Players agreeing to split a prize


…not to mention the $1 SCS/IFPA fee! :wink:


I want to ask a question from a slightly different angle. Irrespective of the rights and wrongs from a tournament perspective.

When should you ask for a split?

I made the finals of a tournament in Belgium.

The 4 finalists were @Cayle, Dirk Elzholz , Albert Nomden and little old me. The other 3 are ranked WAY higher than me, enter many more competitions and would ‘expect’ to beat me, but I had been playing well all day and could be considered an ‘unknown’.

Only the top 3 got any prize money at all, with the 4th placed player just getting a trophy and some beer :grinning:

I did consider broaching the subject of splitting the pot, but I didn’t for 2 reasons.
Firstly, I didn’t want to come across as a newbie, but more importantly I thought that by me making the first move and suggesting a split it would show weakness from me - that I didn’t think I was good enough to win and had almost resigned myself to 4th place, thus giving them a boost in confidence.

As it happens I finished 4th, having played a shocker on Godzilla. Rather than just put some points on the board, and put some pressure on the players following me (as it was only the 4th placed player who was eliminated from the group) I went for a mega stack of multiballs which didn’t payoff. That’s the way I play all of my games… $h!t or Bu$t, not the best tournament strategy but it’s the way I enjoy playing.


This is how you should’ve approached the split. Winner take all!


I think the “etiquette” for asking about prize splitting is that the higher IFPA ranked, or seeded players from that tourney (if there was qualifying) have the option of asking the others. If they don’t say anything to anyone, assume they are not interested and don’t ask them about a split.

It’s more respectful that way.


Asking for a four way split when you’re the weakest of the last four players would be the opposite of a rookie move. I also don’t feel that the higher ranked IFPA players or higher seeds should have any sort of preferential treatment when talking about a split. Pinball players are generally a touch unusual to begin with, and I’m not so enamored with our hobby to where I think we’re necessarily better than those that engage in dirt track racing, breeding ornamental cats, or spitting watermelon seeds for distance and accuracy.

At this point I think the consensus is; ask the TD if it’s okay, if yes, ask the other players, if yes, make sure you know them well enough that they aren’t going to get cute when the checks are cut.


Unless you’re playing in a PAPA event. In which case DON’T ask the TD, as mentioned upthread, this seems to be an enfringement against something unspecific in their rules.

As I said before, splitting money that has been awarded as prizes after the event should be nothing to do with the TD or any event staff at all. I agree that it requires a good deal of trust between the players though


Am I misunderstanding this? You’re saying that because poker is more about the money, pot-splitting is okay? To me that explanation just seems like you’re trying to win an argument and don’t really care about the fundamentals of the decision. If splitting was forbidden in poker, I’m sure you’d be using that as a reason why pinball should ban it, too.

In poker, winning money is pretty much the only objective (unless there is a bracelet involved)… so, pot-splitting basically renders the whole thing meaningless. In pinball, the monetary winnings are secondary (to the majority of players) and winning the event is the primary objective.


@PAPA_Doug I believe said actually splitting prize would be against the rules. Asking the TD if it’s permissable to discuss splitting the pot should always be fine. I think. Asking for a rules clarification seems like it should always be okay, no?

Splitting the pot isn’t immoral or an attempt to take advantage of weaker players. It’s not sandbagging. I understand the arguments made against it by @flynnibus and others though about how it might make the finals less competitive, or cheapen the enjoyment of spectators who contributed to the pot. But it’s definitely not cheating in any traditional sense of the word.


But then what would you do if the TD says it’s not ok to discuss what you do with your prize money? Or what if they say ok, but you’re not allowed to use your prize money to buy chocolate for example? WHAT THEN?!

I think everyone is getting in a twist over something that the PAPA guys said when talking about a time @chesh got (understandably) frustrated about having to rewrite prize money cheques. I think the point should be that players should not involve tournament staff at all. Decide the split between the players, don’t involve the staff and hope you can trust the players after the official handout of prize money.


I’d respect that…until I actually got my prize money. (Assuming I hadn’t signed an agreement that would allow them to revoke said prize if I violated the terms, I suppose.)

Go buy chocolate, eat it in front of them, and never participate in another event run by such a cruel individual! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I think we can all agree that’s a ridiculous limitation. Nor do I think anyone is saying you can’t split your prize money. The issue is discussing it prior to actually having won anything.

If the winner wants to take it upon themselves to share their winnings, good on them.

To ask people to agree to give up hypothetical earnings is gambling.


The folks splitting with each have different tax liabilities too. If a 4 way split was done without taking into account the tax consequences, that would be a fail.


I’m sensing a Tilt Forums 502 Bad Gateway in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . :slight_smile:


Fair warning: If I split anything I’m not paying anyone else’s taxes, nor will they be absorbing mine. What do you do, compare tax returns to figure that out?


All that matters is what the 1099 says.


