A slot is a narrow opening that something fits into. People talk about slots in cars and computers, for example. They can be either a physical hole or an area of space on a screen. A slot is also a term used in football, where it refers to the position on the field where a receiver runs routes that match with other players on the offense. The player in the slot is often closer to the middle of the field and therefore more vulnerable to big hits from defensive backs.
In the days of old, a slot was a line across the middle of a slot machine reel that determined winning combinations. Today, most slots feature multiple pay lines that form intricate patterns across the reels. They also have a variety of different betting requirements and bonus features.
All this extra information is displayed on a screen called the pay table. It includes instructions for special features, how much the machine is expected to pay out over the long run, the odds of winning, and more.
The pay table may look confusing at first glance, but it is easy to understand with just a little patience. Many modern slots have multi-page pay tables because they include a lot of information and it would be difficult to fit all of the rules on one page. A pay table is the best way to understand how a slot works before playing it.