IFPA tournament value - Why number of players?

Yep totally agree, thou IFPA has some advantages in that 150 percent WPPR, high prize money and a major status all of which has grown in stature over time for sure. Most tournaments or shows don’t have those advantages other than Stern Circuit events so they have to find other ways to entice players to show.

Some have geography on their side so they don’t have to do much to get the players there, other shows/tournaments don’t so they have to other things like increase prize money, cool prizes, run solid tournaments, full streaming and tv setups, etc. to convince people to show up.

It is just unfortunate that well attended high quality run tournaments that don’t get the best players out suffer a bit from the formula, considering that many of the best players are pretty concentrated in major cities or traditional pinball pockets.

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I think there’s additional details here, and that’s just TIME. The amount of runway an event has to build or destroy their reputation I feel is the most important aspect in getting the best players to attend. Events had it easy 20 years ago because the group of elite players had barely any options to play. “See you at Expo! See you at PAPA!” was about it. It’s very hard TODAY for a new event to pop out of nowhere and instantly pull in those elite players because there’s just so many to choose from these days. Outside of a few events that do get the benefit of being in a major city, or having organizers that have a reputation built upon previous activity, it’s really going to be a slow burn towards building that status of your event.

You’re now in year 4 of YEGPIN, and like I’ve mentioned previously, that slow burn is continuing to build. If I were you I would be motivated to stay the course, keep doing what you’re doing, and the status will come.

2016 --> 19.73 WPPR’s
2017 --> 33.78 WPPR’s
2018 --> 44.97 WPPR’s

Even maintaining that 2018 level of participation, and you’re in the hunt to becoming a SPC event. I think we can both agree that it’s highly likely you’ll see the 2019 numbers just continue to increase.

I truly believe that events do control their own destiny here, because I see the opposite side happen when previous support of an event from the elite player base doesn’t continue “just because”.

You see this with an event like the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown. Back in the early WPPR days this event was one of those events elite players went to. It would consistently pull in 40-50 WPPR’s, making it within the top tier of event values in the world (outside of Majors). Fast forward to 2011-13 and the average dropped to 28 WPPR’s per year. Fast forward to 2014-2016 and the average dropped to 18 WPPR’s per year. 2017 brought a change in tournament staff for the venue, and a renewed interest in wanting to make a quality tournament associated with that show. So far 2017-18 has averaged 37 WPPR’s per year.

There’s a ton of examples just like that, but it just takes TIME to see how things ebb and flow with respect to the elite player base really embracing an event as a quality event. Denver has been running since 2004, so I you can literally watch the evolution or de-evolution of their tournament over time.

Let’s revisit the YEGPIN results when you have 15 years worth of data to pull from, and I think we’ll have a better chance at explaining things.


Look at MAGfest player list last the years, one of the largest overall field of players, yet most top players don’t attend because no cash payout. Real world metric proving money matters to the top players


MAGfest has a unique atmosphere. I am not sure I would use that as a gage for the value of payouts.

Money isn’t the issue with Magfest for me, it’s tournament playing conditions and weather, the latter not so much for itself but that it makes add on activities a no go and travel issues more likely. And too close to Indisc in my particular situation.
If Magfest had “normal” playing area conditions and was in October the weekend before or after Expo or Pittsburgh, I’d probably double it up with one of them, payout or not.


MAGfest still pulled in enough quality players to find themselves on the Stern Pro Circuit for 2019. Somehow, someway it did “enough”. I think there’s too many reasons why an elite player chooses to attend or not attend an event.

MAGfest pulled in 12 players in the top 250, 6 players in the top 100 and 3 players in the top 25.

Rocky Mountain for 2018 pulled in 3 players in the top 250 and 0 players in the top 25.

“Real world metric proving money doesn’t matter to top players” could be a comment from extrapolating that data. I wouldn’t agree with it either way and think it’s a far more complicated discussion that’s really event specific as to why players choose to attend/not attend.

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I can see the alure of MagFest due to the shows atmosphere and location. There is just so much to do for all types of players when not in the tourney area. Perfect example of a well thought out event.

Thanks for the stats on MagFest and Rocky Mountain. Very interesting data.

