Slot Machines

A narrow notch, groove, or opening, especially one for receiving something, as a keyway in machinery or a slot for coins in a vending machine. Also: (in sports) the unmarked area in front of a goal between the face-off circles on an ice hockey rink. Also: a position or assignment in a group, sequence, series, or hierarchy. Also: (in computing) an area of memory used to store data temporarily. See also buffer, cache, and paging.

Casino players often use strategies such as moving onto another machine after a short period of time or after a few big payouts, under the assumption that if a machine has gone long without paying out, it is “due.” However, every spin of a slot is random and previous results have no bearing on future outcomes.

The appearance of blank spaces and symbols on a reel makes players think they are close to a win, even though each time the physical reel stops it must land on the same spot as the previous spin. This illusion is created by the fact that the weighting of each reel changes, so higher-paying symbols are less likely to appear early on and are more likely to be found on the third or fourth reel.

A shortened form of airport slot, which is an authorization to take off or land at a particular airport during a specified time period. Slots are used at heavily trafficked airports to prevent air traffic delays and congestion.