The World Pinball Player Rankings, created by the International Flipper Pinball Association, are updated upon the completion of any IFPA endorsed tournament. All IFPA endorsed events from around the world are eligible for World Pinball Player Rankings Points which are awarded according to the tournament's strength of field, number of participants, format of the tournament, and the players finishing position.
At the end of the calendar year, the player with the most WPPR points will be crowned the 'World's Greatest Pinball Player' for that particular year.
The way WPPR points have been calculated and distributed has changed since the creation of the WPPR system in 2006. The latest modification to the formula is being made for the 2015 season, which impacts how the value of a tournament is calculated. Anytime a change is made to the WPPR formula, we generally receive some common questions. Please see our FAQ page for more information, or read the details of the current WPPR system below:
WPPR v5.1 (4/2/15) – Changes made will be retroactive starting with the 2015 season. Details of the adjustments can be found HERE.
Table of Contents
- The point value for every tournament and/or league event submitted to the IFPA — whether previously called Main, Side, League, Launch, Charity, Annual, Periodic, or otherwise — will be graded separately as a single, distinct event and count as one line item for a player's World Ranking resume.
The base point value for every event will no longer have a guaranteed 25-point minimum, and instead be based on the merit of the event's # of participants in addition to the quality of the event's format.
Events eligible for determining a player's World Ranking will be increased from the best 15 active events to the best 20 active events. Events eligible for State, European, or country Championship series ranking will remain unlimited during the affected calendar year.
There will be no limitations to how many events any particular location or organizer can hold, but there will be a minimum number of players required for any tournament that is listed as 'private' on the IFPA calendar in order to be endorsed by the IFPA for WPPR points.
The point value changes will NOT be retroactive: the original WPPR point values for events prior to 2015 will remain the same, however Main/Side tourneys and Periodic tourneys will be broken into single line items for World Ranking consideration.
The Tournament Value Adjustment (TVA) mechanism will remain unchanged.
In determining the World Pinball Player Rankings, several basic rules were put into place to meet the needs and goals of the IFPA, tournament directors and for the players themselves.
- All IFPA endorsed tournaments are eligible for WPPR points, with each player's top 20 active events counting towards a player’s world ranking. The value of each tournament will be calculated based on a few variables that we will go into detail about below.
- Four tournaments will receive a multiplier of 1.5X the calculated tournament value. We consider these tournaments the "Grand Slam" or the "Major Championships" of competitive pinball. These tournaments are: IFPA World Pinball Championships, PAPA World Pinball Championships, Pinburgh Match Play Championships and the European Pinball Championships.
- Every tournament and/or league event submitted will be individually calculated, graded and listed on a player's resume. For example a monthly tournament will show as 12 individually listed tournaments on a player’s resume. A pinball league that runs 3 seasons per year will be listed as 3 separate listings on a player’s resume for that given year.
- The value of a tournament is calculated from determining a Base Value, a Tournament Value Adjustment (TVA) based on the quality of the players participating, and a Tournament Grading Percentage (TGP) based on the quality of the format of the tournament. Full details on each of those metrics are available below.
- WPPR points distributed will be factored based on the number of people who competed in the tournament and where a player finishes. For example, a player might get 5 points for finishing 2nd in a 10 player tournament, but get 30 points for finishing 2nd in a 50 player tournament.
- The WPPR System will weigh recent results over historical results. Points earned over the last year are worth 100% of their value. Events one to two years old are worth 75% of their original value. Events two to three years old are worth 50% of their value. Any event over three years old is reduced to zero value.
- Many events run ‘side tournaments’ that are run in conjunction of the main tournament (Classics tournaments are the most popular example). These will be graded individually like all other tournaments, and will be listed on a player’s resume as a separate event.
- Only open tournaments are included in the WPPR system. However, depending on circumstances, exceptions can be made.
- IFPA endorsed tournament directors will be responsible for communicating the format details of their tournament in the IFPA calendar submission process, and responsible for verifying that format during the results submission process to help ensure an accurate calculation of the TGP.
- There are no limitations to how many events any particular location or organizer can hold. For any tournaments submitted to the IFPA calendar as 'private', the IFPA requires a minimum of 16 players to attend for that tournament to be endorsed for WPPR points. The IFPA now requires a full address in the calendar submission, and it is understandable for tournament directors to want to host IFPA endorsed tournaments out of their homes and not have their full address made public. Any private tournament that fails to reach 16 players will not be endorsed for WPPR points.
The base value of a tournament is equal to 0.5 WPPR points per player up to a maximum of 32 max base points for any tournament with 64 or more players participating. For example, a tournament with 11 participants will have a base value of 5.5 WPPR points.
As we mentioned earlier there are two strength indicators that we use to determine the TVA for an event. This includes a TVA based on player RATING, and a TVA based on player RANKING. These values are added to the base value of an event to determine the 1st place WPPR point value for that tournament. The TVA takes into account the best 64 players participating in a tournament for each strength indicator. For the RATING strength indicator, the top 64 RATED players are taken into account. For the RANKING strength indicator, the top 64 RANKED players are taken into account.
