Pinburgh conundrum

I feel you. I’d love to play on Saturday, but the opportunity to mix it up in A with some bad doods of note is cool too. Aside from the fun format, that’s really what pinburgh means to me. I’m not sure I’d definitely come every year to do "Self-identified B Division Pinburgh."
Metallik, I’m responding to some other sentiments in this thread, I don’t mean to put you in with other people’s ideas.
I guess it’s just such a big event that it’s possible for most to get what they want from it.


Small prize for qualifying into A might help. Doesn’t need to be much, could just be something like a commemorative token. Something to say you tried your hardest, succeeded, and are now playing against some of the best in the world.

This discussion came up last year and this was the only thing I saw that made some sense.


If they played sorry on Thursday they should be put in bottom of C and let them work up on Friday. Inconsistent play on Thursday shouldnt be rewarded with an easier path to cash on Friday.

If your comment is based on inside knowledge of the player in question and meant as a joke, disregard my comment. Why should a person be assigned to a higher division than their score indicates if they aren’t restricted?

These were the restrictions to place a player in C:

Division C Restrictions

Qualified in Division C of PAPA 16-20
Qualified in any Classics Division in PAPA 18-20
Final Four in Pinburgh Division C 2012-2016
Final Four of Pinburgh 2016 Division D
Final Four of PAPA 20 Division D
Qualified for Pinburgh 2012-2016 Div B Finals
Top 500 IFPA WPPR Ranking

If the player you are speaking of didn’t fall into any of these categories, they shouldn’t take a spot in C from someone who earned their way in.

We need to slow down and consider the possibility that people are getting better at pinball in general. The available resources alone have grown exponentially in the past few years, as have the number of competitive events that a person can participate in.


My initial post is that they need to increase restrictions on D. Someone ranked 501 shouldn’t be eligible for it.


There was a decent amount of casual conversation about throwing points to move down at the end of Thursday in my C groups. Hard to take as I had worked as hard as I could to end up in the C bunch since I was restricted and didn’t want to be in a hole Friday morning. In my last group of the day on Friday, 2 of the 4 were grousing that they had taken a dive on purpose to play C and weren’t going to make finals anyway (Karma I guess?).


It’s pretty simple, we need to start outing these people. Period.

PAPA Rules (and for those that don’t know the PAPA rules are in play at Pinburgh unless a Pinburgh Rule over-rides them):

VIII. Player Conduct

4 Interference, Collusion, and Cheating

Any player who intentionally interferes with tournament play or otherwise disrupts the tournament setting will be warned and/or ejected from the tournament, at the discretion of tournament officials.

Any form of cheating, including game restarts, tampering with games, tampering with recorded results, scorekeeper intimidation or collusion, or anything else not covered here, will be addressed by tournament officials as appropriate, including disqualification and/or ejection from the tournament.

Any collaborative effort between players in an attempt to unfairly affect the outcome of the competition, or to “lock out” a third player, or to otherwise refrain from making the best possible competitive effort on each and every game played, will be looked upon very poorly by tournament officials, and may result in disciplinary action, including disqualification and/or ejection from the tournament.

Just speak up and get this addressed. Nobody has to know it was you if you are worried about it. Just let a TD know.


If it turns into a witch hunt, people will just stop openly talking about it. It won’t change actual behavior.


Sandbagging between A/B divisions was definitely taking place. I was in one of those groups at the end of the night Thurs. that was teetering between A/B and I overheard one of my group members after the final round of the night mention to their friend that they sandbagged the round after taking last. This player then went on to dominate in C the rest of the tournament taking home a large cash prize.

As for myself, the thought crossed my mind to sandbag as I didn’t really want to play in A but I still tried my best but still missed the A cutoff by 1 point. With that being said I still think there’s a difference between merely trying your best and fighting with your back against the wall for something that you really really want. The next day in B I tried my best and had a mediocre day but it wasn’t until the final round where I knew I had to dominate to have a chance to qualify that the adrenaline really kicked in and I found the killer instinct to step up my game to the next level. I ended up taking 3 firsts in my final round and won a 12 person tie-breaker playoff to squeeze into B playoffs. I wish I could find a way to play like that all the time as it would have helped me do better during the tournament. Had B playoffs taken place Friday evening after the tiebreaker I honestly think I would have won the division with the way I was playing at the end of the night. I think if my mentality was A division or bust I would have willed myself to an extra point or two in round 5 by shear determination and qualified A, but it’s difficult to psych yourself up for something that you don’t really want. My goal for the tournament was to make either B or C playoffs and I accomplished that so for me this year was a success. It was my first Pinburgh after all. Eventually I hope to raise my game to the level where anything besides qualifying A playoffs is a letdown but I still have a long ways to go as a competitive player.


