The Epstein Cup is an annual pinball competition between teams from Europe and the United States. The competition is organized by the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA), and is contested every year in conjunction with the IFPA World Pinball Championship.
The tournament consists of 8 players from each side, competing in a set of 3 games chosen by each side. Players earn points for their team based on their finishing positions in these sets, with 117 ½ points needed to win the Epstein Cup.
II. Competition Details
1. How to qualify
Unlike most tournaments where the qualification process takes place over a couple of days at the tournament site, qualifying for the Epstein Cup is based on results from all the IFPA endorsed tournaments held over the past 3 years. Utilizing its World Pinball Player Rankings, the IFPA will use the January 1st rankings of the current year to determine the qualifiers for Team USA and Team Europe. The tournament field will consist of the top 8 ranked players on each side out of those players competing at the IFPA World Pinball Championship. Should any eligible player choose not to participate, we will move down to the next ranked player to fill the spot for the respective teams.
For purposes of the Epstein Cup, players from Canada will be eligible to compete for Team USA, while players from Japan and Australia will be eligible to compete for Team Europe.
No entry fee is required from players to compete in the tournament.
The 8 players from the winning team will each receive a plaque courtesy of the IFPA, with the highest ranking player on the winning team taking home the Epstein Cup until the following year’s match.
III. Machine Selections
Following the IFPA World Pinball Championship practice session, the 8 players from each team will meet to choose the games used for the tournament. Each team will choose an OLD-MID-NEW game from the list of games to be used in the IFPA World Pinball Championship. The visiting team will make the first choice (when IFPA is held in Europe, Team USA will be considered the visiting team, and vice versa). Game picking will then alternate between the home and visiting team until all 6 games are chosen.
IV. Team Groupings
Once the games are chosen, the teams will be asked to split themselves into four groups of 2 (Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D). For purposes of the Epstein Cup, Group A and Group B will be playing on Team USA’s game choices, while Group C and Group D will be playing on Team Europe’s game choices.
On the games chosen by Team USA, Team Europe will have choice of position (either 1st/3rd position, or 2nd/4th position). On the games chosen by Team Europe, Team USA will have this choice.
V. Format of Matches
Group A from each team will play on Team USA’s OLD game choice, while Group B from each team will play on Team USA’s MID game choice. The teams will then switch machines to finish out those games. Scoring for those first two games will be 7 points for 1st place, 5 points for 2nd place, 3 points for 3rd place, and 1 point for 4th place. An additional point will be given for the higher total Group score. After a machine is completed, all 4 scores from Group A and B will be added up and the team with the higher total overall score will receive 5 points. To recap, its:
* Group A: 7-5-3-1 +1
* Group B: 7-5-3-1 +1
* Total Group A+B Score: +5
(39 points will be scored in total, with a maximum of 31 points available to either team)
Following these first two games, Group A and B will move onto Team USA’s NEW game choice. Group A will play first, followed by Group B, with the same scoring used.
Group C and Group D will be following the exact same format on the games chosen by Team Europe, completing their three game match at the same time.
Ultimately 234 points will be awarded, so it will take 117 ½ points to win the Epstein Cup. Should the match end in a 117-117 tie, the teams will play a 4-player, 4-ball game with all 8 players from each side playing a single ball each. The game will be chosen by the home team, out of the six machines that were used in the tournament. The winning team will receive an additional ½ point and win the Epstein Cup.
VI. 4-Player Team Option
Should Team USA or Team Europe not be able to fill all 8 spots for the Epstein Cup, teams of 4 will instead be used. The team that was able to fill all 8 spots will have the choice of the 3 machines (OLD-MID-NEW) used in the match. The format of the match will follow the same as above, with only Group A and Group B participating. In this case it will take 59 points out of a possible 117 to win the Epstein Cup.
VI. Rulings and Malfunctions
All rulings and malfunctions will be based on the rules for the IFPA World Pinball Championship.