Players agreeing to split a prize

In an IFPA event, wouldn’t two players agreeing to split a prize regardless of outcome undermine the competitive aspect of the event?

From the IFPA rules
"Any collaborative effort between players in an attempt to unfairly affect the outcome of the competition, or to “lock out” a third player, or to otherwise refrain from making the best possible competitive effort on each and every game played, will be looked upon very poorly by tournament officials, and may result in disciplinary action, including disqualification and/or ejection from the tournament."

This was brought up at length in the discussions around Pinburgh, the round 10 seeding and groups colluding to benefit everyone vs competing at their best… or in the other pinburgh related ‘sandbagging’ tangents and the theme is anything that would be counter to players competing at their best falls into this area. The topic of ‘not playing leading to a better outcome’ was also discussed at length and debated on if this rule applied at a PER game level or had to be evaluated at the event level… because a choice may better me in the long run vs now,etc. But again, the spirit seemed to be about protecting the integrity of the competition in the sense that all players should be doing their best to WIN.

But if you have two players colluding to share a prize regardless of outcome - doesn’t that undermine that spirit? By taking away the big prize incentive to win, doesn’t that hurt the competitive integrity of the event? Because such a decision guarantees an outcome for both players… removing or at least diminishing the ‘big lure’ the event has setup with the prize pool?

I know it happens, but it shouldn’t. I agree with you that it compromised the integrity of the competition to some degree.

Agreed. Do not split the pots!! I say final 4 agree to do winner takes all. That or keep as TDs intended. Instead of killing the competition, let’s bump it up a notch!!

Splitting the prize money is fine with me. Players can’t split the WPPR points(i.e. collude to finish in a tie), which is what really matters from a competitive standpoint.


huh?? the WPRR points rule above all in terms of matters? I strongly disagree


Doing a split just takes the pressure of money out of the equation. I’ve played in plenty of tourneys with no prizes and still want to win just as bad.

I’ve only done one split… Was in final 4. prizes were $800, $400, $200, $0. No way I wanted to chance leaving with $0. One person didn’t agree to the split, he ended up in 3rd with $200. The rest of us got $400 each. I ended up winning. Wonder if I would have played as well if there had been no split.

Winner take all Hobbs. Don’t be a wuss. :sunglasses:

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In 2013, I played in the O-Town Throwdown tournament. It was a heads-up format. I got to the finals, and at that point found out that the prize money was winner take all for the whole event. I proposed a pot split with my opponent, and he accepted. I lost. I remember a dead bounce that didn’t bounce on Bally Rolling Stones in the finals, but not much else other than feeling smart about the pot split and bad about the prize $ situation for everyone except the top 1 (or 2).


Having been involved in such splits, I can say that in no way have I ever made a collaborative effort to unfairly affect the outcome of a competition, to lock out a third player, or to refrain from making the best possible competitive effort on each and every game played.

What you describe about Round 10 of Pinburgh is different. This is a set of players agreeing to freeze out other players (who are not in their group), by refusing to compete at their best. That is not the same as players making an arrangement for a different split of prizes.


Agreeing to split prizes and colluding to let others win are different by several orders of magnitude. They’re not even in the same universe in terms of ethics.

Your argument seems to rest on the assumption that players will play better if there is a greater reward associated with winning. I wish this was the case…I think I’d have more wins under my belt if so.

Depending on the prize distribution, splitting the pot is usually the smart thing to do. If you assume that all players are equally skilled, then the expected value leans heavily in favor of the split.


That doesn’t seem in the spirit of the competition, though. If you agree to split a prize, you’re not going to care if you come in first, second or third and you are going to be hard pressed to really try your best.

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You don’t know me very well if you think I don’t care if I come in first, second, or third, or that I’ll be hard pressed to really try my best at all times. And you can listen to Zach Sharpe talking in the most recent Head 2 Head Pinball podcast for his opinion on the same.


I totally understand this, and I’m the same way, but if someone told me that getting first place was 15k before, but now it’s 100k, I’m going to be a tad more serious and driven to win.

Yeah this split of tourney prize money seems like not a big deal if everyone agrees. I did this once without knowing what exactly I agreed to (the other player said “split?” and I just agreed, and then tried to figure out what that meant ex post facto since it was my first final in a big tourney and I was kinda nervous and wanted to act cool :slight_smile: )

I think lost so it was the smart move :slight_smile: but really i don’t feel like it affects how players play. But for PAPA/Pinburgh where you get 1099s it doesn’t make sense since you’d be taxed on what you earned and it’s not paid out as cash on the spot

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Agree. I want that first place recognition and trophy. Agreeing to split the pot is just a nice fallback if you do fail to at least get something decent. No one cares who came in second. If a tournament had final 4 payout equally I know any events I run the players we have in the northeast aren’t going to just walk away and not care about that last round.

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Yes, without the actual $15,000 on the line I wasn’t hard pressed to try my best to win Pinburgh last year. It’s really all about the money and not actually winning a F*CKING MAJOR.

My offer for splitting at Pinburgh before the final was, “I’ll pay each of you $5000 to let me win”.



Seems sketchy to me, but obviously I’m in the minority here.

The ‘locking out others’ is another possible outcome/consequence of collusion, but even if the scope of impact is only the players involved, it doesn’t change the underlying issue of integrity and competitive aspect of the event.

The black-sox scandal was not minimized because “they didn’t block out other teams” and it only affected the final series - the fact that THIS match’s integrity was altered is all that matters. Impact on others is simply a question of how wide the impact is… and thus the inevitable discussion of severity. It doesn’t negate the collusion’s relevance. Yes I know there is a difference between intentionally throwing something and “competition with less on the line” - the analogy is not to make this situation EQUAL with “fixing matches” - its to discredit the notion that “no others were harmed” as a justification to allow it.

Does it not undermine the perceived risk/value of a competition when you significantly lower the upside and downside of losing? The adage of “it’s all on the line right here…” does not come from “he can only go UP from here” - there has to be risk or consequence of loss to make the suspense real.

Clearly there is a difference between a friendly competition and one 'for all the marbles…" – Splits are completely counter to that and when organized by the competitors I think it undercuts the event’s structure and ultimately the interest of the match.

Not that they will play BETTER - but that they have more to play FOR. And having something worth fighting FOR - it part of the lure of people watching competition.

I mean, do we all agree there is a difference between “Friendly competition” and one that is for a significant title or prize?