Can you remove yourself from a tournament after it starts?

I’ve recently played in a couple tournaments hosted by Pinballz arcade in Austin. Last night was the third time in a row that the rules of the tournament were changed after the event started.

Take last night for instance. Top 8 qualified for finals which was supposed to be a 3 round match with top 2 going to finals from each group. Since the tournament started nearly an hour late (was to start qualifying at 7) their wasn’t enough time to play 6 additional games (closes at midnight) as planned. My suggestion was, if we had to remove games, that we played at minimum 2 games in semi’s and Batman 66 (was a launch tournament for the game) for the finals. Their was plenty of time for 3 games (maybe even 4). Suggestion wasn’t taken and they reduced it to a 1 game semi and 1 game final. They further seeded finals as 1,2,7,8 in group 1 and 3,4,5,6 in group 2. Game selected at random out of the full bank of games. Match play had my group slated to play GOTG, Genie and Diner as our games but we got placed on Bally Star Trek.

IMHO the choice of 1 game for Semi, the seeding and not playing one of the 3 system generated games for my group was BS. Since this is a major change in the format of the tournament am I entitled to ask for a refund and remove myself from the tournament?

I know some will state, “sour grapes” and and to just get over it. I take full ownership of losing on a crap version of Star Trek Bally while the other group was seeded on GOTG… I ask this because this seems to be growing more common with rules being changed after play started. I’m at the point now to where when this happens I’d rather just get a refund of my entry fee and pull out of the event if I don’t agree with the newly created format/rules and let the next person in line take my spot.


You can always forfeit your match and leave. Demanding refunds seems counterproductive. Why not provide feedback to the tournament organizer in a calm and reasonable manner?

Changing tournament rules midway through a tournament is rarely a choice made lightly. In this case it sounds like a change was made because of time pressure. If the choice is between not finishing the tournament and cutting games, I can’t blame the tournament director. I would have made the same choice.

Anyway, I’d suggest you talk to the TD and suggest ways to improve the tournament.

You can blame me for the software’s choice of game. :slight_smile:


I think you should have to follow the published format within reason to be IFPA sanctioned.
A refund is reasonable in this case. It’s a commercial operation that underestimated the resources needed to run a good event.
In fairness to Darrell, he’s new at running events and your feedback is valuable to help him improve. Since he’s got another one Friday be sure and email him.
Maybe he would pay one of us $50 in tokens to run it.

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Darrell? The person that made all the calls on the format change was the girl at the front desk. I don’t recall her name but it wasn’t Darrell.

Maybe that is the first piece he needs to follow - stay to run your tournament :frowning:

I gave her my feedback as well as another player that was helping her figure things out. I was actively trying to help (the suggestions I gave) until I got the feeling my suggestions were jaded since I was still in the tournament and the thought was that I was trying to avoid a specific player (physically said). With the limits we had those I spoke to (still in the tournament) felt the 2 game Semi round with 1 game final round was the least objectionable. Nobody wanted a single game for both rounds.

I know, I’m 100% not going to any more of their tournaments unless it’s being run by someone that knows what they are doing. I now understand clearer why most of the top players in the area don’t come to them anymore which is disappointing.

Do you mean remove yourself like you were never there and your results wont count towards IFPA pts?

yes an no.

Ideally yes but I’m guessing that is even more of a pain in the butt. If I no longer agree with the terms of the tournament to the point I would rather leave than finish it out I don’t want to just forfeit and give those other players an easy pass (wouldn’t be fair either) so at min just put me at last and let everyone below me move up one qualifying spot.

Obviously I would never do this at a major but I also doubt a major would make such substantial changes mid way through an event. In this case it’s a tournament thats points wouldn’t count for my ranking anyway unless I got 1st so I’m just playing in them for the practice of finals play (fighting through 3 games to make it through rounds) as that is where I struggle competitively (do well qualifying normally). If you are taking that aspect away I’d rather go home and be with my family vs staying and playing pissed off at the situation.

I think asking for a refund is petty and just inflames the situation.

Time management is a big deal and when things go off the track… you have to adapt. As long as the change was done in a consistent manner that applied to all (without bias towards favoring some over others)… you just need to roll with it. The alternative of getting even deeper, and changing again would probably be worse.

The seeding is off… but was seeding published prior?

I’m not sure if your complaint is really “I didnt like how they ran things” or against changes mid-course.

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It’s generally not advised to change the format of a tournament while it’s in progress. It can cause all sorts of problems for the tournament director, the officials and the players. And since this happened three times now, it’s certainly worthy of discussion.

That being said, sometimes a TD is forced into a situation where they need to choose the least-bad option. Although you’re certainly entitled (encouraged, actually) to share alternate suggestions and general feedback with the TD, at the end of the day, the TD needs to have the discretion to run the tournament as he or she sees fit.

