Circuit Final Changes

I just caught the Circuit Final changes posted at IFPA…

This strikes me as…odd? Weird? I had heard rumblings that some kind of change like this was coming (before the last Circuit Finals), but figured it wasn’t going to happen this year as the circuit had already begun.

Curious what others thoughts are.

I think the changes sound good. No more embarrassing losses by top players to scrubs in the first 2 rounds, and big guaranteed money for the top 20! What’s not to like?

Woulda helped me last year :slight_smile:

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It’s looking like the goal is to make this the event that captures a wider viewing audience. With that as the focus, I think the changes make sense. It’s very easy to understand and moves along quicker.

As a player, the risk of a quick exit and a very small amount of actual gameplay makes me less likely to travel for it. Cash changes everything though, so if the guaranteed prize money is substantial for my seeding then I’m sure I could be swayed.

I’m curious how the format change will impact the game lineup.

I know you’re probably joking, but this is shitty and inaccurate.


Shitty and inaccurate or not people may think it.

Look from my view, it makes sense. I didn’t bother going this year because I didn’t like my chances of making it too deep on the ladder and I wasn’t in love with the event as divorced from PAPA.

But if I qualify next year with a guaranteed decent prize pot I might go.

Anyway see ya in Texas!

Everybody likes seeing an underdog knock off a top seed. If anything, taking away that aspect hurts part of the spectator experience. That’s a big part of what makes March Madness so exciting.


Honestly I was thinking more of it from
The player perspective.

A lot of top guys beefed out early
This year.

That’s the plan. If we can build some sponsorship dollars to be able to guarantee $1000 for each of the top 20 … $5000 for each of the top 20 … $10,000 for each of the top 20 … It should hopefully motivate the elite players to travel the circuit and turn it into as professional of a tour as we can.

Being able to have production follow along a player on their journey throughout the season and build that story arc going into the Championship… This is the direction I see things going if we’re going to capture some magic here and take this somewhere big.

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@pinwizj Wonder if this approach could be used for IFPA worlds as well, have the two days of qualifying a separate sort of tournament and then just hype up the top 16 as a grand event that could be easily followed (single elim works for March madness). If you had the finals day far enough away from the qualifying portion you could even start offering exciting “fill out the perfect bracket” challenges and really hype it up. Plus be able to guarantee a large payout to make flying to a top 16 tournament worth it.

Just spitballing here :slight_smile:

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Exactly. We had a classics tourney in SoCal recently that was won by an underdog (ranked 4000-something at the time but probably not anymore :rofl:). And we had a few top 100 players in it too.

My take on this format if we were to go with the “one ladder” format is to turn it into a “3-strike ladder group knockout format”. Bottom two players get a strike, 3 strikes and you’re out and the next seeds drop in. Worst case scenario you at least get 3 games out of it if you’re a bottom seed.



  1. Players play a four player game
  2. 1st place is “safe” for the round
  3. The remaining three players play a 3 player game
  4. 1st place is “safe”
  5. The remaining players play a 2 player game, loser goes home

Repeat 1-5 for each rung in the ladder!

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No :slight_smile:


That sounds excruciating from both a spectator and player perspective.


It’s hard to ignore the optics of top players going down in those first two rounds and this change. As the press release even states, the goal is to “paint a clearer picture to the casual viewer of this high level event”, so this change will do that, as those “elite” players will still be playing in the ladder portion instead of scrubbing out.

But I do kind of fail to understand how this motivates those same “elite” players to travel the circuit more than they already were, it’s not like any “elite” players really struggled to qualify (or be top 20) for these past two circuit finals. Is the thinking that more non-“elite” players will be attending more events, in order to make the top 20 and win the big cash, so the real “elite” will actually have to show up more than they already were?

I’d just say, as a bubble player for the last two years, it’s a shame to see the bar raised higher (than the top 40!), just to make it all more palpable to some theoretical casual ESPN viewer. Lots of changes could’ve been made to move the early knock-out rounds along faster if that was a problem.

Not to mention it is kind of bogus to change the rules mid-season.


Hence why the post was in all caps and in jest, it’d have to be a 2 day event to account for that, but man it would be epic!

Oh I didn’t think it was an actual suggestion for the circuit final. Just cringing at the fact that it actually exists at all!

Rest assured this format change topic was being discussed well in advance of the SPC Final.

Behind door #2: single ball Doodle Bug to decide it all.


I think to be fair, it should be a 3 ball game of Doodle Bug.


Not the tournament format, but I mean the whole “build it into a big event to get peoples attention” - harder to do when you just have three days of a ton of pinball in a row, much easier if there was just one day, one reasonably sized bracket to follow