Should Pinburgh Allow Practice for players on byes?

Yeah, just during finals so those with byes at least get a flip on a game.


There are tournaments out there that use the rule: 30 seconds of practice time if your opponents have flipped this machine before and you have not.

I see no reason why this addition would not be in the spirit of Pinburgh. It would never come into play until the finals, and only then if someone ends up repeating banks.

It’s a huge advantage to have already played a bank which your opponents have not, and probably a large reason why players are never given the same bank during any of the first 10 rounds.


The thing is if they add practice it will create more work and they’ll still have a waitlist of 500 so whats the point.

The point is to minimize the unfair advantage given to players who get to repeat banks in the playoffs.

My experience has been that the majority of players are able to self police practice time without TD oversight.


It’d be unfair for those who can’t self police thus why it won’t happen.

What I’m hearing from you is: someone will take advantage of this and the other players won’t say anything, and that would be unfair, so the only way to make sure someone doesn’t abuse a 30 second practice is to have TDs carefully monitor the situation, but there aren’t enough TDs for that, so therefore why bother.

Is that correct?

I’ve never been to finals, so take this with a grain of salt, but I would happily trade “putting myself in the situation to tell another player their 30 seconds is up and calling for a TD if they refuse to end practice time” for “playing a bank with no practice that my opponents have already played”.

Edit: I understand why you think it’s a bad idea, but I don’t agree that it isn’t worthy of discussing potential solutions.

This argument also presumes that it’s common for players to repeat banks between the first and second rounds. Is it?

I believe there are five rounds of finals and only three banks. It’s very difficult not to repeat banks. (I think you’d need a double bye, followed by playing each bank exactly once to make it happen).

Just to be clear, I don’t have strong feelings about giving practice to people who have byes, but I do strongly think that you should have practice on a machine that your opponents have already played but you have not. This seems in the spirit of the event, which to me is generally: “you don’t get practice and everyone is playing this game for the first time”. The latter part doesn’t always hold true for finals.

I think practice gives the person with a bye an advantage. Lets say they have 30 seconds, they can nudge, test the tilt etc. The participants who didn’t have byes were never given that opportunity.

I think “practice” and “playing a game in competition” are significantly different. I just watch my opponent as “practice”.

Once did a “10 flips” practise time before each game thing. Of course, the event was mildly more casual than, say, Pinburgh.

10 flips allowered. And threatened, if I heard of players that went beyond this, they were red carded for practise for the rest of the day. Players had a lot of fun counting each other down.

Not taking sides but those stats look just about how I would expect. The higher the skill level, the less effect a bye has. Does anybody think those stats would change much if a short practice was allowed? If only the lower divisions improve with a practice, is that really a good reason to do it?

Don’t know how last year was rule or results-wise, but this year seems par for the course to me. The better the player you are, the less you need practice.

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I know for sure it’d have an effect on my style of play. Majority of the time without practice on a new pin, I’m spending the first ball finding shots at any tournament I have played. Sometimes they’re found, sometimes they aren’t. If I’m starting a new game and playing my 4th or 7th ball of the day on this pin, I’ve got an immediate advantage or a near even playing field against better players because those shots are obviously found by that point in order for me to make it that far.

Question for those who care about practice time granted only to those with byes. Should players who advanced from prior rounds but didn’t play that particular bank of games also get practice? Also, how much are you looking at which banks your opponents played in prior rounds? If you see they did well on your preferred bank, oftentimes you have other options available so they’re not warmed up on those particular games.

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Practice is overrated.


I had a bye into the second round of C finals, and I had first choice of banks. I badly wanted the B66/Grand Prix/Laser War/Meteor bank, but I had to weigh that against the fact that two of the players who would be in my group had just played that bank well enough to move on. Byes are a reward for playing well in qualifying that guarantee you make it one round further than you otherwise would; there are trade-offs for that guarantee, including that you’re coming in cold and other players may have had a chance to play the machines, but I think on balance I’d still want a bye. (I picked my dream bank and managed to move on along with one of the dudes who had already played it, and the bus drivers for the next two rounds also selected it, so I ended up playing on it 3 times total.)


There are somethings about competitive pinball culture that I really do not understand. Are we seriously debating if byes in the playoffs are enough of an advantage here?

You can get warmed up on hundreds of other machines while your opponents are battling it out for a round or two. Some of your toughest competition is probably going to be knocked out in one of those rounds because that’s what happens in sports. And sure, maybe your opponents have gained an edge in learning a thing or two, but that is literally every other sport that uses byes in their playoffs. That’s the trade off for no-risk advancement.


I wouldn’t mind seeing any player that hasn’t played a current bank to get 30 seconds in prior to play, but having a bye to the next round is an advantage within itself, so no complaints here.

In terms of choosing a bank, I was at the mercy of the groups before me. I would’ve much preferred the WPT bank as I have considerable experience on 3 of the 4 pins. The 2nd bank had games in which I had zero experience on any of them. The bank I went with had 1 game I knew and 3 games I had no experience with but got a crash course on rules. But that’s the exciting part of pinball tournaments, adapt to play well or have an early exit. That’s 3 tournaments in a row I’ve bus drove in finals and flamed out, with the Southwest Pin Masters and Bat City being the other 2. I think it’s time to revoke my license at this point.

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When advancing or not advancing may be the difference between 1 win on 1 machine. When that difference can be a few bounces on an EM machine or getting a skill shot or not. When advancing or not advancing has hundreds if not thousands of dollars difference. Then having a discussion about practice is valid in my opinion. Sorry if you disagree.

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I thought we were debating whether lack of practice was the reason I took a 4 after my bye round. It totally was. If you allow practice, what am I going to blame? My skill or lack thereof? No way.


I was not at Pinburgh, but have had byes in other events for qualifying high and have also been at tourneys allowing 30 seconds of practice for a game that a player has not previously played.

Speaking only for me: I honesty cannot recall a single instance where I a) gained any meaningful information in 30 seconds that later thinking back: yes, that half minute of practice helped me advance or b) felt that that people playing the games in a bank prior to me had an advantage.

People playing in the first round might have gotten over the “start of the finals jitters” faster, but that’s it. For me, 30 seconds of practice isn’t going to make me any less anxious or serve as an equalizer.

I guess in summary: When I am in finals, I am either playing well or I am not.