What Is a Slot?

A narrow notch, groove or opening, such as a keyway in a machine or a slit for a coin in a slot machine. Also:

In gambling, a slot is a position on the pay-table where a winning combination of symbols will appear. The number of credits a player receives depends on the symbols lined up on the pay-line and the machine’s payout schedule. Symbols vary between machines, but classic symbols include fruits, bells and stylized lucky sevens. Most slots have a theme and bonus features aligned with that theme.

A portion of a computer program or system that is reserved for a specific task, such as executing an algorithm or managing data. Often referred to as a “stub” or “stub code,” it is reworked into a full application when the program is ready to be deployed.

The slot in hockey is the area directly in front of a goaltender and between two face-off circles in the offensive zone. The slot allows speed players to get in behind defenders and create scoring opportunities with wrist shots because of the straight-on view of the net they have. The defending team will try to limit the number of shots from the slot.

Psychologists Robert Breen and Marc Zimmerman have found that people who play video slot machines reach a debilitating level of involvement with gambling three times as quickly as those who play other casino games, including poker and blackjack. They believe that the repetitive nature of slot-machine play and its attention-capturing rewards distracts people from thinking about painful or upsetting events in their lives.