How Does a Slot Work?


A slot is an opening in an airplane wing or tail surface that helps control airflow. The word is also used for computer expansion slots like ISA, PCI and AGP in motherboards.

Whether you call it a fruit machine, pokies, one-armed bandit or simply a slot, the world’s favourite casino game comes in many styles, themes and rules. But how do they work? And where did they come from?

The basic process is simple. A player puts money in, or inserts a paper ticket with a barcode (in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines). Then they press a button, which activates reels that spin and stop to rearrange symbols. If they match a winning combination, the player earns credits according to the pay table.

Modern machines are driven by microprocessors and can assign different probabilities to individual symbols on each reel. So, while a horizontal line of identical symbols might look tempting, it is often not a winning combination.

Always check a slot’s paytable before you start playing. It’s not hard to do, and it will give you a much better idea of how you can make a profit. For generations, players were told that maximum bets brought the best results – but this is rarely true, especially on online slots.