Costs of competing and related issues


Get a better job that pays more and has less hours. d;^)


If they live in Pittsburgh I’d say absolutely YES :slight_smile:


Again, I agree 100%. That doesn’t change the fact that players with higher incomes have an advantage over players who don’t.

That’s the only point I’m trying to make here. Not suggesting a welfare fund should be established to help lower income players compete. Not suggesting the rules should be changed in any way. Just saying that players who can afford to travel have an advantage over players who can’t afford to travel. And that there are players out there who are ranked below their skill level because they can’t afford to travel.

Poor kids who are good at some sports can get scholarships to compete (and go to college). Maybe some day pinball will be able to do that. Until then, money talks.


When I transitioned from a contractor (“lab monkey” in the most endearing way) to a full time employee (engineer/programming guy) at my job, I gained the two things that held me back from being able to jet-set the east coast and take a second step towards the circuit:

  • actual PTO, so leaving early for tourneys doesn’t cost me money
  • significant pay jump, most of which goes to savings/ other things but removes some financial worry from travel

It hasn’t paid off in a big traveling weekend since the transition, but I acknowledge that the WPPRtunities for Pittsburgh’s upper crust locally are restricted to PPL, PPO, PAPA, ReplayFX, and beyond that the occasional local event with good turnout. There are very few people (notably 3, @G_Money, Cryss Stephens, and Walt Lannis) who can reach/sustain the top 100 tier without doing the travelling that the rest do. DJ/Jon probably can do the same, but they travel for the fun/circuit/PAPA TVL of it.

Once you travel nearby you’re open to Clepin, BPSO, Sanctum, Louisville, Magfest (:sob:), NYCPC, Amazing Race, Pincinatti, CLE/Harrisburg/Philly locals, etc.

Not only do you meet rad people, but you get to play in more big ticket events. If you bomb PPO, there’s always something. If you TD Pinburgh, there’s Clepin/BPSO. That’s really the benefit of traveling, and with more money I can casually say “fuggit, BPSO sounds good” more often.


Honestly, I think this was actively avoided with the Super League nerf of [insert year]. You can’t just be a great player. You have to demonstrate it against other great players. So, yeah - the somewhat forced travelling thing is a bummer, but it is where the sport is right now. There’s no getting around it.


Bit of a tangent here, but this is part of the reason that ranking doesn’t mean much outside of say, the top 100. Once you get to that point it’s almost totally a function of who can play more (and bigger events), rather than skill.


And kudos to the IFPA, they already have other metrics available to compare players that are less influenced by ability to travel and play an abundance of tourneys: Rating & Power 100 & Efficiency Percentage.


There’s definitely some truth to this. If you look at the average amount of WPPRtunities for someone in the top 100 vs. top 500 vs. top 1000, here’s the results:

Average Top 100 player --> 1511 WPPR’s
Average Top 500 player --> 1148 WPPR’s
Average Top 1000 player --> 971 WPPR’s

If you look at who’s ranked in the top 100, there’s only 3 players that have played below the average that a Top 1000 player participates at:

Joshua Henderson (ranked 64th) - played in 861 WPPR’s worth of events the past 3 years
Jason Lambert (ranked 69th) - played in 930 WPPR’s worth of events the past 3 years
Phil Grimaldi (ranked 93rd) - played in 949 WPPR’s worth of events the past 3 years

I’d probably argue that to be in the top 100 you should expect to play at a participation level of the top 500 players, which is 1148 WPPR’s worth of ‘stuff’ the past 3 years.

9 additional players in the top 100 play below that level and still earned their top 100 spot:

Karl DeAngelo, Joe Lemire, Colin Urban, Alvar Palm, Paul Jones, Alex Harmon, Maka Honig, Justin Bath, Will McKinney

Years ago (when Super League was still in the pre-nuke phase) we evaluated making some kind of adjustment to a player’s “net” WPPR point total based on the amount they over/under played compared to their peers. It didn’t gain much traction, but the analysis does do a solid job of pointing out some players that could be over/under ranked.

Like Colin mentioned, we do have other metrics that I find to be a more “skillful” ranking system versus the achievement based ranking system that WPPR executes quite well IMO.


That’s true, but is anyone actually using those to handicap events? I can say that everyone locally just uses ranking, and I can’t recall any event outside my area that I’ve gone to that uses them.


Of course. I wasn’t arguing that straight WPPR ranking was bad per-se, just that its value as a comparison tool drops off sharply. Sharpe-ly? It’s Friday and I’m punchy. If you look at it as an achievement system as you mentioned, it makes a lot more sense.

I actually do think rating (and friends) is a more correct comparison tool and helps smooth out those under/overrated gaps. It also helps keep “spike” results from skewing a players relative strength over the near-term. I think we’d probably agree that one awesome result in a multi-year span is not really indicative of a consistently higher level of play, but you could draw that conclusion if you’re only looking at ranking.