- RATING FORMULA
The TVA based on RATING can be worth up to 50 additional WPPR points for a tournament. The formula used to determine the WPPR value that each player adds to the pot is:
(RATING * .00109375) – 1.40625
We consider a 'perfect' player to be rated 2000, so based on the formula that player would add .78 WPPR points to the value of the tournament. 64 players with a rating of 2000 would amount to a 50 WPPR point increase for that tournament. Any player with a rating of 1285.71 or less will have no impact on the strength of the tournament.
- RANKING FORMULA
The TVA based on RANKING can be worth up to 25 additional WPPR points for a tournament. The formula used to determine the WPPR value that each player adds to the pot is:
ln(RANKING) * – .105837527 + .729913984
We consider a 'perfect' tournament to include the top 64 ranked players in the world participating. Based on the formula the #1 ranked player in the world would add .73 WPPR points to the pot, the #2 ranked player in the world would add .66 WPPR points to the pot, etc. In total the top 64 ranked players would equal an additional 25 WPPR points in value for the tournament.
Every tournament will have the Base Value + TVA multiplied by the TGP to determine the final 1st place value of the tournament. The TGP will be based on the quality of the format of the event. Both the finals component of a tournament and the qualifying portion of a tournament (if there is one) will be included in the calculation. Tournaments that have unlimited qualifying attempts will be graded slightly different from tournaments that have limited qualifying attempts or no qualifying portion. See the breakdown below:
- FINALS/PLAYOFFS COMPONENT
The TGP will be based on the maximum number of games a player can potentially play in the tournament, with 4% added to the TGP for each meaningful game played. For any tournament format that includes a ‘best of X’, the maximum number of games in each round is counted. For any tournament that includes double or triple elimination, we use the longest possible path that a player would take through the tournament to calculate the TGP. The TGP only considers games of 3 or more balls in the game count, with the exception of the Pin-Golf format where players can possibly hit their target score in fewer than 3 balls. 1 ball games or any timed games will not be included in the TGP calculation. Any tournament with limited or no qualifying portion that has 25 or more meaningful games played will grade out at 100% TGP. Any tournament with an unlimited qualifying portion will have an additional time component available to increase TGP by up to 20% (detailed below).
1) 16 player Brackelope knockout style event, single elimination, best of 3 matches. This would consist of 4 rounds, 3 games being played per round, for a total of 12 games played (48% TGP)
2) Pingolf round of 9 games played (36% TGP)
3) 16 player, 3-strikes format with single game matches. This would consist of a maximum 14 rounds of play, 1 game being played per round, for a total of 14 games played (56% TGP)
For tournaments that also have a qualifying portion included in the format, this will be included in the TGP calculation in addition to any percentages added in the Finals component. Tournaments with unlimited qualifying opportunities are graded slightly different compared to tournaments with limited qualifying attempts. See breakdown below:
- LIMITED QUALIFYING ATTEMPTS
The TGP for events that include a qualifying portion with a set amount of attempts, or limited amount of attempts will add an additional 4% to the total TGP for each meaningful game played. A meaningful game is based on the data used to advance a player through the qualifying process. For example, if a player is limited to 30 attempts on a machine, and the tournament is taking the highest score on a machine to advance to the finals, this would count as 1 meaningful game played (not 30). The games played in the qualifying portion of the tournament can be added to the TGP calculation only if that qualifying portion reduces the field of participants by 50% or more. For tournaments where less than 50% of the field is removed in the qualifying process, the IFPA considers this 'seeding' and will not increase the TGP.
1) Match Play format with 8 rounds of play, 3 games per round, followed by a finals of 3 rounds of group play with 3 games played per round. This would consist of 24 qualifying games, plus 9 games played during the finals, for a total of 33 games played (100% TGP). This assumes that the finals round consists of no more than 50% of the qualifiers. If it doesn’t, the 24 qualifying games would not be included in the TGP calculation.
2) Best Game Format where the top score from 5 games are counted in a player’s standing. Players can purchase up to 30 qualifying entries maximum. Finals consists of 3 rounds of group play with 3 games played per round. This would consist of 5 qualifying games, plus 9 games played during the finals, for a total of 14 games played (56% TGP).
3) One attempt on a machine, with the top 4 players advancing to a final consisting of one 4-player game. This would consist of 1 qualifying game, plus 1 game played during the finals, for a total of 2 games played (8% TGP).
- UNLIMITED QUALIFYING ATTEMPTS
The TGP for events that include a qualifying portion with an unlimited amount of attempts will have an additional component of the calculation compared to the limited or no qualifying style events. This additional component will be the number of hours that a tournament has open qualifying available. For each hour that a tournament has open qualifying available, 1% will be added to the TGP, up to a maximum of 20% added for any tournaments with 20 or more hours of open qualifying available. The games played in the qualifying portion of the tournament can be added to the TGP calculation if that qualifying portion reduces the field of participants by at least 50%, similar to limited qualifying attempt tournaments. The games played metric will still add 4% to the TGP similar to every other tournaments. Unlimited qualifying attempts simply offers an additional way for organizers to increase their TGP value. Similar to above, the games played in the qualifying portion of the tournament can be added to the TGP calculation only if that qualifying portion reduces the field of participants by 50% or more. Additionally, the time component can also only be added to the TGP calculation if the field is reduced by 50% or more players.
