IFPA Dollar - 2018 Q1 Perspectives

With three months in the books on 2018, I’ve been wondering how the IFPA Dollar is working out on various levels. Based on the current NACS standings https://www.ifpapinball.com/nacs/standings.php it seems like business as usual, or possibly an uptick, but I wanted to get some more detailed individual perspectives.

I can speak for my local scene in Cleveland in that it hasn’t changed a thing. Our leagues, weeklies, monthlies and annual events have been rolling along as usual without anyone flinching about the dollar. In most cases it’s built into the entry fee and out of mind to most, but even at the free weeklies everyone is fine with tossing down a buck as they sign in.

Questions for tournament directors

  • How have you been collecting the fee? (off the prize pool, adding $1 to entry, location pays, etc)

  • Have you had any resistance from players? Feel like you’re losing anyone?

  • Has it added excitement to your scene with players knowing there will be a bigger prize pool for state finals?

Questions for IFPA

  • How much pushback has there been lately versus last year leading up to the change?

  • How has participation been compared to what you were expecting?

  • Have you lost any TDs who refuse to run tournaments under the new system?

  • With a rough idea of what the NACS Championship prize pool is heading toward, do you think this will be an amount that will help accomplish the goals you were setting out for with sponsorship opportunities and media attention?

Apologies in advance to @pinwizj if all was quiet on the western front and this thread becomes a burden :slight_smile:


Good lord John…on my daughter’s birthday you bring this up??? You’re DQ’d from something, I just need to decide what it is :slight_smile:

I’ll comment on the IFPA side of things when I get a chance.


If it’s an event with entry fee and prize payout we take the 1$ from that. No one cares

If it’s a free weekly knockout then I take it out of the 10$ freeplay entry we charge everyone. So I’m losing 1$ per player who is playing on Monday nights. If it encourages just a couple people to play that wouldn’t normally it’s a wash and I’m fine with that. It’s all peanuts in the big scheme of things

No resistance at all. Haven’t lost a single player. I did lose one player who doesn’t agree with the DQ rules of some one playing someone else’s ball that affected player keeps those points, but to be honest He’s the one player who’s been a headache for me non stop and has nothing to do with the 1$ :wink:

No added excitement yet. Most don’t realize how it’s all working/that they can track it etc. When nacs comes around at years end and people start thinking about it I’m sure things will be different, especially if you ask this question after 2018 nacs


Hey at least you’re not flying back and forth to Pittsburgh!



In Eugene, we worried about the fee having a negative effect on our efforts to grow a competitive scene that viewed IFPA-sanctioning as valuable. To many players at one of our locations, we heard a lot of anger. The TD of their weekly (which sporadically submitted to IFPA in 2017 when it was free) said they’d never run anything with the $1 fee.

What has happened is a former TD picked up the slack at that location and agreed to run a monthly. In addition to that, I plan to run about 18 standalone tournaments at our town’s other location as well as two league seasons. The monthly at the “we’ll never do this” arcade gets more attendees than their unsanctioned weekly ever had. Our league attendance is up over 50% from last year.

  • We collect the fee off of the prize pool. The other TD in town has sponsors/location cover the fee.
  • Initially, we had a lot of resistance from players. In the end, it was a lot of bluster. Even the most ardent opponents are still playing in IFPA-sanctioned events.
  • I would say that the bigger prize pool has not affected players’ excitement. What has is the superstate stipulation. We’re a smaller city with a fledgling scene in the same state as Portland. Our main issue with the $1 fee was basically that we are funding a de facto Portland City Championship, as we don’t have enough tournaments / high rated & ranked players to stand a chance to qualify. With the possibility that 24 players qualify for SCS, as well as the new ‘best-20 count’ rule for states (I know this was proven to have a negligible effect, at best), players are more excited this year than last year to play in tournaments.
  • Not only are we getting more attendees at our Eugene events, more Eugene players are travelling to Portland to play.
  • Shout out to @gdd who has been really helpful in getting people on board as our IFPA State Rep. He also, without any coaxing from us, plans to run the 2018-19 SCS in Eugene for the first time. Thanks, Greg!

Questions for tournament directors

How have you been collecting the fee? (off the prize pool, adding $1 to entry, location pays, etc)

We are just taking it out of the prize pool for tournaments and I am charging an extra dollar per season of league (a whopping grand total of 5 bucks per season per player.)

Have you had any resistance from players? Feel like you’re losing anyone?

Not a single one, I don’t think most people even think about it.

Has it added excitement to your scene with players knowing there will be a bigger prize pool for state finals?

