Pinburgh conundrum


What Pinburgh has failed to address is that people compete for more than one reason. Some want to see how high a division they can qualify in. Others want to qualify reasonably high, but have a realistic chance to win something. Those two are NOT incompatible.

The real solution is to allow people to choose a division in advance, if they want to, subject to suitable limits, i.e. you can’t play below your restricted division. Those who don’t want to choose, or fail to specify, play as they do now and end up wherever they end up.

As for people having a point advantage if they outperform their chosen division, simple: reset the points to zero for ALL but A division after round 5. Right now, the point range for B and C is fairly narrow anyway, so for people who “earned” B or C, that’s no big deal, no one is advantaged or disadvantaged more than two or three points in the process [just two points this year, not counting restricted players]. But those who “played high” yet chose to stay lower don’t get to cash that in because they chose to play it safe.

As for the argument, “well if they would have qualified for A, they should play in A,” that’s B.S. This format is too short to
say that someone who would have qualified in A needs to be there; look at the rakings of those who did qualify. While the rankings aren’t perfect, they’re based on much more statistical evidence than 5 Pinburgh rounds. Get hot, get lucky, play machines you know better than your opponents, play softer than average opponents, etc. … there’s lots of ways to get into A. I wouldn’t force someone into A who knows that once they’re playing against just the A players, they’re likely toast and have little to look forward to day two if winning something was their goal.

“Oh, but then we won’t know how to properly split the divisions, etc. …” Not a problem. Require people to specify at the time they register. You’ll then know just how many people are opting for each, and if that presents a problem as regards splitting things up into 4 roughly-equal sized divisions, then maybe they shouldn’t be that equal. Either way, you’ll have time to adjust field sizes and make mild tweaks to the prizes, if needed, to make it all work. And I’ll help you if you need me to.

Since the people who chose a division would have no motivation to play well or not day 1, they should be separated from the other players and not have their results included for rounds 1-5. They could still be allowed to practice on and enjoy the machines in use, and could be grouped against each other in warm up foursomes at the same time as the regular division-setting rounds take place. This would preserve the social aspect of Pinburgh, i.e. playing against a bunch of people, many of whom you’ve never met, of varying skill levels on a wide variety of machines. It could even be done as a side tournament - - no WPPRS, but some kind of modest prizes to motivate them to play well during these for-them practice rounds. If the organizers wanted to, they could instead impose a penalty of sorts on those players by instead locking them out of the qualifying banks and just letting them play the open banks elsewhere in the show. I think keeping the social part in is the better choice.

I know there’s a way to make this work and I think this is close to it.


What I don’t like about this is it how would you deal with seeding once you bring the groups together? Just IFPA? That’s no fun. There is little motivation for people to play in the qualifier… the entire first day would just be ‘for fun’.

I’m in favor of splitting A into ‘elite’ (and prizes that match), a stronger B division, a stronger C, and then a smaller D division. We know the bulk of the players are in the middle of the pack… why use equal sized divisions when the player skill levels aren’t equally distributed.


I’m trying to find this variance you speak of but I qualified 4th/2nd/8th the last three years. I guess YMMV? :stuck_out_tongue:

'#humblebrag level 1 initiated


Because I don’t want to fight 500 players for 40 spots, and adding more qualifiers would threaten the possibility of finishing the finals in one day.


I think the qualifying slots are fine. People are more concerned about not being able to score in a group… but if you fix the ‘skill gap’ problem, they really don’t know the difference if there are 20 or 30 other groups. The fact there are more groups would lead to more tie breakers tho. But as long as tie breakers are a full game, and not played on complete crap… I don’t think that’s a huge negative (certainly less evil then the skill gap problem).

And 500 is a bit hyperbolic. If you still have 4 divisions… you could do something like 80/300/300/120

And since there are more players in the divisions… you could do things like justify paying more slots (as a offset to the bigger field).


With the points all within 2 now, seeding for B and C is virtually meaningless. The #1 seed in B is either playing someone who got a whole 2 points less than they did or else playing someone who is B-restricted and underperformed on day 1. Your final game day 1 alone is the margin between top and bottom seed in either B or C. For those playing for the best division possible, if they don’t get into A, the worst they do is lose a margin of 2 points on the bottom people and 1 point on average against the others in their division. With 20 games left to play, I don’t see that as a major problem. The whole point of day 1 for the “go for it” people is to see how high they can get. Can they get into A? Can they get into B? Can they get into C? These people still have to play hard to get the highest division as they do now. This does nothing to ruin that or change things if they make it into A, changes nothing from the current scheme if they end up in D, and makes just a tiny difference from the situation now if they end up in B or C.


