Many slots players consider payback to be indicative of their chances of winnings in any given session. But RTP usually has little bearing on your short-term gains. Payout percentages are merely long-term indicators on how much you stand to win. Most players don’t come anywhere close to reaching the given payout percentage on the game they are playing.
Even if a slot machine offers 96% payback, it wouldn’t be uncommon for you to win back anywhere from 40% to 150% in one session. Slot machines are by far one of the most-volatile casino games, meaning short-term results can vary greatly from the mean average. Pay table distribution is the main reason for the high volatility. Every slot has a wide variation between the lowest and highest prize.
This pay table has a jackpot that’s worth 2000x the lowest prize. Considering the large payouts offered at the top, the slot machine must calibrate by offering less frequent wins. Compare this to baccarat, blackjack, craps, and roulette, where players win over 45% of their bets on average. High slots volatility comes from how these games are programmed to reach their stated payout percentage after hundreds of thousands if not millions of spins. It’s very unlikely that you will sit down to a slot with 96% RTP and win back $96 on every $100 wagered.
Of course, this is also part of the fun when playing slots. Nobody wants to be guaranteed losses when they start spinning the reels. In any case, you should be aware that slot machines are very volatile and unlikely to pay anywhere near their stated payback in the short run.