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Provider Trust and ELK Studios

Posts: 7
Topic starter

After the recent discussions on the Nitro 4 review (hope this post can get that kind of discussion going), I've been thinking about ELK and my trust with their games. Personally, I think Elk should be leading the "Least Trusted Provider" poll this year.


I've played a bunch of their games, though I try to stick with their 95.0% RTP games despite that still being below industry standard. Sometimes I will demo their new interesting ones with a small money balance, but I never stick around past one or two bonuses because of 94.0% RTP. Pretty much every Elk title I've ever played, 94% or 95% has the same playing experience. If you are lucky, you will be able to roughly maintain RTP by landing bonuses frequently or by getting frequent base game wins. I say roughly maintain, because 95% of those bonuses and base game wins will pay you around 30x. If you get really lucky, you might get a bonus that pays close to or around 100x. After the tens of thousands of spins I've played on Elk titles, ~300x is the biggest win I've achieved on any game, so I'm going to call a win that big insanely lucky. 


It's also not just a personal experience, it seems to be the experience of many gamblers across many different forums and comment sections. Not just a few either, there are tons of people commenting on nearly any Elk title with the exact same experience I described above. As an example, Nitropolis 4 was released in February of this year. On stake, it's biggest win to date on the entire site in ~950x. That is ridiculously low, especially on a high volatility game which boasts 50,000x potential, and on a site with so many players spinning every second. Elk also boasts that it is their most played Nitropolis title to date, you would think that the wins would follow. I should add that the win came in late June, before that the biggest win was 850x in February shortly after release.


A few weeks ago Propaganda ripped a little over 1000x of my balance ($0.20) spins over the course of a few hours. I landed one bonus in that time, and my biggest win was about 35x. I decided to give Nitro 4 a spin yesterday following my one bonus rule because it's 94.0%. The thing is, after 1,200 spins that bonus never came, and my account was out over 600x. The point here isn't to complain about losing or not getting a bonus, it's that once you have lost, there's seemingly no way beyond a max win to make any sort of comeback. Elk don't often provide stats like other providers, but from the max win freq. numbers I have seen, it's much harder to land than in say an NLC game, so it's not like large amounts of the RTP are going there.


So if the lucky side of Elk games is getting a 30x bonus every 150 or so spins, and the unlucky side of their games is capable of ripping 1000x's, where does the RTP go to? If anyone has experiences getting wins in the 1000's of x from basegame playing Elk games I would like to hear about it, because the only thing I see online is people complaining about bonuses never paying and never seeing any big wins. Nearly every comment section on Elk wins on YouTube and lot's of people on BWB saying the exact same thing.


We still haven't covered:

- 94.0% RTP across all games. Terrible for all players and their biggest sin, not much else to say. The studio is too lazy to make variable RTP models and wants to take even more from players. Their response "It has been a big push from operators to offer 94% RTP. Instead of posting 96% RTP in forums and then offer 94% to players on most operators. We are honest up front with what players are playing at." Absolutely trash response from them that can be picked apart in so many ways. 95% was always a reason not to play, but 94% is a reason to blacklist the provider.

- The scripted reels. Not only are they overly scripted as can be easily seen in the Nitropolis series, but they are clearly designed to tilt players. Constant bonus teases and near-hits on nearly every spin that serve no purpose other than tilt players into thinking they were one symbol away when in reality, they were never remotely close. 

- As mentioned above, very few stats given to the players from Elk, so people don't have a great idea of what they're getting into or what they're actually playing for. No idea of bonus freq., max win freq. hit freq., etc for pretty much all of their games. Also very little communication with players in general.

- Xiter modes which are universally too expensive and only serve the purpose of draining accounts faster.

- Small one, but their games don't start at minimum bet size and they also don't remember your previous sessions bet size. Very easy to spend above budget and not realize it if you're not paying attention after you restart a game.


