? The following are my picks for the best high-volatility slots:
- Gonzo’s Quest Megaways
- Starburst XXXtreme
- Rock Vegas
- Gates of Valhalla
Gonzo’s Quest is easily my favorite slot of all time. I love the graphics and the avalanche reels feature, and the Megaways version also ramps up the potential winning combos. Similarly, I have always been a fan of the original Starburst game, and it’s nice to see a modernized version in Starburst XXXtreme. This builds on the original’s success but adds some interesting new features like the XXXtreme Spins and huge multipliers. Rock Vegas tickles my fancy due to the play on words and the fun caveman theme. I love the graphical design of the caveman who stands watch; the game is fun to play! Lastly, I am a sucker for mythological games with an ancient history theme. Therefore, Gates of Valhalla is an obvious choice. I like the special features and potential for free spins, but the Viking theme is also incredibly cool.
Tips for Playing High-Volatility Slots
When playing any video slot, there isn’t really an in-game strategy you can use.
The games are based on luck and percentages, and unlike card games and table games, there isn’t any way you can increase your chances of winning. All you can do is change your bet values and, in some games, change the bet multiplier and/or the number of paylines in play.
From a strategic point of view, however, you can take a certain approach to high-volatility slots that can potentially minimize your losses.
1. Choose your strategy – large bet, significant return, small bet, small return
When playing high-volatility slots, you cannot expect to win often. However, when you do win, the amount should be quite high. Therefore, there are two main betting strategies to use – large bet large return or small bet small return.
If you are feeling particularly risky and want to try for a big cash prize, you need to place larger bets. The upside is that when you do hit that sweet win, the multiplier and reward will be superb. However, the downside is that you will burn through your money much quicker.
In contrast, if you want to play it safer but still potentially win some decent money, you should bet small amounts. This means that you can play the high volatility slot for much longer. However, the downside is that when you do hit a big win, the comparative amount won’t be as much. But factor in the max wins capable on these kinds of slots; they can pay well over 20,000x your stake, which, even on low bets, equates to a huge win!
2. Be prepared to stick at it for the long-term
The key to high volatility slots is that you are not likely to win often. Therefore, you must be prepared to stick at it and play multiple spins.
For example, if you played five spins of a low volatility slot, you could expect to win a few times – perhaps 2-3. In contrast, playing just five spins of a high volatility slot is more likely to not win.
The longer you play high-volatility slots, the greater your chance of hitting big wins. With a smaller bankroll, it’s better to give yourself more opportunity of landing a bonus trigger by playing smaller bets and grinding out the base game until you ht the features.
3. Offset high volatility games with other high RTP games
If you want to play high volatility slots, we advise offsetting this by playing some low-risk games too. This is a similar strategy that stock brokers use. They typically have a portfolio of high-risk shares and offset this with a separate portfolio of low-risk shares to minimize losses.
A great low-risk game to offset your potential high-volatility slot losses is Blackjack. Most Blackjack games have a high RTP of 99%+, which means that you are far less likely to win money. Also, if you hit a good streak, you could make some decent profit to offset your high volatility slots spending.
Other Criteria to Consider Aside from Volatility
Volatility is just one aspect to consider when choosing slot games to play. These multifaceted games have many nuances that determine your enjoyment and how profitable they can be. The other most important factors are how volatility affects RTP, bonus rounds and free spins, the maximum potential jackpot, and the number of ways to win.
High Volatility Relation with RTP
First, you should consider how volatility affects RTP. RTP is the Return To Player. This is listed as a percentage such as 96%. The RTP is a percentage of money that you can expect to receive back when playing a casino game.
For example, if a slot game had an RTP of 95% and you spent $100, you would expect to return $95 over time – or make a $5 loss. The lost part is known as the house edge. The higher the slot’s RTP percentage, the better the game is for you, as you are more likely to make your money back.
In general terms, volatility is separate from RTP. However, a typical connection exists in that highly volatile slots have a bigger spread of the actual RTP that a player will receive due to their volatile nature. This is because, in low-volatility slots, you gain a more consistent amount of small wins and thus often make your money back in a less volatile nature; your actual RTP will be close to the stated theoretical RTP by the slot developers way more often.
In contrast, you may have long stretches without winning in high volatility slots or hit a big jackpot win. This generally means that the high volatility slots are less consistently profitable and have a lower short-term real RTP figure for the players. This does not apply to players going for the long run, as a big win in high-variance slots will balance things out. The lucky players who land a max win on a high volatility slot will balance the overall slot RTP figures.
Bonus Rounds and Free Spins
Many slot games have special features such as bonus rounds and free spins. These features can greatly affect the potential profitability of the title; in modern slots, a vast portion of the slots’ RTP and win potential is generally tied up in the bonus features. The base game is essentially there to be played with the sole intent of triggering the bonus rounds.
For example, some slot games have a bonus round that is triggered by getting 3x scatter symbols. This then triggers a bonus game where perhaps there are huge bet multipliers. Alternatively, lots of slots give you the chance to win free spins by getting three or more special symbols, for example. You are then awarded a set number of free spins, such as 10 or 15 free spins.
These bonus features can be incredibly lucrative. However, the chance of you triggering one is also much lower. This is by design and is also accounted for in the RTP% and volatility. While it is important to look at the bonus rounds and potential free spins, don’t get blindsided by this – the RTP and volatility are still the most important overall factors for slot profitability.
Maximum Potential Jackpot
Most slots have a top-paying symbol that gives the best basic cash prize. For example, in DaVinci Diamonds, the top paying symbol is 5x Diamonds. It is important to look at the potential top prize from the basic symbols as this gives you an idea of your potential winnings.
However, for many games with special features like multipliers and bonus rounds, the best base symbol is not necessarily the best-paying combination. Therefore, we advise spending time reading the game rules and figuring out the potential theoretical maximum win. Again, this is great, so you are aware of how much you could potentially walk away with.
The Number of Ways to Win
Lastly, it’s important to understand how many ways to win a slot has. Primarily, this is calculated by the number of paylines and symbols. However, some games also have variable paylines and even variable ways to win. For example, Megaways slots have continually changing ways to win, which makes the RTP variable too.
If a slot has more ways to win, you should theoretically have a higher chance of making money. However, as with the other pointers, the important underlying factors are still RTP and volatility.
We hope you have found this online slots guide on high-volatility games enlightening. You should now have a clear idea of the volatility and what to expect when playing high-volatility games. The key point to remember is that you should expect to win infrequently. However, when you do win, you have a higher chance of hitting a mega jackpot prize!
Therefore, if you like a little risk and would prefer to go all out for big wins, high-volatility slots could be the best option. You should also have a fantastic idea of the most popular high-volatility slots, including Gonzo’s Quest, Starburst XXXtreme, and Big Bass Bonanza.