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Let's talk tourneys!

MichaelQPinball

Active Member
Jun 9, 2020
154
56
28
GTA
I want to setup a couple random tourneys this summer.... I HAVE ZERO EXPERIENCE and NEED HELP!

My first question is what kind of buy in are people comfortable with? I was speaking to an online influencer from the states not long back and they commented any tourney up to $500-1000 (depending on prizes/prize pool etc) so what's your ceiling? $1000 +/-, what kind of prizes would be cool? and how can we structure the prizes etc do we need licences etc need y'all here!

I have a NIB JP Pro for a grand prize as an idea where I'm thinking of going.

Second, location location location... I AM OFFICIALLY FULLY MOBILE NOW ;-) home collections (with extremely large driveways), privately owned parking lots, etc let's get creative and have some fun!

Third is rules.... need the veterans here... comment or PM me anytime to drop advice, services, etc etc

How many games do we need? 5, 10, 20 what's your thought.... let's hear your thoughts Canada!

Thanks and talk soon, Michael
 

Chris Bardon

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2012
1,178
101
63
Mississauga, ON
So it really depends on what you're trying to accomplish. There are a lot of weekly tourneys around that are there for fun, and some are small stakes cash, but usually the buy ins are under $50. Part of that usually goes to the host, and sometimes some of that goes for food, so at $40 a head let's say, you might go $10 to the host, $10 for food, and $20 to the pot (or maybe just $20 to the host if they take care of food, which is great if someone breaks out a BBQ or something like that). At 40 players though, you're looking at an $800 pot, which isn't bad for an afternoon of fun pinball.

If you're not familiar with formats, there are tons of them out there. Some of the main ones:
-Herb Style (aka pump and dump):All players play the same bank of machines. Each entry gets you one chance on a given game. Top score on the game gets 100 points, 2nd is 95, and then I think it goes 90, 85, 84,83,82,81 etc. A "ticket" is usually 5 or 6 games. There might be 10 possible machines in play, so your top 6 placements count. The catch is that you can enter as many times as you want, so people will keep buying new entries to up their rankings. At, say, 5 bucks an entry and 5 entries for $20, you can build a decent pot, but it's also one of the slower moving formats. Lots of waiting around.
-PAPA style: Basically, a Herb tournament, but your scores have to all be on the same attempt (ticket). It's a hard format to run, and hard to explain, but it also rewards consistency.
-Match play: Players are grouped into groups of 2, 3, or 4, play one or more games, get points on how they place within their group, then repeat. 4p match play is a good way to max out wpprs. Again, can be a lot of waiting around and not playing, since in most cases you're waiting for all players to finish a round before re-drawing.
-Single/Double elimination brackets: Usually used for playoffs, but could be the whole tournament. Runs the risk of eliminating someone quickly though.
-Flip Frenzy: Very popular now. It's basically 2p match play, but on a queue, so you're almost always playing.
-Strikes: Match play, but with each "loss" counting as a strike. Could be 2p groups (1 strike for a loss) or multiple players (1 strike for 2nd, 2 for 3rd, 3 for 4th). N strikes and you're out of the running. Again, there's a good chance you're done really fast.

I'm sure there are a bunch of others that I'm forgetting. There are a lot of ways to play pinball.

As for number of games? Depends on the format. A Herb tournament needs a decent sized bank. Probably your ticket size *2, maybe with a game as a backup. The catch here is that your tournament games have to be as bulletproof as possible. Game goes down and players are going to be pissed. Match play you obviously need enough to fit all the concurrent matches, ideally with at least a 30% buffer, both for variety or for when something breaks. More is always better. Again, games need to work, and work consistently.

Now, if you want to have a NIB game as a grand prize? Well, do the math. If you do a Herb style pump and dump, you can sell entries, but you'd need to sell a lot. There was talk about a "high roller" tourney with $100 entries a while back, but the number of players who'd be in for that would be pretty minimal. To do a match play tournament, you'd need something pinburgh-scale, and we've never gotten close in Canada. The CNE tournaments had a ton of players, but nothing close to that as a grand prize. Besides, even if there were something that lucrative in Canada, I know I wouldn't bother entering because it's probably a 75% chance that Adam or Jack will win. There's also a good chance that with a valuable enough tournament, a bunch of the US players will come up and win our money.
 
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MichaelQPinball

Active Member
Jun 9, 2020
154
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GTA
That's a lot of info thank you, Chris! I guess one of my first questions is.... who are Jack and Adam and can we structure a tourney so they don't have a complete advantage?

Maybe the JP could be a GRAND PRIZE for a season of these tourneys?

I appreciate all the help and info! Thank you!!!!
 

Chris Bardon

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2012
1,178
101
63
Mississauga, ON
Actually, that list might not be up to date. Locally, Adam Becker and Jack Tadman are usually the #1 and #2 players in the area. There are a lot of other great players in the GTA, and the recent rankings actually have Jeff Teolis as the top "Toronto" player (https://www.ifpapinball.com/rankings/country.php), but I think those guys have a history of winning the most events. Covid has also thrown tournament pinball into chaos. Check out the IFPA calendar (https://www.ifpapinball.com/calendar/) if you want to know more about events that are being run. Realistically though, if you're running a tournament that's at all fair, then the most skilled players are probably going to win (which is kind of the point).
 
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MichaelQPinball

Active Member
Jun 9, 2020
154
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GTA
I've seen videos with the Adam guy, he's quite talented but I can't find Jack ( and I don't know Jack ;-) ) Always joking ha ha ha

Well, let's spread out the prizes to help or get our butts busy practicing to beat them ha ha do they have an Avengers 2012 and are good at it? ha ha and maybe they won't show or the prize is too rich for them!? again a joke.... that arcade of Adam's is quite ridiculous and someone travelling across Canada for a tourney!? They got coin to play anywhere!!!

All jokes a side I'm sure we can have a couple great tourneys and inspire some great competitions (And no one worry about Adam or Jack.... I beat them both blindfolded! Jokes)

One thought is they may not come to an event with the unvaccinated and unmasked, I notice it's a bit of a theme for some and I just won't have any of that for my events. That might be the solution right there!?

I hear what you're saying about the Americans too, that's what the man said to me "$1000 yeah, I might come up depending on the prizes.", So no advertising to the States for a while?

So, If this was your tourney first go, what's the buy in and rules? and can you fit an RV in your driveway ;-) jokes! I'm having an event tent made up as soon as possible for some of the tourneys.

Thanks for all your help thus far, Chris!!!
 

ZoomZoomBoomBoom

Active Member
Mar 27, 2021
137
48
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48
Barrie, ON
I could host. I have 28 machines (all modern pins except 1) in my basement, 8 more due to arrive within the next month, a driveway that can fit about 10 cars and a street where my neighbors wouldn't care if there was overflow. (Some may actually want to participate.) I also have 28 1up arcade machines and 2 simulators for those of us that don't make it to the finals. ;)
 
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MichaelQPinball

Active Member
Jun 9, 2020
154
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28
GTA
My saying is usually BOOM.... But today it's BOOM BOOM!! Right on!!! Now how's that for an explosive start to a summer of pinballn'?! I'll message you!