I understand the point of restrictions, but they aren’t an entirely happy solution either. I qualified B last year which I’m pretty sure is above my normal ability level but I was very proud of myself for doing so. Meanwhile, a friend who is normally about a hundred times better than me ended up in C but was B restricted. Ultimately they finished above me because they had a better day Friday than I did. I’m not bitter or anything, but in my mind I like to tell myself that I have a “spiritual” win against them. :slight_smile:

I guess I’m feeling defensive right now because I don’t know who the alleged ringers are that people are calling out from D, and I don’t think the accomplishment of anyone in D should be questioned or diminished when those folks were just doing their best like everyone else. I played (and lost) in D playoffs this year and none of those people were novices or pushovers. Last year on Thursday I played a few people who were clearly a bit new (and of course there’s nothing wrong with that). I don’t think I ended up against anyone like that this year.

If a single player sandbagging is against the rules I’m not sure this technically covers it since it leads with “Any collaborative effort…” Should probably say something like “Any effort by a player, or players, in an attempt…”

Doubt it will help though. It’s hard to shame a sandbagger when a sandbagger already has no shame.

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This would be a good change in my opinion. If it’s something that’s openly discussed it’a a sign that the culture accepts this kind of behavior. If it’s only done in secret new players know that sandbagging is something to be ashamed of. Please tell the TDs!


I qualified at the top of B with 32 points. In my head, that’s where I wanted to be.
I was 1 point away from being in A. I had a bad break on Corvette (last game of the day for me on Thursday)- if I just had a better game on that, I would have been in A. I ended up doing well on Friday and qualified for B finals. I finished with 67. If I had made it into A on Friday, I don’t think there was any way I would have had a chance to make A finals.

What if they added an E division and just spread out the groups more evenly?
How is it fair that I qualified for B finals but 160 (or how many ever didn’t qualify for finals) people in A technically did better than I but did not get paid? I’m not sure there’s a clear answer to that problem.

EDIT: At the time I didn’t know what 32 points meant or what division I’d end up in, I was just trying to play my best that entire day. Someone told me that 33 would be top of B and 34 would be A- you never really know til the end of the day though, correct?


I don’t know about that. There are a lot of very good players without the tournament volume who would be A/B restricted. All you need is a little luck and to catch fire at the right time and you definitely have a chance.

This was my first Pinburgh, and I went in hoping to qualify low A/high B. I started on pace the first couple rounds, then just hit a wall where it felt like I couldn’t get a break. I ended up in D, and though I wasn’t restricted, I sure didn’t think I was a D player.

Friday I got my mental game back on track and played more like myself. Everyone I played in D finals was a good player, and nearly every game was close. I hope to be back next year and try for A again.

I think making sandbagging less socially acceptable is the right path forward, rather than a change in restrictions.


Is sandbagging currently considered socially acceptable? It seems based on this thread that it isn’t, and most folks seem to be pretty vocal about it being unacceptable.

That said, there will always be someone looking to game the system regardless of how accepted their actions are. This seems like a problem that could only be solved by removing the incentive to sandbag – remove or change the way payouts work does B-D. I’m not sure this is really that much better than tolerating (while heavily discouraging) sand bagging.

This was exactly my pinburgh experience. Ended with losing the D tiebreaker on No Fear.

Just so surprised top 50 was A, and top 500 was D. I think it should be 100,500,800. Don’t see why that wouldn’t help things.


Though sandbagging is a concern, restrictions to me are more the issue, or lack thereof. Two years ago, at my first Pinburgh I was restricted to C division, despite ever performing well at any tournaments. I was ranked around 1900, so basically I’d played some leagues. This year, no restriction, and a past state champion qualified for D while I was in C division fighting for every last point, and missing finals by a point. Result - he has a worse record than me coming out of the first two days of pinburgh but goes home $300 richer than me and with hardware. At his skill level, he should have been restricted to B.

Sandbagging can’t be policed, but restrictions could be worked out to even out the divisions a bit. Heck, I won’t name names, but plenty of C Division players regularly win major tournaments, including some in the finals but weren’t restricted to B. Pinburgh is still the best tourney out there, but the pendulum swung too far with restrictions in the direction of wayyyyy too loose.

One other thing, I know of at least two people that took home a 12 point medallion. That’s really cool but both did it in a division below or well below where they would normally be restricted.


Mark, you were not restricted at Pinburgh 2015. You qualified for C Division based on your record of 27.5-32.5 on Day 1.

The player you’re referring to was the #518 ranked player (out of 796) in the tournament as ranked by IFPA, and was an alternate for the 2015 IFPA NC State Championship. I completely disagree with your assessment that he should have been restricted to B.

If you have suggestions for new restrictions, please go ahead, along with the names so I can research them and explain why the decisions were made (or alter them for future events). Thanks!


Bowen, it looks like you are correct about 2015, in regards to my restriction. However, player ranked 518 was not who I was referring to. I don’t know the player you are reffering to if I’m reading this correctly: and so it’s likely we aren’t talking about the same player(s).

I’m not stating names because the players themselves just came and played. It did feel though that several players in D and at least some in C should likely have been restricted to B.