A slot is a thin opening or groove in something. For example, you can put letters and postcards through the mail slot at the post office. A slot is also the name of a type of computer memory, used for temporary storage.
When slot games first came out, they were fairly simple and punters could keep track of just a few paylines and symbols. However, modern online slots have many different types of bonuses, features and payout structures. To help players stay on top of all this, developers include information tables known as pay tables in their slots.
Pay tables are normally clearly written and presented, with coloured boxes showing how the symbols should land to trigger certain wins. They also explain any special symbols, which may be a scatter symbol for instance or a bonus symbol that unlocks a particular feature. They can also list how much you can win for landing (typically) 3, 4 or 5 matching symbols on a payline. Some pay tables also describe the bonus features, such as free spins, pick-style games or expanding wilds.
Understanding how to read a slot game’s pay table can help you understand the different types of slot games on offer, as well as helping you keep track of your winnings and losses. It’s also a good idea to decide on a budget or bankroll before you start playing, and stick to it. This will help you avoid over-playing and prevent you from losing money too quickly.