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What is a Slot?


A slot is a narrow notch, groove, or opening, such as a keyway in a machine, a slit for a coin in a vending machine, or an electrical contact. A slot may also refer to:

In computer science, a hardware device that accepts and stores data in the form of address bits. Typically, the data is stored in a CMOS RAM chip attached to the motherboard. The CMOS memory is organized into memory slots, each of which has a fixed address range that is accessed with a series of control signals. The word slot is also used figuratively, for example in the sentence “The car’s engine is in the right slot”.

Traditionally, all slot machines have used mechanical reels to display and determine winning combinations of symbols. Modern video slot machines can have up to 1024 different possible paylines. Each of these has a specific probability of appearing, based on the pattern of the symbols and the number of active lines. The slot game designer sets the probability of each payline in accordance with the machine’s payout table.

The term slot can also be used figuratively to describe an area of a game field, particularly in ice hockey: The unmarked space near the opponent’s goal that affords a vantage point for an attacking player. In ornithology, a narrow notch between the tips of the primary feathers of certain birds that helps to maintain a smooth flow of air over the wings during flight.

In football, a slot receiver is a wide receiver who gets his name from where he lines up pre-snap. He lines up between the last player on the line of scrimmage (often the tight end or offensive tackle) and the outside receiver. This position is most prominent in pass-heavy offenses, such as West Coast systems.

A slot receiver needs to have good route running skills and speed to get open, but he is also an important part of the blocking game. He must be able to block well, especially against safeties and outside linebackers. On running plays designed to the outside, he needs to be able to seal off the outside defenders, including performing a crack back block.

In addition, he must be able to run the ball on occasion, particularly on pitch plays and reverses. Because of the nature of their alignment, slot receivers need to be very fast and have excellent awareness of the field to get open quickly. If they do not, the quarterback will likely throw them an out route to an open defender. If he can get the timing of the play down, however, the Slot receiver can be an asset to any passing attack.