Report by Dan Burfield.

August 17-20, 2006

the top 4 finals are here

What a great time we had. I spent three days down there and played a solid 8 hours of pinball. I didn't qualify so I didn't attend the Finals. I ranked at 107. It still doesn't equate to 107th. Many people are tied at certain numbers. Some people lost rank over only several hundred points. That amounts to something like a extra pop bumper slam.

Front room lined with open machines

At last estimate, there were around 400+ machines. They ranged from the 1940's to today's new ones. We even got to play the brand new Pirates of the Caribbean. There were three at PAPA.

The qualifying rounds gave me lots of trouble. I really hadn't played much pinball with other people aside from these last few weeks. I mainly hit the local machines on my way home or lunch breaks. This is a solo event. I've scored into the billions on Congo in the past but I made only 176,670,720 on my first round of the tournament. Then, after a glitch at the scoring booth, I was awarded someone else's scores. And they did better than me. The next day I informed the registration and they took care of it. I think that spooked them. I mean, we're talking about $10,000 potential goof!

Rear room lined with even more pins

I got many tips from the masters. They know every detail of nearly every machine. I shared some of my personal strategies with them during the course of the weekend. I used one to my advantage with the machine Congo in the tournament. Congo was my strongest machine. I hadn't played much Monopoly or Sopranos. I did decent on T3. I learned some strategies for that one. I never paid much attention to LOTR and my scores reflect that. In hindsight, I should have entered the Classics seeing as my own pin falls in that category.

Tournament-only pins

In all, this was a tremendous weekend. I had a very good time. Seeing all the machines was an incredible experience. Walking around there with 2 quarters in hand brought me back to my childhood days, roaming like a zombie in the local arcade.

Tournament frustration

In retrospect of the tournament, my failure to score higher than that of a casual player forced me to figure out what I am doing wrong. I thought I was a pretty damn good pinball player. But one week before the tournament, I met local high scorer Al Thomka and he explained the importance of rule sets and their strategies. I was used to the EM way of scoring which is scoring with accumulation of targets and time and extra balls.

I printed out Pinball News' POTC rule set this weekend, read all 40 something pages and took notes. I am proud to say that I have the local #1 high score on POTC at 191,000,000 (9/13/06). I never thought I'd be able to top these local wizards.

Pirates Of The Caribbean

All in all this tournament was an incredible success. After several years emailing and posting scores online and trying to beat anonymous high scores on machines in the area, I was able to match a face with these players.

These tournaments bring the community together like no other. Many subcultures have their conventions but we have a cash prize at reach just for showing up and giving your passion a whirl.

Juniors Division Results
1st Place - Ethan Blonder
2nd Place - Justin Ortscheid
3rd Place - Andrew Batchelor
4th Place - Brodie Richardson

Seniors Division Results
1st Place - Rick Prince
2nd Place - Mike Pacak
3rd Place - Ron Szwarc
4th Place - Timothy Post

C Division Results
1st Place - Mark Salas
2nd Place - Daniel Stoddard
3rd Place - Brett Berkmann
4th Place - Adam Becker

B Division Results
1st Place - Darren Kamnitzer
2nd Place - Lonnie Langford
3rd Place - David Kjellberg
4th Place - Maurice Pelletier

A Division Results
1st Place - Lyman Sheats
2nd Place - Donavan Stepp
3rd Place - Keith Elwin
4th Place - Andrei Massenkoff


Back to the Shows page

Back to the front page

© Pinball News 2006