Pinburgh conundrum


I don’t think this helps much. People aren’t sandbagging to try to land on ‘top qualifier’ - they are sandbagging to get a B-division payout instead of getting 0 in A because they can’t make the existing A division playoffs. It’s less about ‘B slots pay more than A slots’ - it’s about ‘I won’t get ANYTHING in A’

A Division already has the more lucrative payouts… the challenge is a large part of the field feel they will never have a shot at them. The way you would counter this would be to pay ALL A qualifiers… but you’d still have to make it lucrative vs a B payout… which makes it kind of impractical.


Yes, I hear ya. I guess the question is do I sandbag and have to grind it out to a 4th place finish in B to get qualifier money in A division. Or am I better just trying to get A and getting solid guaranteed money just for qualifying for the chance at way more.


This person should be outed, drawn, and quartered. This is poor sportsmanship and will not be tolerated.


Can there really be a D division anymore, and by that I mean a true rookie division? Was there really ever one? If you think about it, it’s at least $200+ to do Pinburgh, not including travel and board and food… I can’t think of many people that would spend that to do something they really aren’t familiar with. D seems like the entry point for people that have played some, maybe even learned some basic flipper skills. Thinking on this shines a pretty good light on why B and C are compressing ability levels.

A true D division would probably not work the way the rest of Pinburgh does if it were truly newbies to pinball - like many people that come to ReplayFX but aren’t there for Pinburgh. Anyone signing up for PInburgh also has to do it months in advance, those won’t be true amateurs and so perhaps being concerned with awarding newer players isn’t the point? If that is the case, and it seems as though perhaps it should be, then D is just an extension of the A-B-C continuum of luck/skill/ability/whatever factors lead to a winning performance over 3 days of pinball. Just a thought.


I think Pinburgh tries to make it so folks have a chance on Friday to qualify for a finals which is why the reset of points in D. They figure if someone bombed on Thursday and end up in D and are so far behind (if the points don’t reset) they won’t have any motivation to compete on Friday.

They also want to limit the amount of restrictions so John Doe who is ranked 2000 can be in A or D based on Thursday performance. I do think there should be a bit more of a penalty for playing poor on Thursday and the rank restriction in D should be raised. This will result in those folks having a larger gap of being behind in C when they start Friday.


There are people on pinside suggesting we need an E division. So I don’t think pulling D would go over well.


Totally out of the box thinking but it might eliminate an issue or create havoc but here goes. Don’t show scores/rankings until after the end of the last round on each day. You wont know where you stand until the end. Day 2 you are playing blind for seeding,sandbaggers wont know how many points they need until its too late and couldn’t sandbag in the final rounds to drop to another division. I have heard a few people admit in past years they just want to cash out at the end,some have done it and cashed some have done it and crashed which I laughed when I saw final results. Money overpowers morality which sucks but this is just an idea to get wheels turning maybe.


The problem here is you can extrapolate this from past results with pretty good accuracy.


*These people. Unfortunately, I saw more than one one-handed game. :expressionless:


I don’t know about this year, but last year there were 20+ players in the event that didn’t have 5 IFPA events on their card before Pinburgh.


Please report these instances to a TD when you see them. Nothing can be done if no official is made aware.


In Pinburgh players are awarded wins and not points. If you give out bonuses based on that, it is no longer a W/L record and fundamentally changes the event.


To pick up on Shimoda’s idea, I think it’s a great idea to have a division for people who are at their first Pinburgh. The Rookie division (or E division). Same prize weights as D. If the problem is that experienced people aren’t appropriately restricted, then why not make experience itself a determining factor?

Is there anyone reading that feels comfortable talking about how minimum division restrictions are decided (apologies if this is already spelled out above)? Can these get more stringent?

I don’t think I’m a D player, I just genuinely bombed out my last three rounds Thursday. The first person I played Friday identified themselves as a “B or C” level player who simply had a bad day, and ended up in D with two byes on Saturday.

Are we trying to disincentivize bad people AND protect genuine players with the same rules?


I mean, sure, but it is really awkward to have to go “tattle” mid-round, especially if you’re the only one in a group who thinks it’s worth reporting. I would most likely have said something if I could have done so anonymously and/or without leaving my bank of games, but as things stand currently, the social burden is put on the person reporting, rather than the person acting badly.