I want to reiterate that this isn't me being upset about loses, this is about how Elk games function. Yes people get ripped a new one all the time from NLC, but the rewards are also there for those who get lucky. With Elk, I feel like people get ripped and there aren't any rewards to back it up. You see the occasional max win on YouTube, but beyond that I don't hear stories of people getting 3000x bonuses or anything like that, pretty much the exact opposite. I hate to say it but at this point I doubt their math models entirely. There are lots of studios and games with brutal math models, but Elks feel uniquely awful. If anyone has had better experiences or wants to change my mind I would be happy to hear and discuss.

Posted : 09/08/2023 7:26 pm
kyrozz reacted
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Posts: 184

ELK studios have countless problems.
I played maybe 5K+ spins on their slots. a 900x Base game hit in Propaganda*, a 900x from Nitropolis 3 regular bonus buy, a 900x from Tropicool 2 regular bonus buy, a 800x from Ashoka, and a few 300x-400x, I guess my luck is already above the average.

jump to 03:13 timestamp.

94% RTP might be the least important one. UK players have got countless Max Wins on NLC slots at 94% RTP.
Their volatilty? Well, I don't know how to describe it. I've had countless times, where my balance just moves between +100x and -100x after 30 minutes of playing. Their slow spinning speed is also a problem, and sometimes can be annoying.
On one hand they have 25Kx and 50Kx potential, on the other hand, on some slots, there is a very large chunk of bonus that ends in between 50x and 200x, and I never experienced such distribution on other studios such as Hacksaw, NLC, Push Gaming, BTG. I've recorded 189 of Nitropolis 3's bonus rounds, highest one 582x, fine, lowest one 35.6x, being the "worst" one in those 189 rounds, that's a really high number, and says lot in terms of volatilty.
Despite having a 50000x potential, the game is only rated 7/10 volatilty by ELK studios. Now the only ELK slot I still play is Katmandu X, which have a 9/10 volatilty, and also 95% RTP.
Big wins does exist, on Stake's multiplier leaderboard there is a 12500x on Katmandu X, which I suggest it's a Max Win with a 2x cost Bonus Hout activated, and recently there's another 22000x.
They even have a bounty left there, a $1000 bonus for someone who can hit 2000x on Nitropolis 3, and it's already sitting there for a few months.
The bonus round is also weird.
I've seen a lot of bonus rounds that seems very very "unnatural". I've seen a few dozens of times where literally all those wins are concentrated in the very last spin, on both Nitropolis 3 and Tropicool 2. And every other spin are dead spins.
Other issues: Slow spinning speeds.
ELK is probably the only studio I've seen that can make a dead spin lasts half a minutes. Mainly on Nitropolis 3 and 4.
1. Two scatters in the first 2 reels: You got the tease effect that cause reel 3-6 to take longer to settle.
2. Get half a Nitro reel, unlocks one more row, and repeat.
3. Nitro booster: "Nitro upgrade" -> "Nitro match" -> "Nitro upgrade" -> "Nitro wild" -> "Nitro upgrade", and fianlly turning itself into a wild symbol.
4. Get a redrop to make this dead spin lasts even longer!

Posted : 11/08/2023 6:11 am
Posts: 7
Topic starter

I appreciate the response.


94% RTP is absolutely a massive factor. It's not like UK players are getting special programming to max win more than normal, they just max win at the regular 94% rate, and there are a lot of players, which means more dollars being lost by UK players. Not to mention it is always specifically highlighted by BWB compared to other countries so it stands out. I ask what RTP number you would consider unacceptable; 92%, 88% 78%? As gamblers, we will always be at a disadvantage and need to be smart about our playing, making casinos and providers respect our limits and margins. Slots are already the biggest money maker and profit margin for casinos, there is no reason to give the big guns more leeway. Max wins aren't exactly common with any players. Especially with high-volatility high-potential slots, they are essentially the jackpot slots of the old days, people are playing for the life changing win. There are more people playing than ever before so you see more wins. The average player doesn't need to be ripped any harder, it's just not ethical when you consider the already massive casino edge at the standard +4%. Betting $1.00 at 96.5%, you can easily lose $1000 within 1 hour playing turbo high-volatility slots, the provider/casino doesn't need a bigger edge.


