PinFest Tournament 2019 - A Stern Pro Circuit Event

We are very happy to announce information about the PinFest Pinball Tournament, taking place on May 3 and May 4 in Allentown, PA. We are proud to be part of the Stern Pro Circuit once again.


  • The Main Event will be a similar format to last year. We are increasing the number of free entries from 2 to 4 and limiting the number of entries to 20 games. Everyone in the Top 48 will get a payout like last year.
  • We are introducing a new Friday Classics “Gauntlet” Event - Each person who enters gets a single card to play five games.
  • We will have an official IFPA One-Ball Side Contest worth 4% TGP - The Lowest Allowable by Law!

Main Event - May 3 and May 4

Qualifying - Friday (All Day) + Saturday (Morning)
Best Game Limited Entry
Best 4 Games Count
First 4 Entries Free
$10 an Entry for Additional Entries
Max 20 Entries

Saturday Afternoon
Top 48 Make Finals
1 to 24 - A-Division
25 to 32 - B-Division
33 to 40 - C-Division
41 to 48 - D-Division
The Top 48 Qualifiers will receive prizes from the Prize Pool.

Friday Classics Event - May 3
Qualifying (Morning)
“The Gauntlet”’
Card-Based Entry
Only One Entry Allowed Per Person!
5 Games Available - Play Each Game Once
$20 to Enter

Finals (Afternoon)
Top 12 Make Finals
PAPA-Style Groups of 4 where all four games are played at once!
All Finals Qualifiers will Receive Prizes. Prize schedule to be published closer to the event.

One Ball Challenge! - May 3 and May 4
Qualifying - Friday (All Day) + Saturday (Morning)
Single-Ball Game
Unlimited Qualifying
$1 an Attempt
Finals (Saturday Afternoon)
Top 4 Make Finals
Single Game to Determine the Grand Champion!

50% of the Proceeds will be Donated to Charity; 50% to the Prize Pool. All Finals Qualifiers will Receive Prizes. Prize schedule to be published closer to the event.

4% TGP. The lowest allowable by law!

More information about the tournament format can be found at:

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


Corey - By chance, do you know if I already registered for a game?


Yes! We’ve got you down for a game. Thank you for your support both at Allentown and at the York Show.


If finals is a single 4 player game, wouldn’t that be 8% TGP?


It will be a 1-Ball Final as well (I will update the verbiage to make that clearer on the website). 2 TGP * 1/3. Qualifying is 1 TGP * 1/3, so that gives us 1 TGP. If we get more than 40 people, the 10% rule is invalidated, which means that it would be 2/3 TGP, which rounds back up to 1.


With the top 48 getting paid out, have you thought about division restrictions? Either ifpa rank or past division finalists/division winners?


Considering the sheer savagery of the format, it’s honestly pretty fine as of last year.


We’ve given thought to having division restrictions, but have decided against it in the past and do not plan to have restrictions this year.

Previously at the event only Top 16 would make Finals. With the expanded event in 2018 with our first year on the Circuit, we assumed we’d get more players, but with the time restrictions of the show we couldn’t make sweeping changes to have a large expanded Final, so last year we did:

A - Top 16
B - Next 8
C - Next 8
D - Next 8
E - Next 8
…For 48 Total.

We did it because we figured we’d give more people an opportunity to walk home with some cash and prizes, and people seemed responsive to that. We also did a number of “Mini” 8-Person Finals with the goal of giving people an opportunity to play Finals quickly so that a non-A winner could be determined in four matches so that they could get back to enjoying the show or head out if they needed to travel.

This year, we are moving to a 24-person A-Division and still paying out the Top 48:

A - Top 24
B - Next 8
C - Next 8
D - Next 8
…For 48 Total.

Which gets to the question of should we have some kind of Division restriction.

We tried to be very conscience of the prize structure to not incentivize purposeful tanking. The lion’s share of the money still goes to A Division. There’s a base payout level to each Division, and the only way you win additional money is if you fire off four great games in a row in Finals. If you’re tanking to get lower or “easier” opponents, then you lose out on money opportunities and Stern Pro Circuit points.


To be confirmed what we do this year, but I would imagine that it’s going to be similar.

Then it’s the question of where that cut-off sits to determine who fits into “B-Division”. Top 100? Top 500? Anyone who finished Top 48 in last year’s event? I know that there’s the TiltForums thread where the merits of various ways and cuts are discussed for general events. For this event, I think that if someone has finished 26th place, which is still within the top 20% of the competition, then they deserve the chance to duke it out amongst other people who have finished in the same position, as opposed to missing out on any Finals because their previous body of work is deemed to be “too strong”.

For an event like Pinburgh or other Best Game events? Sure, I see the merits of Division restrictions.
We think no restrictions makes the most sense for PinFest, but it also provides an easier explanation for Organizers and Participants: Top 48 make Finals. Open to further discussion of course for how we might implement changes in the future.


Thanks for the detailed response Corey, it does seem like you and the other people helping running the event have given it much consideration.
The only part that gave me pause was the $10 per entry (after the first 4 free) with a max of 20 entries. Even thought the format is a “limited entry” format, spending $160 in qualifying seems like a high limit cash-wise for a limited entry format.
Looking at last years results, it seems to favor your argument. Not a whole heck of a lot of high ranked players finishing 25-48


Ahead of announcing this year’s format we did some analysis based on last year’s numbers (max 24 entries last year):

  • 1/3 of the field played 8 or less Games
  • 1/3 of the field played 9 to 23 Games
  • 1/3 of the field played 24 Games


We made three key changes this year:

  • Instead of 2 Free Entries, we’re giving away 4 Free Entries
  • Price Per additional Entry changed from $5 to $10
  • We reduced the Max # of Entries from 24 to 20

With the increase to four free tickets and the increase in price in additional tickets, I would expect that we’ll see more people who play at least four tickets, more people who play 12 or less and less people who cap out at 20.

