As a slots player one of the things that has the most influence on your potential winnings is what's known as the "return to player"; also called the payout percentage. Slots are games of pure luck, which means that you can't really apply any strategies to reduce the house edge like you can in games like blackjack. So the only way to do this is to find slots games that offer the highest return to player.
What is Return to Player?
Return to player is a theoretical statistical number the gives an indication of the likely amount that you will get in return for all the bets that you make over a period of time on a game. This assumes that you don't get lucky on a single spin and hit a jackpot, which throws the numbers out. It also only applies over time, over a large number of spins, so the more you play the more the return on your bets should approach this theoretical number.
Let's look at an actual example to complete the explanation. Say the slots game you are playing has a payout percentage of 95%. You really enjoy this slot, so you play it a lot. Over time the total amount of the bets you make comes to $1,000. Applying the payout percentage we find that you can expect to get $950 back in winnings. This is the result of the return to player percentage.
Return to Player and the house edge
We won't go into the complicated statistics and mathematics that apply to slots games, but we can see how the return to player is related to the slots game's paytable.
The paytable is the list of all the winning combinations that are possible on the reels, along with the number of coins that they pay out. To get the actual amount that they pay, you simply multiply the number of coins by the coin value that you bet on any given spin.
The payouts listed in the paytable have been carefully calculated to give the casino a house edge - a statistical advantage that ensures that over time the casino makes a small profit on all the bets that you place. These statistics are therefore built into the game and together they become the payout percentage. Which means that the difference between the total amount of all your bets and the return to player is the value of the house edge. In other words, if a slots game has a return to player of 95%, then the house edge is 5%. The casino can expect to keep 5% of all the bets you have made over time, taking into account all your wins.
Does this mean that slots games are rigged? Not at all. The spins and the symbols that land on the paylines are completely randomly generated. Any symbol has just as much chance of landing in a certain position as does any other symbol. The outcome of a spin is not manipulated at all. The house edge is entirely dependent on the calculations that determine how much the casino will pay for each winning combination.
Maximising the Return To Player
While there are no strategies that you can to overcome the house edge on a slots game, there are certain things you can do to make sure that you maximise your chances of getting the most favourable return to player on a slots game.
The first thing to do is to look for the payout percentages of the various slots that the casino offers. This is usually found in the game information that the casino provides. If the casino does not give this information, use Google to find the payout percentage of each game. Then choose the games that have the highest payout percentage (return to player). To help you with this we've listed below the top 5 NetEnt slots games in terms of return to player.
Secondly, only play slots games at actual casinos, whether they are online or real world casinos. Other locations that offer slots typically have higher house edges (lower return to player). So avoid playing slots in bars, for example.
Thirdly, the higher the denomination of the game - in other words the higher the betting limits – the higher the return to player, typically. So seek out slots that allow you to place bigger bets. The smaller, cheaper games tend to have lower payout percentages.
Lastly, always bet the maximum. It doesn't matter if this is 5 coins at 1c each, or 10 coins at $10 each. The point is that most slots games that have jackpots only pay the jackpot if the maximum is bet. So this is the only way of making sure that if you get very lucky, you get the maximum possible payout.
Top 5 NetEnt Slots based on RTP
Now that you understand the importance of return to player, here are the top 5 NetEnt slots listed by payout percentage:
Blood Suckers: 98% RTP
Kings of Chicago: 97.8% RTP
Devil's Delight: 97.6% RTP
Simsalabim: 97.5% RTP
Zombies: 97.2% RTP
These slots have really high payout percentages compared to the average slots game, so they are well worth playing.
Worst 5 NetEnt Slots based on RTP
Obviously you don't want to play slots that have relatively low return to player, so don't bother playing these ones:
Relic Raiders: 90% RTP
Super Lucky Frog: 93% RTP
Tiki Wonders: 93.2%
Tales of Krakow: 93.3%
Fortune Teller: 93.3%