Posted on

What is a Slot?


A narrow notch, groove, or opening, as a keyway in machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also: a position in a group, series, sequence, etc.: The book’s sequel occupied a slot between the two earlier novels.

2. A compartment or receptacle, such as a box or container, into which something can be inserted: She slipped the filter into the slot. Also: a period of time in which something is done, as in He was given a slot at the library.

3. A space or place in which something fits, as in The sleeve fit into the slot of the dress. Also: the receptacle into which a card or coin is inserted: He slipped the coin into the slot. 4. A position or job: He was assigned the slot of chief copy editor.

5. A slit or channel in which something is passed: The door opens through a slot.

The most common use of the word slot is for a casino game that uses reels to display symbols and award credits based on combinations of those symbols. These machines are commonly known as fruit machines, pokies, puggies, or one-armed bandits (a reference to their resemblance to the single-armed bandits that once proliferated in bars and saloons). They are among the most popular gambling games in casinos worldwide and have a variety of styles, themes, rules, and names.

Most modern slot machines are programmed to pay out winning combinations of symbols according to a table or payout schedule. The table tells how much a player will earn if the symbols appear on the pay line, which runs vertically or horizontally across the multiple reels. The odds of winning are based on the frequency of each symbol and its relationship to the other symbols. The tables also include information on how often the machine pays out jackpots and other special features, such as free spins.

Historically, electromechanical slot machines used “tilt switches” to detect certain types of malfunctions, such as the doors being opened or closed or the reels being out of order. These switches would make or break a circuit, depending on whether the machine was tilted. In later years, manufacturers incorporated electronics into their slot machines and began to weight different symbols differently. As a result, some symbols appeared to be more frequent than others on the reels displayed to players, even though they had the same probability of appearing in any particular spot on the reels. The electronic weighting has largely replaced the need for tilt switches, although many mechanical slot machines still have them.