A slot is a narrow opening in something. In computer programming, a slot is the relationship between an operation in an instruction and the pipeline to execute it. You can also use the term to mean a specific time in a program or schedule. For example, a visitor might book a time slot on your website.
Modern slot machines use a random number generator to select the sequence of symbols stopped on each reel. These computer chips retain no memory, meaning that each spin is completely independent of those before and after it. The random number generated is the quotient of a very large number divided by a standard number. This number is then mapped by the computer to a sequence table, which maps each possible symbol to the locations of its stops on the reels.
The pay tables of slot games typically fit in with the theme of the game. They usually have a colourful graphic and detailed information to help players understand the different ways in which they can win. Some slots even have animations, which can make them more interesting and easier to understand.
It can be tempting to play a machine that seems to be “due” for a win, but this is not a sound strategy. A machine that has paid off four times in a row is no more likely to hit again than any other machine in the same casino. Casinos may place “hot” machines at the end of aisles, but this has nothing to do with how often they pay out.