Cleveland Pinball Show: Information and Feedback Thread


It’s only a matter of days until the 2017 Cleveland Pinball and Arcade show, so I figured it’d be helpful to put up a thread with information about the event, as well as a place to receive feedback to help improve it for next year.

Just to provide some background, I’m Jeffrey Dickson, co-tournament director of the Main and Classics tournaments (alongside Tommy Bizzi). The show directors are Don Johnson and Marvin Ortscheid. Most (if not all) event and tournament decisions go through Don for approval before going into effect, so keep in mind that even if I like a suggestion made here, there’s still steps above me that may modify or reject it.

With that bit of disclaimer out of the way, I’ll get to the good stuff!


The Cleveland Pinball and Arcade Show takes place at the Holiday Inn in Independence Ohio, and lasts from September 7th - 10th. This year the show has changed from a 3 day event to a 4 day event, with Sunday being added. Check out to see exactly how this changes the schedule.

NOTE: If you’re booking a hotel room for the show, use the code “PIN” to receive a discounted rate! If you’ve already made your booking you can call the hotel and have the discount applied.

The show already has over 100 games registered with more being added regularly! A full list of what’s currently available can be seen on the website. Additionally, there will be a multitude of seminars this year, featuring speakers from Jersey Jack Pinball and Chicago Gaming, as well as a variety of local experts giving tips, tricks, and lessons on pinball repair and restoration.


The main tournament is a PAPA Circuit Event, and will span the entire weekend. Qualifying is done herb style, using the player’s best 5 games out of 9. Tickets are available at a rate of 4 for $10, or 9 for $20. Qualifying runs on Thursday from 5 PM to midnight, Friday from 10 AM to midnight, and Saturday from 9 AM to 7 PM. Ranking and queuing will be done through Neverdrains at, with the top 24 qualifying and the top 8 getting a bye. As a change from last year, the first round of finals will start at 8 PM Saturday night, to help make the event end much earlier on Sunday. Additionally, finals is now run in 4 player groups with “PAPA Style” scoring. Further details can be found here -

Note that he Cleveland Pinball Show unfortunately does not feature a B division.

Classics will run very similar to main, however qualifying will instead be best 4 out of 5, and will run on the same schedule, except ending at 2 PM, with finals beginning at 2:30 PM. Classics will also use the 4 player finals format. Ranking and queuing will also be done through Neverdrains. Top 24 players qualify with the top 8 getting a bye.

Prize payouts for the main and classics tournaments are based on the number of entries, however there is a guaranteed minimum of a $1,500 prize pool for main, and a $750 prize pool for classics. In both previous years the prize pools have exceeded these numbers, so I’d expect the same to happen again.


New this year will be both a women’s and a junior’s knockout tournament. The women’s tournament will take place on Friday night at 7 PM (note that due to the change of starting Main finals on Saturday, the knockout has been moved from its originally scheduled time on Saturday, as to not create any schedule conflicts for players hoping to play in both the knockout and the main tournament finals), and will be directed by Megan Brown. The women’s knockout tournament is IFPA approved and is free to enter. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers. Further details for the women’s tournament can be found here -

The Junior’s tournament starts at 4 PM on Saturday, will also be free to enter, and will have trophies and prizes for the top finishers.

Both knockout tournaments will either be 4 strikes if there’s less than 25 players, or 3 strikes if there’s 25 or more players. Games will be played in groups on labeled games on the show floor, with the bottom two players in each group getting a strike.


If you have any questions feel free to post here or to contact me directly ( If you have questions during the show don’t be afraid to ask either myself or Tommy. I’ll try and get us nametags this year to help people identify us when they need assistance.

Let me know if there’s anything I missed in this thread and I’ll update it in. We’re still pretty new to this and tend to make mistakes here and there, but we’re working hard to get better and hope this year’s event will be our best one yet!

EDIT: Just realized that I forgot to put in the scorekeeper information! Scorekeepers receive 6 tournament tickets per hour of help. The schedule can be found here - Contact me or Tommy if you’re interested in helping out. Thanks!


Thanks for posting. I’m really looking forward to the event! Great idea to begin main finals on Saturday night. I’ve been to two circuit events that did this and it seems to be a great improvement. A couple of small things to point out.

