A slot machine is on tilt when the coin slot is jammed or malfuntioning in some way.

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When a coin is jammed, the tilt error code activates.

The term "tilt" goes all the way back to pinball machines. When these machines malfunctioned or the ball got stuck, a tilt sign would raise, flash or light up. In the case of the stuck ball, if the player tilted the pinball machine ever so slightly, the ball would begin to roll again.

In time, tilt simply meant the pinball game was broken. In the days before video game arcades, slot machines were one of the only other gaming machines on the gamers market, so it was only natural that pinball terms might be borrowed and become slot machine terms. Therefore, the term tilt came to be used for a broken or malfunctioning slot machine.

Interestingly, the term is more famous in the gambling world as a poker term. In poker, a player is on tilt when that player is no longer playing in a calm, logical manner. Typically, a player goes on tilt after losing a large pot or suffering a bad beat. A poker player on tilt will lose his or her cool and play bad hands in long odds situations. This player can often be goaded into going all-in in a disadvantageous situation, or otherwise risk too much money on a lousy hand.

Tilt in a poker setting carries the same connotations as it does with slot machines or pinball machines, except the poker player is malfunctioning -- not the slot machine.

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