Rankings Information

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 2016 season, which will be running WPPR version 5.2. 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:

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Table of Contents

– Overview of Changes for 2016

– Basic Rules

– Defining League vs. Tournament play

– Base Value Calculation

– Tournament Value Adjustment (TVA)

– Tournament Grading Percentage (TGP)

– WPPR Point Distribution

IFPA Rating Calculation

 

Overview of Changes for 2016

  • The IFPA will no longer endorse tournaments that don’t have a DIRECT play component as part of the format. DIRECT play represents multiple players (up to a max of 4) playing against one another on a given game (head-to-head or in a group). Many tournaments use an INDIRECT qualifying system where everyone plays the same game (PAPA style qualifying, Best Game qualifying, Pin-Golf). Those tournaments that use an INDIRECT qualifying system must now run a Finals round that consists of DIRECT play between the finalists to crown the winner. A tournament must advance a minimum of 10% but no more than 50% of those players to the Final. Examples of tournaments no longer eligible for WPPR points would be simple high score tournaments without finals, or Pin-Golf tournaments where you simply play your round/rounds.
  • Originally WPPR v5.0 rules used the longest theoretical path to determine the number of meaningful games used for TGP. This made for situations where the tournament was being given credit for a “longest path” that had an extremely low chance of actually happening. We are changing this to ‘expected value’ for # of rounds played for bracket/strike/match play tournaments. We’ve included a detailed breakdown of a few approved finals formats, and the number of games that should be counted towards the TGP value here: http://www.ifpapinball.com/tgpguide
  • RATED players will be the metric that is used to determine the Dynamic distribution part of the WPPR points awarded for an event. For example a tournament with 300 players in which only 50 were rated will base the dynamic distribution of points as if it was a 50 player tournament.
  • Match play formats or formats that utilize PAPA style group finals with 4-player groups will be allowed to count each meaningful game played at 2X. For example, a 3-game round with 4-player groups will now count as 6 additional games added to TGP instead of just 3. This is detailed in the TGP Guide under the “PAPA Style Match Play” approved format. Please note that INDIRECT qualifying and finals formats that happen to play their games in groups of 4 will not be included as part of this 2X boost. Formats that utilize 3-player groups will be allowed to count each meaningful game played at 1.5X.
  • The IFPA Rating will only be adjusted based on the 32 players above and below a player’s finishing position for any given tournament result. For example, a player finishing 5th in a 60 player tournament will have their IFPA Rating impacted based on losing to the players that finished 1st through 4th, and beating the players that finished 6th through 37th.
  • The IFPA no longer gives additional credit to matches that are longer than 7 games towards the TGP calculation. For example, best-of-9 matches will still only add 7 games to TGP.
  • The Tournament Value Adjustment (TVA) has been modified. 50 points are now available to be added to the value of a tournament based on WPPR Rank while 25 points are now available to be added to the value of the tournament based on the IFPA Rating of the participants. Under WPPR v5.1 this was reversed.

Basic Rules

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 “Major Championships” of competitive pinball. These tournaments are: IFPA World Pinball Championship, 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’ (address not listed publicly on our site), 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. An organizer is limited to hosting 4 ‘private’ tournaments per year for a given location.

Defining League vs. Tournament Play

New for 2016, the IFPA is more clearly defining the differences between what we consider an endorsed “IFPA Tournament” and an endorsed “IFPA League”.

The IFPA will be managing two separate registration processes, one for “Tournaments” and one for “Leagues”. The IFPA Calendar will continue to only display “Tournaments”, while our IFPA Leagues page will show a list of all the active IFPA Leagues and the dates of their current season.

Details clarifying these differences are available HERE.

Base Value Calculation

The base value of a tournament is equal to 0.5 WPPR points per Rated 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 Rated players will have a base value of 5.5 WPPR points. A player becomes an officially Rated player after participating in 5 IFPA endorsed events.

 

Tournament Value Adjustment (TVA)

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 25 additional WPPR points for a tournament. The formula used to determine the WPPR value that each player adds to the pot is:

(RATING * .000546875) – .703125

We consider a ‘perfect’ player to be rated 2000, so based on the formula that player would add .39 WPPR points to the value of the tournament. 64 players with a rating of 2000 would amount to a 25 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 50 additional WPPR points for a tournament. The formula used to determine the WPPR value that each player adds to the pot is:

ln(RANKING) * – .211675054 + 1.459827968

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 1.46 WPPR points to the pot, the #2 ranked player in the world would add 1.31 WPPR points to the pot, etc. In total the top 64 ranked players would equal an additional 50 WPPR points in value for the tournament.

 

Tournament Grading Percentage (TGP)

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 expected number of meaningful games that the winner of a tournament will play, with 4% added to the TGP for each meaningful game played. A guide to help determine the meaningful games played metric is available HERE.

Formats that utilize PAPA style group finals with 4-player groups will be allowed to count each meaningful game played at 2X. For example, a 3-game round with 4-player groups will now count as 6 additional games added to TGP instead of just 3. This is detailed in the TGP Guide under the “PAPA Style Match Play” approved format. Formats that utilize 3-player groups will be allowed to count each meaningful game played at 1.5X.

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.

For single elimination bracket tournaments where the length of matches can vary (single game, best of 3, best of 5, etc), we will use round that has the MINIMUM number of games played as the metric to calculate TGP.

For double elimination bracket tournaments where the length of matches can vary (single game, best of 3, best of 5, etc), we will use round that has the MINIMUM number of games played as the metric to calculate TGP. The WINNERS and LOSERS brackets will be looked at separately, so those lengths may vary from one another. The LOSERS bracket must be consistent throughout, and the WINNERS bracket must be consistent throughout, or the MINIMUM will be used.

For Match Play formats, the round with the least number of games will be used to calculate TGP.

  • QUALIFYING COMPONENT

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). A guide to help determine the meaningful games played metric is available HERE.

Match play formats that consist of 4-player groups will be allowed to count each meaningful game played at 2X. For example, Pinburgh consists of a 4-game round with 4-player groups. This will now count as 8 additional games added to TGP instead of just 4. This is detailed in the TGP Guide under the “Match Play Qualifying” approved format.

For tournaments that offer UNLIMITED qualifying attempts, TGP will be increased by 1% per hour that open qualifying is available for all competitors. Please note that this time component is only available for tournaments with UNLIMITED qualifying attempts, and is limited to a 20% increase in TGP from this time component.

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.

For any given machine used in a tournament, a maximum of 3 meaningful games per machine is allowed per ‘state/round’ of an event. For qualifying purposes this means the maximum number of games counted towards TGP would be 3. For finals purposes it means that a best-of-3 match is the maximum length for that match if only one machine is available.

 

 

WPPR Point Distribution

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 half of the players in the field players of a tournament. For any tournament with more than 128 players, only 64 players will be included in the dynamic distribution of WPPR points.

 (power(( 1 – power((( Finishing Position -1) / RatedPlayerCnt),.7)),3)) * 90 /100 * (1st place value)

These two values are what a player earns for a given tournament.

 

IFPA Rating Calculation

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 1300. Starting with the 6th event, they will their rating will start to be calculated.
  • The IFPA Rating will only be adjusted based on the 32 players above and below a player’s finishing position for any given tournament result. For example, a player finishing 5th in a 60 player tournament will have their IFPA Rating impacted based on losing to the players that finished 1st through 4th, and beating the players that finished 6th through 37th.
  • Our RD can be between 10 and 200 with a decay rate of about .3 a day.