Slot Receivers and Slot Machines


In football, a slot receiver is a wide receiver who lines up slightly behind the other wide receivers and offensive linemen. They are often called “slotbacks.” Because they are closer to the line of scrimmage, slot receivers must be fast and have a high level of agility in order to evade tackles and break open for receptions. They also run routes that are more oriented towards the middle of the field, such as quick outs and slants, rather than running routes from the boundary.

The term “slot” also refers to a position in a group, series, or sequence; for example, the slot of a newspaper article is the spot that was formerly occupied by another story. It can also be used in reference to an airport’s runway capacity or air traffic management, where the slots are given to airlines based on their schedules and priorities.

Originally, slot machines used mechanical reels to display and determine results, with three physical reels and ten symbols per spin. This limited jackpot sizes, as the probability of a specific symbol appearing on a payline was only cubic (103 = 1,000 possible combinations). However, with microprocessors embedded in modern machines, manufacturers can program each reel to weight particular symbols so that they appear more frequently. Thus, it appears to the player that a winning combination is much closer than it actually is. In the same way, the odds of a losing combination are significantly lower than they would be on a mechanical reel.