word type: verb

  1. To act irrationally after suffering a setback. For example, calling an all in with 7-3 offsuit for all of your chips after suffering a bad beat would be considered going on tilt.


The term most likely comes from the world of pinball, where sometimes players will try to shake or physically tilt the pinball machine to alter the course of the ball in order to prevent it from finding a gutter or the no man's land between the flipper. This act, unfortunately, will often activate the "tilt" function of the machine, which freezes the flippers and scoring mechanisms, causing the player to lose the ball. Thus, in both pinball and poker, an act of over-aggression from frustration results in negative results.

Play on Words

The online poker room, Full Tilt Poker, employs a double meaning of the word "tilt." Not only does the term "tilt" have a meaning in poker circles, but the idiom "full tilt" means to move at top speed, giving the poker room a hip, fun, "balls to the wall" image.

How to Put Phil Hellmuth on Tilt

Talk while he is deep in thought.

Play poker in a way that he does not like (skip to the 6:07 mark).