I’d point out that running a tournament, even a small one, can be a very stressful experience, so I’d urge you to have some sympathy, even if the tournament director runs things differently than you do when you run your own tournaments. And let’s make sure to show appreciation for the TDs and officials, especially new ones – they’re doing a lot of work for usually no reward other than the love of pinball.

For what it’s worth, when I read your post, I didn’t interpret it as ‘sour grapes’. I’ve been in similar situations a few times and know what it’s like to lose because of (what I perceive to be) a bad decision. But please try to keep the perspective that pinball should be fun, and these tournaments should be pleasant, sociable events. You’ll bounce back in the next tournament. And it will be more enjoyable for you and everyone else in the long run.


I appreciate the feedback. I don’t think I made it clear enough though so I’ll attempt to do so.

Those tournaments run by volunteers I am generally much more lax with. In this case it’s a company that is running it as part of their arcade run by employees getting paid to do so. IMHO it’s an attempt to help increase coin drop and to bring in additional revenue. Good for them and I’m all for it (and have supported them to this point) but at some point it feels as though they should be held accountable for the product they are offering or if they wont then offer a refund if asked. I wanted to understand the IFPA implications before forcing that subject if I chose to give them another try at a tournament. Their is one Friday for Star Wars but I just can’t bring myself to go anymore.

They aren’t even taking the time to put in games that works or plays as it should. For example, they included TOM which had the trunk turned off as it was broken and a Bally Star Trek that nearly ever insert on the PF is so cupped it literally changes the balls trajectory and often times catches balls in them. They have aprox 70 games there so finding 8 games that play as designed shouldn’t be a struggle. Or if you must chose those games at least have your tech fix them before the tournament.

Shoot, they advertised this as “For this tournament, we will feature a selection of superhero-themed pins, with the finals round being played using the Batman ’66 Premium Edition pin.” I went excited thinking they fixed their Batman DK, and Iron Man and that we would be playing their functioning Spider Man. The arena wound up being:

  • Batman 66
  • Diner
  • Genie
  • GOTG
  • Jackbot
  • Pharoah
  • Star Trek 78
  • TOM

Not really “superhero-themed”.

Sounds like you’ll be the most happy by just staying home in the future? If people are attending and enjoying the events there’s no problem.

If enough people stay home, the events will stop or be modified. If you’d like to see changes happen, sending feedback to the organizers with your thoughts is the best way for that to happen.


It’s both. If you deviate from your published format that’s bad. The changes in this case were also sub-par.

IMO for this particular location they simply don’t have enough experience running events to know what makes a fun event. They run them like anyone new to running events would run them and for the most part are ignorant about what competitive pinball players want at a well run event. I have contact with the TD/manager there and @Law has a good rapport with him too. We run successful events there, one or two a month.
What Bat City Pinball really needs is an extrovert to get them excited about running events the way we want them run. Us introverts would rather do things ourselves.


The long and short of it is that Pinballz-run events have always been mis-managed, since the dawn of Pinballz as far as I’m aware. It’s really disappointing. This is the primary reason that @gorgarsupperlip and I started the non-Pinballz league at pinballz. We couldn’t take the weird format change, aborted seasons, inconsistent start dates, and all the other nonsense like staff “borrowing” the league payouts.

Things worked better when players that actually cared were donating their time. We ran with that and the regular player participation grew from 8-10 hardcore players to around 80 that rotate in and out depending on the month and format.

I and others (@Snailman, @bdols, @gorgarsupperlip, @YeOldPinPlayer, and others I’m sure) have tried and failed several times over the years to move things with Pinballz in a positive direction but so far it’s like trying to milk a tomcat - pointless and painful. If anything they’re borderline hostile to the local pinball community, when we ask for things the responses get into veiled threats that the serious players put too much wear on the games and they might need to take a closer look at what we’re allowed to run at their locations. It’s really a shame and gets me down.

I was there for this tourney and tried to do what I could but I didn’t feel good about it. I brought up to the organizers several times that they can ask the community to put events on for them in the future, we shall see.

That is beyond BS and makes me want to quit going their every week for league. If it wasn’t for the SCS points I’d be done with that comment alone. Take away the league players and their income (at that location) drastically reduces. Their are maybe 6-10 people their that put in a couple dollars on pinball machines on Tuesday nights and maybe a dozen doing redemption games without league. With league they have 30-40 players a week playing at min 5 games but 70%+ of us get their early and stay late to play. I bet we coin drop 3 to 4 hundred a night there on league nights. Shoot, most of us introduce others to the company and sport which helps them grow too. I could see their concern Friday night, Sat or Sunday but Monday through Thursday they should be begging us to come play. In fact, I thought I heard they wanted us to make a league for the lake creek location as well (because almost nobody coin drops pinball there).

If they don’t want us their why do they run these launch events? I know most of that answer is to get more coin drop and $$$ but if we are a problem then don’t hold events anymore. They can’t force us to not go as it’s a public arcade, as long as we aren’t abusing their machines.

