What is a Slot?

A narrow opening in a machine or container, for example the hole you put coins into to make a slot machine work. Also: a position in a group, series or sequence, especially one that is easily accessible or desirable; a time-slot.

In National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation, Chevy Chase’s character, Clark W. Griswold, gets in over his head with gambling fever and loses four cars in a single night at the slot machines. While luck plays a large role in slot success, if you know some basics about how these machines work, you can get past the myths and develop a sound strategy that’s based on probability.

The Payout Table

Each slot game comes with a pay table that lists the payouts for various symbol combinations. This information is usually displayed above and below the reels, but on video slots it can be found in a help menu. The pay table is also where you can determine the volatility of a slot, which is the frequency with which you win and lose.

Many people believe that a machine that has not paid out for a long time is “due” to hit soon. This is a common misconception and it’s not true. In fact, machines are programmed with different payout percentages and a machine’s location in the casino affects its popularity and play volume. For example, casinos often place the hot machines at the end of an aisle to draw in customers.