Pinburgh/ReplayFX was magnitudes better this year (partly because I didn’t compete and flail this time and was in a much better mood as a result, but that’s besides the point).

Thanks to @bkerins and the rest for their hard work! The finals stage and seating area was a much needed improvement over the finals bank last year… and all the extra floor space throughout the expo was great, too.

Some improvements that would put it over the top for next year…

Better finals game visibility on the monitors – if all the monitors could be switched to the same machine, that would rock.

Larger monitors – or rather, a large monitor array front and center – a couple 2x2 or 3x3 monitors in an array would make the visuals YUUGE.

Looking forward to next year!


This is wishful thinking but if we could squeeze one more round into Thursday qualifying it might make the point spread a little more and might have a better gap between A,B,C division.
All 3 divisions were pretty close A ended at 33.5 where B started going down to a 30 where there was 149 participants within 3 points of each other . In C division you had 30.5 down to 27 with majority within 3 points.

It was close between all divisions to qualify . I will probably get vilified for suggesting another round on Thursday but it might make a better gap between divisions.



Thanks for running it again. Re timing, you’re right on the fine line now between too late a finish to get decent sleep for Pinburgh and too early a cutoff for people to get their rounds in. I’d probably keep the cutoff time where it is and just see if there’s a way to speed up the playoffs a hair. I’d also suggest is sequencing the machines so that the “fastest” ones are first and the “slowest” ones are last to avoid a bottleneck mid-round. A couple of games seemed to always have a wait on them, though I can’t now recall which ones after everything else that’s gone on this week. If some of the targets weren’t so high [the ones where half the people got 6’s or 7’s], rounds would take less time. And I’d leave out Hot Tip unless it’s flippers get some power.


Actually, adding another round is unlikely to change the divisional spread. I’ll be writing up all the stats on Pinburgh for the IFPA site once the standings are officially uploaded, but I can tell you now that the gaps moved by mere fractions each round from 2 to 5. After 2 rounds, the cuts were 15, 12 and 9; after 5 rounds, they were 34, 30.5 and 27. The normal distribution function is just going to make it that way.


So 3.5 wins is the difference between A and C and 7 wins the difference between A and D?


No, these are the cut lines between divisions: the A/B cut line was 15 after 2 rounds, then 34 after 5 rounds; 12 and 30.5 were the B/C cut lines; 9 and 27 were the C/D cut lines. So after round 2, 15+ points had you in A [including ties, which move up], 12-14.5 in B, 9 to 11.5 in C and 0 to 8.5 in D. After round 5, 34+ put you in A, 30.5 to 33.5 in B, 27 to 30 in C and 0-26.5 in D.

Basically, most of the spread emerged in just two rounds - - the bottom of A was 6.5 points ahead of the top of D after two rounds [15 vs. 8.5], and that only moved out 1 point to 7.5 points by round five [34 vs. 26.5].

Hope that clear things up.


I think we’re saying the same thing (and I think what triadwatch is saying above also)—34 wins puts a player in A and 30 wins puts a player in C at the end of day 1. If so, that’s really really close. If you turn 1 win into a loss (or vice versa) over 20 games, you’ve gone from being on the cut line for A to C. I would have thought there would be a bigger difference I guess.


I think that is the one and only thing I don’t like about the Pinburgh format. The points spread across divisions is just so tight.


It’s a much larger scale example of what was discussed in the Herb style thread where there are many more games that could be played in a bank beyond the number of games actually counted. That’s what resulted in the higher composite scores above the exoected average required to qualify.

In this case there are many more people playing only 5 rounds of qualifying matches for division placement that have little to no influence on all the other players. So ties and tight groupings will be inevitable.

Somebody with time on their hands could analyze the distribution and standard deviations.


Yes, it’s a fine line. If you had 26 points after game 1 of round 5, just three games left to play before the divisional cuts are made … you could still end up in ANY of the 4 divisions! Get 8 or 9 of the remaining 9 and you’re in A; 5-7 and you’re in B; 1-4, you’re in C; 0 and you’re in D. I’ll put that in the article.

One more article preview:

After Round 9, by division, how many players had enough to make it in already and how many still had a mathematical chance, i.e. they were within 12 of the tiebreaker?

A: 6 in; 100 others 175 within 12 of tiebreaker score.

B: 4 in; 106 of 163 within 12

C: 3 in; 116 of 170 within 12

D: 2 in; 103 of 157 within 12

So overall, 64% of the players in Pinburgh were still “playoff status undetermined” going into round 10.


From IFPA home page by BowenKerins

If every B-restricted player opted into A, it would almost completely eat the division; the only other choice would be to allow the divisions to have much wider ranges in how many players could participate in each. I don’t think having “top-side” restrictions is a good idea at all, because a player could come into Day 2 with a heavy advantage in a lower division, even after demonstrating skill that should place them elsewhere.

The sandbagging is unfortunate and aggravating. The only real solution I see is a wholesale change in the tournament payout structure, and I don’t think that would be popular.

My reply to Bowen:

I wasn’t talking about opting in, just opting out of being pushed up 2 or 3 divisions: C’s could stay no higher than B if they chose, unrestricteds could stay no higher than B or C if they chose. B’s couldn’t opt out of A if they pointed their way into it, nor C’s out of B. Note that I did not suggest letting people opt out of being placed just one division above their restriction.

As for players coming in with an advantage, well, that’s their whole point. Some players I’ve talked to who played above their restriction are fully comfortable going where they’re slotted. Others feel that they just had a good day, or caught better players on some EMs or other games that were kind of random, or just dodged playing too many high-ranked players the way the parings went. They’re in A [or B], but feel it was more a lucky accident.