That beyond pisses me off… I wish I had a bigger house for more machines as I would buy more and just invite people to my house for league so we can tell them to go screw themselves.

I have two opinions here.

I think you are well within your rights to be upset that tournaments are apparently not being run the way they are advertised. Format is a big part of choosing to participate.

I also think that unless you can find a lot of other people who are just as upset as you are and put a dent in participation, then it’s unlikely anything is going to change. The sad reality is most people just don’t care. But as someone who is more interested in the competitive aspect of things, I’m with you in spirit.


Ever try milking an f-14 tomcat? yuk yuk


Its still private property and they have the right to refuse service.

It’s not necessarily coming across as sour grapes that you lost, more that you have an issue with the arcade / way tournaments are ran in general.

The simplest solution if you don’t enjoy it is just don’t go, BUT then there are your comments


These two comments conflict.

You’re either playing them just for practice and experience - in which case badly run tournaments (in your opinion), incorrect decisions (in your opinion), poorly maintained machines, are all experiences that you may come up against in almost any tournament and it would benefit you to learn how to deal with them.
If you’re playing them just for the SCS - ANY pts gained will go towards your total (within a 20 tournament cap). If you’re playing more than 20 tournaments in the season, that would indicate to me that there’s enough tournaments and variety for you to pick and choose which ones you enter, and can ignore the ones you don’t find enjoyable.

From previous threads, it appears you can’t just remove yourself from a tournament.
I also think it’s wrong that you appear last and everyone get’s a bump. The fact that you have played some games will influence the results of others (for better or worse).
At the point you decide to leave, all games after should be recorded as 0, and your finishing position calculated from that, and submitted to the IFPA as such.

I would class myself as an experienced TD. It’s NEVER a decision taken lightly to change the format mid-comp. Not only could it be seen as favouring an individual it’s also a pain to have to explain to everyone the changes.

I’ve done it twice in major(ish) comps.

At the Pinball Battle at EXPO time was a factor with a hard deadline being set.
The final was originally set for just a single game, but due to things running smoothly there was enough time for a best of 5 final. This was ‘suggested’ to both the finalists and there were no arguments.

The other time the format was based on the World Cup, and I had to change the format/rules twice during the event. Qualifying was made up of 8 groups of 4. However on the day there were that many drop outs that only 24 players turned up.
I had to basically create a whole new format off the top of my head.
I randomly created 3 groups of 8 with each player playing each other once. The top 2 from each group and then the best 2 3rd placed players would progress to the next round.
The problem came that after the qualifying and the top 2 had been removed - 1 group had 2 players on 5 pts (who could be split with a head to head), the other 2 groups had 6 players on 4pts each (which couldn’t be split with countbacks or head to head records). There simply wasn’t enough time to find which of the 6 players on 4pts would progress - so I progressed the 2 players on 5 pts. Which I thought was the only fair and logical thing to do.
The problem comes when you know that I was one of the players on 5pts, AND on countback I lost my head to head in qualifying. So had the 6 player decider taken place I wouldn’t have progressed. What makes it even worse is that I then went on to win the rest of my matches and win the whole tournament.
Everyone was gracious and understood why I had made the decisions I made, but I still get ribbed about it now 3 years later.

The reason I give these examples, is that if a player had come to me with complaints in the manner portrayed here, I may well have decided to not to run any more comps at all.

The upshot is either support the TD, and offer suggestions to help, or don’t compete. Certainly don’t throw your toys out of the pram and ask for a refund and to be removed from the competition - as that does come across as sour grapes.

That is the most ridiculous statement ever. If that is their policy, they probably should not be routing games.

Serious players are more likely to notify them when there are failures that CAN put a lot of wear on the machine like a malfunctioning flipper/mechanism/switch that keeps activating a solenoid over and over again. Casual players never report stuff like that.


That’s because you took two separate quotes from two separate post with very different conversations occurring and merged them.

“I’m just playing in them for the practice of finals play” - This quote came from a reply in reference to the tournaments. I play in their tournaments for bracket practice. The tournaments are worth maybe 5 - 7 points for 1st place.

“If it wasn’t for the SCS points” - This quote came from my reply to Law in reference to Pinballz not wanting league players at their arcade. We are talking about league here not the tournament. I play in league for SCS. It is worth on average 17 points for 1st. I didn’t play in league last year for 4 months and it nearly cost my a spot in SCS. Because of this I play every month now.


Sounds simple but not reality. Try not serving someone without a very substantial and solid reason and see what happens to your company. The legal ramifications alone would hurt as a prejudice accusation would be painful but the bad press alone would kill you.

How do you think the general public would see a headline like" Local Pinball League kicked out of Pinballz Arcade for playing their games to well (or long)." I can see the News channels salivating over that one, especially in Austin.