A good analogy for how the payouts for a slot machine works is a bucket. Everyone puts money in the bucket based on the cost of the spins they play, and some players take money out of the bucket based on the amount that they earn with winning combinations. It’s no secret that more money goes into the bucket than comes out, but the difference between how much is paid into a slot and how much is paid out to players is a key measure to tell you how good or bad of a deal you’re getting on any particular game.
The standardized figure for measuring this difference is called the return to player percentage, or RTP for short. We want to show you everything you need to know about the RTP of slots and how you can best use this information to make smart decisions about what to play.
The Simple Mathematics of Slot RTP
There’s a really simple mathematical basis for the return to player percentage in slots, and it’s all based on percentages. If we take the bucket analogy above, we have two numbers that matter: the amount being paid in and the amount being paid out. RTP is a number that tells you how much money is paid out for every €100 paid in.
Here’s a simple example. Suppose you have a game with an RTP of 97 percent. That would mean that for every €100 in wagers that a player makes, they will win €97 on average. Along these lines, that would mean that the house would take €3 for every €100 in wagers, which is a house edge or house advantage of 3 percent.
Relationship Between RTP and House Advantage
Above, we discussed two different numbers and the relationship that they have. Those two numbers are the RTP and house advantage of a slot, and they’re essentially two ways of describing the exact same thing. The RTP tells you the percentage of bets that are paid back out to the player, on average. Along with that, you have the house edge (or house advantage, they mean the same thing) that tells you the percentage of bets made that are paid to the house. The smaller the house edge, the better off you are.
One of your goals as an online slots player is to minimize the house advantage while maximizing the return to player percentage. If you do this, then you will boost your chances of coming out ahead in your sessions, and you will lose less money over time while you shoot for big jackpots and similar prizes.
How to Achieve a Lower RTP
There are a few different ideas that you can apply that will help you to minimize the RTP of the games you’re playing. The first simply involves choosing games that have a low RTP to begin with. Many games have their return to player percentages available in the help screen, and plenty others are published in databases online. It’s easy to find the house advantage from the majority of Internet slots, and that’s exactly what you should do to take advantage of the fact that the information is available.
In fact, if you just make a simple list or spreadsheet of 12-20 slots that you like or are interested in and take down notes about the RTP of each, then you’ll be able to sort by the highest RTP and still have 4-5 at the top end of your selection with much higher payout rates than the average of your initial set of games. This will shift your average RTP of the games you play in an upward direction, and it’s simple and doesn’t take long to do.
Other than actual slot selection, there are often in-game options that will help you to maximize this metric. Playing with fewer than all paylines activated is often a big mistake because it lowers the RTP of the game you’re playing. Likewise, there are other betting options in some games that can lead to a lower payout rate, like not betting the maximum number of coins in many classic slots that give a higher proportional jackpot payout for doing so.
Progressive-Specific RTP Issues
Progressive online slots have specific issues when it comes to dealing with the return to player percentage. The reason for this is that the top jackpot is constantly changing, so the RTP changes along with it. To compensate for this and give players a way to understand how to estimate the effects of the jackpot, there’s a certain methodology that can help.
To use this methodology, you break the RTP up into two parts. The first part has to do with the return to player percentage portion that you get from the regular pay table and features. This always stays the same because these payouts are constant. The second part has to do with the value of the jackpot, and you’ll usually be given the amount of the RTP that is made up by the starting value (or seed value) of the jackpot. Along these lines, you can figure up what the return to player percentage is for different jackpot values if needed.
Maximize Your Chances of Winning
The point of paying attention to the RTP of the games you play and how your choices affect it is that maximizing it will increase your chances of winning during a session. This is something that slot players often ignore because you’re taught that there is no skill in online slots, so you don’t even think that there are things you could do that would affect your chances of winning.
As we’ve shown above, there are a handful of different tactics that slot players can use to maximize their own return to player percentage and decrease the house edge as much as possible. If you use these ideas yourself, you’ll lose less over the long run and have better chances to come up with a big jackpot since you’ll be able to play for longer on the same deposit.