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What Is a Slot?


A narrow opening or groove, such as a keyway in a machine or a slit for coins in a vending machine. Also used as a term for a position in a group, series, or sequence: A woman took the last slot on the dance floor.

When a slot game pays out a jackpot, it may trigger one of several bonus rounds that award additional cash, free spins, or other prizes. These bonus rounds usually require landing special symbols on the reels, such as scatter or wild symbols. They can be a great way to get some extra action on the reels, especially if you haven’t hit any other winning combinations.

The number of symbols on a physical reel is limited by the circumference, so software designers created virtual reels housed inside computer chips in a slot machine. These virtual reels have the same blank and symbol positions as a physical reel, but they cover many more places on the screen. The random number generator software determines whether each spin is a win or a loss, and how much of a win the slot machine pays out. The payout percentage is calculated mathematically before the slot machine is programmed, and games are tested over millions of spins to ensure their return percentage matches that figure.

The myth that a slot machine is due to pay off soon is a common misconception that causes players to push through long sessions that lose them more money than they intended to bet. The truth is that each spin is independent of the previous one and that slots never have a “due” period.

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