Competitive Pinball 101

  1. IFPA and PAPA
  2. Casual vs competitive (IFPA-sanctioned) events
  3. WPPRs (World Pinball Player Rankings)
    1. What are WPPRs and Women’s WPPRs?
    2. What determines the WPPR value of an event?
  4. Your IFPA player profile
    1. How do you get one?
    2. Ranking vs rating
    3. How to improve your world ranking
  5. Qualifying for IFPA Championships
    1. State/Province, NACS, Country & ESC
    2. IFPA Women’s World Championship
    3. IFPA World Championship
    4. IFPA Power 100
  6. Stern Pro Circuit (formerly PAPA Circuit)

There are two major organizations in the world of pinball: PAPA and the IFPA.

PAPA – Professional Amatuer Pinball Association
PAPA and the Replay Foundation work to promote pinball among competitive and casual players alike through the preservation and restoration of machines, creation of tutorial videos, live broadcasting of tournaments and gameplay at PAPA TV, organizing the PAPA/Stern Pro Circuit and running the world’s largest tournament: Pinburgh.

IFPA – International Flipper Pinball Association
The IFPA is the governing body for competitive pinball, responsible for the creation and maintenance of tournament rules, world pinball player rankings as well as sanctioning and organizing competitive tournaments and leagues.

Josh Sharpe is the IFPA President and is frequently heard on pinball podcasts, Tilt Forums and in the media at large – always working to grow awareness and stature of competitive pinball. All hail Josh.

Casual vs Competitive (IFPA-sanctioned) Events

We use the term ‘casual’ to indicate that an event does not award WPPRs (contribute to a player’s world rank) and consequently does not need to adhere to the IFPA’s endorsement requirements. 

Broadly speaking, eligibility for an event to award WPPRs is based on the following criteria:

    • The event must be open to all players regardless of age, *gender or skill
      • *Women’s tournaments may be eligible for Women’s WPPRs which do not contribute to a woman’s overall world rank – only her women’s rank. More on Women’s WPPRs here.
    • Results must be verified by a tournament director, meaning scores cannot be self-recorded.
    • The format must include a direct play component – meaning the entire event or perhaps just the Finals – where player compete against each other in a 2, 3 or 4 player game.

WPPRs (World Pinball Player Rankings)

We use the term WPPRs (pronounced ‘Whoppers’) 

Women’s WPPRs