Louisville Arcade Expo March 2-4 2018

I put $110 into main. The last $10 I bought right at the 9pm cutoff and only got to play 2 of the 3 entries.

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That’s exactly what I did.
I spent less than I thought I would which is great!

It seems to me that a pump and dump format favours the wealthy. The more money I have, the more chances I can afford to buy myself. And, even as an average player, it is only a matter of trying until I finally blow up a game.

As a qualifying format, personally, I don’t like pump and dump. Not just because of the financial aspect, but because the competitive element goes missing. Endlessly buying entries to play a particular machine until I finally have a score that is good enough isn’t the same thing as having to play, say, ten games where those ten games (and no others) count for me to reach the finals.

Pump and dump favors the determined. If you really want to get into A, you can. Just takes playing and playing and playing. If your skills just aren’t there yet, that’s one thing. But for most of these players it’s just a matter of time before they blow a game up.

Like mentioned before though, the time you have to get these plays in is getting tighter and tighter.

I just don’t want to spend my entire show experience in the tournament room. I don’t go to every show, so I can’t afford to waste the experience of the few shows I do go to, waiting for tournament games.


I’d say money, timing, determination, and patience from my limited experience.

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I agree and disagree. My personal classics experience at INDISC is an example and counter-example.

Here is what I find really interesting. Of my 5 counting games, 1 was my first attempt (magic) on the game, 2 were second attempt (EBD, 9B). And 9B the second attempt was playoff warmup that just happened to improve my score (but not my points). If you asked me ahead of the tournament which games I was most comfortable with, that was the list.

Friday at 5pm, having played 7 entries total, 3 of my scores were established, I feel better players could get 5 good scores with very few attempts.

Now, to actually qualify, I grinded out 41 entries. It took 12 attempts at Star light to get a good score. 8 attempts at supersonic to get a mediocre score. I was fighting for a buy, I don’t know when I could have stopped and I like playing, so I play wall to wall.

Did I buy my buy? Somewhat. Could a great player get in on 10 entries? Absolutely.

Skill trumps wallet. Wallet helps.


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PAPA tournaments give plenty in tournament credit so even if you’re broke you can put in a couple shifts and have plenty to qualify on. I also don’t have to spend as much because I don’t need to travel very far from where I’m at. If I were to go to that NYC tourney then I’m sure I would be stretched really thin.


I agree with the fact of not spending the entire time in the tourney area. The first couple years it was a PAPA circuit event, we spent pretty much ALL our time in the tourney area trying to qualify. It was fun…but on the other hand, we never got to spend time with our friends and just have a good time doing other things at the show. We basically got burned out. We went to a PAPA a few years and that is what you are there for to compete in the biggest tourney in the world. :slight_smile: At shows there is other stuff to do, I get it if that is the only reason you are there to compete in the tournament that is fine. We like to compete but also like to have a happy medium and not spend every waking minute of a show waiting in line to play in the tourney.
We have had a tourney here at our house the last couple of years in the Summer called Cincy Pinball Championship. We combine this with our annual Summer party. So we use the format where we have a bank of 4 games with an entry fee but then you can buy in for more chances BUT we limit the total number of attempts to 12. That way we can do both…play in the tourney and enjoy our friends at the party! I know the idea of a pump and dump is to generate a big prize pool but I’m not sure money is the biggest motivating factor for everyone. Might be nice at some of these tourneys would go to limited # of attempts so that everyone could have a chance and also enjoy the show.



Pump and dumps don’t guarantee you will get to play as often as your pocketbook can afford. wait times were long, 25 minutes or so per game in main and classics quite often. i did not qualify in classics as i played main friday, and classics saturday…there was simply not enough time to play and with games breaking down it was even worse. it pretty much comes down to this; if you want big payouts= pump and dump or a high entry like pinburgh…
if you dont care about money, choose other styles with less pay ins…
you can not expect large payouts if you dont put the money in. its how it works.
i dont get how anyone can complain about pump n dumps and how it favors the rich, yet those same people will pay the $150 for pinburgh, which is more than spent on a pump n dump.

Because the players don’t spend the same amount of money in pump and dumps, it favors the rich regardless of how much money is spent at another event. At Pinburgh there is no way to buy your way into anything.

also Pinburgh is $120 :slight_smile:


You may only get $120, but the user plays $125.

Wait… I get $120? This is a good deal for me… :slight_smile:

Oh the joy of ticketing fees…

Except in as much as the cost of attending for everyone except those who live in Pittsburgh is much much higher than the cost of entry, and thus favors those with the money to spend (which is true of any major tournament people travel to.)

Also Pinburgh is $225.


Mine was actually $229.50

You don’t even want to know what it costs me.


You’re running out of souls to sell…

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Is tough to go to a different format than some style of a pump and dump at a show. Matchplay stuff locks people into the tournament area and really stops them from seeing the show. At least with pump and dumps people can put entries in at will and choose how much they play. We do classic PAPA style at pintastic. 5 game ticket. Makes it a little less about buying your way in as anyone can get hit on a single game with enough tries. Have to have a consistent run. Can also be more discouraging for newer/less skilled players.

I’m all for suggestions on a better format for a show…everything else I run outside of a show it Matchplay.

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But so does pump and dump if you’re trying to make finals. The online queues are nice, but the anxiety of constantly wondering where you are in line prevents you from really enjoying anything at the show in between games in the tournament.

Seems like TPF is the best of both worlds.

Almost every single new player I talk to is discouraged by any format that starts with them playing alone for an extended period of time. They know they have a steep hill to finals and it’s a hard sell to get them to play in some of these types of qualifying.

Tell a newer player you’ll be playing 4-5 hours of pinball with other people for 10-12 games, they are all about it in my experience.

I guess at the end of the day it’s all about what you’re trying to accomplish with your event.

I’m just glad that depending on what that answer is, there’s multiple options to help you accomplish your goal.


What’s the format at TPF? (From your post it sounds like match play, but I honestly don’t know.) Telling someone new that the tournament is a multi hour commitment can also be daunting, especially at a show where it may conflict with seminars or other scheduled events they want to attend.

I’m not sure there’s a perfect answer that’ll make everyone happy. It’s all a series of trade offs.

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TPF is limited entry herb.

I completely agree. No perfect system. I just feel Unlimited herb is the furthest from perfect.

At the end of the day if you want to compete at a show, it’s going to be a commitment. That’s a hard sell to a new player no matter the format.

I’ve just found that if I can convince a new player to compete, having Matchplay is the easier sell.

Again, just depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your event.