What Is a Slot?


A slot is a position on a computer motherboard for an expansion card. There are a number of different types of slots, including ISA slots, PCI slots, AGP slots and memory slots. The slot in which a card is placed determines the type of expansion card it can use.

Slot is also a term used in American football for a receiver who is stationed close to the line of scrimmage and can take advantage of mismatches with defenders, such as safeties or linebackers. The slot receiver is often quick and can create confusion with the defense by running a slant route. The slot is a key position for any offense because it provides the best chance to score without a deflection.

In a slot machine, the player inserts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into a slot on the machine and then activates it by pressing a button or lever. The reels spin and, if a winning combination is struck, the player receives credits according to the paytable. Most slot games have a theme and feature symbols that match it.

The number of possible combinations on a slot machine was originally limited to 22 because of mechanical limitations, but with the introduction of microprocessors, manufacturers were able to assign a different probability to each symbol on a physical reel. This allowed them to make it appear that a particular symbol was “so close” to appearing on the payline, although the true odds were much lower.