IFPA tournament value - Why number of players?

I have long since wondered… why is number of players participating in an IFPA event the primary factor in determining the tournament’s final value? We saw with Super League and others that this was exploited by simply forcing more and more people to “participate”, in which we then needed to more strictly define what “participate” means to stop some of the abuse. But my question is… Why? Why is number of players the important metric to begin with?

Consider this crazy extreme example:

What if one year, only 32 people show up to PAPA with HERB qualifying, but it’s the who’s-who of best players. Whoever the scariest 32 names you can think of, they are all there. Now consider the scenario where PAPA is a THREE day qualifying event with only top 8. You spend Thursday, Friday, and Saturday pumping and dumping. Playing and playing. Hundreds, thousands of games being played all weekend, trying to get the high scores to qualify. Because the finals is only top 8, they decide to have each round be 5 games instead of 3. You go through the most grueling finals of your life playing against the best of the best, somehow edging out your competition and go on to win the event.

Countless hours played, hundreds of games played, huge scores, great pinball, against the very best in the world.

Guess what? Your event would be worth a whopping 20 points or so. That seems odd doesn’t it? Even though you played MORE than previous PAPAs. Even though you had to work so hard and get such huge scores. Because more people didn’t fly out to PAPA and throw their name in the bucket, the event is worth basically nothing.

There were some things to address this, mainly TGP, or Tournament Grade Percentage based on Total Games Played. However, this maxes out way earlier than the number of players does! 25 games played and any extras do NOTHING. However, you keep getting points after points up until 64 players. In my PAPA example, if you include the qualifying (which I think you should since it was THREE DAYS OF THE TOURNAMENT), and the extra games added in the finals, it can be shown that you clearly played more pinball than you would at say, Pinburgh. But, because there aren’t 650 other people hanging out, you get nothing.

Shouldn’t a three day tournament be worth more intrinsically than a one day match play tournament that has been optimized to 100% TGP (like the ones in Seattle with multi match play finals that just barely squeak in the required 25 games)? Regardless of how many people attend? I think so.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any real solutions here, which is why I’m bringing this to tilt forums for discussion. I do think that currently the IFPA puts too much emphasis on number of players in a tournament, and not the length or quality of the tournament, or quality of players… butttt I don’t really know what to do instead as to not throw the whole system off balance :slight_smile:


I think the general idea is get more people playing pinball, hence the greater the number of players the greater the value of the event.

All events used to be worth 25 points flat, even if there were only 8 people in them. This is better. Participants X games played X participant rating factor seems pretty legit.

Your example is also flawed, PAPA as a major gets 2x WPPR and the caliber of players would drag the base value up past the 20 points you mentioned. It would be worth at least 50 to the winner.



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If you had the top 32 in the world play in a 100% TGP tournament, it would be worth a decent chunk of change I think.

The participant point value caps at 32 points. 64 rated players is the max. So although you’re only getting half that, the rating and rankings boost would be substantial i think.


Base value of 12. TVA from those 24 players added over 25 points to the pot. I find that WHO plays is the biggest variable in the mix. Far more important than number of players which caps at 64 players.

I’ll have more comments I’m sure when I’m done wrapping all these Christmas presents for my kids :slight_smile:


What I think Ray is trying to say is that the with the current system being flawed, he shouldn’t be ranked #1

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Raymond - You’re packing a ton in this hypothetical example that kind of glances across all the variables that go into the formula.

Our formula has to use all of those metrics to help dictate the events that are worth the most WPPR’s. Any single one of those metrics when focused on individually can be exploited by any group.

In your example you seem to want to focus on the length of the event being the most important thing? Because it’s Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday, the tournament should be worth MORE MORE MORE.

The method to the madness with TGP is about coming up with a value at which the amount of games played will lead to the most skillful player winning the event. Anything beyond that, while it’s still “more play” doesn’t necessary make the tournament more VALUABLE in determining who the winner is. At 100% value it’s meant to declare that the quality of the event was high enough that we believe it was a very good test of skill for the participants. This metric was also created around the existing world of “high class events”. If you move the TGP cap higher (say 50 games played instead of 25), you suddenly have a ton of events in the real world that we are now saying aren’t a great test of skill for the participants. Furthermore, you allow TD’s the power to dictate the value of their event by giving too much credit to the number of games played. Any TD with any batch of players can play 50 games, 100 games, 150 games if that’s what we say is the amount that matters. I don’t want that exploited with respect to how valuable a tournament is.

Your other point about the who’s-who of best players participating is I believe the best metric. You could have 1000 players playing, and if they are all “unskilled”, the event will be worth . . . 32 WPPR’s.

The Power100 which we could easily stretch to grade out to 100% would be worth more than that with just 24 players playing. Giving your PAPA example a “Major” boost, and you’re talking about a tournament worth mid 50’s for WPPR’s.

Between these three variables --> Number of Players, Quality of Players, Number of Games Played . . . the biggest impact that hits the WPPR formula IMO is Quality of Players. That’s the metric that takes your event from the 20-30 point WPPR range, to the 50-80 point WPPR range (not counting boosts). It’s also the variable that’s TD’s have the least amount of control over (as it should be IMO).

TD’s can add to the number of players to hit 64 easily (Super League example, etc)

TD’s can add to the number of games played easily by extending the length of the event, doing Flip Frenzy, playing all EM’s, doing the multiple game thing at the same time, etc.

