IFPA Heads-Up Pinball Championship Official Rules

The IFPA Heads-Up Pinball Championship is a unique head-to-head event operated by the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA). This document specifies the official operating rules and regulations of the event.

The event coordinators for the IFPA Heads-Up Pinball Championship are Josh Sharpe, Zach Sharpe, Doug Polka and Karl DeAngelo. Event coordinators organize volunteers, designate scorekeepers, handle malfunctions and rulings, delegate responsibilities and authority, and otherwise work to ensure the smooth operation of the tournament. Event coordinators and designated officials are not excluded from tournament play but will be recused from any situation that directly affects their actual or potential standing as a player.

I. Quick Overview

The IFPA Heads-Up Pinball Championship is a standard best 2-out-of-3, head-to-head tournament . . . with a twist.

Each match will consist of race to certain Challenges provided for players to choose from. The player who completes the Challenge first is declared the winner for that game. These matches will be played simultaneously on two different machines of the same title right next to one another.

A NIB Stern Pro will be awarded as top prize, along with cash and trophies for the top 16 finishers.

II. Competition Details

1. Divisions of Play

All players will be placed in the Open Division of play. Seeding for the bracket will be based on the current IFPA ranking of the players at the time of the tournament.

2. Fees

The entry fee into the IFPA Heads-Up Pinball Championship is $75 per participant. Early registration is available for $50 through March 1st. All entry fees will be paid back in cash, trophies and additional prizes.

3. Prizes

Prizes will be awarded to the top 16 finishers.

1st place – NIB Stern Pro Pinball Machine + trophy + title of IFPA Heads-Up Pinball Champion
2nd place – 24% of the cash pot + trophy
3rd place – 16% of the cash pot + trophy
4th place – 12% of the cash pot + trophy
5th through 8th place – 6% of the cash pot each
9th through 16th place – 3% of the cash pot each

4. Schedule

Friday, March 23rd, 4pm-10pm –> OPEN PRACTICE

Sunday, March 25th, 10am-6pm –> TOURNAMENT BEGINS

III. Format Details

1. Seeding for the bracket

Players will be seeded according to their IFPA ranking at the time of the tournament. A standard double-elimination bracket will be used.

2. Heads-Up Detail

Players will be randomly assigned one of the tournament titles to play their best-of-3 match.

The higher seeded player will have choice of MACHINE or CHALLENGE for Game #1. In this case choice of Machine is a physical choice between Machine A or Machine B of the predetermined title.

The loser of Game #1 will have the choice of MACHINE or CHALLENGE for Game #2.

If necessary, the loser of Game #2 will have the choice of MACHINE or CHALLENGE for Game #3.

3. Challenge Detail

Each game will have 4 official Challenges to choose from. The same Challenge cannot be picked more than once in the same match. It is possible for both players to pick the same Challenge in the same match if given the choice.

4. Game Setup

Games will be set for 5 ball play with no extra balls, tournament settings. The Challenges are all time based, so should a player end a game without completing the challenge, they simply restart and keep attempting to complete it.

If a Challenge hasn’t been completed by either player in 5 minutes, the match will be stopped. The Challenge will then be adjusted to “Two Minute Drill” to ensure we keep on schedule.

Anytime the “Two Minute Drill” is chosen as a challenge, players must take their hands off the game at that time. The final score will be determined after all balls on the playfield drain, and end of ball bonus is calculated for that current ball in play when the time limit was hit. Should a player finish a complete game in under two minutes, they can stand with their current score or restart a new game and take the score of the new game when time expires.

5. Sudden Death Final Round

If the Loser’s Bracket winner defeats the Winner’s Bracket winner in the initial finals round match, this will trigger SUDDEN DEATH.

For this ultimate match, it will be a best-of-7 match with all 12 Challenges available to be chosen across the 3 machines. Higher seeded player will have choice of MACHINE or CHALLENGE for Game #1. The loser of Game #1 will have the choice of MACHINE or CHALLENGE for each subsequent game.

6. Stuck Balls/Malfunctions/Rulings

Because of the simultaneous play within these matches, both players need to “stop” play should a stuck ball, malfunction or ruling occur. Should this happen to Player A, Player B should immediately trap up until the situation is remedied for a tournament director. The tournament director will announce when play can resume.

IV. Rulings and Malfunctions

All rulings and malfunctions will be based on the rules for the unified PAPA/IFPA ruleset. Those are available HERE.