Theoretical Return to Player or “RTP” is the hypothetical percentage that an online slot game returns to you, on average over time. The variance of the game can have a huge effect on the ultimate results and sometimes they will hit hot and cold streaks in the short term, but they will always mathematically pay out what they should after long periods of time.
Here’s a straight-forward example that will show you the math behind Return to Player percentages and how they work. Let’s say you wager $100 total on an online slot machine, 1,000 spins at $0.10 a spin. If you’re playing a game that has a RTP of 97.5%, you should, on average, have a balance of $97.50 after your 1,000 spins. At first glance this may seem like a high return back to the player but casinos are more than happy to make small profits like these over time. When multiplied by thousands of people playing games every day, it’s easy to see how operators generate healthy revenues.
Now, you have to remember that I only used 1,000 spins as an example and in reality it could take a lot longer or a lot quicker to realize the true RTP percentage. This is what software testing companies specialize in and why it’s so important that you only gamble with reputable online casinos that are tested regularly. Sometimes it’s not even a case of the casino scamming people intentionally and it’s just an error with the software powering the game that is messing up the odds. That aside, assuming that everything’s calibrated correctly, some people will win a little, a very small amount will win big, and the vast majority of players will lose over time, but usually very slowly.
Every game reviewed on the Queen of Online Slots shows you the RTP on the right hand side of the page, which to reiterate, is always the average and never guaranteed. The RTP amounts in games can actually differ quite greatly, with the lowest amount I’ve ever seen being around 92% and the highest being close to 99%.
Some gamblers take payout percentages very seriously and allow them to dictate which slots they will play. I personally never even look at the RTP of a game before I play it because I don’t really care. Yes – of course I play slots to make money, but I also want to enjoy myself as I spin. So for example, if I hated the movie, why in the heck would I play Sharknado Slots online and waste my time with a subject that I didn’t enjoy? Even if it had an amazing Return to Player I wouldn’t have fun as I spun, so there’s no point in me even playing it in the first place.
I’m sure that most readers of this website know by now that we focus on the actual enjoyment that you will find in slot games, and not which ones are the “most profitable”. This is because we play for fun and it’s impossible to predict what the game will pay out during your session, so there’s really no need to stress over it. However, as mentioned above, you can always predict a game’s average payout over time….but how much time are we talking? You’ll obviously never know that going in.
Anyway, I’m going to concentrate on enjoying myself while I play and leave the advanced mathematical equations to The Wizard of Odds, Michael Shackleford, who’s basically spent his entire life crunching casino numbers…and doing crazy stuff like going on 50 mile unicycle rides. He is hands-down the only true expert in gambling math so this Queen must bow down to his unequaled knowledge of the subject.
How Return to Player Works
Contrary to the opinion of many, bet size does not affect the Return to Player percentages, and larger wagers don’t give you better odds due to “big payouts being bigger”. This is simply a myth that’s pushed on the internet by people who have no idea what they’re talking about and all it serves to do is confuse those seeking the truth about gambling math. If you take a moment to think about it you’ll quickly realize that the claim doesn’t make any sense. The larger your wagers, the larger the wins, but obviously your loses will be much larger as well. This is because the RTP percentage never changes and is applied indiscriminately to the bets no matter what the size. The math doesn’t change.
Here’s an easy example to help debunk the claim:
Situation #1: Your bankroll is $100 and you play a machine that has a RTP of 97% for 10 hours, with your bet size being .10 cents per spin. You play long enough to experience the true RTP of the game and you end up with a final balance of $97 at the end of your gambling session.
Situation #2: Your bankroll is $10,000 and you play the same machine in Situation #1 that has a RTP of 97% for 10 hours, with your bet size being $100 per spin. You play long enough to experience the true RTP of the game and you end up with a final balance of $9,700 at the end of your gambling session.
Question: Were your odds of winning in Situation #2 increased by the larger bet size?
Answer: Of course they weren’t! The mathematical Return to Player of the machine is always 97% no matter what your wager size was, so whether you bet $1,000 a spin or $1 a spin the odds always remain the same.
That said, there are obviously some factors that can influence the probability of winning or losing, with the most important one being the number of paylines that you are wagering on. This is because in order for a game’s true RTP to be realized you need to ensure that you’re wagering on the maximum amount of paylines, since the “return” is going to be spread throughout all of the different ways to win that a game has. Of course increasing the number of paylines you are wagering on each spin is going to increase your bet size, so technically a larger bet is needed to increase the payouts and odds of winning, but only up until a maximum of all the paylines being covered. Simple, right? (This is probably just splitting hairs.)
The other factor that can manipulate RTP percentages are progressive jackpots because technically the percentage is changed depending on how big the cash prize is at the time of playing it. This is only because the larger the jackpot, the “better” the RTP will be, but in reality that winning percentage will only materialize for the one lucky person who wins it and not for the thousands of other players who are chasing it. Therefore, you shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking that you have better odds playing games with progressives – the odds of winning the jackpot are minuscule and they’re only increased for one player.
So does RTP tell me how much I will win? Not at all. It tells you what you should win, but only on average and only after enough time playing. As in life, there are no guarantees when gambling.
Highest RTP Online Slots
Ok, so I haven’t convinced you that you should be playing online slots for the enjoyment and not for the Return to Player. It’s fine, I didn’t think that I could change everyone’s mind. So for those of you who only want to gamble to win money, here are the highest RTP slots that you can find online. Click on each to read the reviews and find out if you will actually have fun while you’re trying to boost your bankroll.
Bridesmaids Slots: 96.7% RTP
Jurassic Park Slots: 96.7% RTP
Alaskan Fishing Slots: 96.6% RTP
Playboy Slots: 96.6% RTP
Battlestar Galactica Slots: 96.6% RTP
Terminator 2 Slots: 96.6% RTP
Hellboy Slots: 96.5% RTP
Thunderstruck 2 Slots: 96.4% RTP
Gung Pow Slots: 96.2% RTP
Jurassic World Slots: 95.5% RTP
Halloweenies Slots: 95.5% RTP
So if you’re like me and play slots for the excitement and not for the possible return on your investment, you’ve come to the right website. Sure I might be shrugging off the importance of RTP somewhat, and it is always a good idea to know the odds of winning before you start playing a game, but I just can’t get that worked up about it.
I don’t think that you should let RTP be the ultimate decision-maker on whether or not you play a game – we’re all here to have fun, after all. Gambling should always be enjoyable and never looked at as a money-making venture… because most times it isn’t.