What is a Slot?


A narrow notch, groove, or opening, such as a keyway in machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also:

A position or period of time reserved for a particular activity, such as an airport’s slot time at a busy airport. The term may also refer to an allocation of air traffic management (ATFM) slots, as part of an airline’s scheduled take-off time (CTOT).

In computer technology, a slot is a pinhole-like arrangement of closely spaced connections that can accommodate an expansion card with circuitry providing some specialized capability. Almost all desktop computers come with a set of expansion slots.

The area in ice hockey where the center and wingers have the best chance of scoring without a deflection, as the puck has a straight-on view of the net. Because of the advantageous opportunities this area gives offenses, defenders will often make it a point to establish the slot as no man’s land by laying out big hits on small wingers in an attempt to prevent them from entering it.

In football, the slot is an area just behind the offensive line where a wide receiver or running back can gain an advantage by being matched against a linebacker, forcing the offense to use its scheme rather than skill to win. The concept has become more important as teams have shifted to a more spread offense that puts more fast players in space.

In a slot machine, the player inserts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode, then activates the reels by pressing a button (either physical or on a touchscreen). The reels stop to rearrange themselves and display symbols that can earn credits according to the paytable. Symbols vary from machine to machine, but classic symbols include fruit, bars, and stylized lucky sevens. Many slot games have a theme that inspires the design of the symbols and bonus features.

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