A thin opening, especially one for receiving something, as a coin or letter. Also called slot, slotting, and slit.
Originally, slot machines used mechanical reels to display and determine results. But with the introduction of digital technology, slots are now based on microprocessors and can display much more complex graphics. They can even offer interactive features and bonus rounds.
When a player inserts money into a slot machine, it activates the digital reels with symbols that spin repeatedly and stop at random. When the corresponding symbols match a winning combination, the player receives credits according to the payout table displayed on the machine. The table can be found on the face of the machine, above and below the reels, or within a help menu on a video slot.
In football, a receiver who runs shorter routes on the route tree (such as slants) and can catch the ball with relative ease is known as a slot receiver. This type of receiver allows his team to gain ground quickly, because he can avoid being grabbed by the cornerback covering him. For this reason, quicker or shifty players often play the slot to get the defense uneasy. This is why teams like New England like to use their best slot receivers to make their corners pay the price. This can be a great way to open up the middle of the field for running backs and tight ends. It can also create mismatches for their offense.