A slit or opening, especially one for receiving something, as a coin or letter. Also used figuratively to refer to a position or assignment. Also called berth, billet, appointment, job, slot, window, vacancy, or spot. (From the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.)

In the old days, a slot machine was an all-or-nothing affair: you yanked on a lever and either the cherries or the stylized lucky sevens lined up to give you money, or they didn’t. But as better computer technology became available, the machines could be programmed to allow the players to win with a certain degree of probability and control over the odds.

The key to enjoying a slot game is money management. Decide before you play how much you can afford to lose, and stick to it. Then, when you’re winning, you can feel great about yourself, knowing that you’ve earned it. This is also the best way to keep your gambling from turning into an addiction.