Slot Receiver

A narrow notch, groove, or opening, as in a keyway in a piece of machinery, or the slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also: a position in a group, series, or sequence. From Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

In a casino, a slot is an area where a player inserts cash or, in ticket-in/ticket-out machines, a paper ticket with a barcode that corresponds to their specific game. The slot is then activated by a lever or button (physical or virtual, on a touchscreen), which spins the reels and, when stopped, arranges symbols according to the game’s theme. When a winning combination is produced, the player earns credits based on the paytable. In modern machines, the odds are calculated by computer software that assigns a probability to each stop on each reel. Low-paying symbols tend to have more stops and are therefore more likely to appear, while higher-paying symbols have fewer and are thus less frequent.

A successful slot receiver is comfortable running a variety of routes and has a strong understanding of the quarterback’s signals. He is a vital blocker on running plays, as well. Because he lines up a few yards behind the line of scrimmage, in between the outside receiver and the tight end, he can help shield the ball carrier from defenders and block for sweeps and slants. He must be able to execute an initial blocking assignment that can chip or block out linebackers and safeties.