If playing Blackjack is like flipping a coin, then playing high variance slots is like spinning for a lottery win! These unpredictable slots may need a bit more patience, but with massive jackpots, multipliers and maximum wins, the rewards could be worth it. If waiting for epic wins is your game, read on….
OJO’s Best High Variance Slots
There’s no shortage of big-time slots at OJO’s place, but these fabulous 15 are our best high variance slots right now, no question. Crafted by the best slots providers in the biz, games like Bonanza and Book of Dead are the place where Volatility + Quality = Gaming Immortality!
1 – Book of Dead
Play’n GO’s Book of Dead slot is the most popular high variance slot of all time. Five Rich Wildes on a payline will bag you 5,000x and there’s a top prize of 250,000 coins. Those numbers sound pretty high variance to us, but this game is really all about the Free Spins feature. Land 3 or more scatter symbols to trigger 10 Free Spins. Standard stuff so far. But like Eye of Horus, a regular symbol is randomly chose before the first Free Spin to act as a special symbol. When it appears, it expands to fill the reel, provided it can create a win. That is Book of Dead in a nutshell. With this iconic high variance slot, it’s all in the playing.
2 – Fluffy Favourites
Eyecon’s cute and cuddly animal slot won’t win any OJ-Oscars for best graphics or biggest jackpot. Don’t let the soft toy theme fool you though, as some grown-up features and prizes are waiting behind the adorable surface.
The 5,000x top symbol win compares well to almost any slot out there, and the Free Spins feature has two twists – a permanent 3x multiplier and up to 400 retriggered spins. At first glance, it’s hard to tell that Fluffy Favourites is a high variance slot, but maybe that’s one of the reasons it has kept its legendary status for so long. Not all slots in the Fluffy franchise are high variance. Fluffy Too and Fluffy In Space are high volatility slots, but oddly Fluffy Favourites Megaways is medium variance.
3 – Bigger Bass Bonanza
Only a year separated the smash hit Big Bass Bonanza and the Bigger Bass Bonanza upgrade, so Reel Kingdom clearly thought there was a place for even more action.
The 5×3 reel format is now 5×4, 10 paylines become 12, and the biggest possible cash fish prize in the Fisherman Wild feature has doubled to 4,000x. This whale of a slot now has everything needed to compete with Fishin’ Frenzy for the coveted title of top angling slot.
4 – Fishin’ Frenzy Megaways
Speak of the devil. Blueprint’s Megaways version of the classic Reel Time Gaming slot has overtaken the original in popularity, and it’s not all down to the Megaways mechanic and high volatility.
With 15,625 ways to win and a 50,000x maximum win, Fishin’ Frenzy Megaways is far more volatile, though the prospect of triggering 50 Free Games bonus with cash fish multipliers of up to 50x is still the big draw here.
5 – Bonanza
If it weren’t for Big Time Gaming’s Bonanza, slot, Megaways might not be the dominating influence on the slots landscape that it is today. With its catchy mining theme and cart-powered extra row, Bonanza was the perfect vehicle to bring Megaways to the slot playing public.
Everything in Bonanza is geared towards a wild ride. The 117,649 Ways, the Free Spins with unlimited multipliers and 5 or 10 spin retriggers, the high volatility model and the 26,000x top prize. Like the symbols that every player is hoping to spin,Bonanza is still pure G.O.L.D.
6 – Buffalo King Megaways
With 5 lightning bolts out of 5 on Pragmatic Play’s volatility scale, Buffalo King Megaways is as high variance as it gets. And there’s nothing Fluffy about this slot. Powerful symbols from the animal kingdom, grand scenery and an impressive main bonus feature all play into the excitement this slot generates.
Land 4, 5 or 6 scatters to trigger up to 22 Free Spins with benefits, plus an instant win of up to 100x for your trouble. You’ll accumulate multiplier wilds from cascading wins during each Free Spin, and coupled with unlimited extra Free Spins if you hit more scatters during bonus, you can see how all of these could contribute to some extreme differences from spin to spin. And that is what high volatility is all about.
7 – Legacy of Dead
One of the most popular slots in the ‘Book of’ series, Legacy of Dead achieves its high volatility through its Free Spins feature. If you’re releasing another 10 payline slot with a pretty similar design, the bonus feature has to deliver.
Legacy of Dead’s Free Spins also randomly assign special powers to a base game symbol, and this time the special symbol expands to fill the reels, regardless of whether a win is possible or not. And if you retrigger the feature, you can activate up to 9 special symbols. If you’re wondering how to get the advertised 250,000 coin jackpot, there’s your clue!
8 – Wild Wild Riches
The more features you’ve got, the more variation there’ll be in your results. That holds true for this 4.5 lightning bolter from Pragmatic Play. Once you’ve wrapped your head around the unusual 3x3x4x4x4 reel layout and the 576 Ways, there’s the Money Collect bonus to figure out. Hit coin and wild symbols on the same spin to win up to 25x or one of the 3 fixed jackpots on the left hand side that are worth 50x, 100x and 500x. There are more wilds and coin symbols during Free Spins, making the hunt for 10 Free Spins well worth the wait.
9 – Dynamite Riches Megaways
What is it with Megaways slots? Can’t they do low volatility?! It seems not. Red Tiger’s 2021 hit release is a 117649 Ways slot with a 7,000x max win and some interesting bonuses that make it one of the greatest high variance slots.
