Sweet pinball moments

PAPA 5 for me was my last chance at making sure I was in the Hall of Fame next to the likes of Joshua Henderson, Ethan Blonder and Escher Lefkoff as a PAPA Juniors Champ. “40’d” each round in the playoffs FTW - it was 10-5-1-0 back then with 4 games per round. (This was after finishing 4th the year before and crying in the corner for an hour)

Other personal highlight, but more of an ah-ha moment was Pinburgh 2003. Watching Bowen work through the Harem Mulitiball exploit, and knowing I had never really played pinball ‘that way’. I was still just playing games how I would normally play them for fun at home or on location. Had a nice internal “fuck it” moment . . . “I can do that” . . . and proceeded to grind out my first real chopping wood game I ever played. That moment changed the way I approached all pinball games going forward.


I apologize for unleashing this monster on the world. (Josh’s eventual qualifying entry was excellent despite a poor TOTAN game.)

some PAPA memories…

PAPA 4: plunging skill shot on Tommy to ensure passage to the final 4, walking away, then being yelled at to continue playing because finals seeding was still to play for
PAPA 5: fire drill! also “plunging the first ball” on the first day in front of a press crowd, direct drain from a failed Shadow skill shot. Boo.
PAPA 6: hitting the Ringmaster right in the center to advance to semifinals … and having it reject off the spring right down the middle
PAPA 11: losing A finals from 6-4-3-1 ahead, and watching Elwin play a ridiculous Ball 3 to win, maybe the loudest cheering I’ve ever heard in pinball for that ball
PAPA 12: in tiebreak for finals, loading gun for multiball on Dirty Harry … ball falls out of gun, doh.
PAPA 13: desperation save on Addams Family on camera, then a great Creature final game
PAPA 14: the joy of Andrei
PAPA 16: enjoying finals with Nancy and Aaron
PAPA 17: Alien Star and Cactus Canyon were not nice to me


That was so funny. That had to have been the absolute worst performance to ever win a PAPA. I skated by on a total of 9 points for the first two rounds combined having survived two tiebreakers then 2 avg games in the final followed by two lousy balls on TAF.

Even though I lost I think my favorite match of all time was against Bowen on Getaway at CAEX. Don’t remember what the scores were but we both torched it well beyond the highest qualifying scores of the weekend in the final.

must’ve been the time zone change @noahpdavis!

A few:

  • The first time I hit left ramp, right ramp, left ramp, right ramp to claim vengeance without missing a shot on The Shadow.
  • The first time I toured the mansion on Addams Family. (Just a couple of weeks ago)
  • Tonight, at the IFPA Maine State Championsip. Watching my eight-year-old son set a goal and reach it. He wanted to complete JEDI to get to the lightsaber battle in SWE1. After two hours of frustration from just coming up short, he concentrated, got control of the ball and he finally spelled JEDI and won the battle. The pure excitement on his face when he accomplished it made me a proud dad.

Oh man, this was a good match. It was a best-of-3 in a hot former book store, and we both beat the Loop Record all three games. I think by the end the Loop Record was like 17 or something insane. Gear shifting while in the middle of looping is awesome.

In the old Expo format I seemed to keep drawing and losing to KME in the first round (top 8, single elimination format). Getting aced out on NASCAR, 95m to 94m, was a kick in the nuts … though I’d rather have that than the 6m to 4m loss in game 2.

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I think one of my favorite pinball moments was at PAPA 17. I was qualified in B and was walking back to check on how our friend and local ATX baller Colin MacAlpine was doing in A div qualifying. Colin’s goal for the trip was to qualify in A and I walked up as he was playing an entry on WOZ. He was putting on a WOZ clinic and a bunch of high ranked players just happened to be waiting in line behind him. Keith Johnson was not in line but, he was standing outside of the lines watching as well. I’m sure Colin can recount the details of his game but, I remember walking up and watching as he stacked the two main MB’s with a good crystal ball mode. Everyone was paying close attention to the monitors and his score was approaching 1M. After MB ended and eventually ball three, he got a big round of applause and congratulations from the crowd. He walked over to where I was standing and Keith Johnson joined us to congratulate Colin on his game. Keith asked Colin if he knew there was a 60x super jackpot on one of the orbits or some other nondescript shot buried in the code or tucked away somewhere on the LCD screen. LOL It wasn’t my moment but, I was proud of my friend that had come to PAPA, the mecca of competitive pinball and pulled off a giant score on a difficult WOZ! Of course, the rest of the entry tanked and was eventually voided…


Yeah I watched WOZ a lot since it was the first time I’d really had a chance to watch good players play it, and I wound up qualifying on what was my 2nd entry (though I did several more after that). Seeing Kevin have a good game on it to finish his qualifying run was great, too.


