Full RTP Guide For Beginners
Check out our experts’ RTP guide to find out what does “return to player” truly means and how it can affect your gameplay in different gambling situations.
- Exploring casino RTP
- Demystifying game volatility and hit frequency
- Top casino cames with impressive RTPs
- Decoding the link between RTP and casino bonuses
- The bottom line: making the most of RTP knowledge
Exploring casino RTP
Return to Player percentage refers to the percentage of the total amount wagered in a specific game that will be paid back in time to the player.
If you play a game with a 95% RTP, theoretically it means that you’ll receive back 95% of the amount staked. This means that the game pays an average of £0.95 if your initial bet was £1.
However, the average payout percentage doesn’t apply to every bet made. Even if it seems that if you wager £100 on a 95% RTP game, you’ll be guaranteed £95, that is not the case.
This percentage is calculated in the long term, being measured over 10000 or 100000 bets or more.
You may think that the casino is the one that sets the payout rate, but in fact, it is the game provider. Before reaching the gambling site, official gambling authorities must ensure that the RTP complies with all the regulations.
Theoretical vs actual RTP
It is the percentage that the casino will theoretically pay back over time based on the wagers made.
It is the amount that the game will payout, which may differ from the one displayed within a slot.
How do these two connect?
These will start to get closer over long-term gameplay.
The mathematics behind this is: turnover divided by potential payout rate.
Let’s say a game has a turnover of £2 million with a potential payout amount of £1900000. By doing the math, you’ll get 0.95. This means the theoretical RTP rate is 95%, and the actual is something closer to this.
Demystifying game volatility and hit frequency
When playing a slot machine, three different indicatives can influence your payout. Besides RTP, volatility and hit frequency are important factors that can change your gameplay.
What is volatility?
This determines the behaviour of a slot machine and refers to the frequency of payouts, the amount paid, and the level of risk involved.
How does it help you?
It indicates whether the game chosen is:
- High risk: fewer payouts but consistent;
- Medium-high risk: substantial value wins and relatively high win frequency;
- Medium risk: smaller but more frequent payouts;
- Low-medium: lower-value win combinations and more frequent payouts;
- Low risk: lower value payouts but at a faster pace.
In short, even if a game has a high RTP, it also matters what volatility it has to determine what type of payouts it will give.
What is hit frequency?
It shows how often you can get a winning combination while playing.
- If a slot has a frequency of 9%, you’ll get a winning combination 9% of the time. Hit frequency represents the percentage of spins that will have some sort of payout.
- If the game has 1 million outcomes and 200000 of them will come with a payout, the hit frequency of the game is 20%.
How does it differ?
Depending on the game type, the hit frequency differs. For instance, slot machines come with a low percentage of 3%, while video poker games can have a hit frequency of 45%.
Let’s take Tiki Treasure Megaways as an example
This title offers up to 117649 ways with a hit frequency of 30%, meaning that you’ll get at least one payout on 3 out of every ten spins.
However, you don’t know how many lines you can expect to win with on each spin.
You should keep in mind is that hit frequency doesn’t take “loses disguised as wins” (LDW) into account when defining a frequency for a slot. LDW refers to payouts that are worth less than your bet size.
How do RTP, volatility and hit frequency affect the gameplay?
All three represent an important factor in how a play session is going to unfold. They depend on each other, so this is what you have to pay attention to, when choosing a game:
- A high volatility game is expected to come with a low hit frequency
- Low volatile games have a higher hit frequency given that small winnings are offered more often
- Volatility determinates what type of payouts the game will offer, even if it comes with a high Return to Player percentage.
Is there any connection between RNG and RTP?
The RTP determines how much a player obtains from a game, and the RNG makes sure that everything is random.
The RNG makes sure that all the outcomes of games are random, which will display a consistent RTP rate. Online casinos must monitor their RTP to make sure that their RNG works in the proper way.
CasinoAlpha has the explanation!
As you will see in our RNG guide, most casinos use pseudo values but this does not affect the integrity of that gambling website, and the games do not follow any pattern.
RTP and the UKGC
Many legal factors must be taken into consideration by casino sites when it comes to the player’s rights. One of them is to ensure that all gambling platforms offer their players the option of fair gaming.
Therefore, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission checks that all casinos licensed by the British government display the RTP percentage for each game available on their site. One of the reasons why is this important is to prevent the casino from cheating.
In May 2021, The Malta Gaming Authority dropped the Return to Player percentage in online slots to 85% following an amendment to Article 22 of the Player Protection Directive.
Top casino cames with impressive RTPs
Our experts have found several casino games with impressive RTP percentages.
Most online slot games come with a Return to Player between 94% to 97%. Below we’ll present five of the highest RTP slot machines.
Jackpot Jester 50k
- RTP: 99.90%
- Volatility: medium
Jackpot Jester is a NextGen slot machine with 3 reels, 5 pay-lines and a Supergame feature. This will let you play for 50000 Jackpot Jester, but you must play the 20 coins options to trigger it.
- RTP: 99.07%
- Volatility: low
This Playtech title has a starting bet set at £0.1. It comes with features within the game that include multiplier, multi-bet and a Hold feature that allows you to control which reel to spin.
