when you find yourself in a very serious and difficult situation – informal
Chips in this phrase and in have had your chips above are gambling chips.
Related Idioms :
a chip off the old block
someone who resembles their parent, especially in character – informal
A chip in this expression means something which forms a portion of or is derived from a
larger or more important thing and which retains the characteristic qualities of that superior thing. In 1781 Edmund Burke commented on Pitt the Younger's maiden speech in Parliament by saying he was…Not merely a chip of the old block, but the old block itself.
a chip on your shoulder
a strong and usually long-standing inclination to feel resentful or aggrieved, often about a particular thing
a sense of inferiority characterized by a quickness to take offence – informal
In 1830 the Long Island Telegraph described the practice which gave rise to this expression…When two churlish boys were determined to fight, a chip would be placed on the shoulder of one and the other demanded to knock it off at his peril.
have had your chips
be dead, dying, or out of contention - British informal