Casino Games: What is the Meaning of RTP?
Every casino game out there has an inbuilt advantage that favours the house, and it’s called RTP. We’re going to show you how to understand the RTP percentage of a casino game and use it to your own advantage when playing at online casinos right here. Plus, we’ll show you where to find the best slot games with the highest RTP right now.
By the end of this guide, you will be a true RTP expert. Don’t fall for the casino’s tricks! You’ll know exactly which games to play to maximise your chances to win.
What Does RTP Stand For?
If you’ve ever wondered what does RTP stand for, the answer is it’s short for ‘Return to Player’. This is a number, expressed as a percentage, which indicates the odds of winning at a specific online slot game. It represents the percentage of bets that a player can expect to win back over their entire time playing that game. However, it is just an average and doesn’t convey the exact amount a player may win.
The RTP percentage is usually displayed next to each casino video game or in the paytable. For live casino games such as roulette and blackjack, the RTP is usually expressed as odds for each type of possible bet.
If you are playing a slot game that has a stated RTP of 95% and you play 100 spins at £1 per bet, then you can expect to win back £95 (on average). The remaining £5 is what’s often referred to as the house edge, i.e. the money the casino makes from players wagering.
If things always worked exactly like this, then slot games would not be very attractive to players as they would constantly lose money each time they spin the reels. It’s important to understand that any RTP percentage given is calculated over millions of spins. Therefore, for a single player to hit the exact RTP percentage of a single slot game each time they play, it is highly unlikely.
For this reason, RTP is often referred to as ‘theoretical’. Every single spin from each player will contribute towards the RTP of a slot game over time, think of it as one big prize pool if you like. The money you lose during your gaming session could be going towards another player’s win or visa versa.
Sometimes the house will win more and sometimes, luckily, you will! Each spin is calculated using very complex Random Number Generators (RNGs) to ensure that all players get a fair chance of a win or loss. This is why you can play the same slot game and hit a big win one day and win nothing on another day; it’s just pure luck.
Take a look at this data from the UK Gambling Commission. You can see how the real RTP you experience can vary by as much as 15% either way, and you only start to see a game hit the average after 1 million spins. Before any game is verified and released at UK casinos, it must go through strict testing procedures to prove the RTP.
Players will often talk about the house edge in casino games. This is easy to calculate as it’s the remaining percentage after the RTP is deducted. If a slot game has a theoretical RTP of 96%, this would mean that the house edge is 4%. This percentage is the casino’s profit and would be shared between themselves and the game provider in an agreed revenue split.
Knowing this, players are always on the hunt for casino games that offer the highest RTP and smallest house edge. Although there are some slots with a very small house edge, it’s actually table games that can provide some of the best odds for players.
French Roulette offers an average RTP of 98.65%, Baccarat 98.99%, Blackjack 99.54% and Craps 98.64%. These would all beat most slot games hands down in offering the smallest house edge at an online casino.
Rules set out by casino licensing organisations mean that players should always be able to find out the RTP of any slot game they want to play. This may be mentioned in the game description by the casino, and you might be able to sort slots by their RTP stats. Otherwise, opening up the paytable in any slot should show the game’s given RTP percentage. Any online slot game reviews will usually mention the RTP too.
Some game providers might be known for offering higher or lower RTP slots, but overall it is a mixed bag. Game providers usually look to appeal to the broadest range of players possible, so making games with varying RTP percentages is crucial to this.
Slot games may have a variable RTP which can be adjusted by the casino itself. In this case, you could play the same slot game at two different online casinos and experience a different RTP at each one. In-game features might also affect the slot’s RTP. For example, a hi-roller mode or a special bonus game might have a separate rating to the main game.
Another factor which can affect the RTP of a single slot is the amount you bet. Some games will offer you a more favourable percentage for bigger bets per spin or when using the max bet feature. These slots are good for high rollers. As mentioned, the RTP is just a theoretical average calculated over millions of spins. It’s always important to gamble responsibly and only bet what you can afford to lose.
High RTP Slots – Do they exist?
High RTP slots are the top games at online casinos because of the smaller house edge that they offer to players. When playing casino games, any perceived advantage that a player might gain will add value to a specific game. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that some of the most popular online slot games are also those which have the highest RTP percentage.
Most slots have RTPs of somewhere between 94% and 97%. Slots with an above-average RTP are less common, and those with 98% or above are very rare indeed. We’ll now take a look at some of the higher Return to Player slots and what they offer.
Common High RTP Slots
Here are some of the most popular slots around with a higher than average RTP that you can find at many UK casinos:
This 5 reel, 243 ways to win slot from Microgaming is one of the most loved slot games out there. With its modern vampire tale of immortal love, Immortal Romance contains the thrilling Chamber of Spins bonus feature. Based around four charming heroes, Amber, Troy, Michael and Sarah, the bonus feature offers players a stunning top prize of 60,000 coins. On top of that, the generous RTP of 96.86% has made it a firm hit with casino players around the globe.
