What the Hell is a Slot?

We’ve all been there: You’re ready to take off, you’ve checked in online, made it through security and found your gate. Then you wait. And wait some more. Eventually you hear the captain say, “We’re waiting for a slot.” What the hell is a slot and why does it keep taking so long to get off the ground?

A slot is a position in a group, series or sequence. It can also be a place where something is assigned or located, such as in a job. Traditionally, the word has been used to refer to casino games which use reels and a coin or paper ticket as input devices for the player. The term has since expanded to include many other types of gaming, from arcade machines to virtual video games.

The most common use of the word today is to describe a position on a machine’s pay table that will earn you payouts for matching symbols. Each slot has a number of pay lines that can vary, and these are listed in the pay table on the screen.

In sports, a slot is an area of the field where a receiver is placed on a team’s offense. This positioning allows the wide receiver to run routes that correspond with those of other players in a coordinated offensive effort and minimizes the chances of defensive coverage.