A slot is a narrow notch, groove or opening, such as the slit for a coin in a vending machine. In computer hardware, a slot is a position on a motherboard where an expansion card can be installed.
In the old days, a slot machine was an all-or-nothing affair: you pulled the lever and either the cherries lined up or you lost everything. Computerization changed all that, giving manufacturers precise control over odds and jackpots. Now you can bet on multiple lines at the same time — up, down, diagonally — each with its own chance of winning, so a single pull of the lever can deliver multiple small wins that feel like one big win.
Many slot games have a theme, with classic symbols including fruits, bells and stylized lucky sevens. Some have bonus features and other special effects that align with the theme. Players insert cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode, into a designated slot on the machine. The machine then spins the reels and, if the player matches a winning combination of symbols on a payline, they earn credits according to the machine’s paytable.
In hockey, a player in the high slot can rip a blistering slap shot that is almost impossible for a goalie to stop. This position is coveted by speed players, and they may even trade slots with other teams in order to get into this prime shooting position.