Before anyone tries to explain to me why someone shouldn’t feel bad about reporting poor behavior, I get that but that doesn’t address the actual social interaction costs that “Hey, brb, I’m going to go tell on you” brings to a group of mostly strangers. There are plenty of people who aren’t personally going to play one-handed or obviously sandbag but who are going to shrug and say, “Why are you making such a big deal of it? Just take the extra points he’s giving you.” In my group, the vocal sandbagger turned out to be really bad at sandbagging (don’t think you can really call it sandbagging if you win two of the games in the round…), so we just took him aside afterward and were like, “That’s really not okay and you need to tone it down in the future.”


In a few instances in the past, this type of behavior has been reported post-round. We then make every attempt to validate it and proper steps are followed after that.


How about what is done at Stadiums now, etc. What if you could report a problem via twitter/sms/etc that would be funneled to the staff to ‘investigate’? All one needs to do is report the problem on what bank… and a TD could observe and check out what’s going on. ‘Anonymous Tip Line’. I know abuse could strain the TDs… but maybe it’s a start and even awareness that it could be reported could lessen people’s willingness to part-take?

We roll this into the twitter account :slight_smile: @PAPA_Doug I’d be happy to help leading up to/during/etc. Not sure I’d want to give up competing tho…


Someone competing could not be given this responsibility.

It’s a decent idea, and one we actually tried in the past (used with reporting TD and tech calls via a text). It ended up being a waste as people just sent nonsense to the account and the TDs were so busy running around solving issues we couldn’t respond quickly.


Well, since nobody else will admit it, I will.

I sandbagged at Pinburgh this year. And I’ve sandbagged in years past at Pinburgh.

Unless I’m having my best day of pinball ever and Elwin is simultaneously having his worst day of pinball ever, there’s zero chance I’m going to beat him. It’s just not going to happen. And even if it did happen, the chances of Elwin, the Sharpes, Cayle, Henderson and everybody else who you always see at the top of the A division also simultaneously having the worst sustained play of their lives is so small as to be nonexistent. They would all have to take a dive for me to have a shot in A.

When round four rolled around on Thursday, I did the math. If I continued at my current pace I’d for sure make it into A (since I was on track to get a 36 pretty reliably, or worst case a 34), and then get absolutely slaughtered on Friday. That sounds about as much fun as lighting a firework and holding it until it goes off. So midway through round four I simply turned the engine off. I don’t mean I did anything flagrant like the guy some people are mentioning that was playing with one hand; that’s moronic and disrespectful. I gave a good show; deliberately bobbled a post pass, slap saved leading with the wrong hand, deliberately was over aggressive leading to a tilt, lost a ball out the back on scissor flippers, that kind of thing. Nobody suspected a thing, and I wasn’t dumb enough to tell anybody I did it. To everybody else, it simply looked like I had gone ice cold, because that’s what I wanted it to look like.

My end goal was to simply be around and be competitive on Saturday. I knew that if I got stuffed into A that I wouldn’t be playing on Saturday, period. I made the move that was the best for me at the time, and fell in the rankings exactly as planned.

Some people are motivated by qualifying in A. I’m not. I have enough hardware from past wins that qualifying in A and then washing out means nothing to me. By guaranteeing that I was playing in Saturday, I at least covered my entry cost, which is what I was looking to do.

Not having standings published wouldn’t do anything. I can recite exactly how many points I scored from each round, and I can also add in my head. When combined with the historical info on where the break lines are, it’s pretty easy to figure out what division you’re going to wind up in with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Knock off an extra point just to pad it, and you’re virtually guaranteed to land in the division you want to play in.

Boosting the payoff for A would be the worst possible move that could be made. There’s already a $11K difference between A and B finishers. You really think increasing that to a $13K difference is going to do anything? All that would do is give non-A players less motivation to enter. (Right now, even if you aren’t the best guy you have a halfway good shot at getting your entry money back. That’s a good thing!) Pinburgh is an expensive tournament to enter for a casual player, and if there’s no chance at breaking even then why enter at all? I can play for years in local tournaments for the grand it costs to do Pinburgh by the time you factor in everything. Eliminating the reward makes the risk unacceptably high.

Go ahead and crucify me if you must, but that’s what the conditions on the ground are, from someone who’s done it multiple times. Every time the calculus is the same, and I’ve made the same decision. Haven’t regretted it once.


You might want to rethink that sentence.


Apparently he didn’t read ZRW’s inspirational story.