I have really been encouraging our local players to hit up the rest of the state (Missouri,) but at the same time we are doing monthlies and 4 leagues a year, so there are plenty of homegrown opportunities that we haven’t had in previous years. We might have 20 events this year just in Columbia, which is nuts! I don’t care about the prize pool personally, but definitely think it is an unspoken driving force for lots of players to get out more.

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This has been the biggest source of excitement over the changes here in Ohio as well. Lots of great players are stoked to have a more of a chance now! I was hoping to see this change for a couple years and am really glad it’s in effect.


I’ve personally started avoiding any IFPA tournaments as an indirect result of the IFPA dollar. I think I’ve mentioned before, while I really like the concept of building larger pots for SCS, I’m rather uncomfortable with the implementation – specifically TDs becoming responsible for relatively long-term money handling, and various implications of that across 50+ jurisdictions. I’d be far more comfortable with players directly remitting payment to the IFPA, and for that accounting to be both organizationally centralized, and transparent to the player.

What kind of sealed the deal for me was the response to any criticisms. I already work in a field full of snarky assholes, so it’s probably best to avoid the parts of this hobby that seems to draw them in.


Meanwhile, in Wisconsin…



“Most don’t realize how it’s all working/that they can track it”

Yes! I have had so many players ask me to show them where to find the state standings. It would be great if the site had its old functionality that showed your rank in specific states/provinces.

I know that @Shep is working on bringing this back.


The individual rankings by state (on the player profiles) will return very soon


There have been 5765 players that have played in US/Canada based tournaments this year, versus 338 tournament directors. Having players performing the fee submissions would never work and would result in a lot of overhead and complicated decisions and would be doomed from the start. For example, what if players don’t pay? Do results never get approved? Do players now need to be “suppressed” until payment? etc.

Also, I am unsure how TDs holding money to submit to the IFPA has any weight of you deciding to attend a IFPA sanctioned tournament? Why does it have any bearing on your decision to be a player in said tournament? These seems like a odd reason, unless you are protesting the dollar fee.


I just had a panic attack over the idea of processing that many Stripe transactions :open_mouth:

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Very similar to @JSwain. For our free monthlies, the Pinball Co-op pays the fee. For bigger events, we take $1/player out of the prize pool. We also have one league with a $5/player fee that we’ve now changed to $6/player.

No resistance. If anyone has stopped playing here because of the fee, I’m not aware of it.

A small amount of added excitement for the players at the top of the state rankings. Makes sense: not only would they benefit the most, but they are also the ones most likely to be aware of the prize pool implications. I agree that checking in after the NACS tournaments is a good idea, and I expect to see the enthusiasm and/or understanding growing on or around the end of February.

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That’s not really our issue. People just can’t be bothered with things anymore. So looking something up on the ifpa web site isn’t something they are going to do. Granted that’s not everyone but I would say a majority fall in this category.

CT is a bit of an annomolity. I am the only location in the state and the only one running events since there isn’t any other locations with more than 1-2 games to host. So everyone in this state comes to me for the one stop/shop all ifpa/tournament/pinball world. My players are great as far as being supportive of any pinball they can find and head everywhere and come from everywhere. They play all over New England and the tri-state area and my regulars even come from all over New England and the tri state area every week.


Cash from every player. All my tournaments are free entry (coin drop only)

Our scene is still growing actually. No gripes from anyone.

There are a handful of guys that didn’t know about SCS until I told them about the dollar. They definitely are driven to make the SCS now. Not sure if it’s the dollar or that they are just now aware the SCS exists.

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The overhead and decisions are still there, done by the TDs. Mostly the same amount of work but spread out over 338 people instead of 2 or three.

I’ve been collecting an additional dollar per tournament. One location I’ve changed from a month long league to a quarterly league, saving everyone $8 a year.

From my perspective, handling prize money, securing it, keeping track of who has paid and who hasn’t, counting it, publishing and adhering to payouts is a hassle. Cash prizes are extra work and detract from the fun for me. None of the issues are specific to the IFPA tax.

I can imagine. I don’t feel the league payouts are much of a driving factor at 20, 10, 5 and 5. Maybe propose just collecting $1 for league (for IFPA) and doing away with the other $5 and payouts. I know I would support it. Tuesday league feels like two groups of people. 80% are their just to have fun, drink and play pinball. The other 20% are their for those reason but also chasing points.

For the OP - Where I’m at things feel a bit slower but I think that is because several new leagues have recently opened up which has cannibalized the leagues I normally play in and not due to the $1.