Another thing to note, nearly every other studio gives a higher RTP when playing expensive bonus modes. I mean a $20 bonus mode or $100 super bonus (cheapest offered from ELK) are pretty massive buy-ins for the average-joe $0.20 player. A super buy is close to the average worker's daily salary. ELK still offers 94% RTP on the dot even when players are staking a hundred dollars on a $0.20 wager, compared to most other providers offering better RTP, most close to 97% at those stakes.


I also feel like you should know ELK does have Turbo Spins, you need to go into game settings to turn them on, although they still have longer than average spin times with that setting on. I was unaware as well, however all it did was rip my balance faster than Tombstone RIP. UK players, like ON players may not be able to enable those settings but they do exist.


A majority of slot players especially considering casual players, will never land a max win or a win above 10,000x, yet ELK make it possible to lose thousands of X by the hour without having the rewards in place to even it out. With almost any other high-volatility game provider the big wins are plentiful (speaking in slot percentages), except ELK games. Das xBoot or Pearl Harbor may brutal, but as you proved there are still 5000x wins in there. I just don't see those wins with ELK titles.  As I said, on almost any thread or video with ELK involved, the main topic is how hard it is to win anything meaningful on their games. Hell I looked in the Big Win forums to see the last ELK title posted there, and it was over 6 months ago. I'm happy that you haven't been ripped by ELK, truly and I mean that. Gamblers need to look out for each other and keep things honest. Four 900x wins in a matter of 5 thousand spins means you definitely made out well above average. I guess you answered half of my question, there are people beating the odds.


However even the numbers you posted are very low compared to other studios, considering you were bonus buying, spending minimum 100x to get those bonuses. It actually plays into my point, which is that you had an insanely lucky run, and despite that there still wasn't a 1000x win to be found. Again I'm happy for you, but until people start having 1000x + bonuses on ELK games regularly like with every other provider, I will doubt their math models. They rip balances too easily without reward. They tease in-your-face-intentionally to tilt players and get them betting more. As you even mentioned, Nitro series will have 30 second spins that serve no other purpose than making you tilted. When you consider that the rounds are picked and scripted before hand, it makes it worse and almost predatory. They offer subpar RTP which only hurts players, to the tunes of $20 per 1000 $1.00 spins, or $4.00 per 1000 $0.20 spins compared to any other provider. They do not provide any statistics on their games or interact at all with the community. With all of that said, I reiterate that I think ELK should be the least trusted provider of 2023. You can say what you will about other studios falling off or having bad years, but ELK has consistently screwed over their players/customers and shows no signs of improving.

Posted : 12/08/2023 9:59 am
Posts: 184

Posted by: @profitablesloter

Betting $1.00 at 96.5%, you can easily lose $1000 within 1 hour playing turbo high-volatility slots,

If you're only doing base spins, or those classic +20% extra bet, you're going to wager around $1200-$1500 in an hour, and you must be really, really unlucky to lose $1000 while wagering $1200-$1500.

Posted by: @profitablesloter

ELK does have Turbo Spins, you need to go into game settings to turn them on

I have it turned on all the time but it's still much slower than other providers.

With turbo spins on, Nitro 4 can do around 500 spins per hour, but for NLC slots this number can easily go above 1000, sometimes even close to 1500 all thanks to Tombstone RIP's super low hit frequency in both Base game and Bonus round.

Posted by: @profitablesloter

They tease in-your-face-intentionally to tilt players and get them betting more.

This is definitely a terrible thing. I've seen countless retrigger teases in Nitro 3 Super Bonus, but none of them made it. I did hit a retrigger in a Nitro 3's regular bonus, and it went terribly wrong. All those 8 additional spins are dead spins. Imagine after dozens of bonus rounds, finally hitting a retrigger but it doesn't pay you anything...