Sorry, it’s kind of a long story:

I woke up Saturday morning on Bainbridge Island, WA in 61st place of IFPA-9 with 58 points. I hoped that 96 was the cut-line that year (and not 98, like in Sweden at IFPA-8) so all I needed was to finish 19-19; I even had two “outs” and didn’t have to do a “Full Sutter” (Robert Sutter went 21-21 in his last two rounds on Saturday of IFPA-6 in London to make the cut from last-ish place…). I played like shit on Friday, but I also had a fair amount of bad luck too with groups and game selections (I blame the stupid IFPA game selection software!!) so I tried to remain optimistic while I still had some life, My first game of the day was on Todd’s very nice playing Transformers LE, and even though I could have gone last, I needed to shake things up, so I chose to go first and put up a huge ball 1 and went on to win easily. Game 2 was on Cyclone, and I got to go first again (since I won the previous game) and I remember hitting the right ramp twice right off the bat and think here I go again, but just missed the Jackpot on the third shot and left a bunch of points on the table, On ball 3, I was looping out the center shot and had the million lit, but failed to make the shot and Danny Backglass beat me by like 100k. ok. That was one of my outs gone. The “old” game for that group was King Rock up in the garage, and I had some good luck on the game and was able to take first comfortably with a couple of double bonus collects, so I finished with a 19. Cool. half way there. My last group was T-Mac, Sanjay, and a European player I didn’t know and we were all in the same boat - one of us needed 19 points to get to 96. The first game was on a pretty wicked playing Cirqus Voltarie. So, of course, everyone else in my group blew it up and going into ball 3, I was in 3rd place with a few million and needed to get past 25 mil for second and 35 million for first (did I mention that this was a wicked playing CV ??!!). I had a Juggler/Ringmaster stack all setup, but drained out after my second Juggler lock (the ball kicked out from the Juggler and when SDTM. I remember the instant I tilted that ball and knew that my Tournament was over. Best I could do with a 3rd in the first game was 17 and that would not be enough. I feel to my knees (we were all playing in our socks down in T-Mac’s basement, so it was easy :slight_smile: in defeat. I quickly went through the five stages of grief on my way up to game 2. I was out at that point, but I still wanted to play my best and finish strong. We had a great match on Embryon for Game 2, and I needed a big ball 3 to come back and get the win. The final game of IFPA-9 for me was on, what at the time was just an ordinary, tilty Old Chicago (Although, just about 18 hours later, it would become the infamous tilty Old Chicago…) I played the game well and made a couple of great outlane saves and I remember laughing at myself because I was suddenly able to play so calmly and well after the pressure of qualifying had been lifted on that game of CV… Unfortunately, though, I housed my double bonus ball 5, and T-Mac was less than 10k behind me with a ball to go… I remember walking out of the garage to take a deep breath that I was done and I was congratulating a couple of guys sitting out in the driveway and when asked, I said… “Well, I could end up with a 17 this round, but I would need Todd to drain right about…” and just then, I heard a collective groan come from the garage as Todd drained out his last ball just a couple thousand points short of my score. I was happy that I played better on Saturday, but frustrated that I would miss the cut at 94 points… So you can imagine my absolute euphoric disbelief a few minutes later when Josh announced the cutline at 94 points. Even though it was 7 players for just 1 spot, it was a new life!! Looking back at the results, it was just insane that the cutline was 94. If any of the 7 players had just one more victory in that last round, there wouldn’t have been a playoff and the final round scores of the 7 players were 17, 17, 11, 7, 5, 5. My good luck continued because the selected game for the playoff was Tron, which I had already played well in group play on Friday, and my position was last player in the first group of three, and the other four would play after us. Now some players might like to know going into a big, all-or-nothing game what the scores were from the first group, but I am not one of those people! So to me, it was perfect; I just had the beat the other two guys in my group and put up a solid score and the rest would hopefully take care of itself. My luck continued as neither of the other two players in my group seemed to know Tron very well at all (it was pretty new back then) and both started with less than a million points on ball 1. I started off my first ball really well getting to Quorra MB and cruised from there to finish with around 40 million (old code, so scores were a lot lower back then). I then just had to wait out the other 4 player group, which seemed to take an eternity. I didn’t watch the game (so maybe Raymond remembers what the scores were ?) and probably clocked in a couple of miles of pacing around Todd’s expansive driveway waiting for it to end, but I survived the 7-for-1 playoff and made the Finals at IFPA-9… That was a Sweet Pinball Moment ™.


Then make your own game selection software! Ohhhh right . . . thanks Adam! :smile:

It’s funny but you can usually tell where the cut line is going to be based on how long I pause before announcing it. That year I couldn’t believe it was 94, so there was definitely some nice long drawn out drama before I unveiled the number, and then waiting for the insane celebration of those 7 people who all were surely feeling like they were out.

Last year in Denver was the complete opposite. When I saw the cutline was 98 with no ties, and saw 5 people with 96 and another 2 people with 94, I quickly jumped into “Cutline is 98 at no ties, thank you”.


