What is a Slot?

A narrow notch, groove, or opening in something, such as a keyway in a machine or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. The word is also used to refer to a specific time of day or period in a schedule: I booked the first episode’s slot on the evening show.

Slot is also the name of a football position in some American football leagues, and it may refer to either the wide receiver or the cornerback who lines up in that area. The position is named for its location between the offensive tackle and the wide receiver; the player in this slot is often quick and is in a good position to catch passes or take handoffs.

To play a slot, the player inserts coins or paper tickets with barcodes into the machine and pushes a spin button. The machine’s internal computer then uses a random number generator to determine where the reels will stop. If the symbols match up on a payline, the player wins. The slot machine’s internal computer also tracks the player’s winnings and losses and displays a running total on the machine’s front panel. The payout schedule and other descriptive information is displayed on the machine’s cabinet, as well. The amount of money the machine pays out varies depending on its variance (the likelihood of winning vs. the average size of each win). Also known as volatility.