What Is a Slot?


A slot is a space or opening in something, especially a machine that accepts cash or paper tickets with barcodes. Slots allow players to make a selection from available options and earn credits based on the combinations they choose. Most slot machines are designed with a particular theme and include symbols that relate to that theme. The themes of slot games vary, but classic symbols include fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens. Some slots also have bonus features that are aligned with the theme.

The most important aspect of a slot is its pay table, which lists the potential payouts for each symbol combination. These numbers are calculated using the probability that a specific symbol will appear on the reels. A paytable can be found on the front or back of a machine, or it may be contained within a help menu on video slots. The pay table is typically displayed to the player prior to making a wager.

In the past, slot machine manufacturers used a system called weighting to assign different odds to each symbol on each reel. The result was that some symbols would show up more frequently than others, which led to disproportionate jackpot sizes. This was replaced in the 1980s when manufacturers incorporated electronics into their slot machines. With these new systems, each reel could display multiple symbols on each spin, but the actual number of symbols appearing per spin was reduced to about 22. This led to a greater likelihood that a winning combination would be selected.

A slot can also refer to an airline flight time or location allocated by an airport or air-traffic control agency: a slot for the inaugural flight of a new aircraft. The word is also a verb, meaning to place or allocate something into such a slot: slotting a book into a shelf.

In computer science, a slot (plural: slots) is a virtual CPU resource that can be assigned to a job. In BigQuery, slots represent the capacity that a query has to run concurrently. The more slots a query has, the faster it will run. In addition to purchasing capacity, you can reserve slots in pools called reservations. This allows you to allocate resources in ways that are logical for your organization. For example, you might create a reservation named prod for production workloads and another named test for testing so that the two reservations don’t compete for the same resources.