And I also got those results during real-money play. 

Screenshot 1: Randomly, when Both Ways are not activated, and it's a dead spin, there will be a nitro booster that throws in a bunch of high value symbol or even wilds, just to annoy you.

Screenshot 2: When you got wilds on reel 1, 3, 4 and 5, but reel 2 is blocked...This feels terrible. Tropicool 2 would be a great game but they ruined it with 94% RTP, their weird and unpopular math models and those birds. They mainly serve a purpose of occupying a large chunk of space and blocking potential wins, and rarely they wins but they won't pay much.


Other things:

On Stake, you can play ELK slots in demo mode, but you can't try out any X-iter features. On some other casinos, trying to play ELK slots in demo mode would always result in an error message.
When I go to ELK's website, I saw some of their older games such as Bompers, does have a demo mode with X-iter features, but this is no longer true for newer games such as Nitropolis 3 and 4.

I've gathered some Bonus buy results from demo mode, and here's some data. Although the sample size is definitely not big enough, and if I record 1k or 10k more data the result can be very different. I mean, at least ELK's demo mode is pretty honest, all thanks to Bigwinboard allowing us to try out those X-iter and bonus buy features.

Nolimit City, Misery Mining
Regular Bonus(66x cost), Mouse Mode
361 Rounds recorded.
96 Rounds(26.6%) pays at least 1x Buy-in cost.
16 Rounds(4.4%) pays at least 3x Buy-in cost.
109 Rounds(30.2%) ends between >=17x and <33x.
131 Rounds(36.3%) ends between >=33x and <66x.
Best round: 1022x Base bet(Over 15x Buy-in); Worst round: 11x Base bet(1/6 Buy-in).

Top 1/5/10% percentile pays 7.69x/2.86x/2.01x Buy-in.

This is already one of the least volatile bonus round you can get from NLC's popular games. Other games like Disturbed have way higher volatilty than this.

ELK Studios, Nitropolis 3
Regular Bonus(100x cost)
201 Round recorded.
43 Rounds(21.4%) pays at least 1x Buy-in cost.
2 Rounds(1.0%) pays at least 3x Buy-in cost. Yeah, only 2 rounds.
56 Rounds (27.9) ends between >=25x and <50x.
102 Rounds (50.8%) ends between >=50x and <100x.

Top 1/5/10% percentile pays 4.39x/1.95x/1.71x Buy-in.

Best round: 582x Base bet(The only one that pays more than 5x Buy-in); Worst round: 35.6x Base bet(more than 1/3 of a Buy-in).

Posted : 14/08/2023 6:32 am
Posts: 184

I don't care about that 1%-2% RTP that much, as long as I enjoy that game. NLC games tend to have an RTP between 96.00% to 96.20%, Gates of Olympus is 96.50% and DOA 2 is even 96.8%. But since I enjoyed those NLC slots more, I'm fine with slightly lower RTP.
Higher RTP can be a reason to play, but that's not always the case. I know book of 99 have a 99% RTP, but after spending 20 miniutes in demo mode I never played it again, because for some reasons I really don't like those book games.
I even played a game with 93% RTP, Pine of Plinko Dream Drop, because the reason is enough. The bonus round is fun, and there is a chance of getting a life-changing jackpot, even a Major would be great.

Posted : 14/08/2023 7:14 am
Posts: 184

Also found something very unusual, on Stake's Buffalo Toro leaderboard.

1st place: 50000x(Max Win), followed by 2nd and 3rd place both only 700x.

That's a 70x difference between the 1st and 2nd place. 

Posted : 16/08/2023 2:54 pm
Posts: 7
Topic starter

Appreciate the responses. I've typed out a couple of replies that have been lost the second I press send so I'll keep this shorter.