- RTP: 99.07%
- Volatility: low
Playtech developed this slot machine, and its Wild symbols can offer you up to 1000x wins. However, the game doesn’t have a free spins feature.
- RTP: 99.00%
- Volatility: high
Mega Joker slot machine has 5 paylines, and a progressive jackpot feature. Players can take advantage of a Supermeter mode, where they can get bigger payouts.
- RTP: 98.95%
- Volatility: medium
Tropic Reels has a fixed jackpot that is triggered when you land a certain number of wilds. The game also comes with a multi-spin feature.
These are classified by type, so you shall find the information you need easier.
It can be a struggle to find the best payout online casinos. We know and understand this very well. Thus, to facilitate your search, we’ve analysed gambling sites and extracted the 15 ones that have passed our rigorous analysis. Browse through our findings and compare them carefully.
In games with progressive jackpots, the RTP is calculated a little differently.
For example, the game comes with a 98% RTP, but has a prize of over £500000. This means that the percentage of RTP will increase over 100%.
Progressive jackpots with an RTP over 100%
How to find the RTP of a slot machine?
- By opening a game and accessing the tool icon
- By pressing the info icon from each game
More about house edge and RTP
Even though RTP and house edge are two different concepts, they go hand in hand when it comes to table games.
While the Return to Player represents the winning opportunity of the gambler, the house edge represents the mathematical advantage the casino has on a player’s bet that guarantees profit in the long run for the casino.
The house edge depends on game to game:
- Roulette: 5% to 3.49%;
- Game shows: 3.92% to 3.77%;
- Blackjack: 0.5% to 4.1%;
- Baccarat: 1.06% to 1.24%.
Contrary to what you may think, table games also display the RTP like slots do.
Blackjack titles have the highest Return to Player percentage with an average of 99%.
The highest paying Blackjack titles
|Blackjack Variation Switch||99.27%|
|Single Deck Blackjack||99.75%|
Poker titles are the second type of table games products after Blackjack that come with a high RTP.
Poker games with a high Return to Player
|10 Play Power Poker – All Aces||99.92%|
|10 Play Power Poker – Aces and Faces||99.26%|
|10 Play Power Poker – Bonus Poker||99.17%|
|10 Play Power Poker – Double Double Bonus Poker||98.98%|
|10 Play Power Poker – Bonus Deuces Wild||96.77%|
Depending on the Roulette type, the RTP differs.
Five Roulette games with RTP over 95%
|Age of Gods Roulette||95.73%|
Live casino games also come with a considerable Return to Player percentage.
High RTP live casino games for UK players
|Infinite Blackjack||Evolution Gaming||99.51%|
|First Person Blackjack||Evolution Gaming||99.21%|
|Hand Casino Hold’em||Evolution Gaming||99.18%|
|Grand Baccarat Live||Playtech||98.94%|
|Golden Baccarat Live||Playtech||98.77%|
As for land-based casinos, the Return to Player is lower than the percentage of online casino games. Usually, the land-based slot machines from physical locations come with an RTP of around 70% to 90%.
Decoding the link between RTP and casino bonuses
Games with a higher RTP will pay more, but this is available in the long run. These games may be your first choice when deciding on what game to wager the casino bonus.
How to calculate the expected value
To find out the expected value from a promotion, you need to know the following details:
- The bonus amount you’ll receive;
- The amount of wagering you need to complete before making a withdrawal;
- The RTP of the games we need to play to complete the wagering.
You have to follow the next formula to calculate the expected value: bonus (wagering x RTP).
What about wagering requirements?
There are different types of wagering requirements that use the bonus amount, the deposit, the winnings, and sometimes even these three combined. As a hypothetical example, let’s imagine that you received a bonus of £100.
Let’s say the rollover request for our offer is 20 times the bonus amount. The game you play is Starburst that has a 96.01% RTP. This means your expected value will be:
- £100 – [£100 x 20 x (100% – 96.01%)]
- £100 – £2000 x 3.99
- £100 – £7980
- – £78.80
By doing the math, you concluded the fact that this offer is not the best one to claim, as you may expect to lose around £78.
How to find out the RTP?
To compute the RTP percentage you need to expect, you have to make the next calculation: 1 – (bonus/wagering). We’ll use the example mentioned above:
- 1 – (£100/£2000)
- 1 – 0.05
Now you know that to have a positive expected value, you have to choose a game with an RTP of 95% or above.
Keep in mind that the RTP and EV are long-term figures, and they don’t guarantee a win.
We did several investigations and came up with a list of UK casinos with the best payout that we’ve encountered so far. Any choice from our listing has a guaranteed safety layer.
The bottom line: making the most of RTP knowledge
Now you know what the RTP value stands for and are able to differentiate between RTP, hit frequency and volatility.
Moreover, the CasinoAlpha team has brought to you the games with the highest return to player rate and how to make the best of them!
How did we collect the information for you?
Our main goal while creating this guide was to make your life easier and give you structured information that you can use in your casino experiences. Thus, we examined dozens of casinos as well as various sites that approach this subject.
In addition, we tried various games to come up with concrete examples and our calculus experts tested the mathematical calculations behind these concepts.
Never forget to play responsibly!
In any circumstance, we thoroughly advise you to use responsible gambling tools to prevent gambling addiction. Learn exactly what is happening in your brain when you gamble, through our specialized guide!