Pinburgh Tournament Growth Discussion


It’s my first pinburgh. I’m 32 and in my second local league season that I joined because it was nearby and have always enjoyed playing casually. I got the bug. Can only speak for myself but easy access to on location games and competitive play is a big reason I’m involved and going to my first major tournament.


Chris Newsom also told me that it was based on rank at the time.That’s why he’s #8.


That’s not true. Wayyyyy back in the day WPPR rankings were kept on this giant Excel spreadsheet. I’d add a new column for a new event and assign points manually.

When things started to become overwhelming Shepherd stepped up to create our website and house the results in a database.

I still had to enter results manually, but it became far more organized. I would get results over email or find them on the internet and then create the event in our database. I would then to go into the player’s profile page and manually add the points earned at that event (first place was 25).

For any player that wasn’t in the database I had to manually create that profile. I could then add the points.

Elwin has an ID of 1 because he won the first event I manually entered into the database. He didn’t have a player profile at that time so I created it.

We only awarded WPPR points to the top 4 finishers at the time so it’s likely Newsom was part of the 2nd or 3rd event I manually entered. Results were spotty and hard to come by back in the day so I was constantly finding “better results” and adding them to the database.

We’ve come a long way … :slight_smile:


For a throwback on a Monday… Let’s revisit the birth of the WPPR!searchin/$20pinball$20player$20rankings$202006|sort:date/

Some notable quotes…

Brian Bannon with the dead on prediction- “I think you will see more people make an effort to attend these events, because you cannot get any WPPR points unless you show up to the event.
Those that want to see how they match up with other players will especially try to pickup a point here and there”

@sk8ball with the WPRR callout - "Dude, come on “WPPR Points”??? You need something cool and catchy like “Power Points” or “Knocker Rocker Points” "

@pinwizj 's consistency through the years: "I’ll never ignore any comments about the system. Bringing up ideas, even if they are not used, only help make it better. "



That’s good to know. It’s totally possible that I miss understood what he was saying, or maybe he just didn’t remember it right.


yeah so… the waitlist posted is without IFPA IDs. So unless @PAPA_Doug wants to share it with me directly with IDs… I’m not manually reconciling that many names to IFPA IDs. Exceeds my lazywork-quota :slight_smile: But I agree the data is more interesting that way… plz share Doug or @mhs :slight_smile:


I was on the wait list last year and don’t believe I ever had to enter my id. It’s possible they don’t have the info easily available either


I’m surprised this never gained any traction:

I would suggest having a “short list” as well showing the top
players/points in the last 6 or 3 month period. Would be a good way to
give good players who do not compete often, a way to get recognition
for doing well in tournaments.


I guess we have the Stern rewards player of the month award, but a separate rankings page of “Spring 2019” or whatever could be pretty rad


You have to put that request in context at the time. In the beginning WPPR’s were “ALL TIME”, so any points earned in 1993 were still part of your total in 2006.

Cayle’s comment about trying to highlight who the best players were “right now” was definitely something that brought the 3-year rolling period of results into something we began to consider.


I was gonna say, this can’t be based on rankings… my ID is 360 and there’s no way I was ever ranked that high :rofl: I always figured I was the 360th player entered into the system, probably played some tournament way the hell back when that I can’t even remember, or maybe from being in OPL with Shepherd…


I’m 33, been playing pinball for 20 years now and Pinburgh has always been my bucket list event. I’m hoping it’s not a once in a lifetime thing, but with a baby on the way and the costs involved with coming from the UK, it may turn out that way. I’m not as desperate to attend a load of events any more, so pooling the cash that I would have spent on 4/5 European events per year and blowing it all on one hopefully amazing experience seems like the right call.

It’s clear that the ReplayFX/PAPA guys put on the best pinball gig in the world, so if your going to do one, you may as well do the best one. Would be interesting to see how many non US players are coming? If you compare that to say TPF/INDISC or any of the other best tournaments in the US, that might be interesting data


Total anecdote, but one of our local players’ FIRST tournament ever was Pinburgh 2017. He read something online about it, thought it sounded fun and decided to make the trek out. He loved it so much that he sought out our local league, and has been playing regularly ever since. I enjoy this story so much because it is probably the exact opposite of what usually happens.


I met someone at pinburgh 2017 that only plays at pinburgh. I think his affiliation is even the pinburgh players league or something like that. Haha


So with the help of @Adam I brought in the waitlist players as they were at the time to fill out the picture.

So here we go… Age distribution (where available) for all players

Event History for all players

Here is event history for JUST waitlist players

And here is the updated ifpa ID distribution (the 75,000 IDs are players w/o a known ID)


Clearly the waitlist heavily adds to the ‘new players’ end of the Events charts.

400 out of ~1500 are players with less than 20 events


Is that less than 20 ever or less than 20 that count towards the IFPA ranking?


It’s their event history. I would expect that to be tracked independent of the current rules interpretation about how man6 events before you get in WPPR calculations… because they need that data.


Can you define event history as you’re using it in this context?
IFPA shows active results and inactive results. The active results are from the last three years. The inactive results are on a different tab. I’m curious if your data includes only one or both.


It’s the history as reported by their api. It makes sense as a developer that the number reflects all events that have been reported to the system… not a conditional list as used in the rankings.

They have separate values for “active” events as used in the rankings. The property is labeled “events all time” so pretty sure that should be all known events :slight_smile:


I suspect there might be some interesting observations that would evolve if you split your charts based on geography. Those who are local and don’t have hotel costs. Those within driving distance; no airplane but still need a hotel. And those who have to fly there. Perhaps a 4th, short flight vs long flight. I would expect there to be very few new players who would travel long distance to this. Many of our locals on the west coast talk about it for two or three years before pulling the trigger to travel. Whereas they think nothing about traveling down to Portland for a night for a much lesser/smaller tournament. Another interesting graph would be based on IFPA Rank. How many top 1000 players? Top 2000? Top 5000? etc.?

Another aspect to look at for tourneys, is what percentage of players “win” something (i.e. in the prize money)? I see many tourneys with 50+ players only paying out the top 4. So 8% winners, 92% losers. A good rule of thumb that leads to growth, based on my observations past few decades, is that a 1 in 4 to 1 in 6 in the money leads to the best growth. Not enough prizes, you get too many people that feel they have no chance, and thus abandon instead of encouraging their friends. At Pinburgh with lots of divisions it gives everyone something to shoot for, and also produces lots of winners (200 out of 800 last year received prize money, that’s 25%). More people “winning” are then speaking positively of the event and through word of mouth, now their pinball community friends want to go too.

Bottom line though, it’s simply a fun and very social event, and that leads to growth.