ToPS Tournaments

Is there any Stern literature About these tournaments? The menu is pretty limited am I missing something, is there any way to track audits during the tournament? What are the rules to the different types? Payout structure built in?

Is there anyone who runs these that can offer any insight? I just started running a few @ Cbar in Portland and I’m wondering what I’m getting into. Do I need to be concerned about legal issues seems just like any other pay to play tournament to me but I really don’t know if it existing in the machine makes any difference.

Right now I have 5 going all high score top 4 set ups. Ill report back if anyone else is interested, there really isn’t that much information out there about this feature hope I’m not just waisting my time.

Thanks All

1 Like

No, not wasting your time. Good to hear someone is running them again. I ran a few over the years. I also bought the Tops kit for Whitestar games. It came with installation instructions, but the only decent documentation on running them is found in manuals. The digital Spiderman and TSPP manuals both have good Tops sections. TSPP manual is on IPDB, not sure where I found the Spidey manual. It’s out there.

I always ran high score with 5 winners, never bump and win. I ran them for about a month. I let players win more than one place, but no more than two. If you had the fifth high score and any other high score, you could keep playing because you would bump yourself with another high score. Two scores in the top four and you were done. Each Tops game was 2 credits (75 cents each) with 75 cents going into the pot. I never sweetened the pot. Always started at $0. Always ended on a weekend, so I could be there and pay folks when it ended, although it usually it took a while to pay everyone.

The city I ran them in had no rules at all for coin op, so I showed the pot value (in dollars). If your not sure in your area, you can hide the dollar amount. Will still show the leaders in attract mode, but won’t show dollar amounts.

When I ran them, I politely asked the local good players not to wait until the last day to put up big scores and they cooperated. They knew people wouldn’t keep playing if that happened, so it was good for everyone. Eventually, if kind of faded. Biggest pot was WOF for $402. Neil Shatz took first and $201.

You have to get a core group of players playing friendly. If players come in late and take money, that will discourage folks from trying again. Five running at the same time in one location may be a bit much. If the pots don’t get big, try less machines.

When a players gets a high score, they have to enter a 4 digit PIN number. At the end of the tournament, you go to the tourney menu and select data to verify winners. Whomever claims the high score should know thier PIN number (or they don’t get paid). To clear Tops info in attract mode, (quick) start and stop a tournament ten times. Good luck to you and your players.


That to me has always seemed such a ridiculous way to end a tournament. Whoever thought of that needs their head examining.:grinning:

1 Like

Goddamnit, that’s the exact piece of info I haven’t been able to find for months.

Congrats on being the first person to document this on the internet!

1 Like

Technically a tournament stops whenever you want it to, by setting the time and date to stop it. The data should be left in attract mode for a while so players can see if they won or not. 10 starts and stops is excessive. They could’ve went with 3 or 5. Thankfully you can use the quick start option and it goes pretty quickly.

I wonder if anyone has any new thoughts on tourney software. Maybe tie in selfie leagues somehow? Tops hasn’t changed in more than 10 years. With location play and competitive play growing, it seems like some improvements could be found. An option to display maximum winning spots per player would be nice. Anyone have any other ideas?

1 Like

Finally! I can clear that info out of the Metallica at the rock hall! That’s been deriving me crazy!

Do you still need a special start button to run TOPs tournaments?

Yes you do.

Marco has the buttons and harnesses. Easy to install. Early buttons were in the lockbar, later ones were moved to the cab. I want to say WOF was the first to have the button on the cab.

Forgot to mention discount pricing. If you offer 1 credit for $1 and 3 credits for $2, players will put in $4 to get six credits, which is usually 3 Tops games. So if $1 goes into the pot for each Tops play, you will take a loss with the discount pricing.

I had my games priced at 75 cents, 3/$2, so the added money in the coin box made up for the smaller discount loss. For 6 credits, I lost only 50 cents. The loss is obviously bigger with $1, 3/$2. You can add less to the pot with each entry. If I was running one now, that’s what I would do. Maybe 85 cents per entry or somewhere in there.

1 Like

I saw a Tops Tournament on a Tron machine recently and thought it was one of the coolest things, short of being at an actual tournament. Wish it was used more often.

Finally I can expunge @G_Money (from DJ’s league night/side tournament TOPS events) from the Row House! Honestly, he could probably go in and say “I’m G$” and claim his pinball street cred. I’d personally trade it in for a chocolate popcorn.

Am I on some TOPS tourney out in the wild?

The problems I saw was simply the wide range of player skills and the usual suspects coming in to wipe out everyone else. People stopped playing when they knew the ringer would come in everytime.

1 Like

There is some problems with TOPS. Say your game is $1 a play, $2 for TOPS play with $1 added to jackpot. A good player comes in, puts in $1, wins ten games, plays 5 TOPS games. Jackpot goes up $5 that isn’t in the cash box.

Bump N’ Win, Top score is highest score, at end of tournament wins $1/4th of prize money ( on 5 prizes/winners ) the Bump N’ Win score is lower, anybody can beat it. A player comes in the last half hour of the tournament and plays four games, getting 2nd thru 5th on the scores, and wins 3/4ths of the money.

LTG : )

You won a Ghostbusters TOPS at DJ’s, and I had no way to blank it after buying it when I put it at the Row House!

How is anyone winning ten games off $1?

I have some great players come into my business. Not unusual to see them leave a bunch of credits on a game when they go. So stacking up ten credits may take a little time, but can be done.

It may take more than one game to win ten, but easy to win a few on each game.

And each game won used for the TOPS Tournament, adds money to the jackpot but nothing to the cash box to cover it. So who owns the game has to come up with the extra money.

Lyman contacted me years ago about some input, Stern was looking at updating it. But apparently that idea never happened.

Maybe I should try and explain that better.

If you run a TOPS Tournament with a cash prize that goes up a set amount each time a TOPS game is played. Any TOPS games played with credits won, not paid for. Increases the cash prize without increasing the amount of money in the cash box.

If you run a TOPS Tournament with a set prize that doesn’t change or increase, yet charge extra for the TOPS game played. And TOPS games are played with credits that are won. The cash box isn’t increasing the extra.

Who ever owns the game and is running the tournament could lose a lot of money making up the difference at the end of the tournament.