How far would you travel for $1000 first prize?

first of all, its the same amount of money. second of all, how about they be enticed to play by the fact that pinball is fun and competing is fun, and they want to be a part of a growing community? Ya know, that line were all fed when we ask about fair payouts.

People who feel that way arent competitors. The type of person who thinks: Im not winning, therefore this isnt fun, i dont wanna get better to make this more fun, i want the rules to be altered to reward my current skill level is the type of person ive noticed “competitive” pinball caters to. Theyre gone in six months, why stiff the elite to “entice” these types to play?

Except its tournament directors with wacky payout structures, and lopsided entry fees putting my money where my mouth isnt. Right now im actively avoiding climbing below 500 so i can play in the B division at large tournaments because thats where the money is. and in the future ill probably avoid becoming 250 or lower if all its gonna mean is now tournaments cost thirty bucks more.

But why not? Its whats asked of us, and were expected to keep coming back. Ask the advanced and veteran players to pay more for an event to encourage novices to retain interest in the game and its “creative idea, could work” ask the same of the novices and its “unfair, it’ll push people away”.

Considering like one percent of people play competition pinball for more than six months, im just confused by the lengths our community goes to make these events cater to those types.

Sometimes it isn’t about the prize money but more about getting to see a new place and meet some new people. In the last year was traveling for work and caught a weekly flip frenzy in Melbourne and UK open in London! What a fun and different way to meet people and play pinball. Format has to be well run too - really cool to see how laid back people are outside the US - stuck ball, just give the machine a wack and little need for a TD.


A few blocks

Did you look at the past results for the event you’re singling out? About 10% of the field pays the higher entry fee each year. Some finish in the money, some don’t. But clearly the higher entry fee isn’t scaring away better players.

There are lots of reasons to travel or not and payouts are certainly a part of that. But there are a lot of other things to consider. There is no single format and payout structure that works everywhere. It has been proven that paying out deeper in the field definitely increases participation. You can’t really argue that. Everything else, throw it against the wall and see what sticks. As a player, not participating in an event is the best way to show you don’t approve of the tournament in some way. Beyond that, not much you can do. You can absolutely milk your lower ranking. I encourage people to do this. If your good though, you won’t stay ranked low for long.


We have a few “large” events locally (upwards of 100 people of all skill shapes and sizes) that use a tiered entry fee, tapering down to free for (I think) 1000+. I don’t necessarily like the idea of some having a chance at a payout without contributing, but I also know what I’m getting into and choose to play.

To date, I don’t think a single person who got a freebie has ever won anything, FWIW. But it definitely helps get more people to play who otherwise might not.

I’m confused by this line. Same amount? I thought your entire problem was with the larger entrance fee for those with better rankings.

This is silly. Perhaps my use of the word “win” was sloppy here, but of course people who participate in any competition want to be successful at it, and to grow more successful over time. That doesn’t happen over night, and it doesn’t happen when you’re constantly being crushed in open divisions. That’s why sports teams have developmental leagues. That’s why little league exists. That’s why high school and college sports teams exist. You’re not going to give little Johnny or Susie a baseball bat and a mitt, send them to shortstop at PNC Park and say “have fun.”

But “WHOA” you say “MLB players get paid to play. They don’t pay more.” No, they don’t pay, but they also play for teams with massive, massive sponsorship dollars, revenue from broadcasting contracts, ticket and concession sales, etc. That’s not something pinball will ever come close to, even if it gets treated more seriously as a “sport,” as we’ve all discussed in other threads.

That seems sad. And it doesn’t seem particularly “competitive” as you defined it a paragraph above if you’re focused on “where the money is.” This weekend I ended up at 87th in B Division. That was pretty cool, because people who regularly beat me at weeklies and other events back home finished day 1 in lower divisions. Some even made it to their division’s finals. But I was still happy to have ranked higher. Last year, I made A. I was pretty surprised, but really happy about it, because I knew I played well the first day. Sure, I’d like to have been successful enough then or now to qualify in my division and compensate a bit for the amount of money I spent to get here, but that’s not why I’m here.

That said, I was really envious of my friends who made it into Day 3 because it was so much fun to watch them compete in high pressure situations more often, and believe me, the C and B division matches I watched were often as exciting and suspenseful as the ones on the stage. I wanted to be part of that suspense. I want more divisions mostly because I want to play in more playoff-style situations. And a prize for those situations is a good thing. It is higher pressure, and should be recognized as such. I just realized writing this that’s the biggest reason I entered Intergalactic and agonized over final cards (probably annoying my friends to death as I asked about which I should play). I was enticed by the possibility of being in more competitive situations.

