TPF2016 Tourney: New and Improved!

The Texas Pinball Festival aims to have one of the best tournaments to match what many believe is the best pinball show in the country. So we’re excited to announce that the 2016 TPF Tournament will be dramatically simplified and overhauled from prior years, reverting back to a format that incorporates best practices that work well for tournament players. It will:

– be easy to understand and well documented,
– run smoothly,
– pay out 100% entry fees back to players as cash prizes,
– provide player ranking/score status in real-time using Karl DeAngelo’s DTM tournament manager,
– allow time for players to enjoy the TPF exhibit hall and seminars, and
– be a lot of fun!

More than 80 of the 200 spots have already been claimed, so don’t wait to secure yours. It’s a $60 one-time entry fee, and with 80 players so far, the prize for first place would be upwards of $1,400. The pot can only get larger!

We’re also excited to announce that the TPF Tourney finals will be hosted, streamed, and commentated by Jack Danger of Dead Flip and Nate Shivers of Coast2Coast Pinball!

If you’ve never been to the Texas Pinball Festival before, you’re missing out on an incredible show experience and what is shaping up to be an incredible tournament. If you’ve played in TPF tournaments in the past, and been disappointed in how the tournament was run, we invite you to give it another shot. We’re confident you won’t be disappointed.

Check out details in the Tournament Quick Guide and on our Tournament pages.

Don’t forget that the tournament tickets don’t include show admission.


Glad you guys are revising things.

Some feedback:

If I am reading things correctly…

I can’t find anywhere on the tournament pages how many people will qualify for finals.

It’s weird that in a qualifying TIE of the top 4, they play off for position, where everyone else is coin toss. Playoff for top #1 qualifier ties make sense but the other positions do not. Would suggest a coin toss there.

Also, in the case of other ties after seeding has already been determined, (for example determining weather or not tied players advance to the next round), I would suggest giving choice of game/position to the top seed of the tie. Random choice of game is less desirable imo, especially when you have 3 era’s of games represented at the event. It’s nice for all the work player’s do to get a higher seed to be worth something.

I would expect players would prefer the top women, regardless of their standing/qualifying in the main event would get to play the women’s final. Excluding women who qualify for main from the women’s final runs against the wishes I’ve heard players express in the past at other events.

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Note: I wrote this post before I saw Cayle’s reply. Pardon the duplicate questions…

The tournament quick guide is missing some information. How many players make finals ? 16 ? 24 ? 27.5 ? It mentions something about “Wizard’s seeds 1-4” in the tiebreaker section, which would imply some sort of byes available ? In standard Herb scoring on a game, then 87th highest score receives 1 point, and the 88th highest score on down receives 0. The quick guide states “The minimum points that can be earned by a player is 1 point”. You may want to check with Karl that his software supports that oddity, because I’ve never seen any other Herb scoring bleed out to 1 point instead of 0 points.

Based on some of the Epic late night / early morning (mid morning ?) overrun SNAFUs of past TPFs, I’m surprised the plan is to start Finals at 6pm on Saturday evening. I sincerely hope you’re able to finish up at a “reasonable” hour on Saturday night.

An observation about finals: If you are only going to be running 2 PAPA style groups per finals round (8 players down to 4 each time to meet the next 4 byes in the following round), then it’s not an issue, but if you are going to run 4 PAPA style groups in the first round, with only 4 games per era available, the fourth group is going to be absolutely screwed on all three game choices because they will have to play the game in each era that the other 3 groups are avoiding. The curse of group 4 is bad enough when only a Modern bank is in play, but with 4 games per era, it will only be magnified.

Who is going to be the tournament director this year ? Best of luck with the new format!; it definitely sounds like a step in the right direction in terms of simplicity and transparency.


Adam makes a good point about how long finals will take. A good rule of thumb is to budget 2 hours for every round consisting of a 4 player group and 3 games. A standard PAPA 16 qualifiers 4 groups could easily be 6 hours. As the number of qualifiers goes up, or with byes, the time goes down slightly for earlier rounds as less experienced players are participating - maybe budget 1.5 hours for every round over 3.

Note that this wont be a problem if groups can play any Era in any order during finals. If first 3 groups choose modern, group 4 could start EM and go any modern pick game 2.

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Ah. An excellent observation. I withdraw my Curse of Group 4 prediction of doom!

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Thanks for the feedback and questions!

Whoops. I see this now. It’s top 16 that make the finals. No byes. We listed the payouts going down to 16 because it was decided to payout to everyone that made finals. But big oversight in not explicitly stating that 16 people make finals.
Thanks, and will update!

My thought here was to not let a coin flip decide who would get to be a bus driver for their quarter/semi/finals grouping based on assumption that highest seeds move through to subsequent rounds. I haven’t had the luxury of qualifying anywhere near PAPA’s 1-4 seeds, so I’ll look into seeing how PAPA handles it. If someone cares to reply here and save me the clicking, great. :smile:

When I wrote that, it was based on my knowledge that PAPA had switched to random choice pin made my tourney officials, but I now see that the random choice pin is for qualifying tiebreaks, and not for finals advancement tiebreaks. Thanks for catching that.

I’ll bring this up with the two women who are part of the organizing team (who also play competitively), and let them make the call. I know that part of the reason was for time purposes, allowing the Women’s Finals to run at the same time as the Main Finals. Thanks for bringing up the alternate way to consider.

Thanks for pointing that out. That part of the rules was written before I joined the tourney organizer team a few months ago. I’ll correct it to line up with the software.

