Return to Player (RTP) – Everything You Need To Know


Return to Player  – Introduction

Every online casino player should be familiar with the concept of RTP, also known return to player. This is because the outcome of every gambling session depends solely on this key statistic, and as such, it is imperative for the average gambling enthusiast to learn everything there is about the RTP. Simply put, if you wish to know the chances of winning money in a particular game, then understanding the return to player concept is crucial.

Similar to the RTP, it is also very important to learn the concept of volatility. This is because the volatility of a certain casino game will determine both the win frequency and the size of the prizes/rewards. In other words, being successful in the art of gambling requires much more than just mere luck and skill, as it requires possessing the right knowledge and the ability to utilize it to your advantage.

In this casino guide, we will dive deep into the mechanics behind the return to player concept, the volatility of casino games, hit frequency, as well as how these compare to the house edge of the casinos

What is RTP (Return to Player)?

RTP, also known as return to player, is a concept that is used in gambling, both physical and digital, that indicates how much money will be returned to the player over time when they play a casino game, depending on how much they deposit. The easiest way to explain this concept is with an example – if the RTP of a certain slot game is 95%, it means that you should get back $95 for every $100 that you deposit to that particular game.

This means that the other $5 will go to the casino and be counted as profit. It is important to know that the RTP in casino games doesn’t necessarily indicate how frequently will a player win or lose in a single session, being that is more of a factor that measures the payouts of a casino game that happen over time.

What is universally correct about the return to player, is that the higher the RTP of a game, the better for the player. From here, it is important to know that while there is no minimum amount specified for the RTP, you should know that the average return to player is between 90%-96%. Also, finding the RTP shouldn’t be a problem with legitimate operators, as it is either displayed in the help screen menu or in some other area of the screen.

The more you get familiar with this concept, the more you notice that there is no return to player that is 100%. This is because the casino, i.e. the house, always has an advantage over the player. This concept is also known as the house edge and is something that we advise learning if you wish to have successful gambling sessions, being that different casino games come with a different house edge.

The RTP Formula

If you wish to calculate the return to player percentage yourself, then this can be done by following a simple formula. More specifically, the total amount returned to you is divided by the total amount that you gambled.

For example, if a slot machine accumulates $1 million in turnovers and pays $950,000 in wins, then the formula is as follows

  • $950,000 ÷ $1,000,000 = .95

This means that the RTP of the said slot machine would be 95%.


The Concept of Volatility

Volatility is yet another concept that is imperative to learn if you wish to successfully predict the nature of a certain casino game. This is because volatility is the statistic that shows how frequently a slot machine releases wins to the player. Though RTP and volatility are connected, you cannot predict the volatility of the game in an instant based solely on looking at the RTP.

For example, two different slot games with the same return to player can release different payouts, with the payout difference depending solely on the volatility of the games in question. From here, the volatility of casino games can be either low, medium, or high, and this will tell you how much you will have to wager before hitting a win.

Let’s break this concept down more simplistically:

  • Low volatility – frequent payouts, but smaller wins
  • Medium volatility – medium-paced payouts, medium wins
  • High volatility – less frequent payouts, but bigger wins

From here, you should remember that a slot game with high volatility and high RTP will pay less frequently, but will have bigger wins. On the other hand, a low volatility slot machine with a high RTP will release payouts frequently, but at the same time, it will release smaller wins. To sum it up, informing yourself on the RTP and the volatility of a slot game prior to making a deposit will give you a chance to estimate the type of game you are about to play with great accuracy.

At the end of the time it is completely up to you to decide what type of online slot experience you wish to have.

Hit Frequency

In addition to RTP and volatility, casino games also have a winning hit frequency, or just hit frequency. This statistic exists to show how frequently a slot machine releases a winning combination. For example, a casino game that has a hit frequency of 30% will release wins 30% of the time.

The thing to remember about the hit frequency is that it is not exactly as helpful as knowing the volatility or the RTP of a game. This is because slot machines have multiple paylines, which in other words means that they may mislead you and give you a false impression that you are winning

More specifically, while you may think you are winning on certain paylines, in reality, you actually might be losing on the others. This means that you shouldn’t rely solely on the hit frequency to determine the nature of the slot game that you are playing.

One good example of this is games such as blackjack or poker, which on paper have favourable hit frequency, but in reality, the wins are not that great.

RTP, Volatility and Winnings

Another important factor to take into account when calculating the winning odds of a certain casino game is tailoring the right slot strategy. Sure, having the right information at the right time is quintessential in your pursuit of a successful gambling session, but your chances are greatly diminished if you don’t apply the best possible strategy in the most efficient manner.

Let’s put things into perspective. If you are looking to play high-volatility games, then the best course of action would be to play games with progressive jackpots. This is because the jackpot, i.e. the prize, will increase every time that the game is played without releasing a payout. This means that whenever you play games with progressive jackpots, it is imperative to have patience and play to win in the long run.

Same as with the online slot games that have high RTP but come with low volatility. Here, it is important to know that your wins will be more frequent, but with smaller amounts, making for longer, but more productive game sessions.

This is why playing demo games can make a real difference in your pursuit of the perfect gaming sessions. Demo games are perfect for learning the mechanics of the game, its features and gameplay, as well as sharpening your skills before playing with real money. It also gives you a perfect chance to learn the variance and the RTP of the game and help you learn just exactly what they mean in practice.

Online vs Physical RTP

The difference between the return to player at land-based casinos and the RTP at online casino operators is small, but it certainly exists. When it comes to land-based casinos, the return to player is 92% at best. However, when it comes to online casinos, the average RTP is between 90% and 95%, with even 94% being considered somewhat low. This is because there are certain games that come with a return to player of up to 99%, which is the maximum.

From here, it is quite clear that online casinos give you far better chances to have a successful gaming session in the long run. It may seem that 2% is not such a big deal on paper, but in essence, it is a percentage that can truly make a difference. Just keep in mind that there is no way to nullify the advantage of the casino. Speaking of the long run, casino houses are built in such a way and come with a house edge that always gives them an advantage over the players.

What games have the best RTP?

This is a somewhat tricky question, as every casino game comes with a different return to player and different volatility. However, if we have to make a decision, then we would say that you have the best chances by playing games that require skill and don’t depend on an algorithm. More specifically, we are talking about skill-based card games such as blackjack, baccarat, or video poker.

This is because all of these games come with their own RTP and volatility, with the biggest difference being that the winning outcome greatly involves your skills as a gambler. When it comes to online slot machines, the RTP and the winning odds are integrated within the blueprint of the game, and as such, the outcome of your session greatly depends on the RNG (random number generator) that ensures FairPlay and transparency, but not your skills.

From here, we can conclude that if you wish to stand a chance of being successful and have a positive experience at your favourite online casino, the best course of action would be:

  • Learn the RTP of the game
  • Learn the volatility of the game
  • Tailor the right strategy
  • Play demo games
  • Play skill-based, i.e. card games

Final Thoughts

The conclusion of this casino guide is quite simple – make sure to learn everything about the game you are about to play, and make sure to play skill-based casino games such as blackjack, video poker, or baccarat. Being good at gambling is much more than having good fortune. It is a cocktail that consists of having the right knowledge, tailoring the best strategy, practicing with demo games, and finding the perfect casino games.

Remember, having a positive experience when gambling mostly depends on the player, despite the house edge that the casino enjoys in the long run. If you are smart and patient, and you play your cards right (literally), then you will find that the art of gambling isn’t as unpredictable and volatile as one might think. Have fun, and gamble responsibly.

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