Poker Run?

I’m thinking of doing a poker run style pinball event and I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Has anyone run one, played in one, or have any ideas? All help would be much appreciated.

I’ve thought about it to, my only challenge is Delaware doesn’t have enough public machines to pull this off.

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There was a poker run-style EM tourney at the VFW show a couple years ago. One thing they did to make it less agonizing for people who drew crappy cards was to allow the first player with 5 cards under 21 total to instantly win. Turns out it was too easy to make such a hand, and players were dissatisfied.

I ran one at my house with friends, and gave last place money to the worst five-card hand (not 5 under 21, but the actual worst poker hand, for example 23457 with no flush). That gave “unlucky” players something to shoot for without stealing the thunder from people making legitimately great poker hands.


So I invented a game I called “Poker Pinball” based on poker and pinball…

There are no cards involved, only chips and a pinball.

The idea is to put 4 players on a machine, give them equal stack of chips, each.

Here is how it goes

  • before ball 1 (pre-flop) everyone has to buy-in / put in the big blind into the pot. (e.g. 1 chip early on)
  • after ball 1, player 1 can raise or check, then player 2/3/4 can raise, check, call or fold. If player 1 got outraised he can call, re-raise or fold. etc.
  • do the same before every ball, and with every ball until the last one.
  • if you fold you’re out and your balls are plunged out. Winner of the game takes the pot.
  • move on to the next game (you can make rules, like, loser pick the next game / order)

Increase the buy-in every 3-5 games.

Whoever ends up with all the chips is the winner.

It’s great fun with 4 players. You need 1 pot per table basically.

If you have 8 players, you make it a split-flipper game, with teams of 2 players, still 1 machine at a time. It’s really fun too because of the arguing over raising, calling or folding.

Strategy wise…

If you had a great ball 1, you can try to value bet or muscle people out of the pot by betting big before ball 2.

So in this format you start with a 4 player game and often end up with a 3 or 2 player game. Some games don’t even get to ball 3.

For example on TWD, if the game is set up hard, you could fold early if you messed up your first mode and have no progress towards multiball, as you’re at a disadvantage going into ball 2 and others are looking good.

We found it to be a really fun social game with a lot of banter and heightened pressure. Friendly banter is encouraged during and between play.

Let me know how you go, if you run this format :slight_smile:


That sounds amazing. It won’t really work for the event I have I mind, but, I will definitely give this a try sometime. Sounds like the world’s most convoluted dollar game–in the best possible way.


Sounds like a fun after-getting-knocked-out activity for next Tuesday…I’m down!


So there’s no betting round before ball one is played, just the ante? This makes some sense for the fun of the game so a dominant player can’t just go all-in before every game. It sounds like you play it as no-limit?

That’s right just the ante. Betting starts after ball 1 has been played by all.

No point bullying people out of the game entirely, I thought. Up to you, how you want to run the game :slight_smile:


That’s exactly how this tournament idea started and it’s great for that.

If it starts running late, you just increase the buy-in at the start of the game which forces some players to go all-in and greatly reduces future rounds.


I haven’t heard of any No Limit Pinball being played for a number of years, but this used to be a side tournament at several events in the mid 2000s. Increasing the buy-in on a time clock helps balance things between groups that play long games versus short games, and every 2 hours or so you reshuffle everyone to new tables.


I eagerly await banana flipper pinball poker.


I’m in to try on Tuesday post-elimination! This sounds like a blast.