What is a Slot?

You’ve checked in on time, found your gate, queued to get on board and settled back into your seat. Then you hear the captain saying, “We’re waiting for a slot.” What is a slot and why can’t you take off as soon as you are ready?

In a computer, a slot (also known as expansion slot) is a place to fit an add-on card that provides additional capability. Most modern computers have several expansion slots that provide for a wide variety of possible capabilities, from video acceleration to disk control. Each slot has a row of pinholes that connect to the motherboard, into which a special card can be inserted.

A slot can also refer to a specific position in a group, series or sequence. For example, in football, a player in the slot receiver position lines up pre-snap between the tight end and the outside receiver. This player is often quick and can catch short passes or run out of bounds. The opposing slot corner often covers this position.

A slot can also refer to a machine that takes coins or paper tickets and returns them according to their value. The term is most commonly used to refer to a gambling machine, but it can also apply to other types of machines that accept paper tickets or coins, such as vending machines. Also, some slot games allow players to choose the number of paylines they want to play with, whereas others have a fixed amount of paylines that can’t be changed during the game.