We disagree about RTP which is fine. I think anything under 96% should be avoided and under 94% should be blacklisted. With Pine of Plinko, you are playing a 96% game. the base game will pay you 94% with the additional RTP going to the dream drop jackpot, at least that's how I understand it. I could be wrong. Also Wanted can absolutely rip 1000x in an unlucky hour, although that game at least has 1000x wins to make up for it. As I mentioned Propaganda took a little of 2 hours to rip 1000x from my account.


The stats and screenshots you posted are great and demonstrate exactly what I'm talking about. The in your face fuck you teases like the Nitropolis one shown is the perfect example of ELK intentionally trying to tilt a player. That type of tease happens insanely often and just about never hits. The Buffalo Toro leaderboard also shows what I'm saying with Nitro 3, Nitro 4 Propaganda, etc. The 1000x wins simply aren't there, or they are so rare that they might are well not be. That would be fine but the games play like high-volatility games and can rip balances, so where is the pay back? It's not like the max wins nearly frequent enough to justify it.


So when you add the in your face teases, subpar RTP, lack of big wins (1000x +) across entire communities, and the lack of stats provided by ELK, I just do not trust them anymore. It does not seem like they are games that have the players best interests in mind.


I haven't had the 900x wins you have on their games, but even that wouldn't be enough to justify how bad their games have eaten my balances. With Print, Relax, NLC, and many other providers there are lots (relatively) of 1000x-10,000x wins landed by myself and other players, but it just doesn't seem like ELK games have that in them. Beyond a max win which most of us will never land, there doesn't seem to be any way to get back to RTP if you've had a bad session. Maybe if they posted/provided stats like other studios do I could get a better understanding, but they don't, probably because it wouldn't look good.

Posted : 18/08/2023 1:33 pm
Posts: 184

Posted by: @profitablesloter

With Pine of Plinko, you are playing a 96% game. the base game will pay you 94% with the additional RTP going to the dream drop jackpot, at least that's how I understand it.


The one with 96.48% RTP doesn't have jackpots and it's hard to find, at least I fail to find a place to play it. 

The one with 93.48% RTP have those life-changing jackpots potential, and 12% of your bets goes into the jackpot pool, which implies the jackpot part have an RTP around 12%, meaning there're only slightly more than 80% RTP left for the base game and bonus round.

On one of BigWinBoard's Youtube videos, I saw this.


Buffalo Toro, a game with 8/10 volatilty, and under 87% RTP settings, have a 50000x Max Win freq of 1/30M.
With a 94%-95% RTP, I'd expect this number to be acound 1/27M. And for Katmandu X, the only ELK slot I'm still playing, It have a 9/10 volatilty and a 25000x Max Win, I guess the number would be around 1/10M~1/15M, and that would be easier to achieve than some lower-volatilty NLC slots such as The Cage(1/35M), and the upcoming DJ Psycho (1/37M)
A major problem is there's barely anything between 1000x and a max win, too much of those RTP are allocated to wins within 200x. Spending half an hour to play 20 bonus rounds at a cost of 100x each, only to find out all of them ends between 30x and 300x can be really frustrating.


Posted : 21/08/2023 6:04 pm
Posts: 184

Just had another discovery on ELK slots.

Nitropolis 4.

Among the last 20 natural bonus I got, approx 1/3 of them ends between 15x and 25x.

Then I spent some time, doing bonus buys in demo mode, and I'm shocked by the result. Over 50+ bonuses, not a single one below 35x.

And I'm talking about regular bonus, not super bonus. At first I thought only natural super bonus we got might be fake, and now, even the regular bonus can be fake. I'd say it's extremely unlikely that bonus we bought and bonus we land naturally share the same ruleset and algorithm/scripts.

Posted : 18/10/2023 1:45 pm
Posts: 7

ELK is around 94% rtp which means that is not optimal for players, besides PIROTS i don't like their game at all. Go for above 96%

Posted : 18/10/2023 10:54 pm