Pokies: What is Return To Player (RTP)?

As any pokies fan will tell you, you should never dismiss a slot just because the graphics are poor or the bonus features are uninspiring. It’s all about getting a return, which is where the return to player average comes in.

What is the return to player?

Often shortened to “RTP”, this figure shows you how much of a return you can expect from any given slot machine. It works in much the same way as a house edge, as it shows you how much of an edge the casino has over you. However, the house edge assumes a base rate of 0%, and anything in the positive is the house advantage, whereas the RTP assumes a base rate of 100% and anything below this is your advantage. Obviously there are no games with RTPs of 100% or more, simply because the house always wins.

How to calculate the RTP

The RTP of a slot machine should be available online, and in many cases you can find it on the online casino website or the developer’s website. The best way of understanding this figure is to assume that it is a dollar amount, and that that dollar amount is the return you can expect from a bet of $100.

So, for example, an RTP of 96% essentially means that you an expect a return of $96 for every $100 that you bet on that slot. Of course, that is an average amount and it’s very rare that you will actually get that figure in return, but that’s how the edges are calculated and it gives the player an easy way to understand how tight or loose a particular slot is.

The software developers with the highest RTPs

The big name developers insist on creating slots that offer respectable RTPs, and in most cases, these developers will always create online pokies that are at least 90%. Some of them begin a little higher, but if so, they might have a maximum limit that is lower than others.

One of the developers with the best RTPs is Microgaming. They are also the most sought-after developer for fans of slot machines, and they were the first ones to introduce progressive slots and bonus slots to the market. Microgaming also create more slots than anyone else, releasing more games every month than many other developers release throughout the entire year.

Their older games tend not to offer the same high RTPs as their newer titles, but if you stick with new releases, and the ones released in the last few years, you’ll be okay.

The slots with the highest RTP

You might be surprised to discover which games have the highest RTPs. We certainly were, because many of these games are not very popular:

  • 50% — Hot Ink: This slot has over 1,000 paylines and a decent aesthetic, but it is far from the most popular slot on the Microgaming software and doesn’t attract the same attention that their other slots do, even despite the extremely high RTP. In fact, this is the highest RTP we have ever seen.
  • 86% — Big Kahuna: Snakes and Ladders: A fun game with a bonus feature that is based on the popular board game of the same name, Big Kahuna is bright, loud and proud, with a huge payout that should make it one of your favorite Microgaming slots.
  • 74% — Scrooge: Based on the famous Charles Dickens character, this Christmas themed slot is a rare find and isn’t available on all Microgaming casinos, but you will be able to find it on the bigger and better ones.
  • 65% — Thunderstruck II: A huge improvement on the original Thunderstruck game, Thunderstruck II is beautifully made, with a number of big features to look out for and a payout that more or less guarantees an impressive return.

The differences between these slots and ones that are considered to have “average” RTPs are fractional, and it’s not something you will notice during short-term play. However, during the course of an extended session, it is certainly noticeable, and these small differences may also help you on your way to a big jackpot.

Speaking of which, it’s important to note that progressive slots, which are common on the Microgaming software, tend to have very low RTPs. This is so that they can offset the jackpot, and it means that games like Mega Moolah, Cash Splash and Major Millions, while great fun and potentially hugely rewarding, are not ideal if you want to focus on getting consistent returns.

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