The Free Spins bonus round has more upside than usual thanks to its progressive multiplier, and once you start unlocking the other 4 reel modifiers by accumulating Wilds during your play session, you’ll see features like Mega Wilds randomly drop at regular intervals while you play. If you were a fan of the original Dynamite Riches and like high volatility slots, then like the TNT in this game, you may just explode.
10 – Esqueleto Explosivo 2
With 99 lines, Thunderkick’s homage to Day of the Dead is some of the most fun you can have outside of a Megaways slot. High volatility is all about rare, valuable events, and if you string together a bunch of cascading wins on the same spin, you could work your way up to a 32x multipliers, just in the base game alone.
The Free Spins bonus round comes with extra spins and it doubles the multiplier rewards for cascading wins too. With any high volatility slot, a degree of patience is needed while you wait for the rarer feature moments to kick in. And with Esqueleto Explosivo 2 slot game, the design and animations are so good, the waiting ain’t bad either!
11 – Dead or Alive
A classic high variance online slot, Netent’s Dead or Alive slot is based on those naughty famous outlaws of all time. This highly volatile slot which is a firm fave at OJO’s place comes complete with a Free Spins feature which pays up to 29 Free Spins with all wins doubled when that Sticky Wilds feature comes into play. That’s worth getting on the wrong side of the law for. Any game where you can win up to 12,000 x stake on every free spin. has to be worth a spin, right?
12 – Rise of Olympus
No OJO top list is complete without a cluster pays slot game, and this high volatility number from Play’n GO has a cool £500k up for grabs and a 5,000x maximum multiplier. Spin the ‘reels’ and match winning symbols to trigger cascading wins. With each one, you bump the drop multiplier meter up a notch and crank up any wins. Enter the Free Spins bonus round and the drop multiplier becomes twice as nice.
This gorgeous Greek effort also has features galore, starting with the Hand of God bonus. In this triple-threat feature, ye gods can zap symbols, transform them into higher paying symbols and add multiple wilds.
13 – Cleopatra
One of 6 slots in the Cleopatra series, you can play this 20-line slot game from just 1p a spin. But with a whopping 10,000 coins for 5 Cleo symbols, this former land-based legend has deep pockets and you just need to find the key to picking them!
The high volatility really kicks in once you hit the Free Spins game. Land 3 or more scatters to trigger 15 Free Spins where all wins bar the Cleopatra symbol are tripled. The kicker is the ability to retrigger up to 180 Free Spins. The huge 10,000x paytable wins, 180 Free Spins and £250k max win are a killer combo that helped make IGT’s Cleopatra slot one of the best-loved high variance slots ever.
14 – Cash of Kingdoms
Just 15 paylines here but boy, does this slot machine make each one count! A fairytale cast of knights, elves and trolls are the friendly face of this cartoon caper, but there’s plenty more going on under the surface. Crafted by Slingshot Studios and released by Games Global (who know a thing or two about high variance slots), Cash of Kingdoms has a handy RTP of 96.28% but tells only half the story of how this game pays out.
Five of the highest paying symbol might only bag you 150x but Wilds play a big part with stacked wilds on certain reels triggering the Invading Wilds™ feature, producing some monster win potential. Play this beauty for free and see high volatility in action!
15 – Viking Runecraft
Another grid slot machine from the Play’n GO stable, Viking Runecraft is one of the highest variance slots in the UK. With so many features, you’ll need a set of runes just to decode them, but the juice is worth the squeeze!
You’ll scoop 1,000 coins for 15 hammer symbols but paytable wins are just the hors d’oeuvre. Clear a pattern to advance to the next level and a Norse gods like Thor will shower you with an array of Wilds. The rare Rägnarok feature is the star of the show. You might need the patience of the gods but the 5,000x payoff will be worth it. Factor in the unique Valhalla Growing Bonus too, and it’s easy to see why this high variance slot earns its place on this list.
What is variance in online slots?
In the slots world, variance is also called volatility, and it’s a way to describe how often a slot pays out, and the range of prizes that could be won. Two online slots can have the same Return To Player, but very different ways of paying out. Take low volatility slots like Blood Suckers or Jimi Hendrix. You won’t win fortunes, but you won’t have to wait long for a win to come along either. At the other end of the scale are the online slots we’ve mentioned above. Like the lotto, with high volatility slots, most of the prize money will be paid out in large chunks, but much less often.
What’s the difference between high variance slots and high RTP slots?
Variance and RTP mean very different things when it comes to a slot’s payout model, so they can’t really be compared. Slot variance is all about how often a slot awards prizes and how big they can be. RTP or Return To Player is all about how much of all money wagered (over a very long period of time) a slot is programmed to pay back out in prizes.
That means that a high variance slot is a game with a very big range of prizes, and much more unpredictability than a low variance slot. A high RTP slot however, is one where the house edge is lower, and in theory more of your staked money will be returned. You can learn more about how it works in our guide to slots RTPs.
Because variance and RTP are not related, you can have an online slot that is both high variance and high RTP, just as you can have a slot which is low variance and low RTP, or any combination, for example, medium variance and low RTP.
Are high variance slots worth playing?
Some players like to win little and often (which means you should like low variance slots), while others are happy winning nothing at all for long periods, as long as there’s a chance of a huge win. If you’re in the first group, low variance titles like Starburst are the right place to start. But if you are in the latter group or somewhere in the middle, then high variance slots are definitely worth a spin. Due to the quality of graphics and features, many of the best high variance slots are the best slots full stop, too.