Copying and pasting some of this from a forum post from last year, but I think it’s still relevant: I have observed two types of best-game qualifying events: Unlimited (like PAPA and the New York City Championships) and Limited (Texas and PinFest).

For Unlimited, there is no cap to the number of times (and the amount of money one can spend in an attempt to qualify). PAPA A-Division and the NYC Championships (in 2018) were both $5 an entry (or cheaper to buy in bulk). Your limiting factor is time, but you can easily shell out a ton of money in an effort to qualify.

For Limited, there’s a few different pricing models. Texas is $80 and you buy all 20 entries at once. They also cap the number of participants.

We’ve done this hybrid model for a number of years where we cap the number of entries and let people pay into what they feel like they should in their attempt to qualify. Since we count your best four games AND give you four initial games for free, if you go gangbusters (bonebusters?) on your four free games and end up where you want, you haven’t put in any money. If you’re not happy with it, you can proceed one ticket at a time until you’re either you’re happy with where you are, until you’re unhappy and you give up on the tournament, or we stop you at 20.

Finally, we do have opportunities to earn free additional entries by either bringing a game, helping with set-up on Thursday, or by volunteering as a Scorekeeper. My hope is that more people would be interested to pitch-in and help us for a two-hour block in exchange for tournament entries. We also know that time is precious for Scorekeepers, so even if you are scorekeeping you’ll have the opportunity to queue up and play during your shift.


We’re happy to share the logo for the PinFest 2019 Tournament, coming up on May 3 and 4 in Allentown, PA! Thank you to the awesome folks at Rage Tilt Pinball for the logo design.


Shirts will be available at the event.

If anyone is interested to volunteer, 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’ll be sharing more information about machines, pre-registration, and the event in general in the coming weeks leading up the event.

The website is at

We also have sponsorship opportunities available for those interested. Please drop us a line directly at if you are interested.


Are shirts available if you’re not at the event?


I’m sure we can arrange something! We’ll have to add-on the cost of shipping, but drop me a PM with your address and we can discuss.


Pinburgh Ticket Giveaway!

We are proud to be a recipient of two Pinburgh tickets that will be given away at PinFest! As a result, we are adding a Pinburgh Division to the Main Event!

Participants in the Stern Pro Circuit Main Event at PinFest on May 3 and May 4 will have an opportunity to win a ticket to Pinburgh. The entry fee will be a one-time cost of $30, which will be on top of regularly-priced purchase entries for the Main Event. The highest finishing player in the event that has paid this fee will receive a Pinburgh ticket. The second ticket will be raffled amongst those who did not win the first ticket. The net proceeds from the money raised will be donated to the Replay Foundation.

Many thanks to the Replay Foundation for providing this opportunity!

PinFest Needs Volunteers!

We have opened up registration for volunteers for the PinFest Tournament taking place on May 3 + 4 in Allentown, PA!

Firstly, we wanted to say thank you to those that helped last year and to those who are new and willing to help this year. Without volunteers, this event would simply go down the drain and we’d be stuck with a one-game tournament on my broken Eight Ball Deluxe.

We have three main categories of volunteering:

– Event Set-Up on Thursday May 2
– Tournament Volunteers (Scorekeeping/Desk) (May 3+4)
– Machine Techs (May 3+4)

Event Set-Up and Tournament Volunteer Sign-Ups:

If you are interested in being a Machine Tech, please drop us an e-mail at and we’ll be in touch!

What you get:

– Every two-hour shift will earn you two free entries into the tournament ($20 value).
– Access to the Volunteer Hour of Qualifying from 8pm to 9pm on Friday

If you have any questions, please reach out!

Any questions can be direct to




Two questions:

  1. Can the winner of the Pinburgh ticket identify someone else to use the ticket?
  2. Can the winner of the Pinburgh ticket use that ticket themselves even if they already have a ticket to Pinburgh? (In that case, opting to refund their original ticket prior to May 31st thereby saving about $50 and freeing up a space on the waitlist.)

Even if that’s allowed, it’s a horrible EV wager. $30 for a 2/n chance of winning $50, where n is the number of Pinburgh Division players. (Sure, your odds are better if you’re one of the better players, but everyone thinks that.)

Heck, roulette gives you a 47.4% chance of turning that 30 bucks into 60 bucks! Without the chore of filing for a Pinburgh refund. :wink:


Tickets are non-transferable, as per what we’ve been told by the Replay Foundation.

That’s actually the guidance we were given by the Replay Foundation in the case that a winner already has a ticket.

In thinking about what we proposed for how we gave away the tickets, we did decide to make it an opt-in division specifically because there doesn’t appear to much/any incentive for players who already have a ticket to participate. The goal is to try to incentivize those who may be deep down on the wait list to head on over to PinFest for an opportunity to win, either through skillful play or through some luck.


It says Classics qualifying is in the morning, Friday, May 3. Pinfest is only open 12pm-9pm on Friday. Can you reconcile this discrepancy?

Nevermind. I see that “morning” is 12pm to 5pm for classics qualifying with finals starting at 5:30pm (afternoon). From this page:


Hey folks I am hoping to livestream as much of the finals from both days as we can. We will be using the qualifying on Friday to iron out the kinks of the stream setup and layout and would appreciate any input you’ll have on what you’re seeing and how it’s sounding during that time. The livestream will be running on . Please feel free to follow the channel to receive notifications for when the channel goes live.

Looking forward to a great event.


Looking forward to this - any word on game lineup?