Need ruling advice - slam tilt

Had an issue come up today in a tournament and wanted to double check with more experienced TDs. Had a game on Joker Poker. Player 4, ball 3. Machine slam tilts. None of the TDs witnessed this. Player 4 said they made no big shove/attempts to save. 2 other players had the opinion that the game slam tilted, so it’s a DQ.

We looked at the machine and could replicate a tilt/slam tilt, although it was a pretty big shove, and I’d be inclined to say that type of shove was not made.

Should this have been a DQ/play balls 4 and 5 for all other players, or should all players have been able to play balls 4 and 5 on a new game?

Thanks for helping a rookie TD out.


I’m never overruling a tilt bob / slam tilt switch unless there’s compelling evidence that it’s malfunctioning.


Not sure if this is relevant but the game had a Ni-Wumpf board in it.

Check out the incorrect rulings thread. Lots of good back and forth about the common issue of who said what when no one was watching, and how to handle it.

Did you replicate the issue before or after the ruling? If you stopped the game, replicated the issue, but believed that no such move took place than I would find it unfair to DQ player four, And would give everyone balls 4 and 5 on a new game.

The game is the judge unless you are sure there is something wrong with it. DQ


i don’t blame a person for being like “what? i barely touched it!!” after a tilt or slam tilt, but there’s no reason to distrust the machine unless you are darn sure it’s malfunctioning. DQ IMO.


I agree and disagree with the general sentiment here. Yes, the machine is the judge unless there is clear evidence something is wrong. Except in the case of a slam tilt, the fact that is slam tilted is pretty clear evidence something is wrong. A properly setup machine should not be slam tilting unless you are in a machine abuse situation.

In this case there is clear evidence the slam tilt is malfunctioning. The game is a System 1. They have horribly designed expected closed slam tilt mechanisms. Unless jumpered, 99/100 times it was a malfunction.


100% agree it’s a terrible design and they should be jumpered. However, how is it a malfunction if the switch operates properly? The switch opens, slam tilt. It happens WAY too easily on Gottliebs, but it worked as intended.

In my experience, the switch doesn’t open exactly. The switch is pitted and corroded, and signal getting through will randomly slamtilt.

But misadjusted switches are for sure malfunctions. A switched gapped to tight that has vibration give high valued points is a major malfunction, so should be a misadjusted slam tilt. Of course determined by the TD, not the player complaining they barely touched it when in reality it was on one leg.

I’ve tilted on plunge on some old games before, with the effect being essentially random and not reproducible. If someone tells me “the game is the arbiter, DQ” I’m going to be very, very upset.


Okay then this is a whole different issue entirely so I agree malfunction.


Thanks for everyone’s feedback on this. It put me in a tough spot. Another TD and I conferred and decided on that machine must be the judge and issued a DQ, which the player was more than understanding about. I’m still not sure it’s the right call.

At the end of the day, it’s your call. If you have any rules that deviate from the IFPA rules, just make sure it’s posted and communicated and be consistent.


Any pictures or write up on how the switch is to be jumpered? Would be appreciated. Thanks.

I usually just get the one on the coin door. Clamp it with an alligator clip.


Replacing or jumpering over C2 on the CPU board is best. Clay has a good write up on it.

Interesting note at the bottom about the lockout coil wires (often cut) can cause phantom slam tilts.


As the other TD in this particular situation I can tell you it was a tough call but my own personal opinion here, if a slam tilt happens and some sort of move was initiated, and no TD and a player with no skin in the game witnessed the move then it has to be a DQ. If you can’t recreate the minor slam tilt on the game you have to side with the game on this one. I’ve personally gotten slam tilts on games that I didn’t think qualified as a slam tilt but still got the DQ for it. I believe the right call was made.


I think that this is the right call, but I can also understand being frustrated by what happened. Pinball isn’t an exact science though. If your move was unlikely to cause a slam tilt but ended up doing so, then you should acknowledge that you were unlucky and accept the ruling.

Getting jumpers and switches correct is a great thing to pursue, but it’s unreasonable to expect those fixes to be perfect. I’d still be grumpy, but I think a DQ is the right ruling.


Late to the party, but in my experience as a TD, slam tilt switches cause way more problems than they solve. I disable them if possible. Good to know about the system 1 Gottliebs.