The top 15 PAPA Circuit events held in 2017 with the highest average WPPR point value over the past 3 years will be invited to be on the Stern Pro Circuit for the following season. The lowest 5 events based on average WPPR point value will be dropped from the Stern Pro Circuit the following season, and replaced with the next biggest 5 events. Tournament Directors are welcome to pass on having their event included in the Stern Pro Circuit, in which case the next largest event will be selected until the schedule is filled.
Some pinball tournaments will not be eligible for the Stern Pro Circuit. Examples of ineligible events would include the IFPA World Pinball Championship and The Stern Pro Circuit Final itself. In situations where larger events host multiple pinball tournaments, only one pinball tournament will be eligible for inclusion in the SPC. ReplayFX, for example, hosts both Pinburgh and the Intergalactic Pinball Championship, and in this case only Pinburgh will be included. In these scenarios, the final determination of which tournaments will be included in the SPC will be made by Replay Foundation and IFPA staff.
Competitive pinball players will participate in a circuit of 20 tournaments, with all results during the Circuit season contributing to their final qualifying point total. At the end of the Stern Pro Circuit season, the top 40 ranked players will be invited to compete in the Stern Pro Circuit Final tournament.
The Stern Pro Circuit Final is an invitation-only, no-entry-fee-required event where all contestants who qualify win prize money. The Stern Pro Circuit Final is a unique competitive event that pits each season’s best performers against one another in a last-man-standing tournament format.
All players who participate in an SPC event will be awarded SPC points towards the overall standings. These points will be based on the WPPR points earned at those events.
At the end of the Stern Pro Circuit season, the top 40 ranked players are invited to compete in the SPC Final held in Chicago, IL. Twelve machines will be made available for the duration of the tournament. The machines will be a mixture of classic and new Stern pinball machines.
In the first round, all players will be grouped by seed into 10 groups of 4 players. Each group of 4 players will compete on 4 different machines, with the highest seeded player given the choice of choosing the game to be played or determining order of play. At the end of the 4-game round, 2 players will advance out of each group into the second round, which will function similarly to the first.
At the start of the third round, the remaining 10 players will be placed in a ladder-style bracket based on their original seeds. The bottom 4 players will compete in a single game, with the lowest scoring player being removed from the contest and replaced by the next highest seed. When only 2 players remain, they will compete in a best two-games-out-of-three series to determine the SPC Champion and decide who takes home the Stern Pro Circuit Belt along with a brand new Stern Pinball machine!