Players agreeing to split a prize


I did enjoy the simpler times of “hey, write the checks up different please.”


This is the part that bothers me. I can easily see a situation where a player is pressured into accepting a split so they don’t come off like a jerk even though it may cost them hundreds of dollars.


Well the maybe TDs should take note and stop focusing on big prizes for top finishers and either spend the money elsewhere or spread the wealth more. Everyone here says the money doesn’t drive behavior… so maybe use the money in better ways


In this case I was happy to comply. But I think the following year it didn’t happen, basically someone said no thanks.


In all seriousness, is there some finals purse split bullying problem the competitive pinball community doesn’t know about? Seems the bullies would get ousted real fast. The competitive pinball world is not that huge. Word of jerky players spreads fast.

Seems to me that what happens is that those who want the split do it, and those who don’t end up with whatever they earn. The decision might work out for them or it might not, however I’ve never seen or heard any tales of anyone saying they were pressured.

They might have played woulda shoulda coulda for taking/not taking the split afterwards, but the decision to split always happens before the finals games start. It’s not as if afterwards the underdog(s) won the money and now some remaining final 4 thugs start chanelling Tony Soprano saying give me the f-n money.

That would be a problem.


Even though the “P” in PAPA stands for professional none of us are raking in the dough playing pinball. The sports are, obviously, quite different, but, at the monetary level elete amateur cycling and pinball are very similar and, I feel, splits happen in these sports for similar reasons.

In amateur cycling where even very talented riders travel around the country and sleep in cheap motels (or even their cars or tents) for big events it’s not uncommon for two riders from competeting teams in a break away to agree to work together (until the sprint finish) to stay ahead of the dozens of other racers. When it comes to the finish, however, all bets are off and each rider is going to do their best to win that sprint and the race because winning is awesome. The racers just want to pay for their hotels or make sure they have gas money to get home so sometimes they agree to a split.

This works for cycling because a tenuous break away is exciting from a fan perspective. I think it also works in pinball because the people involved are guaranteed a little more money for expenses and the fans probably don’t even know it happened and the players are trying just as hard to win because 1st place is still way more awesome than 2nd or 4th.


The money drives interest and gets people to show up, or at least that is the theory driving the IFPA fee, etc. A big prize pool is still big regardless of the top 4 split.

Pinburgh sold out in minutes, so the question is, was that sellout driven by the big prize pool, or by the size, quality of operation, number of games and prestige of the tournament? If they slashed the prize pool but kept everything else the same, would people still show up?


I agree. A few years ago at Free Play Florida we were going into the finals of Classics and I was approached about a 4-way chop. I thought about it for a minute and said I didn’t want to do it. Nobody pressured me to change my mind. Not sure if the other 3 agreed to a chop or not. I was happy with the outcome. I won and IIRC I pocketed around $400 instead of $225.


I would answer with a resounding Yes.


You have your head in the sand if you don’t think this type of peer pressure happens already. You had two stories here even where people hadn’t considered it, yet were brought in (one almost unknowingly). The same issue happens with rulings too… especially an environment like Pinburgh where there are hundreds of matches going on. A player that is less assertive or too shy to stand up to the other players and actually get a TD gets mowed over. It happens all the time… obviously the staff try to avoid this and encourage people over and over to always get a TD… but you still hear it happening all the time. Inexperienced competitors are vulnerable to it. Add in someone that is ‘pin famous’ and people are even less likely to resist.


You also have the chicken and the egg dilemma… it’s a much easier question to answer when the event has already built a reputation of its own… or provides something insanely unique (like pinburgh does). It’s difficult to apply across the board as each event has pros/cons people have to weigh.

Maybe a simpler question would be… is if two events similar events were happening, but one was a break-even event, and another one had a large prize pool, would the prize pool influence your decision? And what if one had a format that boosted WPRR value vs the other… which would drive your decision?

The common thread in this community at least is WPRR would probably drive action more than the prize pool (I mean… isn’t this exactly what has been happening on the PAPA Circuit for years now…).

So why keep throwing money at the same small audience of top finishers if it’s not really the draw? or won’t expand your audience.

This is drifting off entirely from the original topic… but I’d love to see it play out in practice to vet the opinions shared here.


Most tournament I have been in finals worked out that a split gave everyone 2nd place money. As I am playing for the Wpprs and pride, splitting so I can make sure I pay off my trip is preferred. This is not a dictatorship, people can do what they want with their money they win.


Seems like with all the examples provided here nobody was peer pressured into anything. One person agreed without knowing what it was. That’s not peer pressure. Would be like me asking you if you wanted to try Whiskey for the first time. If you say yes or no that’s not peer pressure. It’s only peer pressure if you say no and then I badger you about it or try to convince you otherwise.

Asking someone to do something and then readily accepting that answer is NOT peer pressure.

And we are all grow adults. If you’re going to let someone pressure you to do something you don’t want to at this point in your life, we’ll I’d say you need to grow a back bone as life is going to be real hard for you. The only exception I see to the above is a minor now that we have barely teenagers making it to finals in big tournaments.


Players may feel pressured even if the intent to do so isn’t there. Asking them to split puts them in an awkward position. They don’t want to say no and come off as selfish and arrogant, even if they don’t really want to do it.

If it’s your buddies, it’s one thing, but I know if I were in a situation where people I didn’t know very well wanted to do a prize split, I’d be inclined to agree regardless of whether I really wanted to or not. Go along to get along. YMMV.


What if we (competitive pinball community) flattened out the 1st-4th payout differences? But still kept a slight difference between each spot? Table below uses a 2% difference between each spot (2% of the Final Four $$).

Do players prefer that?
Do you think spectators would prefer that? (did it make it more exciting for the spectators, and make for a more exciting event that @pinwizj and I were playing a $7500 game of Andromeda vs a $500 game of Andromeda?)




Hahaha. Sorry. That wasn’t my intent.
I can honestly say that I wasn’t thinking about the $$ value of that game in the moment. The title, trophy, and name on a banner? Yes. The money? No.


You can argue semantics and I can use the term ‘social conformity’ if you want but the net result is the same. You don’t need to badger someone for there to be pressure. When the topic is brought up, and someone is uncertain what this all means and hesitates… but the 3 other experienced people (or just people who are familiar with each other) all enthusiastically agree… now there is pressure on the 4th person to conform or risk putting themselves out there as the odd man out… or the blocker. The other players may also try to explain to the person why it is beneficial, etc. None of this has to be aggressive or badging but the net result is it still is putting the person in an awkward spot to either conform, or stand out.

So put on your big pants?

This has little to do with growing up… and is well documented for both adults and minors. In this environment it has more to do with familiarity of the rules and experiences. Players simply may not KNOW what the correct behavior should be… but are influenced by the confidence of those around them. And why every year we hound on people to ASK if you don’t know… don’t just go along.

Now add in factors like ‘pin-celebrities’, well known players, people that may be less assertive, people who are ‘go with the flow’ types… and you see how every year at pinburgh you can hear stories where someone retells their past matches and you know that’s not how it should have happened.


It’s my postulation that the stakes do make it more exciting… It’s not the sole thing, but it’s a contributing thing. Obviously the more extreme the risk… the greater the tension it offers.

Your proposition is completely in line with what players are saying here… I just don’t think they can stomach it :slight_smile:


I don’t follow your point here @flynnibus . I agree there can be social pressure in all kinds of situations. The question I ask is if that pressure is inappropriate. If so, what can society do to counter inappropriate pressure? I don’t think there is one correct answer for everyone. Teaching everyone to be assertive can be helpful but so can teaching everyone to read social cues and try to get along.

This discussion sure wandered off into the weeds…