TD’s can’t manipulate things to get the world’s greatest players to show up. The world’s greatest tournaments do that because they are the world’s greatest tournaments.


I never thought of it that way: the reason the events have a lot of people are because they are good events, and so as a by product they naturally get the most points. There basically would never be a scenario I described where only 20 people show up to INDISC or PAPA because it naturally selects the best players who like competing over multiple days…

Thanks Josh! I knew I must have been missing something in my logic.

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Take away the prize money by donating it all to a charity and see how many “Top” players you would get at those circuit events.


Most of Europe’s biggest events have little to no prize money and the best players still show.


I can’t imagine there are more than 10 players who are traveling to circuit events for the money. Even that might be high.

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I do think that it might be a little too easy to get to 100%, especially with the Flip Frenzy format. What’s the point of a 3 day tournament if you can max out in 4-5 hours?

I wouldn’t see the harm in maxing out at something like 40 games.

Here in Colorado, one of the monthlies changed to a 10 hour, single day tournament that gets 100%. It’s a great tournament and format, but it unfortunately neutered the half dozen-ish annual multi-day tournaments. The big ones lost a lot of their importance when you can get almost as many points every month of the year.

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Big tournaments like Pinburgh with 800 people kind of have to run that long since they need more time to figure out who the best player is don’t they?

I personally think tournaments that have 100 or so people don’t NEED to run for multiple days unless the
desire is to increase the pot size in unlimited qualifying, or if there is a lack of machines and space

In Australia we don’t have big shows to attach tournaments too. There seems to be dozens in the US. So all of our ‘big’ pinball events are entire weekends of tournaments that people organise usually once a year in about 4 states. Most TDs seem to run a lot of events over 3~4 days.

Queensland easily attracts the biggest crowd
Check out Brisbane Masters, its huge.

https://www.ifpapinball.com/tournaments/view.php?t=25174 (would be worth 3x WPPRs usually)

I don’t think Flip frenzy makes it too easy…I just think that a large percentage of the time you ARE playing.
Other formats you aren’t ACTUALLY playing pinball. You are waiting an hour in a queue to play a game. That doesn’t show your skills in anything but being patient :slight_smile:

If there was a 4 player format that someone could invent that is like Flip frenzy that would be even better!

Money. I always assumed it was money. Exclude Pinburgh, and there aren’t many tournaments (if any) that span 3 days unless they are pump and dump.

If you’re doing Matchplay, a single day is all that is needed unless you have a ton of people playing.

I also think that flip frenzy should never be used to decide a major tournament. It’s way too volatile imo.

If you want to attract the best players, I always thought it took a combination of format, WPPRs, and prize money to get it done.

It’s not about how easy or hard it is to “max out”. It’s about making sure there’s enough data present to come up with a quality result.

Adjusting every game played to 2.5% would lead to many larger circuit events to no longer grade out as a “quality result”.

5 game Herb format, or PAPA card format qualifying, with top 16 advancing to PAPA style finals is 23 meaningful games played. You could have open qualifying for 2 days, 3 days, 8 days . . . that’s only getting you an additional 20%. This format would grade out at 77.5% TGP. Having played this format A LOT over the last 25 years, I think it’s important for this baseline type of format to be one that grades out at 100% as I think it’s enough action to produce a “quality result”.

Sure the TGP can be maximized in a one day event, but as has been mentioned, the format is important.

In my experience, many of our state’s one day events that grade at 100% TGP are strikes formats. Depending on how the TD sets it up and who is hosting/ where it is held, there is the potential for a lot of randomness in groupings and types of games played, which is not always attractive. Nobody likes getting eliminated on 3 “luck boxes” in a row.

And to get out of state players coming in for anything, there usually has to be a financial incentive.


IMO, this isn’t necessarily true, the formula does not factor in the quality of any given event, the higher ranked players tend to be from pockets of high populated areas or traditional pinball areas in US or Europe. The tournaments that are close to these high ranked players get the benefit of that whether they are good tournaments or not. There is no perfect system but it sure is hard no matter how good your tournament is to have high WPPR if the top players don’t come. Very hard to grow the game in a non-traditional market with this type of formula, your players are forced to go to out of state or county tournaments in order to help your local tournament WWPR’s.


I love this aspect of it. It gets players to go out and “see how good they really are”. See different formats, TDs, players, etc.

I like how local events that are new can only grow to a certain point then the WPPRs they generate are essentially capped unless players travel and up their rank elsewhere. Keeps players from being ranked too high.

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I think the subject of availability is a different one from “quality”. We certainly measure quality as a metric, and we measure that through the meaningful number of games played that the winner has to get through to be crowned champion.

It’s the best objective measure of quality that we could come up with to differentiate those events that don’t truly test the skill level of the players participating compared to the ones that do a better job of that when determining the champion.

At some point the world’s greatest tournaments need the support of the world’s greatest players to earn that accolade. We’ve tested the limit to location obscurity when it comes to the IFPA World Championship, yet the world’s greatest players still find a way to attend. That was not the case in the early IFPA WC years when the cut line went to the 300’s, but over time the reputation of the event grew enough to motivate those elite level players to attend. Any event created has the same opportunity to make this happen IMO.