1) Best Game Format, with best 5 out of 9 games counting for a player’s standing. The schedule has 17 hours of open qualifying time. Finals consists of 3 rounds of group play with 3 games player per round. This would consist of 17 hours of open qualifying, plus 5 qualifying games, plus 9 games played during the finals, for a total of 14 games played (73% TGP).
2) High score tournament open for 8 hours with unlimited attempts, no finals. This would consist of 8 hours of open qualifying, plus 1 game played (12% TGP).
Summary of TGP components (max total 100% grade):
1) 4% for each meaningful game played during the finals/playoffs of a tournament*
2) 4% for each unlimited/limited qualifying game played*
3) 1% for each hour of unlimited qualifying**
** 20% max for unlimited qualifying
Calculation and distribution of WPPR points for each tournament involves many steps:
- Set an entry ranking for first time players. Currently they are given the same ranking as the 10th percentile ranked person.
- Calculate the Tournament Base Value (per formula above).
- Calculate the TVA based on the RATING strength indicator (per formula above).
- Calculate the TVA based on the RANKING strength indictor (per formula above).
- Calculate the Tournament Grading Percentage (per formula above).
- Using the tournament base value and TVA from the RATING and RANKING strength indicators, multiplied by the TGP, calculate what the WPPR point value is for the tournament winner.
- Two WPPR point distribution values are then calculated for the rest of the field of participants.
One is a linear distribution value based on the number of players in the tournament.
(PlayerCnt + 1 – Finishing Position) * 10/100 * (1st place value / playerCnt)
The second value is a dynamic distribution value using the top 32 players of a tournament.
(power(( 1 – power((( Finishing Position -1) / PlayerCnt),.7)),3)) * 90 /100 * (1st place value)
These two values are what a player earns for a given tournament.
To help gauge the skill of a player we have incorporated a ratings system that leverages a players' finishing order to "simulate" head to head play. This Rating is used as part of the TVA for the RATING strength indicator to help determine the value of each tournament.
- Glicko is being used as the foundation of the ratings system.
- To simulate head to head play, we are using the results of tournaments we already track. We know this isn't true head to head, but that data is not avaliable.
- For a given player in a tournament, any player finishing ahead of them is treated as a loss and everyone they finish ahead of is treated as a win. Ties are when a player finishes in the same position as other players.
- Until a player has played 5 events, they will have a provisional rating of 1200. Starting with the 6th event, their rating will start to be calculated.
- Our RD can be between 10 and 200 with a decay rate of about .3 a day.
A spreadsheet of sample calculations from 2014 tournament results under the 2015 WPPR rules is available HERE.
WPPR v5.1 adjustments:
1) Only Rated players will be included in the player count with respect to base value. A player becomes Rated after participating in 5 events lifetime. These unrated players will still be able to earn WPPR points, and impact the distribution of the points from a tournament, but they simply won't be counted towards the 1/2 point per player count for the base. This is to limit the impact of organizers trying to sign up random participants, or worse, list fake names of players that did not participate as a way to artificially increase the base value of the tournament.
2) We have put a rule in place that you can only play a maximum of 3 meaningful games per machine per 'state/round' of an event. Organizers with only one machine are welcome to do multiple rounds or stages where players are eliminated in the process and be able to capture more meaningful games played, but the 'high score tournament' or average score, etc. with X number of games counting maxes at 3 per physical machine.
3) For any tournaments that have multiple paths of qualifying for the finals, we will take the SHORTEST of those paths when counting meaningful games played for that portion of the tournament. This is to try and stop the confusing formats where organizers offer a way for players to qualify for an event easily, and then have some subgroup of players also battling out for spots by using a longer process, while being able to capture the games played for that subgroup of players. Couple of examples would be taking having 5 machines and allowing the high score of each machine a spot in the finals, while also giving players a chance to advance to the finals based on their play across all 5 machines. This would now count as ONE meaningful game played because of that potential path for players to reach the finals rather than 5.
4) For any brackets or group play rounds, we want to promote tournaments using a consistent number of games from round to round. For bracket tournaments we have seen organizers use single game matches throughout, only to then backload the number of games played by having the final match be a best of 25 match. Same thing with group play rounds, we've seen organizers play 3 games per round, except for the last round they would intentionally play 11 rounds in order to reach the 25 games played metric. We will use the minimum number of games for any one round of play in determining how many meaningful games played get counted, so if someone wants to run best of 3 matches they should be making that choice for the entire bracket. They will no longer be able to pick certain rounds to expand that match total, or rather they could, but they would still only be credited for 3 games played for that round. We are okay with the winner's bracket and loser's bracket being different lengths, as long as it's consistent across each of them individually.