That entire motivation goes away when the field isn’t full. if you are a top A player… why even play on that day 1? Just declare A because you are chasing the money in A and be done with it. The entire “see what I can do” is meaningless when the field is not the same as it is now. Your ‘separate those players’ is the decision that undermines it all.

And if you Expand the B/C fields… the point spreads will increase as well.


Motivation is still there. First, because you still have to earn your way into A, you can’t just declare it and get in. The “B” declared person is someone who says, “I’m making myself ineligible to play above division B.” If they’re B-restricted, that’s where they go. If they’re only C-restricted, or unrestricted [“D”], you can have them still have to earn their way into B to play it. You can make the earn it part the same as now. Second, because you DO keep the records for A division, as I stated above, so if you’re declaring, i.e. trying for, A, you better bust your butt or you won’t be in A day 2 or will be at the bottom of A with a hill to climb.


We discussed this option, but it really wouldn’t change anything. Players who are deliberately losing wil target a specific win total, not a standings spot.


Expand the # of points given per game? That might make it “look” better than a 2 point spread.
Maybe add some kind of ‘streak’ total addition? You finished first in 3 games in a row… here’s 3 extra points.


Does not compute with what you said before… where you separated the people who declared from those that did not. You even said they have no motivation to play well…

You haven’t reconciled how you would qualify how these separate fields would somehow qualify…


Division declaring just won’t work, there will be too many win gaps in certain divisions, a player could have a run of wins if he/she gets hot and no one could catch them. The only reasonable solution I have heard is lower the prize money, and/or change the playoff structure to the top 160 (should be 200 so 25 percent have a chance at playoffs). Neither are great options but they will eliminate the sandbagging mentality. For the people that think the money doesn’t cause this sorry they are wrong it is the main reason for most of this. Yes it won’t fully eliminate it as some players driven for any prize for something but most people are driven by the high $$$ in lower divisions and if there is a better chance to win a significant amount of money then they will take that road. You will never completely eliminate it but it sure would be nice to minimize it. If you did B 2000, C 1000, D 500 then honestly it would be over, put sback the extra funds of cash into the perfect score bounties to entice all levels to get perfect scores on the first day, on second day award the metals.


I heard people talking cut line point scores, but I have no idea if any of them actually tried to exactly hit such a point total or not. But hiding the standings wouldn’t prevent the targeting thing from working given that people know what past cut scores have been.


consistently “#SoCloseToFirst”!


I always thought the “final 4 in D for the last 12 months of PAPA and Pinburgh” was a little too lenient. If you get to the final four in any division at PAPA or Pinburgh, I would like to see a 2 year or greater restriction, so for 2018, your (perhaps 2015 as well as) 2016 and 2017 Final Four’s are brought into consideration.
That being said, it would most likely only eliminate a small amount of “sandbraggers”


A payout structure like this would solve a lot of issues right now…

Prize Money

The B-D division still get a nice payout but there is a huge incentive for players to make the A playoff as it is as much as someone would receive for getting fourth in B. Removing the top qualifier payout in all of the lower brackets will make admin easier and also stop people from trying to move down in divisions to claim that prize.

I realize this look like the preference is being given to ‘A’ calabre players, but in this type of format we all want players to play their best, and this type of structure will reward the players that do…

The tournament does not need division declarations, the Replay team will have issues administrating a policy on sandbagging, the answer is give less incentive to do it, with means you need to change the overall payout structure. Sorry but the few that do this ruined it for the many in this case and I think it is the only logical solution out of everything I have heard. Other then increasing some of the the division restrictions.


This only works if money if a motivator in sandbagging, which it is not.


The more Pinburghs that go by, the fewer rookie players there are to fill D division. I wonder if part of this discussion is motivated by the feeling that all of the divisions had a better talent spread than in previous years. Tougher play at all levels is a natural progression for any growing competitive activity.


The main motivator is money, you will never be able to completely stop sandbagging for people that do it just to get some sort of prize, it will happen. This solves 95% of the problem for the ones who do it for the money. For all others shame them…


I have heard a lot of people talk about sandbagging over the years, and never once has money entered the conversation. They just want to play on finals day and maybe get some hardware. None of those players sandbagging to get into B or C has a prayer of making A finals anyways, so changing up the money doesn’t change anything. They would sandbag into B for nothing but a plaque.