Slot – What Is It?


In football, slot refers to a specific type of receiver who lines up slightly in the backfield pre-snap, between the tight end or offensive tackle and the outside wide receiver. The Slot receiver has a more unique and varied skill set than outside wide receivers, as they are often asked to carry the ball on running plays like pitch plays or reverses. They are also a key part of an offense’s timing route schemes.

Because of this, Slot receivers typically have a lot of speed and quick feet, and are able to change directions quickly. They also must have reliable hands, as they absorb a lot of contact when catching the ball in traffic. In addition, Slot receivers are often used as big decoys on run plays and are tasked with blocking more than other wideouts.

When playing slots, players can choose how many paylines they wish to wager on for each spin. Machines that allow this are known as free slots, while those that have a fixed number of paylines are called fixed. The latter are usually found in brick-and-mortar casinos, while online games generally use the free slots model.

Historically, all slot machines used revolving mechanical reels to display and determine results. These had a limited number of stops, and only about 10 possible symbols per reel (103 = 1,000 combinations). Manufacturers soon incorporated microprocessors into their machines, however, which allowed them to weight particular symbols more than others, thus allowing for a much larger range of outcomes.