A slot is a narrow notch, groove or opening, such as the keyway in a machine tool or a slit for a coin in a vending machine.
The newest generation of slot machines no longer use physical reels to determine the outcome of a spin. Instead, they rely on computer technology to pick the number of stops on each reel. This is called random number generation.
It’s a complicated process, but the result is that the odds of hitting certain symbols are disproportionate to their frequency on each reel. This is what causes those near misses that make slots so frustrating.
A slot is also a position in a schedule or program, especially one that’s reserved for specific activities such as flights or meetings. Airlines, for example, issue “slots” for take-offs and landings in order to coordinate flight schedules with busy airports and prevent repeated delays.
As for football, a slot receiver is a player who lines up in the middle of the field. Unlike wide receivers, who tend to be taller and faster, slot receivers are usually shorter and stockier. They must have excellent route running skills and solid chemistry with the quarterback. A good slot receiver will also be reliable with the ball in his hands and have solid blocking abilities to keep defenders off of him. This will allow them to become a focal point of the offense and see more targets than their No. 2 or No. 1 receivers.