In the Slot Volatility series, I’ve covered a variety of different ways that slots can be more volatile. Sometimes harder to find are signs that a slot is less volatile, but they’re out there. Examples of this are lower top payouts, which mean a slot doesn’t have to hold back as much on spins to prime the pump for a massive payout.
Another of the more common ways you can find a lower volatility slot is a slot that pays mixed symbols. In the mixed symbols example, different color symbols of the same type pay mixed, or single/double/triple of a symbol pay mixed, at a lower rate than if you got a pure three (or more) of a kind, but it can keep you in the game by giving you more frequent hits.
A three-reel slot example of this is the game Aftershock by WMS, which has bars, 7s, wilds, and Aftershock Multipliers (which are also wilds).
The 7s pay mixed, so it becomes an easy game to get hits (and the mixed 7s pay 2x your bet at that).
A lot of classic reel games, in fact, are like this. The recently-discussed Triple Double Diamond Free Games has single/double/triple bars and two different colored 7s, and each of those groups pay mixed.
On the video reel side, Quick Spin is another great example of the mixed bars providing more chances to line up hits and provide some additional fuel to keep playing towards a wheel spin or a bonus.
In all of these cases, the games were designed with higher hit frequency in mind, which the mixed bars help support. (Higher hit frequency is itself another sign of a low volatility slot machine.) So it makes sense that the mixed bars exist, as they help with the more frequent line hits.
So if you spot a machine that has mixed symbol pays, especially in tandem with other low volatility traits, it’s a good sign you’ve found yourself a game that will be lower in volatility, and as a result a less rocky ride for your bankroll.