18th April 2018

What Does RTP Mean And Why Is It Important?

Slot Game on LaptopIf you read our slot reviews, you may notice that we often refer to a game's RTP. This is normally represented as a percentage, and the acronym actually stands for ‘return to player rate'. However, if you're new to the world of slots you may not fully understand what this means, and how it can affect your gameplay.

Not to worry though, as in today's guide we'll be explaining exactly what an RTP means, why it's important, and how it can help you get the most from the games you play. We'll also be showing you what a good RTP may be and, most importantly, how you can tailor your game choices to suit your needs based around RTP.


What Is ‘RTP'?

Man with Percentage SignAs we mentioned above, RTP stands for ‘return to player' and it's normally represented by a percentage figue. It essentially represents the rate at which you'll recieve your money back on the slot you've chosen to play but, as is the way with all things in life, it's not as simple as it seems.

A return to player rate symbolises the percentage of total wins, over the total stakes played. This means that if you see that a game has a RTP of 96%, for example, it would be easy to assume that this means you'll receive 96p back for every £1 you wager.

However, it's important to understand that RTP rates are theoretical. This means that the percentage is calculated over an extended period of play, and therefore it doesn't actually represented what happens in your gaming session.

This is because sometimes your 96p, for example, could be being put towards someone else's game, or that somebody else's 96p has just helped to form the £20 you've just won. Of course, this makes sense, as if you'd expected to get 96p back on every £1 wager, then you'd be losing money every time you played, and so we'd hope that slots wouldn't be as popular as they are!

An RTP is calculated by estimating all the games played by all players, pooled together. This is why it can't be specific and that's part of the thrill of gambling! Gambling is all about uncertainty, taking risks and watching them pay off; the notion that you could wager £1 and receive ten other people's 96ps, giving you a win of £9.60.


So, Why Is RTP Important?

Casino Chips 0% House Edge

If we can't pin an RTP down to a specific number and it won't represent what happens in your game, why are we then talking about it? Surely it's not worth paying attention to because it's all theoretical?

Well that is, in part, true however RTP also shows us something very important; the house edge of a game. Every casino game has a house edge and this is what the casino takes as profit. Although it's not the most comforting of thoughts, if a casino didn't make any money from your gaming, they wouldn't be able to exist!

The house edge is the exact opposite of the RTP. So, if we consider the 96% RTP rate we mentioned above, this would mean the house edge would be 4%. This is useful as it helps you to see if the game is worth playing. Whilst, just like RTP itself, the house edge won't show you exactly what will happen in your game, it does show you to what extent the odds are stacked against you, and if the casino is operating fairly.

An acceptable slot should offer an RTP of no less than 94%. Any slot with an RTP under this amount is probably not worth playing, however there are exceptions. Recently, more and more slots are coming to market with a ‘increasing RTP'. This means that the RTP of the game will improve the longer you play, or the higher level you reach within the game.


Should You Always Play High RTP Slots Then?

Safety VS Risk

From the information we've provided above, it would seem obvious that the best advice is to always play slots with a high RTP and a low house edge. However, this isn't always the case as players need to take the slot's volatility into consideration too.

Slot volatility refers to how risky a slot is to play. Low volatility slots are less risky, paying out frequent small amounts, whilst high volatility slots will pay out higher amounts but less often. High volatility slots will often have a lower RTP, and therefore it's easy to decide that these games aren't worth playing, but that isn't really correct.

High volatility slots are high risk, and therefore have a higher house edge, but they do offer the chance to win much more money than regular games. In a high volatility game, you may have to spin the game hundreds of times before even winning anything, but when you do it'll be worth the wait. This is because you're wagers are being stored up to create bigger payouts. Of course, as mentioned earlier, you'll never know if you'll receive this payout, or if it will be grabbed by another player, but that's all part of the fun!

These bigger payouts make it ok for a high volatility slot to have a lower RTP. However, you should check the game's paytable before playing to make sure that the larger rewards are available to be won. Contrastingly, low volatility slots are more likely to boast a high RTP, as they pay out frequently, and so they're not pooling your wagers up so often. This means that it's less likely that your wager will go towards another player, however the wins you do receive will be much smaller than a high volatility game.


A slot's RTP and it's volatility go hand in hand, and therefore it's always important to consider both of these factors. You should also decide what you want from your game before you play. Do you want to play for a long time and keep your bankroll fairly stable? Opt for a low volatility, high RTP game. Do you want to be in with a chance of winning a huge amount, and have the funds to survive a rough patch? Play a high volatility game and see if your risks pay off!