Interesting to talk about the past of Rocky Mountain. (The two reasons I’ve heard that it slipped are that the tournament started to become treated as a source of income for the show, and it did not have a dedicated staff of competitive players).

I’ve only been playing for five years, but it’s pretty clear to me that Colorado is a fly-over state for pinball. If world class players were coming in for Rocky Mountain, it was because there were few other choices. Now there are a ton of choices, and all of them closer to where people live.

Lyons Classic is an awesome venue with great playing games, but the number of players coming in from out of state is in the single digits, even when it was a circuit event. Dory Hill is/was a one of a kind event (camping and pinball at 9,000 feet), worth decent WPPRs and yet Trent is really the only one who comes from out of state.

The number of players in the top 250 at a Colorado event is equal to the number of top 250 players who live in Colorado. It’s a 10-12 hour drive to the closest Circuit event (Cacus Jacks or Pinmasters in Vegas).

With so many great tournaments everywhere, there is no need to come here for anything other than IFPA. What would it take to change this? I’d love to be wrong.

A week long series of max value events held in the summer so people could justify it as a summer vacation?


I’m waiting for the player appearance fees to start :slight_smile:

“Hey Raymond, RMPS would like to invite you out to next year’s show. If you agree to come and hold a 30 minute “how to play” seminar for our attendees, RMPS agrees to pay you $500 in advance of any winnings from any of the RMPS tournaments.”

At the percentages Raymond is collecting bones, it would cost the show nothing to guarantee him $500 :slight_smile:


“Come one, come all. See DNO, @Adam, Escher, and a few dozen nobodies on their home turf attempt to dethrone the number one player in the world.”

Would that really be a good sales pitch? :slight_smile:

Rulings and counsel provided provided “pro bono”, courtesy of Lefkoff & Associates.


TBH the IFPA has used this strategy to “sponsor” players over the years to get them to show up for the IFPA WC. We’ve had players decline and accept that sponsorship as a way for them to help guarantee all or some of their travel expenses are covered.

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It is no different then our league topping up the prize pool to send them on an all expenses paid trip to Vegas once a year to ensure participation for Nationals. I could totally see some tournaments wanting to give appearance fees in the future to certain players as it does help attract other players to show up. We don’t do it we add $$$ to prize pool instead and payout more than what we take in this helps to attract some of the higher end players but one could lower prize money and invest in putting that into certain players for sure, interesting times. Money isn’t the only motivation for many of the top players sometimes they just want to go somewhere new or play where the tournament is run well but having a solid prize pool always helps.

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I’m just pumped I got so many responses. Any publicity is good publicity, LOL. Magfest is in 2 weeks!!! Come out and play the craziest tournament around : )

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Has this process been openly documented, and was the sponsorship available to all players who met the qualifications?

Nope. We don’t have enough funds to put together any sort of open criteria and expose ourselves to being on the hook to all players that qualify. It’s always been a case-by-case basis.

I think Georgia would offer like $250 to Eric Stone to NOT play in the state championship. LOL


6 years ago CT had never had an event. I started running stuff for fun. Just kept doing it. People seemed to like what was happening. Kept on chugging along and enjoying myself. There was 0 reason for top players to ever come out here. Not a big concentration of local top players. Now this year I’m running two circuit events… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Just do what works for you and eventually they will come. Hell we just threw a little Christmas party at The Sanctum last week and to my surprise we ended up with 80 players on a Monday night knockout tournament. The local community is the driving factor for everything here and I love them for it.


The days of “Jimbo’s birthday tournament” where the winner of 6 man tourney walks away with 40wpprs are gone XD


One thing that has encouraged me to travel in the past is payouts further down the field than in the past. INDISC pays out to 24th in main and classics. B division pays out to 16th. That’s a lot of chances to finish in the money. If a player feels they have a shot to finish in the money and recoup some of their travel expenses, that’s going to help make the decision. Gone are the days of only paying out to the top 8.

The Seattle show was one of the first shows to start doing this. Not sure who else deserves cedit for this change.


This right here. As a player expected to make A division, but a long shot to win it all, my motivation to travel is zero. Im B eligible currently, and have thought about going to a show and landing in the B division to recoup some losses but where’s the fun in that? This was mentioned in the B division threshold and prizes thread.