Return to Player (RTP) explained

Return to Player or RTP is the term used by casinos to describe the percentage of all the wagered bets a pokie machine will pay back to players over time. For example, if you make a hundred $1 bets on Gonzo’s Quest on which the RTP is 96%, you might except to get back about $96 in wins.

That is not how RTP is calculated as it is based on long term playing and many hundreds of thousands of spins. This means that almost anything can happen in the short term, and you can in fact have two big wins on your first 100 spins, this is known as beating the RTP. For example, if you have a return of 120% on a slot of 96%, that don’t mean much as the RTP is based on circa a million pokie spins. However, it is a fact that the house will have the advantage and you over time will be around 96% on a given pokie machine, so you should only ever bet with money that you are prepared to lose.


Hit frequency is a term casinos and slot suppliers use to describe how often a machine will stop on a winning combination. For example, if a pokie has a hit frequency of 12%, that means that the pokie will stop on a winning combination about 8% of the time. This is general on brick-and-mortar pokies, online pokies usually have a higher hit frequency and RTP. It’s more usual to play with more than one line on online pokies on each spin, The result is that, ona single spin, a player could get more than one winning combination at the same time. The feeling is that you rack up wins, but over time, the losing combinations will outnumber the winnings ones.

Volatility and Variance

Among the endless selection of pokies, you can find a great variation in hit frequency. Most casinos call low hit frequency games as high volatility. Meaning that you don’t hit winning combinations often, but when you do, it usually pays a bigger win. The opposite is the high hit frequency pokies known as low volatility. These games has a low variance and a higher hit frequency. Promising more wins, but usually on the smaller kind.

Jackpot pokies usually have a very high volatility and low hit frequency, because the chances of hitting the jackpot is there.

Pokies with a high volatility are often perceived by players as “tight” because the wins can be so far apart, while games with a low variance are sometimes perceived as being “loose” because there are so many small wins.