May the gremlins please just 404 this thread and leave the rest of the site alone, thanks :slight_smile:


The rules and ethics of each sport are going to have a lot to do with the history and culture around the sport. Poker and Pinball are not equal… just like the decorum expected on a Tennis Court are not the same as expected on an Ice Hockey ring. Punching someone in Hockey is a penalty… in Tennis it would be a suspension. So why are you introducing this strawman that says because I don’t treat them as equals it’s because it doesn’t suit my purpose? Instead it is because I don’t have the fantasy belief that all sports and rules are treated universally.

“Money changes everything” - Yes right now, most of the time the money is inconsequential in most events because it hasn’t reached significant amounts in the vast majority of situations. But we are also trying to advance the events BEYOND what they have been… and the stakes are part of the way you drum up attention and interest in your event. Messing that up, has potential consequences. Please consider the situation when it’s not just 4 players vying for a trophy, but also a broadcast and audience that a producer is trying to build tension and hype for.


Or move to Sweden… no cash to split between anyone, but we still play to win :slight_smile:


I find it hard to believe nobody has brought this up yet, but since nobody else has, I’ll throw my hat into the ring.
Most people here are players. Most people are saying that money doesn’t really matter, it’s all about hardware/wppr. I believe that most people interested in competing will agree with that. Flynn, you seem to think that cash is king and everyone is blind for not seeing that. i propose an alternative: players (mostly) play for hardware/wppr/ bragging rights. People who have zero understanding of pinball don’t understand what wppr are or what they do, but they understand cash. When I tell my girlfriend that Pinburg is a tournament where the top prize is 60ish wppr, she looks at me like she does when I try to explain how differential calculus applies to real-world situations. It’s a look that says ‘I can see you know that you know what you are talking about, but I have no understanding, and I don’t really care’. Now if I said ‘Pinburg is a tournament where the top prize is $15k’ that’s a more or less universally understood concept.

Now let’s pick an upcoming event as a second example. Italy is hosting a crossover tournament for eSports and Pinball in one event. How many eSports people will understand wppr? How many advertisers? When you are dealing with people who may not know competitive pinball exists, and are giving them the ‘elevator pitch’, you need to put things in terms they understand. Money is what non-pinball people understand immediately. So when the IFPA bumps up prize pools, it’s draws attention, but I’d be very surprised if it draws any new competitors above the trend line (I’m sure someone can crunch some numbers at the end of the year).

Back to the initial point: I don’t think prize splitting is doing anything for the sport one way or the other. Advertisers drawn in by large prize pools don’t care who gets the money; they got eyeballs on their ads. The media doesn’t care about who gets how much; they had their 5 minute coverage on daytime tv and drew people in with the ‘so much money on the line’ tagline. Saying that ‘it hasn’t happened but will ruin the integrity of the competition trust me I’m a forward thinker’ and then telling people that the reasons they compete aren’t the ‘true’ reason most people compete is coming off very much as calling others idiots, hence the amount of salt directed at you, Flynn. You seem far more dedicated to ‘being right’ than anything.

TL;DR: money matters, but it matters way less to the actual competitors than you think. Prize splitting affects and will continue to affect tournaments way less than you think. Stop accusing people of blindness or shortsightedness just because you might compete for cash and others don’t.


Pinburgh. :slight_smile:


Actually I do not. If you cared to read what I’ve said, I’ve highlighted that the money is an important part to the people WHO ARE NOT THE PLAYERS themselves. The point being the prizes and ‘what is on the line’ are the things that drive tension and spark interest in drawing attention to the event. This element is an important part of the promotion of the event especially as the field gets diluted with more and more options.

Your audience feeds off the idea that ‘there is a lot at stake’ - if you neuter that to say “everyone is a winner!!” - you nuke that suspense/tension. You also reduce the pressure on the players.

Where people are being shortsighted is by saying “the money doesn’t matter…” because the money is trivial to most at this point. Increase the stakes and re-evaluate. If I say “lets play for 5k on a single game of harlem…” you really believe you won’t feel any different vs playing for a dollar?

Exactly… if you are trying to promote interest in making pinball into a spectator thing… WPRRs isn’t going to draw any eyeballs or make people consider why this event matters. If you speak the universal language of CASH - people immediately have something they can grasp.

The point lost in your comment here is the idea of a climax. The climax is more interesting than the drool of qualifying rounds. The climax is more valuable and much more highly promoted. And part of that promotion is the idea of ‘this is where its all decided’. If the climax here is “here is your WPRR” - like you said early, the majority of the audience have no idea or attachment to that.

Maybe I’m able to look at it more objectively as an event that is being PROMOTED and SOLD than individuals who insist on taking only the player’s individual view? Few people are willing to embrace that idea, but instead insist on sticking with what they know… their competitive thoughts in small stakes events. And won’t look beyond that… or take the perspective of what does it mean to have NON-players watch events they don’t themselves participate in. What does that mean?? That’s really what this topic is about.

The whole “the money doesn’t sway me” is a personal topic that is not something universal.