It would be great if you could post how many places in the main and classics will get prizes and what percentages you think will be used.

Just a small typo in your post above. Entries are $10/4 and $20/9.

There are at least 3 different facebook pages and a website dedicated to the show/tourney. After looking for weeks for any info on the games being used, I found them on a different facebook page. For anyone interested, the games announced so far are:

Main: Taxi, FT, TZ, Tron, Mustang, Paragon.
Classics: Frontier, Stars, Sinbad, Casino Royale


Suggestions for the queuing system:

Last year I would head back to the tournament area when I was third in line. Multiple times I got back there only to find out I was too late and had been skipped. It appears the app was quite a bit off from what the line actually doing. I would say hang around the first couple times you queue up and make sure the app is running in real time.


I believe what you’ve been seeing is part of a chain reaction that occasionally occurs and has been pretty difficult for us to deal with. What happens is a player finishes their game and then the first person in line is called up but isn’t there, so we wait 30 seconds - 1 minute for this person to show up, and then have to skip them and go to the next person to keep things moving. The problem is, since that person didn’t play and their spot went by so quickly, the next person wasn’t planning to be there so soon and isn’t there either, so after waiting a bit for them they also have to be skipped to keep things moving. That may happen again until we get to someone who had queued themselves recently and is there and ready. It’s not a situation I really like, however I also haven’t really been able to find a solution either (the things I can think of are out of my control, like having the software give players notifications on their phones). If anyone else has ideas for how to solve this I’d be very happy to listen so it can get better!


I don’t know what prize structure Don intends to use, but I’ll see if I can get that information and have it posted. Entry fees and prize money are handled 100% by the show directors and not us, so if you have any questions in that regard it’d be best to send them their way (or have one of us ask for you). Thanks for pointing that out though, and I’ll try to get it addressed quickly!

I’ll correct that typo now.

Yeah information’s been pretty scattered, I actually had a hard time finding the game announcement posts as well. Hopefully this thread will help centralize some of that. Also about the game lineup, due to privately submitted concerns about featuring a John Trudeau game in light of recent events, Mustang has been removed from the lineup. Don doesn’t want me to post the games lists prior to him announcing them though, so I can’t complete the list nor say what will be replacing Mustang.


Generally speaking this should not happen with neverdrains queues if you are correctly assigning people to the machines, unless you are running with non-default settings. There is no skip cycle like with the papa scoring app right now. Generally, when I have seen is people complain, it is that inexperienced scorekeepers removed them from the queue instead of skipping.


Yeah if that’s the case, nothing you can really do. I thought it was a legitimate lag between the software and what was actually happening.

The reason why I thought this was I never had this issue with the PAPA queuing software, only the never drains one.

Does this one send you text messages when the line moves like the other one? That’s helpful as well.

Thanks for all the work you guys do!! This is one of my favorite tournaments/shows of the year.


Wow I cannot believe that is the reason mustang is being pulled I find it very silly.



Demo Man
Fish Tales
Scared stiff
Twilight Zone


F me…:disappointed_relieved:


Haha. I love that list!!


Me too. It’s nice to see something 90’s B/W heavy since most main banks seem to focus on Sterns these days.


That looks like a super fun bank to play in tournament play.

I would absolutely hateeeee playing that bank in unlimited best game qualifying though.


If 24 get to go to finals. How are you determining the circuit points for places 25-40. Would it be based on where they ended up in qualifying?


That is how it’s been done at some other circuit events.


We decided at flippers we would have 25-40 play in a double elimination tournament starting a hour after final round for main division started . Both ended up ending close to the same time last year. Now this year with circuit points going to 40th and this being a major every point counts.
We could only do this because we had a extra bank of pinball games to work with because the B division did not play on same bank that A was playing on Sunday morning.


Average release year of 3rd quarter of 1991. Only one game released after 1996. Wow. I’m not complaining. I look forward to the challenge. It’s just a pretty big departure from norm as @jdelz mentioned.


I rather play mustang than scared stiff


Then good! since you’re fresh off a win, we don’t want you getting to play every game that you want :slight_smile:


Don’t worry Evan I am ready to play scared stiff I am good at the game but I don’t like it.