What is a Slot?
A slot is a narrow opening in something, often used to insert or fit something into another. You can find slots in doors, drawers, and car seat belts. You can also use the word to refer to a specific time slot in a schedule or program. For example, you might book a movie time slot or an airline flight time slot.
A player puts cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into a slot and activates a lever or button (physical or virtual) to spin the reels and display symbols. When a winning combination is formed, the credit meter on the machine lights up and the player receives the payout specified on the paytable. Depending on the game, symbols may include fruits, bells, stylized lucky sevens, and other items related to the theme of the game.
Modern slot machines have become computerized and look nothing like the mechanical models that once populated casino floors. However, they still operate on the same principle. The result of each spin is determined by random number generator software. This software has no memory of games that have happened before or future ones that will happen. Thus, the machine cannot remember that it has been a while since a winner was last achieved or that a particular combination is due to hit.
The Slot receiver is a key blocking cog in the offense, especially on running plays designed to get outside the defense. He has to be able to block (or chip) nickelbacks, outside linebackers, and safeties. He needs to be a good route runner and have excellent awareness of the field. The Slot receiver is also responsible for sealing off the outside on run plays designed to go through the middle of the field.
You’ve checked in, made it through security, found your gate, struggled with the overhead lockers and settled into your seat. But the captain still says you can’t take off until they’re given a “slot.” What is this slot thing, and why can’t we take off as soon as we’re ready?