PinFest IFPA Tournament 2020 - A Stern Pro Circuit Event

We are happy to announce information about the PinFest Pinball Tournament (A Stern Pro Circuit Event), taking place on May 1 and May 2 in Allentown, PA.


This year we are running the event as a charity tournament. All proceeds will benefit a few to-be-named non-profits, and non-cash prizes will be awarded to top competitors.

Main Event format is similar to years past.

  • A Stern Pro Circuit Event
  • First four entries are still free; max 20 entries like last year
  • Best 4 games count
  • Additional entries are 2/$10, which is a reduction in price from 2019
  • Women, Seniors, Kids, Teens, & Newbies Sub-Divisions will be held once again. However, standings will be locked in at Qualifying (and not final event placement)
  • Top 24 will make Finals, which will be an eight-strike Fair-Strike Finals with advantages given to top seeds.
  • There will be no additional Divisions (B, C, D, E, etc.) this year to allow non-qualifiers the opportunity to play in the Saturday Gauntlet
  • All Solid States will be 3-Ball; Any EMs in the event will be set to 5-Ball (and if there end up being exceptions to this rule, we will post that clearly on the game itself)

We will have two one-day-only Tournaments (a Powerball Gauntlet on Friday, a Silverball Gauntlet on Saturday)

  • Two Independent Events; one on Friday and one on Saturday
  • $20 Entry Fee for each day
  • Entry Fee gives you 6 entries
  • 6 Games available; Best 5 games count
  • Games can be queued up individually; no more “single line” to play games
  • Friday - All games will have a Powerball
  • Saturday - Same games as Friday; All games will have a Silverball
  • Saturday Gauntlet Finals and Main Event Finals will overlap; rules will be in place to govern players who might qualify for both.

One-Ball Charity Challenge!

  • Friday and Saturday will each have a one-ball challenge game
  • Top 4 will duke it out for prizes
  • 4% TGP!

More detailed information below.

Looking For Machines!

Pinball machines are what makes this event possible and we are hoping to have about 20 available for the tournament. If you are interested in bringing a machine, please go to this Survey and let us know:
This year we are offering $80 in tournament credit or $60 in cash for machines that are part of the event. Please check out this page for more information:

Looking for Volunteers!

We are also once again seeking volunteers! We are looking for help with set-up and during the event. Let us know if you are interested by filling out the Survey here and you will be the first to have an opportunity to select timeslots. Volunteers get $20 in Tournament Credit for each two-hour slot and all volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in the Volunteer Hour of Main Event qualifying on Friday evening. Please check out this page for incentives and to sign-up!

We encourage everyone to check out our website at

Please reach out if you have any questions or comments. We’re happy to answer any questions here or you can drop us a line directly at

Main Event - May 1 and May 2
Qualifying - Friday (All Day) + Saturday (Morning)
Best Game Limited Entry
Best 4 Games Count
First 4 Entries Free
2/$10 an Entry for Additional Entries
Max 20 Entries

Saturday Afternoon
Top 24 Make Finals
8-Strike Fair Strike Finals, with advantages given to top seeds

There will be Divisions where prizes will be provided to the top players in each of the following categories:

  • Open Division (All competitors)
  • Women
  • Seniors (Ages 55+)
  • Young Adults (Ages 13 to 17)
  • Kids (Ages 0 to 12)
  • Newbies (4 or Less IFPA Events)

Aside from the Open Division, there will be no playoff conducted for any division. Finishing position after qualifying ends on Saturday will be used to determine the winners within these categories.

Friday Powerball Gauntlet Event - May 1
Qualifying (Early Afternoon)
“The Gauntlet”
Every Game Has a Powerball
Only One Entry Allowed Per Person!
Entry Fee gives you 6 entries
6 Games available; Best 5 games count
$20 to Enter

Finals (Late Afternoon)
Top 12 Make Finals
PAPA-Style Groups of 4 where all four games are played at once!

Saturday Silverball Gauntlet Event - May 2
Qualifying (Early Afternoon)
“The Gauntlet”
Same Games as Friday; Every Game Has a Silverball
Only One Entry Allowed Per Person!
Entry Fee gives you 6 entries
6 Games available; Best 5 games count
$20 to Enter

Finals (Late Afternoon)
Top 12 Make Finals
PAPA-Style Groups of 4 where all four games are played at once!

One Ball Challenge! - May 1 and May 2 (Individual Events on Each Day)
Qualifying - Friday (Early Afternoon) + Saturday (Morning into Early Afternoon)
Single-Ball Game
Unlimited Qualifying
2 Attempts for $5

Finals - Friday (Early Evening) + Saturday (Early Evening)
Top 4 Make Finals
Single Game to Determine the Grand Champion!
100% of the proceeds will be donated to a to-be-named 501© charity.
4% TGP. The lowest allowable by law!

More information about the tournament format can be found at:

Rules and Format are subject to change up to the start of the event. More information and a detailed rules document will be published as we get closer to the event.


The earlier part of your post says 6 games for the gauntlet, play 5, but the lower part says 5 games available, and the site says six games, play all 6?

How are top seeds being rewarded in this format?

something along the lines of, 1-4 0 strikes, 5-8 1 strike, 9-12 2 strikes, 13-16 3 strikes, etc.

