What Is a Slot?


A slot is a dynamic placeholder that either waits for content (a passive slot) or calls out for it (an active slot). The content in a slot is dictated by the scenario, using either an Add Items to Slot action or a targeter to call out for content. Slots and scenarios work in tandem to deliver content to the page; slots contain the data that the renderers use to produce a final, rendered version of the page.

When you pull the handle on a slot machine, its reels spin with printed images. Which pictures fall on the pay line, a line in the center of the viewing window, determines whether you win or lose. (Certain single images are also winners, but the amount of money you get — the payout — depends on which reels show winning pictures.) Although slots have changed a lot over the years, their basic operation remains the same: The computer’s random number generator picks a combination of numbers every millisecond, and when it receives a signal, such as a button being pressed or a handle being pulled, it sets the number or symbols that will appear on the reels.

One popular belief about slots is that machines are “due to hit” — that they will eventually stop being tight and start paying out more frequently. But there’s no evidence that any particular machine is “due,” and even if it were, the odds of hitting the jackpot would be much lower if you kept playing than if you stopped playing.

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