What Is a Slot?


A narrow opening into which something can be inserted, such as a coin or letter. Also used to refer to a position or assignment in a schedule or order of operation: The boss slotted me as chief copy editor.

In computing, a slot is an allocation of resources—processor time, memory, disk space—for the execution of a program. It may be fixed or variable. In a fixed-size machine, the number of available slots is determined by the size of the system’s central processing unit (CPU) or other hardware. In a multitasking machine, the number of available slots is limited by hardware or software.

A slot is also the place where a player’s coins are deposited and retrieved on a slot machine. Some machines have a removable coin tray, while others require a paper ticket with barcodes to be inserted into a designated slot to activate the machine. Then, the reels spin and the symbols appear, and the player can win credits based on the paytable. Symbols vary by theme, but classics include fruit and stylized lucky sevens. Most slot games have a jackpot or other large prize, which can be won by hitting a specific combination of symbols on the paylines.

When playing a slot game, the pay table will display all of the standard symbols and their payout values. It will also list the total amount that can be won for landing 3, 4 or 5 matching symbols on a payline. If the slot has any bonus features, a description of these will be listed here as well.

The slot also displays the maximum bet amount that can be placed on a spin, along with other important information such as the RTP (Return to Player) percentage. It will also list any rules that apply to the game, including how to play and what happens if the machine disconnects.

In football, a slot receiver is a wide receiver who runs routes that align with the other wide receivers on a team. They are typically closer to the ball carrier, and their speed and agility are especially critical for running routes like slants and sweeps. Slot receivers are also responsible for blocking and tackling, so they must be strong and durable to avoid getting injured.

In ornithology, a slot is a narrow notch or gap in the primaries of certain birds, which helps to direct air flow over the wings during flight. The word is also used in sports to describe an unmarked area in front of the goal on a hockey rink that affords a vantage point for attacking players. The term is also applied to the track or trail of a deer. The slot is also the name of a narrow notch in the fuselage of some aircraft, which allows for airflow over key areas during flight. The term is also used in computer programming, where it refers to the location of an instruction in a computer’s pipeline. In very long instruction word (VLIW) computers, the concept is more commonly referred to as an execute pipeline.