A slot is a specific time and place for an airplane to take off or land, determined by an airline and air traffic controllers. Airlines must apply for slots each year in order to get them. Once they have them, they are used to schedule their flights and to determine which planes can depart at any given moment.
Similarly, the word slot can refer to any narrow opening or slit, such as a keyway in machinery or the slit for a coin in a vending machine. It can also refer to a position in a group, series, or sequence. The etymology of the word is uncertain, but it may be related to the verb to slot, which means to fit snugly or easily into a place or position.
In the case of slot machines, a random number generator (RNG) is used to determine the outcome of each spin. The RNG generates numbers within a massive spectrum, and each possible combination is assigned a number. When a signal is received, whether it’s the button being pressed or the handle being pulled, the random-number generator sets that combination in motion. Between signals, the RNG continues to generate dozens of new combinations per second.
A good strategy for winning at slots is to look for a game that has recently paid out. One way to do this is to see if the cashout amount is displayed next to the total credits. If it’s high, it’s likely that the last player won big, and you’re in for a good chance of doing the same!