I specifically want to avoid this – I felt the pain first-hand 3 TPF’s ago when I was battling with Trent for the final head-to-head matches of THREE overlapping feeder sub-tourneys until 7am, with Main Event finals starting at 9am. :dizzy_face: And thus the simplicity of a single tourney with standard known format, using DTM for qualifying and reporting final qualifying standings (having faulty software recording/ranking caused MASSIVE issues in years’ past of starting finals WAY past the scheduled time).

Holding it Saturday evening was the brain-child of organizers wanting to try to make the finals a prime-time viewing event for the show. I’m confident we will finish in a reasonable time, and in shorter time than PAPA WC group times because each group is forced to play one modern, one SS, and one EM – which will naturally play shorter than PAPA WC typical 3 moderns per group match.

Yours truly is “Assistant” Tourney Director. But I’m treating it as if it were my own.

Thanks again for the feedback and extra set of eyes on the tourney rules/format.
Hope to see some of you at TPF in March!

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Keep in mind that the tournament can only move as fast as the longest playing game. If all the groups have to play a modern game in their rounds, the groups that haven’t yet played one will be waiting for the group that did to finish before moving on to the next game, modern or not. This will probably be a little bit faster than everyone playing all modern games all the time, but not a lot. Unless I’m misunderstanding the way the finals are to be run.

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Excellent point, jay. You’re right. I still think we’ll be slightly less than 2 hours per round. But your point is well taken. I may shorten the Saturday qualifying by 30 minutes to allow for any tie-breakers to ensure we can get started at 6pm.

OK. Whew. I wasn’t going crazy. It’s there on both the tourney info page and the Quick Guide.

On the Quick Guide: The line above the payout %'s says, “Top 16 players go to finals.”

On the Wizards tourney info page, the last sentence of the Qualifying section says, “The 16 players ranked highest will advance to finals.”

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That’s some of the most important information, I’d make it more featured.

Just a suggestion, but honestly, I would suggest you just copy the PAPA finals rules exactly. And, its worth reading them. The TPF tourney has a pretty bad reputation and if you are trying to get people to come and give it another try, reading “Finals follow the exact PAPA finals rules and structure” (and then explain it) is a lot easier to swallow then to sift through and find all the special differences.


Remember that for 2016 IFPA rules require a minimum of 10% to advance to the finals to count qualifying towards games played. If you get your 200 you will need to have a different plan (unless your finals are enough).

They’re getting a 2% hall pass if it ends up being needed. All the work with Ed in getting them to change the format to something that works was done before the direct play stuff was finalized, and I’m all for seeing if they can get through this year without falling on their face.

Next year they would have to increase it to 20.


Thanks again for taking the time to provide feedback, Cayle.

Trust me, I have read through them, and I wrote the TPF rules to mirror them, simply trying to highlight the key aspects. There’s even a reference to PAPA’s finals format/rules in the Quick Guide. But there’s nothing written in PAPA’s rules on specifics of breaking ties for top seeds (for earning a bye or bus driver privilege) other than: "In the event that two or more players are tied but are not on the qualifying bubble, a random tiebreak procedure will be implemented to assign players to groups."
Is that how it’s handled for anything other than the bubble is to flip a coin??

There is one notable difference to the PAPA finals vs new TPF finals in that each group must play one pin from each of the eras. This is something the event organizers wanted to preserve in requiring the TPF champion to demonstrate skill on all eras of pins.

I believe part of the reason that I was brought on board the TPF organizing team this year is to begin the process of remedying the bad reputation TPF tourney has gotten over the years. And that’s exactly what I intend to do. So thank you again for your help and input.

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Note that the rule set says ‘areas’ instead of ‘eras’. spellchecker can’t catch that one :smile:

And yes, you’ve found the rule. Given how common the unified PAPA/IFPA rules are, your best bet is to have available something that says ‘PAPA rules except 1 from each era’, or whatever. If you want to write out the whole ruleset yourself, that’s fine, but for guys like Cayle that are very used to the PAPA rules a diff is more useful.



I was trying to bridge the gap between seasoned tourney players who are familiar with PAPA rules/format, and those that might not have exposure to them – as there are quite a few players whose only tourney experience is TPF, and as has been well-documented, there’s been nothing standard about the formats that have been run in the past. :smile: For those players, I was assuming that they would be unlikely to go the step further of clicking on link to PAPA ruleset and familiarizing themselves with it.

I am fairly certain there is language for ties for people who may or may not qualify and ties for people on a bye bubble - that they will get to play off.

In all other scenarios you flip a coin.

the logic here is that why would a select group of players in the qualifying stage have the advantage of potentially picking specifically who the 3 other opponents are in the first round of finals? Often, in practice where a playoff rule is implemented, one or both of the players in the playoff try to LOSE because they want to end up in a specific group at the start of finals (for example, if you lose you end up in a group of someguys, where if you win the tiebreaker you end up in a group with ifpa top 10’s). This does and has happened, and low tier (4th) bus driver incentive isn’t enough… at least for some :slight_smile:

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Thanks. That makes a lot of sense.
Tie-breakers for qualifying bubble and bye bubble. Random determination for the rest.

We’re now a month away from TPF and the TPF Wizards tourney!
I hope everyone is getting excited for the show and the tourney. Please continue to spread the word and invite more people to join in what is shaping up to be an outstanding tournament.

Here is a mostly finalized list of pins that will be used in the Wizards tourney (subject to change, standard disclaimer, etc):

Modern DMD:
Demo Man
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
(one more TBD)

Solid State:
Nitro Ground Shaker

300, or Atlantis (Gottlieb) if 300 isn’t ready in time
Campus Queen
(one more being considered instead of one of the above)


It would be nice if the Friday noon start for tournament was mentioned on main page with hours. Maybe I am the only one, but I booked my flight based on not being able to get in before 5, and didn’t notice tournament hours until later. Oh well, still looking forward to my first tpf.

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