You might be thinking, “well, see, you are okay spending a lot to compete at Pinburgh.” I am. That’s a decision I made. But I could rattle off dozens of people who play all the time in Portland who can’t or don’t want to spend that kind of money. One woman has even told me a couple times that she hopes to come next year, but didn’t even try to get a ticket this year. She only just started playing pinball a year or so ago and wanted to spend this year working to get better because if she was going to spend that much she wanted to feel like she can compete. That’s for an event with as many divisions as Pinburgh, an event at which I think she would solidly compete.

No one’s asking veterans or advanced players to support novices, but, yeah, if they want to win more, they should be the first willing to throw more into the pot. It’s not that it’s “unfair.” It’s that it’s not fun to go into an event absolutely outgunned. You don’t learn anything that way. You don’t improve. Yes, I think it would be fun to play a casual game with @sk8ball et al but, I’d like to work up to the point when I can compete in matches where my tournament depends on going up against players of his skill level. I’m going to be more enticed to participate in more tournaments if I know there’s a possibility that if I don’t perform well enough to face him, I can face off against the folks at my skill level.

Because that’s how you get new players. Full stop. You can’t maintain a community if you don’t bring in new members. You just can’t. People grow old. They die. Etc. If you want pinball to thrive for a long time, you sure as hell better encourage new players. And a good way to do that is offering more meaningful

No, I didn’t check past results.10% - interesting.

“As a player, not participating in an event is the best way to show you don’t approve of the tournament in some way. Beyond that, not much you can do.”
I see it the same way. People are allowed to set up tournaments in any way they like and forcing them isn’t possible or would at least require an unrealistic effort.

I also see the advantages or what at least looks like advantages, which unsmith mentioned and believe you when you say “clearly the higher entry fee isn’t scaring away better players”.
But then again these are action which probably only work short term. One day players like unsmith and the 10% will realize that their diminished equity hurts them and might lose interest. When this happens some of the 90% will see that and realize that there’s not much merit in becoming a pro or a semi-pro,

I don’t want to dramatize this subject if it’s about a few events of that sort. Long ago I won 3X flight, stay at the Riviera, Las Vegas and entry fee for the Valley Cup (pocket billiards) which was an amateur event. So I do understand that everybody is looking for easier wins. When there are enough pro events then there’s also room for amateur events. It has to be in balance though or negative things will happen.

I hope an app will come out which compares tournament features like entry fee, payout, past participation etc. and suggests a route to the next tournament(s) based on a player’s preferences.

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your first post made it seem like you were referring to a hypothetical tournament where novices were charged more. I was also confused, and apologize for the error.

This is simply not the case, the vast majority of people who are entering these competitions are doing so because they want to have fun and be social. If what you say was the case, pinball would be looking for new and exciting ways to invite novices to play alongside the elite, rather than this constant quest to sequester these novices with their own prices, games, and payouts.

but your gonna make the shortstop at PNC park contribute more to little johnny and suzies prize pool than they did? interesting.

It is sad, but i believe i can explain how it is indeed competitive. You mentioned earlier that WPPRs are not the most accurate metric for determining ranking, and it seems you agree that individual tournament performances are also not always the best measure of an individuals skill. That being said, we can use money to determine the value of someones performance (better baseball players make more money, better plumbers do to). Money is more important than WPPRs to me, so adjusting the way i play based on where the maximum return is on my investment is the whole competition. I wish it wasnt, but we seem pretty far away from any sort of adjustment to the formula.

Where are you playing that this is true? Every major tournament has novice side tourneys drawing from the same prize pool. Your whole side of the argument is based on why its ok for the elite to pay more to the same prize pool than the novices who enter the same tournament. Are you forgetting that everyone in B,C,D,E-Z divisions is taking home money from a prize pool that everyone put into? Everytime 17th takes home more than 16th because they are in different divisions is the elite being asked to support novices.

Everybody knows how to get new players, it seems every local league is drowning in em. Obviously its great for the game, i just wish the “competitive” community would put a little more effort into finding ways of keeping people around past one year. I think what most people on your side of the argument forget is that once these people climb into the territory of advanced players they have to look at these payouts from a new perspective, and that sequestered prize pool that enticed them to keep playing is now off limits, and winning this new division is way harder but with less payout.

The barcade phenomenon, IMO. Lots and lots of people like trying new things - socializing with friends and trying out this new pinball league thing sounds like an awesome thing. When those people don’t stick around past year, you know they were in it for the social aspect and not the pinball. Not much you can do about that.

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