A few questions/comments:

Are you using “proceeds” in a gross or net sense? In other words, is this after expenses, and would those expenses be known?

When will the charity(ies) be published? I imagine a few people might decide to go or not go depending on where their charitable contributions are going. (I personally don’t care, but some might)

That feels like a bad idea. Anyone traveling long distances (not day-trippable) might be pretty upset if you change the format at the last minute to something they don’t like, especially since it’s a charity event with no payouts.


What’s the point of making it a charity event… without naming the charities or what splits are going to the charities. Is it really just “whatever is left at the end, we promise to give away…”

That really doesn’t help any of the noise/issues people had with the payout structure in years past… and the general topic of ‘for profit’ or ‘transparency’, etc.

It’s one thing to say you haven’t locked in the rules 100% yet… but a CYA ‘we can change it anytime right up to the day of’ pretty much gives people a view of ‘we dont know…’ and doesn’t build confidence.

Also, what are the “non-cash prizes [which] will be awarded to top participants thanks to our generous sponsors…?” Is it a NIB Stern? If so, that might be helpful to note. If it’s an Amish Produce Basket from across the parking lot…well…

Crosses fingers that a year’s supply worth of pretzel wraps from the farmers market is one of the prizes.


Bad copy editing on my part. Changed the bottom section to reflect the correct verbiage:

Entry Fee gives you 6 entries
6 Games available; Best 5 games count


Things have to change last-minute depending on games, electrical problems, wi-fi issues, and a dozen other whacky things that could happen at a big pinball show. I think this not that big of a deal. Were you planning on attending regardless?

I’m surprised at the level of criticism happening here. If you don’t like the format or event description or lack of payouts… don’t go.


It’s going to be centered around game choice going to high seed in a given group. What is not finalized yet would be any caveats to that rule like we’ve seen at other events (i.e. Free Play Florida and INDISC don’t allow you to pick the same game more than once during Finals).

As @misterschu mentioned, we are considering giving “Starter Strikes” to lower seeds, which in turn would be analogous to a “bye” and simulate having played a round or two. My main goal is to make it sure we hit 100% TGP, and moving to Starter Strikes means it’s actual games played and not the TGP calculator available on the IFPA Website. I’ve been doing a lot of simulations with Keefer’s TGP calculator to see how different scenarios play out, and we’ll lock in what we’re doing well ahead of the event.


We have two charities that we are in active discussions with regarding the level they’ll be involved at the actual event itself. We have two more in mind that we’re in the process of approaching.

Our goal is that all the charities involved will be named by early March so that people can decide, as Dave said, whether they want to go and support those particular charities.

Regarding the gross/net question, it will be net amount after expenses. Regarding the transparency question, last year post-event we published the breakouts of income and expenses.

This year we absolutely expect to do the same, and name the specific amounts that went to each supporting charity. The goal is to cut down on expenses (where possible, of course) so that we can maximize the contribution to the supported charities.


This is the same verbiage that we’ve had on the site and in our rules document the last few years. I originally saw it on the 2018 NYCPC rules document and thought it was a good cover-all in case of the “unknown unknowns”. Pinburgh has more verbose verbiage under IX. 2. Event Disruption which spells out that TD have the right to make mid-event adjustments in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Jade captured some of the things here. For things that are more contingency-planning or “known unknowns”, we can/will plan and document those, like “what if we get more than 240 players and need to expand finals to meet the 10% rule?” or “what happens if finals goes past the cut-off time of the show?”.

Fundamentally the core of what we’ve done as an event hasn’t changed in the four or so years I’ve been involved. I’m hoping that what we’ve done in recent years will given people the trust that we’re not going to pull some crazy switch-a-roo (“Finals are now a 20-minute Flip Frenzy”), and if last-minute adjustments are needed that people will trust we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the groups involved (get to 100% TGP, complete the tournament before the show lights are shut off, etc.).


Good question. In years past we’ve published the prize payout percentages in the rules doc. When we get the proper rules doc published, we’ll link up to a spreadsheet that has the projected non-cash prizes that will be given away by position. It’ll be a list that will be updated as we get more information from sponsors.

That being said, unless someone’s willing to give a 90% discount on a NIB Stern, I don’t foresee giving away any NIB machines.

We’re giving away an El Toro re-themed as a homage to pretzel wraps, complete with replacing the pop bumpers with pretzel wraps. </ sarcasm>


I just thought of a better (or worse?) pun idea. If anyone lets us borrow a Wrestlemania, we’ll temporally re-theme it to a Pretzelmania.


I bet that would actually be pretty epic.


There is something called contingency language and then there is loosely-goosey. You can write in contingency without projecting “we might just change everything still… we don’t know”…

Blanket “we reserve the right to change everything” kind of language is not great. Need to decide number of rounds or games based on the final game lineup, etc… you can write that into the rules.

I’ve been going to Allentown forever… that’s not changing. If I participate in the tournaments will very much depend on their formats and operation.

I’m open to suggestions on ways that the language could be tightened up if people perceive a problem. Last year’s proper rules document is posted here: The goal this year is to get the 2020 version posted by the end of February.

Any suggestions from other tournaments or rules documents that you think get it right?

Eight Oaks liquor basket? They get most of my winnings anyways… :sweat_smile: