Vancouver Flip-Out Tournaments

Vancouver Flip-Out … Formerly known as Fraser Valley Flip-Out

The Fraser Valley Flip-Out has grown up! After out-growing the venues
in Mission, British Columbia, the tournaments move to the big city, with
the main tournament now called the Vancouver Flip-Out (VFO). The
tournaments are now part of an even larger event, the Vancouver Pinball Expo (VPE).

Please note that the tournaments start a day earlier than the Expo, on Thursday September 22, with doors opening at 4pm. Playing early is highly recommend to avoid long lines waiting to play, and to ensure you have sufficient time to play all of your games, especially in the Main division.

$10,000 in prizes, in the form of cash, trophies, plaques, and pinball memorabilia to be awarded across all tournaments!

A summary of each tournament is provided here. Go to for more details.


  • Main Tournament, Limited Best-Game Qualifying. IFPA Ranked.
  • $20 to Enter, 15 tickets. Maximum two rebuys, of 5 tickets for $10 each.
  • 12 to 14 machines, best 7 scores
  • Open Division: Top 24 qualifiers, $1000 guaranteed to winner.
  • Novice Division: Top 16 qualifiers, IFPA Rank Restriction at 4000, $150 guaranteed to winner.
  • Qualifying Thursday through Saturday, finals on Sunday.


  • Classics Tournament, PAPA-Style Qualifying in sets of 4 games. IFPA Ranked.
  • $10 per Entry. One entry is four games. Unlimited retries.
  • 6 to 8 machines in the bank, choose your favorite 4 to play.
  • Open Division: Top 24 qualifiers, $500 guaranteed to winner.
  • Novice Division: Top 16 qualifiers, IFPA Rank Restriction at 4000, $150 guaranteed to winner.
  • Qualifying Thursday through Saturday 6pm, finals Saturday 7pm.


  • Women’s Tournament, 4-Strike Knockout.
  • $10 Entry. Saturday 2pm.
  • $100 and plaque guaranteed to winner.
  • Plaques and cash prizes for top 4. Additional prizes if more than 20 players.


  • 3-Strike Knockout tournament for players who are not ranked in IFPA top 2016
  • $5 Entry. Sunday 1pm.
  • $100 and plaque guaranteed for the winner.
    (Note: Players in VFO Open Division Final 16 or Novice Final 4 not eligible.)


  • Match Play, 4 Rounds
  • $1 Entry. Sunday 10am.
  • Top 4 qualify for one 4-player-game final.
  • Plaques for Top 4.


  • Fun Tourney on Twilight Zone
  • Any player registered for Main Tourney gets 1 attempt, which can be done at any time during the weekend, prior to VFO finals.
  • Twilight Zone will be setup on Easy Settings, outlanes easy (or blocked), 10-ball play. Play all extra balls.
  • Goal 1: Get to Lost-in-the-zone (LITZ) wizard mode as fast as possible. Number of balls is irrelevant.
  • Goal 2: Get Highest LITZ score.
  • Game ends once playing LITZ is complete.
  • Fastest Time and Highest LITZ score will get prizes.

Please note that entry into any tournament requires entry into the
Expo. For more details on the expo in general, please visit the show

Vancouver Flip-Out Tournaments are sponsored by Nitro Amusements,
serving Canada and the Pacific Northwest in Sales, Rentals, Repairs, and
Customizations of Pinball Machines.

looking forward to it! :slight_smile:

Can’t wait. Thanks for the break down.

What’s the parking situation at the Holiday Inn if you’re not staying there? Do they charge for parking for non-hotel guests?

Yes, you can park at the hotel as a non-guest, but it’s not the cheapest parking option at $24/day. There are several parking lots within two to three blocks that range $13-15 per day.

Alternately, take the Sky Train in. The Holiday Inn is four blocks south of the Vancouver City Centre train station, and only a 25-minute ride from the airport if you’re flying in. If you’re driving in, you can use a park-and-ride lot, then ride in on the skytrain (

We’re revealing the machines in the tournament banks one per day, with some strategy hints (or revealing secrets that the other players might be using!) for each machine as we post them.

Follow the VFO Tournaments Facebook page to see it in your newsfeed. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still see all the posts as they are public for anyone to view.

VFO Tournament Page is here:

VFO Tournament Website is here:

No sign of any posts besides the one announcing the event with the rules.

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I tried it from someone a different browser while not logged into Facebook, and saw the same issue. The event is visible, but the discussion is not.

It was my understanding that “Public” meant anyone can see it. But seems like facebook is interpreting “Public” for discussion posts to be different than public for the event page?

I can’t find any settings to make it “more public”. I’ll keep digging. If someone knows how, please reply!

In the meantime, here are the machines announced so far.

Modern Bank (13 total): Medieval Madness, Tron, Street Fighter II, Road Show
Classic Bank (8 total): Drop-a-card, Mata Hari

If I can’t figure out how to make the posts to that event public, then you might just need to get a Facebook account! :slight_smile:

there is no option, post are not visible to non registered FB user… Bob you gotta do it! :smiley:

I’ve become a fan of the @hisokajp Facebook-to-Email gateway. :wink:

“Glo” balls in some of the machines. Can someone give me the heads up why this is and why someone would come to this decision?

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Sigh, reading this on the BoltBus is already making me regret pissing away $300 to come here :frowning:

Really? On main bank, and not just some wacky side tourney?

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One of the big pinball locations in Seattle does this too. It’s fucking annoying but maybe I’m just a little triggered when people are like “Oh, so you can’t handle it?!? Hahaha!!!”. It’s not like I can’t deal with it or that it makes me any less likely to win, it’s just kind of “not pinball”. Games weren’t designed for these balls, why use them? Same deal with superbands. Lightning flippers are borderline but I find them a way more acceptable way to bastardize a game as they at least effect the game in a visually predictable way.


We are seeing his first hand actually. (The issues with machines not being designed for them) Its causing some problems with a few machines that are frustrating … given that we are halfway to the finals you can’t change it now. I would love to know why this decision was made and look forward to a reply. That said it’s not my tournament. Don’t regret the $300 lots of amazing machines to play, great people, and cold drinks. I spent more to come and don’t regret it. Plus the only modern machine with “glo” balls is SF II and that machine causes controversy no matter what balls are in the machine. So if you are as “shocked” as I was that they did this just skip the classics. :smiley: Be warned some good competition in the mains going on. It’s tight!!!

You also have a choice of machine, so it s easy to avoid glow ball. I understand it was a choice to improve gameplay on a set selection of machine that went availed before the event. In some case like Magic City it makes the games a lot more fun with balls actually coming back from center lower pop :slight_smile:

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Thanks Germain for the update!

I have some additional questions / thoughts / opinions I’ll share after the event as to not give anyone an unfair advantage. Thanks for the reply!

The glo balls provide an opportunity to easily fix an issue with a machine, that would otherwise make the game either unusable or not very fun. They are not inserted in order to screw the player.

As a tourney director not living in the city, there’s no opportunity to play test every machine used in the tourney. In fact, I could not play-test a single one of the machines until they were already installed in the tournament room. The machines were believed by the people familiar with the machines as some of the best condition machines available. However, there were still issues.

Here’s a run-down of why we added glo-balls to five of the machines (out of 20):
Street Fighter II: The machine is in impeccable condition. Perhaps it’s the most beautiful SF2 you’ll find in the world. Yet, the flippers could barely shoot the ball up the left ramp, and not at all up the right ramp. So do we disqualify the machine? There was no time to do a flipper rebuild … or the power is what it is if this was a power issue. But by swapping the silver ball for the glo balls, every shot was makable, including easily making both ramps. Most people I spoke to really enjoyed playing that game over the weekend.

Bounty Hunter. It’s a rare find, in very good condition, recommended to be in the tournament as something rarely found elsewhere. So we said yes. Then with machine installed, the flippers were not strong enough to get the ball up the right orbit to ABC lanes, or to the loop at back left. Glo balls to the rescue, turning this into a playable game.

Magic City. When the silver ball went between the flippers to the pop bumper, it was so sluggish that it was a guaranteed drain. Using the Glo Ball made the game exciting because a ball below the flipper was still savable with the right nudging.

Space Invaders. This game is generally not used in tourneys because it’s a one-shot game, just shoot the horseshoe forever. But following the mentorship of Jim Belsito who likes to take a good or unique game with an unfortunate exploit as something different to play in the tourney, we chose to include it. We thickened up the rubber on that horseshoe shot, and added the glo ball so that missed shots were much more risky. By increasing the risk of that show relative to the reward, there became no obvious strategy to winning that game. Some players went for spinner; others still dared horseshoe. Some focus on the red targets to get the super bonus then collect bonus, and yet others went for blue guys then lots of center top lanes. I saw all these strategies used. We succeeded in balancing the scoring on the game.

Countdown: With silver ball, the flippers could barely knock down the drop targets at the top of the playfield, and that’s when the machine was cold. What would happen when it heats up? Again, glo balls to the rescue. Instead of a flipper rebuild, we changed the ball, and the game was now very playable.

As a tournament player, to me there’s nothing more frustrating than weak flippers that cannot make every shot in the game, or play that is so sluggish that you get bored of the game, or just isn’t fun. It’s a tool in the toolbox to address machine issues, after a particular machine has already been committed to in a tournament.

I’m all for constructive criticism. Our goal is to create a positive tournament experience, but we have to make do with the hand that we’re dealt. While the use of glo balls might have been a negative for you to start, hopefully you had one or more experiences with them that showed not just that they aren’t so bad, but that you enjoyed playing with them, and actually went back to play those same games, choosing the ones with glo balls even though you had the ability to avoid them 100%. But if you have even better ideas for addressing issues like weak flippers and exploits when replacing the machine is not an option, then great; please do share!


That’s the clarification I was looking for. I knew there were good reasons and your reply shows exactly that. I have never been in a tournament with “glo” balls so it was new to me… wasn’t attempting to throw shade just understand.

Overall an amazing weekend and you and your team should be exceptionally proud of the work. He machine choices were excelptional. Bounty Hunter! SF II! What amazing titles and a far better experience for me then the Stern / Stern / Stern tournaments I am normally in (or help run)

Take a bow! I’ll post a recap of my overall thoughts after. Thanks for being open to the dialog and for the honest response.

I’ve played in a few other events that used glo balls or power balls for the same reason, and I’m fine with that. (Genie is one game where it’s often useful.) I approve of Dave’s decision.