What Is a Slot?

A narrow notch, groove or opening, as a keyway in a piece of machinery or a slit for coins in a vending machine. Also: a position in a group, series or sequence.

In computer hardware, a slot is a place where an expansion card (such as an ISA or PCI card) or module can be installed. Some slots are dedicated to graphics cards, while others may be used for memory or peripheral devices.

Slots are often a feature of casino games, where players insert cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, paper tickets with barcodes to activate reels that spin and rearrange symbols to award credits based on a paytable. Symbols vary by game, but classic icons include fruits, bells and stylized lucky sevens. Many slot games have a theme, and bonus features align with the theme.

It’s frustrating to see someone else win a jackpot when you’re sitting at the same machine, especially if it feels like a split-second decision was involved. The reality is, you’re probably not responsible for the other person’s victory; the odds of hitting a specific combination would be equally difficult if you were on another machine. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help prevent the frustration of waiting for your turn. For example, consider checking in early and limiting the amount of money you’re willing to spend on slot games. That way, you can keep your excitement level high without spending more than you can afford to lose.