NetEnt created an unexpected smash hit when they unleashed Mega Joker on the casino world. The simplicity of this game harks back to the golden days of one arm bandit slot machines and fruit symbols. On top of the base game, you’ll find the Supermeter Reels feature where you could just land the mighty progressive jackpot. This is where the more you wager, the more your chances of a win increase. The stunning RTP of 99% is truly what keeps players coming back time and again.
The original Dead or Alive slot from NetEnt might be looking a little dated now, but it’s certainly still pulling in the players. Fans rave about the bonus features and sticky wilds here which can lead to some potentially epic wins. Those sticky wilds will lead the way, giving you an additional 5 free spins once the bonus round is active. It’s the favourable RTP of 96.80% that has helped to earn this classic wild west themed slot a place in the heart of many online casino players.
Rare 98% RTP & 99% RTP Slots
Finding slots with an RTP north of 98% is an incredibly difficult task to undertake because they give online casinos such a slim house edge. Luckily for you, our expert casino team has found the 3 best RTP slots of all time, each with an incredible percentage:
This simple 3 reel, 10 payline slot from Playtech is easy to play. The lack of bonus features here is a blessing for any players new to the world of slots who are looking for an amazing RTP percentage. The key feature here is the ability to hold symbols on the reels in the style of classic fruit machines. Land a reel full of symbols, and you’ll get the option to hold that symbol over the reel for the next spin giving increased chances of a win. It’s just a shame that this slot isn’t optimised for mobile devices so can’t easily be played on the go.
You don’t often associate a football chant with the lord of the undead, but here we are with Ooh Aah Dracula, a popular 5 reel slot from Barcrest. The slot has a fun yet spooky feel as the name would suggest and appeals to players thanks to that generous potential RTP of 99%. We say potential as you’ll only get the 99% RTP if you play 5 rounds at an increased stake. This can be either 20 or 30 times your original stake. It’s only these additional 5 spins which will give you the epically high RTP here. The base game sits at a closer to average RTP of 96%.
Another of our best RTP slots with a scarily high percentage is Blood Suckers from NetEnt. It’s also on the vampire theme but this time with some seriously freaky creatures of the night stalking the reels. The game has 2 thrilling bonus features with a vampire bride giving you 10 free spins and a 3x multiplier. The second bonus game involves taking your pick from a selection of coffins to discover a vampire and win a cash prize. But it’s the stunning RTP of 98% which helps players brave the scares to land some high paying symbols and a max potential of just over 1,000x their stake.
RTP Table Games
Now that we’ve discussed RTP in slot games, how about in other games? Do all table games have Return to Player percentages and how do they compare to slot games? The simple answer is yes, all table games have RTPs like slots, and they usually have a much smaller house edge than slot games. Table games and live casino games can have an overall RTP as well as odds for specific bets, such as straight number bets (35:1) or red/black bets (1:1) in Roulette.
Table games can consistently offer high RTP percentages, particularly when compared to most online slot games. Because these games are played with a specific set of rules, numbers, or cards it’s easier to have a stable RTP. Professional players and serious players would choose table games over slots any day. Although the exact RTP might vary with some minor tweaks in the game format, the average RTP for French Roulette is 98.65%, Baccarat is 98.99%, Blackjack is 99.54%, and Craps comes in at 98.64%. This goes a long way to explaining why live blackjack is the game that most well-seasoned players flock to at many online casinos.
Why does RTP matter?
RTP is a big deal for players because it gives a theoretical indication of their chances of winning on a specific casino game. The theory follows that the smaller the house edge is, the bigger the chances of landing a win.
However, this can only ever be a theoretical stat, and the outcome of any casino game is down to pure luck. This is especially true for online slot games where Random Number Generators are used to ensure that the outcome of any single spin is truly randomised.
Do Hit Frequency or Volatility Influence the RTP?
Some players believe that hit frequency will give a better insight when and how a casino game is going to payout. This term gives players a number, expressed as a percentage, which indicates how many bets out of 100 will payout on a specific casino game.
Volatility (or variance) of slots, is a stat also used by players to try and predict the likelihood of a game paying out. This is expressed as being either low, medium or high and indicates how often players can expect payouts from a slot. Low variance slots pay out more often but normally award smaller wins. Conversely, highly volatile slots pay out less often but the wins are usually bigger.
It’s a common myth that either or both of these stats affect the RTP of an individual casino game. They have no bearing on the RTP percentage, and equally, the RTP has no effect on the volatility or hit rate of any slot.
We’ve now seen that slots tend to offer lower RTPs than table games. We’ve also seen what RTP is and how players use it to try and predict the likelihood of a win from various casino games. It’s important to remember that any Return to Player percentage is purely theoretical and therefore can’t be used as a guarantee for wins.
It’s always a good idea to look at any game overall and factor in the bonus features and gameplay required to trigger them. The features are often the thing that makes the RTP so high in the first place, but if they are fiendishly difficult to trigger then your funds may be better spent elsewhere.
The most important thing is to stick within your personal playing limits and have fun when playing casino games online. Make the best use of casino bonuses and don’t chase losses just because of a high RTP!