What is a Slot?


A thin opening or groove in something. You can use a slot to put things into it, such as letters or postcards through the mail slots at the post office. You can also use a slot to fit a piece of equipment, such as an expansion card, into a computer motherboard. A slot may also refer to a position in a group, series or sequence.

A slot machine contains reels that display images when you pull a handle. The images that line up along the pay line decide whether you win or lose. Traditionally, each symbol had an equal chance of appearing on the reels, but as digital technology improved, manufacturers began to weight symbols differently. Some digital machines have 250 virtual symbols and millions of combinations, whereas mechanical machines typically have 20 or fewer physical symbols per reel.

Each possible combination is assigned a number or numbers by the random-number generator, and when it receives a signal — anything from a button being pushed to a handle being pulled — it sets that specific combination to spin. Between signals, the random-number generator continues to operate, generating dozens of numbers every second.

Some players believe that if a machine has gone long without paying out, it’s “due” to hit soon. This belief is often used as a reason to switch machines after a big win at the casino, but the fact is that the odds of the same jackpot hitting on your next turn are no different than they were before.