Slot machines are difficult to beat, but if you apply a strategy, you are more likely to win than somebody who just randomly places a bet. A slot machine has what is called a variance. A variance is usually expressed as low, medium, or high. Variance refers to the difficulty of landing a winning combination in the slot machine. If the game has a low variance, it means that it is easier to win.

While many players will naturally opt for a low-variance slot machine, what many do not know is that the prizes are also lower. Today, we will show you the top 5 high-variance online slots with in-game strategies, like the Cygnus free play slot machine.

Book of Dead

Developer: Play’n GO

RTP: 96.76%

Released in 2016, this game sits on a 5×3 grid with only 10 paylines.

Here are the features:

  • Scatter symbols that pay
  • Expanding symbols
  • Free spins
  • Wild

The Book of Dead symbol is the wild, and also the scatter. It pays up to 200x your line bet if you landed five of it anywhere on the reels. The scatter also triggers the 10 free spins bonus round. The slot chooses a random symbol that it expands, giving you more opportunities to land winning combos. In the game, you can win up to 250,000 coins.


In-Game Strategy: 

The best approach here is to reduce the value of your coin to the lowest amount, and then bet five coins per line at any round. This way, you are multiplying each win by 5x without depleting your bankroll. Do not increase or decrease your bet—make sure you stay consistent. What you want to happen here is to land as many Book of Dead symbols as you can.


Dead or Alive

Developer: NetEnt

RTP: 96.80%

Developed in 2013, Dead or Alive remains as one of the best Wild West slot machines out there. It only has nine bet ways, but it does offer huge returns. The slot is on a 5×3 grid, and players can enjoy several bonuses like free spins, sticky wilds, and multipliers.

  • The wild symbol is the outlaw poster. In the free spins game, the wild becomes sticky and can give you more opportunities to use it as a substitute to form winning combos.
  • The scatter is the pair of revolver guns, which pays coins plus 12 free spins. All wins during the free spins are doubled.

In-Game strategy:

The most money that you can get is by landing the scatter five times anywhere on the grid, which pays 2,500 coins. The best strategy here is to bet a coin value of 0.01, but maximize each spin at two bet levels.

It is rare to land five scatters, but that is what you want to happen. If you succeed in doing this at two bet levels, you will win 5,000 coins.

Cazino Zeppelin

Developer: Yggdrasil

RTP: 96%

Like the first two, this one sits on a 5×3 grid. However, it has 20 paylines and a lower RTP. The game only has four major characters, or high-value symbols, which can pay up to 2,000 coins.

Cazino Zeppelin has a wild that pays free spins, provided that you collected five of them on five different reels during the free games. The free games bonus gets triggered by the scatter, which is a gold coin that has the word Free Spins on it.

In-game strategy:

This slot does not have bet levels. Instead, you bet a currency value for each line. The best thing to do here is to divide your bankroll by a thousand spins. The number you get should be the size of your bet per round, not per line.

This way, you can spin the slot machine at least a thousand times, thus giving you more opportunities to trigger the bonus rounds.

Gonzo’s Quest

Developer: Netent

RTP: 96%

An award-winning slot, Gonzo’s Quest offers 20 pay lines, wilds, scatters, and an avalanche feature. The avalanche happens after you land a winning combo in the base game. During this feature, all symbols that make up a winning line will disappear and get replaced with a new one. Each avalanche that produces a win will award a multiplier up to 15x.

In-Game strategy:

If you have the budget, bet the maximum amount of 0.05 per line and bet 5 coins per line. If not, your best strategy is to wager 0.01 per coin, but bet five coins per line. The higher the bet level, the more coins you win. At any rate, you have 5x multiplier for each winning combo you make, especially so if you trigger the avalanche four times in a row.

Immortal Romance

Developer: Microgaming

RTP: 96.86%

This is a vampire-themed slot that has 243 bet ways. Released in 2011, the slot has gained a cult following and is still a favourite up to this day.

The game has several features that get triggered the more you land the scatter symbols. The different types of free spins bonus are graded, which means you trigger each kind for every time you land a three-symbol scatter combo.

In-game strategy:

The trick to winning the slot is by climbing the free spins ladder—you will need to activate them all until you get to the free spins of the character named Sarah. To be able to do this, you must bet small and spin the reels many times. You must do this in one sitting only, as the game has no continuity.


If you want to win big, and you have an appetite for risk, choose slot machines with high variance. While landing a winning combo does not happen most of the time, the reward is always worth the risk.

High-variance slots are mostly characterized by a lot of spinning symbols, but they are also those that have several bonus rounds. Choose slots that have wilds and scatters, at least five reels and three rows, but make sure that the wild and scatter symbols trigger no less than four types of special features or bonuses.

Lauren Sanchez - Author

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