PinFest Tournament 2019 - A Stern Pro Circuit Event


I’m curious if there are readily available stats on how many players actually paid for a $10 entry, versus just playing their four “free” ones and calling it a day. Just randomly clicking around, it looks like most people who qualified did, while most near the bottom did not. (Exceptions exist, of course.)

I’m having trouble articulating my feeling on this, but I sort of feel like this plays into claims of more players and shorter queue times. It feels like a lot of the players were just cashing in their free play without any serious interest in the tournament, but I also wasn’t there so I can’t say for sure what the vibe was. If I’m right, then queues would naturally be lower as these players burn their freebies and then leave.

I’m guessing the reason for structuring entries this way was to get more raw numbers of people participating, and allow them to arrive at an overall cost-per-entry number that they were comfortable with (e.g. - I only want to spend $20, that gets me 6 games, so really that’s less than $4/game!) Pretty clever and essentially an increasingly-punishing entry fee but with a cap that doesn’t allow deep pockets to just buy the event.


Super quick analysis on that:


Compare that to 2018 (24 Game Limit):


Seems like a 1/3 of the field played 4 (or less), and then you had a slow build up to 19 with a jump at 20. Less people “maxed out” then in years past.

Numbers of people qualifying by Division by Number of Games played:

Games Played A C D DNQ Grand Total
20 12 3 3 13 27
19 2 1 5 8
18 2 3 5
17 1 3 4
16 2 2 4
15 4 1 2 7
14 2 6 8
13 2 3 5
12 1 7 8
11 1 2 3
10 3 2 2 7
9 3 3
8 2 1 8 11
7 2 1 6 9
6 18 18
5 11 11
4 64 64
3 10 10
2 4 4
1 1 1
Grand Total 32 8 8 173 221

Granted, I don’t have the same access to look at the correlation of plays-to-finals from other events (especially unlimited qualifying events), but I would suspect there’s a positive correlation between number of plays and whether you make playoffs. If you’re REALLY good, you still only need a handful of plays. If you’re a mediocre player like myself, then you need lots of opportunities and deep pockets to try to make finals, but we capped the number of tries a person could have in order to keep queues down as much we can given that we have about 50% of the qualifying time that other events may have.

That was essentially the gist.


Just to clarify I don’t think Corey or Jay did anything wrong in terms of money. Just in future spend less on non monetary prizes, and pay less spots so that winners get more of the buy in. I think y’all are smart and honest directors who were burdened with not enough help and time to prepare the games for tourney play. The main crux of my issue is them being made default too difficult for limited entry. Sorry if I came off a certain way. I’m never trying to be a jerk.


I’ll admit that Eight Ball and Bank Shot we’re playing too difficult. I’ll remove the power ball in future events :wink:


Eight Ball was acceptably brutal (yet otherwise forgiving) and Bank Shot was…well, it was a WOW Gottlieb. Those seemed to be fine usages!


That’s usually the case in setups like this. Thanks for the data though, very interesting!


A different topic but still relevant - I’d like to hear from players and tournament organizers on how they felt the games were set up. Anecdotally (I wasn’t there) I have heard that BKSOR and Stars were occasionally tilting on regular flipping and a lot of the games were exceptionally tight, to the point where normal pinball moves like nudging was risking a tilt. I am passionate about games being set up fairly and about not removing the bumping/nudging skill vector from pinball, so this is something that interests me. I know it’s been a complaint leveled against the setup in years past as well. How were they playing?


BK, not BKSoR. I executed a 3-4" slide on SoR and got double dangered. The Stern games had standard tilts; Getaway (no dangers, tight-but-fair) and TNA (Spooky long tilts) were odd but fair.


Was an organizer. Setup Deadpool. Removed left and right outlane posts, settings to Hard (except Battle to Medium), no Extra Balls. Tilt was looser by comparison to other games, so it played fast and hard, but fair given the goal of short ball times and fast play. By having Battle lit at the start of the game, it left points on the playfield without feeling like a chore.


I’ll add my 2 cents to the mix.

Stars - the tilt was indeed tight, but not unplayable. I played it once and posted 150K on it with no tilts.

BKSOR - No ball save, playing super fast, no outlane posts, but tilt favored the player. Watch the finals stream and you will see several players make a 2-3" slide save as @ScoutPilgrim pointed out with no tilt and just warnings.

Black Knight 1 - Super tight tilt. I did a fairly small nudge forward in the finals and tilted my ball 3.

Deadpool - Played fast, can’t remember if the posts were pulled, but tilt favored the player

Atlantis (Bally) - Right flipper could not make the lock ramp shot or the left wireform jackpot shot 90% of the time, was very frustrating.

TNA - Tilt was on the tighter side, but again not unbearable. I was playing Atlantis which was next to TNA and the person playing TNA made a decent slap save and titled. He then complained to the scorekeeper he didn’t shake the machine. Did he move the machine? No. Did he flip pretty hard, absolutely.