Say someone ranked 500 is in that 26-or-so-points-with-three-games-to-go situation. If they get a 34 and would be slotted in A, they may feel from experience that they’ll likely not make the playoffs there. They’d rather try to win B or C, where they feel they have a chance. So their two choices are sandbag for B or C, or play on and potentially screw themselves out of a decent chance to cash. Some people like testing themselves in A, others would rather cash. Why not give them a limited choice? Even if they had 40 points and an advantage within B, that edge can be overcome by others in the remaining rounds, and is no guarantee of success even if they make the B playoffs. How does one define “the best B player”? The best player who chose to play B? Is 20 games “enough” to say that someone must be slotted in A, or just enough that they can play in A?

Not arguing with you, just looking for a partial solution. I know, there’s no great answer. Just laying out the painful facts.

Don’t know how many B or C players read this board, but I’d be interested in hearing what they have to say.


I’m ranked right about 500… guess I should respond.

So the first time I played in pinburgh (2013) I finished in a huge tie to go into A after day 1. I’ve never felt like an A player so when we were given a choice to take the tiebreaker or go down to B I thought starting as a high seed in B made sense—a chance to pay for part of the trip, play on Sunday etc. Well, I played worse all day against the “B” competition and finished somewhere just below the middle of the pack. I was exhausted and felt stupid for not taking on the challenge of trying to finish as high as I could. So last year, same thing excpet I finished day 1 solidly in A. Day 2 was a mess and I sunk further with each round. I wouldn’t do a thing different though. If I can make it back to Pinburgh next year, I want to finish as high as possible regardless of division.


I was unrestricted, played in D last year, and this year made it into A. Honestly I felt it was way above my usual level, but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I’d never argue for a division cap. Pinburgh (in some ways like poker) is a ‘sport’ where even the lowest ranked players can get a chance to play head-to-head against the best. It’s a fantastic format that I think would be spoiled by a division cap (even an optional one).

What I find slightly odd though is that (for example) A restricted players are automatically placed into (the bottom of) A even if they fail to qualify. I agree that it seems the fairest way for them to continue, but at the same time I do think it odd that they have that WPPR point safety net that basically guarantees them ~10 points even if they scored a zero every round. They gain more WPPR points than anyone in the other three divisions that could actually end up scoring more points.


This bothers me a lot as well. I have heard the argument that it doesn’t really matter since to be level restricted they have so many points it doesn’t impact them. But that is actually not true, for many of the players that moved up, it counted and even a top of B would be on their cards. Especially Jason Dunn, good on him for his papa B performance, but it seems like he get’s boosted in rank because of it. Maybe that is fair since papa B is worth nothing.

I am also curious how A players feel about level restricts who end up making the finals.

The alternative system would be if you fail to meet your level restriction, you get a DNF. Less fun for sure.

On Sandbagging, how much is it happening. On WWOP the claim was made that sandbaggers like to brag about it, anyone want to admit to it? When I look at the 33s, I know a lot of those names. I don’t know the people well, but I don’t see them as sandbaggers. I am pretty sure when I took a 4 in round five to perfectly miss A, some people accused me of sandbagging, but I assure you I tried my hardest and played very poorly.


I would say the division restrictions should mean that (eg) an A restricted player can only qualify for finals in A division. This is the only difference it should make.

If they don’t qualify for A they must be having a bad run of form, so they should continue play in B (or whatever division they qualified at). Their final position should then reflect better where they actually ended up, with the exception that even if they finished top of B they are not qualified for finals (and so rank 41st or lower in that division.


I’m in favor of the force-up restriction and letting the players run to to the end. Jorian and Sean were both pushed up this year, and both played their way into the A playoffs. I see no reason to deny them that opportunity just because they were a point short the first day. Jorian would likely destroy B if he had to play it, unless he was so annoyed at being in B that he skipped it altogether. Having him in B would be grossly unfair to the “true” B people.


Anyone in the Top 50 of the Rankings to make the A forced cut, 10 points ins’t going to even register on their card.

Also I guarantee anyone who is A forced and just played crappy enough the day before to not be in A, those 10 imaginary points are not any consolation they are going to care about IMO.


Jason Dunn is the one person forced up who’s not highly ranked. He was forced up because he finished in the top 4 at PAPA “B” this year. Damien is top 100 and made the Pinburgh A finals two years ago, and the other four have been top-50 players for years.

And you’re right, those 10 WPPRs would be no consolation to A players. A players want to make the A playoffs, not the B finals.


I’ll just note this is an issue for WPPR assignment only, not an issue about how Pinburgh operates. Denying players the chance to play Day 2 because of what WPPR might do is not a good idea, in my opinion.

Wizcat, your suggestion (continue in a lower division, ineligible for finals) would be equivalent to knocking that player out of the tournament altogether after Day 1, and would not be fun for any players in that situation, including the player’s opponents.

Again, if people have advice on what to do about sandbagging, I’m all ears. It sucks, and is clearly a problem. For one, if players see someone else clearly not trying, we need to hear about it right away.


I agree 100% that they will not care. We are not even talking about an extra 10 points here, for someone like Damien, it maybe got an extra 1. My concern is about the accuracy of the system. Mathematically, this introduces a bias into the system, it impacts rating, ranking and eff %. We are corrupting the training data, since without the level restriction there are 140 people who would have beat Jorian that day. Is Jorian a better player than all of them? Almost certainly. Did he has a bad day, yes. Should his past results earn him a get out of jail card? Maybe, he is that good! But it is open to argument.