Adam’s story inspired me to suddenly remember my best personal moment. It was the 2nd Pinburgh, 2013, and in the last round I estimated I needed an 11 to make the cut. Of course at that point everyone’s in the same boat and we all knew it going in. I went to my assigned bank and realized… wow I know all of these games really well; I have an excellent shot at pulling this off. Then I see my competition… Steve Walker, Rick Prince, and Koz. OK, well, I still know the games. Corvette, Taxi, Snow Derby, and Nitro Groundshaker. Corvette I’ve generally always been able to crush, Taxi I know extremely well despite my crap showing on it during the finals the previous year, Snow Derby I played in a match the previous year as well so I knew the ultra-importance of balls 4 and 5, and Nitro… Well been around Don Coons enough to know what everyone needed to know about Nitro. SHOOT THE HOLES.

Oh and I can’t say enough about the other guys in the group. They all chose to go 1-3 on the last game after I had a 9 so I could go last and have a legit shot. That was truly class.

Wound up with a 1B+ on Corvette which won by a fair amount, couple million on Taxi, over 7000 on Snow Derby which was easily the game of my life on that POS, and everyone else did fairly poorly on Nitro, probably didn’t even need to break 500K. So, needed an 11, wound up with a 12.


err…I beat trent in a best of seven series at the ohio pinball show last year. To be fair, he was loading games into his van between turns :slight_smile:


My favorite memories are the events where I have made the final 4 with my son. It is an absolute treat to be playing with my best buddy.

The first time this happened was at an event in Florida called the Point Monsters Championship in 2013. After a long qualifying session on Saturday, the top 16 battled it out in match play on Sunday. The last game of the final match in the final 4 was on Iron Man and he beat me for 1st place and I ended up 2nd and he got his name in the rafters at that inaugural event. I was thrilled to have been beaten by him.

We have made the final 4 at a few Florida tourneys, including the recent FL State Championship where he beat me in the semi finals on the last ball on game 7 on Bad Cats with a 250k curiosity spin! One of us was guaranteed the finals so the whole 7 game match was just fun.

My favorite “big league” moment was making the final 4 at the 2013 SPF. It was a PAPA circuit event with a lot of front page players.

I made it to the final 4 with Bowen Kerins, who was the world champion at that time, Zach Sharpe who at that time was currently the number 1 ranked player in the world, and Steve Bowden, who was the reigning SPF champ. I was very intimidated to say the least to be in that group.

I ended up 4th, and received what seemed a very large applause from the gallery who were watching the whole thing on a computer monitor. There was no trophy for 4th, but I have a framed picture of the final 4 at my house along with the show poster to commemorate the event. That is my trophy.

It was at that same time it was determined from that result I would be the end of the year point leader in FL during the inaugural year of the SCS, so my friend Ron handed me the Mr. Florida sash, which is our inside FLiPS club joke. It was a good tourney for me :slight_smile:

Thanks for reading.


Nice ones!

My favorite unintentional trickshot was on Fish Tales in a Swedish Championship many years ago.

I was in mutliball and had two balls still in play, both cradled on the left flipper.
Instead of doing the usual cradle separation I thought “What the heck!” and just shot.

The rightmost of the two balls hit the lock and lit the jackpot.
At the same time the leftmost ball somehow had found its way into the left loop and slowly, slowly made its way up to the top and…jackpot!


This past weekend, I ended up doing something that probably won’t happen again… on Addams during multiball, I had 2 balls in play. Somehow, they went Bear Kick, Bear Kick, Thing Ramp, Thing Ramp, Side Ramp, Side Ramp, all in succession. It was sweeeeet


Jim Belsito Belsito’ing again to lock himself a spot in PAPA A Finals.

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Not much to contribute to this, but last night at league I was down pretty significantly on WPT against two other great players. I was last and had two horrible balls. I had no locks even lit and was struggling to even get Ace in the Hole fired up. I did something that I have never done before on my plunge…went for Mystery. ALL IN MULTI-BALL!!! I couldn’t believe it, and yelled what I felt was an appropriate LEEEROOOOY JEEENKINS. Got my AITH going as well and took the win.


There are a lot of games that will give you really significant awards from mystery if you have two really poor balls. I know Monster Bash for instance will commonly give Frankenstein Multiball in this situation.


This last Saturday we had our annual strike out event and I ended up having two amazing games back to back against who, imo, is the best player in our area.

Metallica pulled off RtL, Grave Marker, collected a CIU 31 mil with 2x going on the first ball. With the second ball starting coffin + snake and a 2nd CIU.

Then followed that up by a Tron game where I got SoS on ball 1 and 2 with the 2nd run in it getting to Portal then brickfesting it. :smile:

Speaking of MB, one of my favorite tournament memories is getting an EB, draining with Monster Bash lit, and starting it with my (tournament-mandated) one flip on the extra ball to beat @romballs thanks to all the bumper hits during the ensuing multiball.