Pinball Pool and I believe Supersonic had overly swaying tilt bobs. I witnessed numerous tilt throughs on those games, including in the finals.


After my slap to save the ball in the semis it did not tilt my ball but tilted through on supersonic. I asked if they would check the bob since it was very weird how it happened. They checked it in practice for the next round (after it got pulled) and there was roughly a millimeter of clearance around the ring on all sides. So roughly any tilt or nudge on that game was a tilt through…of which i know there were at least 4 of.

As for Rage, my main issue with it was the fact locks were set to extra hard on top of how silly hard the game was set. Which means it was 3 hits to light each lock, which roughly removed it from the game…which imo was completely unnecessary and was also not told to the players via the notes on the game and it should have been.

In general I think the games were set to hard for the format and the cost of the event IMO and the fact a lot of said changes were not told to the players made it worse. Finding out on the fly a game is set to no warning or settings have been changed…for 10 dollars is not fun.


The absolute correct way to set up a Deadpool. This was the default settings on older code and what we use at Kickback.

For Stars and OG BK - the tilt on Friday vs. Saturday was something players noted a difference between. I didn’t touch either game until Saturday, so I can’t personally relate.

I’d attribute that to a Spooky quirk with their tilts recently - between TNA and ACNC, I just expect these games to hold warning-grudges and will do a minute long trap & hold if I get a warning. I got “rewarded” for this once in qualifying: I tilted a ball 30 seconds after 2nd warning with a ball trapped on the flipper the entire time. At least i didn’t start Multiball!

Gottliebs of that era :heart: tilting through on competitive tilt settings, but Supersonic wasn’t one I expected. Still was a fair setup, albeit tight. For reference, @JLemire clawed his way back from that incident and it was really cool to watch (even if it led to my doom)!

Doodlebug was lovely as always, but tested my love for it by not awarding me a special from a target hit. Frustrating given the award, but I’ll chalk that up to not hitting the target hard enough to close a second switch/EM jankery. Reminds me of the time someone nudged the Double Bonus relay on!

Joker Poker was super floaty and silly. I loved that setup after I was told to try it out on a recommendation.

Bank Shot had a powerball but played fair. Gottlieb WOW games are cool to see in tournament play; light the WOW, get WOWs, etc.


I tilted two balls of old BK on day one just from flipping - the latter of which was during a multiball and felt crushing. Still, that game managed to be a top 5 score after 9 hours of Day 1 qualifying.

It immediately became apparent on Day 2 (after watching Jerry play), that the game’s tilt had been changed overnight, and during just the three hours of qualifying, 10 people managed to top my score from Day 1. It was most certainly unfair to those that put in entries of Black Knight on Day 1, and, at the very least, an announcement should have been made about the tilt changes as soon as the TD’s realized what happened.

I tilted Stars once from flipping too - all the other games I played had tilts that seemed fair though.

And I agree wholeheartedly that Black Knight: SOR was set up way too hard for that (or any!) setting.


So pin settings (such as the all-important tilt bob) were changed in the middle of best-score qualifying? Is this confirmed, or just a theory? :open_mouth:


I know it wasn’t like a bad TD decision or anything - I think it was just a mistaken call by a tech who thought they were fixing something that needed fixing (overnight) when they took a look at the tilt bob (I heard the wire was touching or something), and so they adjusted it.

I know someone that complained was offered entries refunded, so it seems all the moreso like an announcement should have at least been made at large!


That was definitely an extremely brutal SoR - oddly fitting given the theme. That’s a setting you’d only see at Circuit Finals (if even there)! I’ll definitely call my 86M top qualifier game a highlight of my year, since every point was contested and nothing came easy. Two big moves, shrewd risky shooting, and a love for drop targets.

Plus, the ending of bricking Knight MB twice to a drain. Doh!


At the start of qualifying if players complained of flipping a game causing a tilt, you compensate the players their entry and adjust the tilt bob and test. You preserve 99% of the qualifying period.


How to not set a tilt properly . . . courtesy of Black Rose at IFPA Pin-Masters :slight_smile:


I’m a bit mystified that so many “classic” games were set to breathe-tilt, while modern games were more fairly set up. That seems totally backwards - classics are meant to be bumped and nudged!

As an aside, no game should ever tilt just from flipping. That’s just wrong.


I think there must have been a power issue as that Atlantis worked great at my house no issues whatsoever with hitting the left loop or the lock. Pinfest has always been plagued by low power issues for as long as I’ve been involved with bringing games.

Stars doesn’t tilt from flipping unless you’re one of the players who likes to put some ‘oomph’ into your flip and shake the cabinet… unless they changed the tilt from where I had it at home. I haven’t set it back up yet to see what they changed - I think they should have left the center post rubber in place or maybe changed it to a black one, ball times are brutal enough on it as it is.