Not that I’m aware of. Perhaps we should?


It’s worth a try! Especially if we think it’ll result in truer division splits.


IFPA rating is very volatile and I’d wager that it’s worse than using IFPA ranking. You’d have to normalize the rating over a period of time of you’d basically just be looking at the player’s last tournament performance.

Or use Match Play Ratings (MPR). It’s based on actual game results rather than the simulations IFPA ratings use. You can see how the Seattle team league combines MPR and IFPA ranking to assign a number between 1-6 for each player. It’s a good example of how to combine data from multiple sources to do division restrictions.

A lot of work though.

More information starting here and in the posts that follows: IFPA rating for team league salary cap?


Ah, that’s good insight. I thought the rating was an over-time thing.


I don’t quite agree with this. If that was the case then two players with the same finishing position at a tournament would simply end up being rated “the same”.

If we look at Dave Hubbard here’s his historical IFPA Rating movement for 2018:

8/18/2018 0:00 1728 -6
8/11/2018 0:00 1734 19
7/15/2018 0:00 1716 9
6/2/2018 0:00 1706 26
5/26/2018 0:00 1680 29
4/28/2018 0:00 1651 -19
4/24/2018 0:00 1669 -140
4/22/2018 0:00 1809 9
4/11/2018 0:00 1800 9
4/10/2018 0:00 1791 20
4/3/2018 0:00 1772 -1
2/24/2018 0:00 1773 -34
2/18/2018 0:00 1806 16
2/10/2018 0:00 1791 -9
1/27/2018 0:00 1799 33
1/20/2018 0:00 1766 -37

His most recent event was the Crabtowne Open Summer Slam, which he finished in a 4-way tie for 10th out of 68 players.

His 10th place finish dropped his IFPA Rating 6 points, landing him at 1728.

Looking at the other 3 players that had the same latest historical result:

Jacquie Day --> her 10th place finish boosted her IFPA Rating +32 points to 1531
Gil Swann --> his 10th place finish boosted his IFPA Rating +56 points to 1439
Brian Weingartner --> his 10th place finish boosted his IFPA Rating +41 points to 1497

That’s an IFPA Rating range from 1439 through 1728 based on “basically looking at the player’s last tournament performance”.

If a player is performing consistently in events I don’t find the metric to be as volatile as people tend to assume it is. Dave’s massive Ratings drop of 140 points on April 24th came from his 34th place finish at a local event with 38 total players. His activity since then has pushed his Rating back up a bit, but his latest tournament result certainly hasn’t “set his Rating” IMO.


A drop of 140 points based on what sounds like two lost games of pinball (those weeklies appear to be two-strikes tournaments) is the very definition of very volatile!

All I’m saying is that people should understand that IFPA rating uses simulated results and as a consequence the rating swings up/down much more than if actual game results were used. And because of those swings you can end up looking at some very strange IFPA rating numbers if you grab the ratings at one specific point in time (for example right before your own tournament).


I think most people understand IFPA Ratings uses simulated results, and while the volatility of specific events may swing things up/down based on a limited number of games played at that particular event, even MP Ratings (and all Glicko calculations) can have big swings based on limited data. Dave played just 4 games of pinball on the Saturday of Pinburgh and his MP Rating dropped 39 points. His ratings didn’t swing that much from his entire Pinburgh qualifying round activity.

Both Ratings metrics have their pros and cons for sure. IFPA Rating is able to capture the players that Dave is beating and losing to in all 16 events he’s played in for 2018 (not counting Pinburgh yet).

MP Ratings is able to actually look into that live match data, but Dave’s entire MP Rating is based on 3 events where Dave competed (And a Pickled Egg, Vuk Veekly Summer Series, Pinburgh). That’s using less than 20% of Dave’s “tournament performance” to judge his skill level, and the volatility comes in if Dave is a player that has a “bad day” 20% of the time . . . there’s a chance you’re only capturing his bad days.

The reason why I continue to be excited about the potential for MP Rating is to see what things look like when a higher percentage of a player’s historical tournament performance is used in those actual match play results, rather than ~20% of a player’s performance being used to explain their skill level.


Does the matchplay rating and matchup function track the actual finish in each 3 strikes round event ?

Oftentimes I see in our local events where the actual order of finish is treated as irrelevant (at both ends of the cut line) and the only concern is who received strikes. Many people won’t play out the match if they are immune in an effort to quickly move on to the next round.

Basically, should people be more concerned about this tracking function?

(Sorry to deviate from the cost aspect of the thread)


It’s “smart” so if the strikes tournament is about not finishing last it only records victories against the last place finisher and not 1st-3rd.


Sure, rub it in :slight_smile: