Are you a pinball player hoping to become a legend someday? Or a beginner trying the establish a career in the pinball competitive community? Whether you are a novice or an expert, there’s a wide range of pinball tournaments held annually in several parts of the world to test prowess. But the question is, are you up for the challenge?

Pinball machine remains to be a classic form of recreational entertainment. It had a brief interlude in the previous decades but the pinball industry remained resilient.

In today’s contemporary world, a person can be occupied through modern technology such as smartphones, computers, tablets, and other gadgets. But the time-honored arcade game always trumps its present-day competition by giving its players a certain kind of high and excitement whenever the ball hits the obstacles and constantly earn points. 

Like any other sport, pinball also holds annual competitions that challenges each of its player’s inclination and ingenuity in the pinball realm. One of the defining moments of being a pinball player is joining some of the world’s prestigious pinball tournaments.

Pinball tournament not only give pinball players the opportunity to compete against the best pinball players in the world and snag bragging rights, they also get the chance to play with pinball machines that are out of the ordinary. As a matter of fact, most of the machines used in the tournaments are collector’s item, one-of-a-kind pieces and ranges from machines produced from the 1950s up to present.

There are hundreds of tournaments today that any pinball player and enthusiast can join but knowing the right battle to fight is important especially if you are establishing your mark in the industry.

So if you are looking to boost your current standings or improve your skillset Pinball Sales Australia brings you the Top 5 Pinball Tournaments that every pinball player should compete in plus interesting and essential facts about each of the tournament.

European Pinball Championship

European Pinball Championship

The European Pinball Championship is a 3-day tournament for pinball players that are hosted by different European countries. The first ever European Pinball Championship was held in Amsterdam back in 2005. Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Italy are among the European countries that have hosted the tournament. Since then, the European Pinball Championship has been considered as one of the major events used as a component by the World Pinball Player Rankings (WPPR).

Date: The date of the main event will depend on the country that will be hosting the championship

Venue: European Countries

Qualification: The event is open to both Belgian and international players but exclusive to registered participants.

Fee: Entrance is free of charge for registered participants but kindly asks for contribution to cover the venue and food. For the gameplay, €45 for the Main Tournament and free for Youth Tournament (companion must be registered as well)

Current Champion:  Gabriel Ortiz (151th in WPPR)


  • The first 2 days of the tournament are allotted for the main qualification round to determine who will compete in the big event
  • Only 68 players will be competing for the semi-finals round and 4 at the final event. .
  • Since each player only has 3 pinballs to play with, the tournament follows a “Double Knockout System” wherein a player who lost twice will be eliminated.
  • During the semi-finals, players will be playing at the Main Table and Sudden Death Table. 3 players will be from the Main Table and 1 at the Sudden Death Table.
  • In case of a tie, the 2 players will be competing for an “Extra Shootout””
  • The event also offers several categories:
    •  Team Tournament
    • Youth Tournament
  • Special Guidelines:
    • All machines used in the games remains unknown to players
    • If a player loses his/her scorecard, he/she cannot move on to the next round
    • The scorekeeper facilitates each game. Players cannot play without the scorekeeper.
    • If a machine error occurs and it cannot be repaired, the machine will be removed from the tournament
    • The decision of the scorekeeper is final
    • Aggression against the machine is strictly prohibited

PAPA World Pinball Championship

PAPA World Pinball Championship

PAPA World Pinball Championship was the brainchild of Steve Epstein, owner of Broadway Arcade. To this very date, it is considered as one of the preeminent pinball competition in the world. PAPA World Pinball Championship is a 4-day event for pinball players across the world. There are 4 main divisions in the tournament — Division A, B, C,D with Division that categorizes players according to skill.  PAPA World Pinball Championship also has special divisions such as the Classics Divisions, Juniors Division, Seniors Division, and Split-Flipper.

Venue: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Date:  In the previous years, PAPA World Pinball Championship is held every August. But in recent years, the tournament is held every February

Qualification: Open to all pinball players across the world but most of the PAPA World Pinball Champions are from the US and Canada

Fee: $5 Registration fee for participants. Fee for each division varies. Price ranges from $5-$20 depending on the division.

Current Champion: : Keith Elwin (2nd in WPPR)


  • Division A is the main event of the championship and where the PAPA World Pinball Champion is chosen. All players across all divisions can compete in Division A.
  • Division B is the intermediate division. Apparently, the skill level of the players in this division are higher than other pinball tournaments. Players in this division have above average skill level but aren’t fit enough to play at the main division of PAPA World Championships
  • Division C is for pinball players who aren’t capable yet of playing at Division A and B. These players have average tournament experience.
  • Division D is for novice players and are new to the pinball competition community. Moreover, the division is specifically restricted to newer competitive players.
  • Classics Division is open for any pinball player. Players get to experience pinball machines that have been created before the 1990s. All players in this division can also play in any other divisions.
  • Juniors Division is exclusive to pinball players who are below 15 years old. The division observes an elimination format to give young pinball players a chance to experience a real pinball tournament.
  • Senior Tournament is exclusive to people who are above 50 years old. The division also follows the same format as a regular tournament
  • Split-Flipper Division is relative to a team tournament. Players come in pairs and they can play from both sides of the machine.


  • Each division has a qualifying round which can last for a day. There are several machines per division which players can play to obtain the highest score.
  • Top 24 players in each division will compete for the championship title in a bracketed format .
  • A person’s qualifying score may only increase by getting a high score five consecutive times in a single entry.
  • A player can play from a lower division to a higher division but cannot play from a higher division to a lower division
  • Competitors can only play in one division at a time
  • A player may be required to play at a higher division depending on his performance and standings
  • Division D was recently added to cater to beginners in the pinball competitive industry
  • Juniors Division was divided into 3 tournaments which can go for more than a day.

IFPA World Pinball Championship

IFPA World Pinball Championship

The International Flipper Pinball Association was initiated by the Amusements and Music Association (AMOA) in 1995. The very same group was one of the main reasons why the sport was legalized in the US in 1976 with the help of pinball legend, Josh Sharpe. The IFPA held the first 3-day World Pinball Championship in 1994 with Rick Stetta, the “Dancing Pinball Player”, as the first champion. The tournament continued on until IFPA was defunct in 1995. After 14 years of hiatus, the IFPA’s World Pinball Championship returned to the competitive pinball industry in 2008.

Venue: Tournaments are often held in several US states as well as other European countries

Date:  Most of the IFPA World Pinball Championship were held in May, but this year, the tournament will be held in April.

Qualification: The IFPA uses an Automatic Bid Qualification.  The Top 2 players from each qualified country from the World Pinball Player Rankings (WPPR) are eligible to join the competition.  Only 62 players will compete in the championship. If the number aren’t met in the ABQ, other high-ranking pinball players will be chosen.

Fee: $250 per person ($230 at discounted price)

Current Champion: Daniele Celestino Acciari (3rd in WPPR)


  • The tournament offers a unique gaming experience. Pinball machines that will be used for the tournament are divided into 3: Units produced before 1978, 1979-1990, and  1990-present day.
  • The championship itself has 2 rounds, the qualifying and final round.
  • In the qualifying round, the players will be divided into 16 groups of 4. They will be using 3 pinball machines, 1 from each era. Only 32 players will advance to the final round.
  • In the final round, the competition will follow a “Race to 4” system. Each player will be asked to choose 3 machines to play with (1 from each era). The round will have 6 sessions with a “Best of 3” Sudden Death in case of a tie.
  • The winner will receive the World Pinball Champion which will take in effect until the next tournament or until after 2 years if the tournament discontinues.

Lyons Pinball Spring Classic

Lyons Pinball Spring Classic

The Lyons Pinball Spring Classic is hosted by a family-owned pinball joint in Colorado. Every May, the pinball arcade welcomes 64 pinball players for the annual Lyons Pinball Spring Classic. The arcade has a variety of pinball machines to choose from, with Gottlieb’s Dogd City (1960) to Stern’s Game of Thrones (2015). The price per machine ranges from ¢25 -$1.The 3-day event is well organized with an itinerary for each player. The itinerary specifies the time allotted for each round as well as other activities surrounding the event.

Venue: Lyons Pinball Arcade, 339-A Main Street, Lyons, CO 80540

Date: From 2005-2012, LCP was held every end of April. In the succeeding years, the tournament is held every Memorial Day Weekend

Qualification: Anyone can join the tournament but given the limited space of the venue, the arcade can only accommodate up to 64 players.

Fee: $40 exclusive of the games to be played

Current Champion: : Jorian Engelbrektsson (1st in WPPR)


  • Groups are pre-assigned
  • On the first day of the tournament, 9-hole Pingolf Tournament is held
  • The following day, qualifying round is done. Players will be grouped into 4 to compete for 3 rounds. The groups are pre-assigned and well-distributed according to their WPPR Rankings to ensure fair and optimal playing experience.
  • The head-to-head final match will follow the “Double Knockout System”. Players will divided into brackets. The losing bracket will be playing best-out-3 matches while the winning bracket will be doing the same but for 32 rounds which will increase to 3-out-5 later on.
  • Players with the higher seed have the opportunity to choose the game for round 1 while players who lost the previous match will have the upperhand from then on.
  • The top 16 players will be competing against one player from the loser side of the bracket.   

Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show Tournament

Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show Tournament

The Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show Tournament is annual festival held in Tacoma, Washington where thousands of pinball machine collectors, enthusiasts, and players flock the Great Tacoma Convention Center to compete against each other and get a glimpse of the wide array of pinball machines, arcade games, and other electro-mechanical machines. What started out as annual event for pinball collectors now turned into a festival consisting of various exhibitions and tournaments.

Venue: Tacoma,Washington, USA

Date: Every June

Qualification: Anyone can join the tournament.

Fee: $65 for the entire weekend while $20-$30 for one-day passes.

Current Champion: Corbin Sheffels (835 in WPPR)


  • The festival runs 7 different games with several being sponsored by different pinball companies:
    • Match Play Pinball Tournament
      • Sponsored by Shorty’s
      • Main pinball tournament of the festival
      • Open to anyony
      • $20 Entrance fee
      • 5 qualifying rounds which can accommodate 52 players per round. Players will be grouped into 4 to compete in a 5-game Partial Round-robin per round
      • 30 players will then move on to the quarter-finals wherein 4 games will be played by players in groups of 3
      • 21 players will then move on to the semi-finals wherein the same method of competition used in quarter finals will be applied. It is also in this round that IFPA WPPR points are awarded to player who will rank the Top 8-21 spots
      • The final round are separated into 2 events which will take place simultaneously. Top 1-7 finishers of Finals Round A will be awarded IFPA WPPR points.
    • Classics PinGolf Tournament that is sponsored by 8-Bit Arcade
    • Northwest Women’s Pinball Championship
      • Winner of this event qualify for Nitro Rising Star Championship Match and has the chance to win a Nitro Amusements Custom Edition pinball machine.
    • Nitro Rising Star Championship Match that is sponsored by Nitro Amusements
      • A one-game sudden death match that also award one of our region’s up-and-coming pinball stars.
    • NWPAS Tyro Championship Match
      • A one game Sudden-Death Match of 4 players
    • Rookie Knockout Tournament
      • Exclusive to newbies in pinball tournaments
    • Kid’s Tournaments

ACT Pinball Championship

ACT Pinball Championship

The ACT Pinball Championship is a relatively new pinball tournament in Australia. Despite it being new to the pinball competitive field, hundreds of pinball enthusiasts come together for this momentous event. The tournament was established by Vice City Players along with  Peter Menzel, one of the first few Australian to ever compete in World Pinball Championships. The event coincide with the Big Boys Toys Expo at the Exhibition Park in Canberra, hence, entry to the expo is necessary in order to enter the tournament.  

Venue: Canberra, Australia

Date: Every August

Qualification: Anyone can join the tournament.

Fee: $10-$15 Entrance Fee for the Big Boys Toys Expo + $2 for the qualifying round

Current Champion: Peter Foster (835th in WPPR)


  • The tournament is recognized by the IFPA. All points that will be earned from the tournament will be subsequently added to each player’s WPPR.
  • A total of 12 machines will be used for the event
  • For the qualifying round, each player get to play maximum of 2 times.
  • At the end of the qualifying round, the Top 2 players from each of the pinball machine will move on to the final round.
  • The final event consists of 3 rounds:
    • Ranking Round – Each contender have 1 chance to play. After the round, scores of each player will be ranked
    • Knockout Round – There will be 3 games for this round. Each player will play for 2-player games.
      • For the first game, all 24 players will play against each other but only 16 will move on to the next round.
      • For the second game, all 16 players will play against each other but only 8 will compete for the next round.
      • For the last game, all 8 players will play against each other but only 4 will compete for the Grand Final Round
    • Grand Final Round – The 4 players who surpassed the Knockout Round will be competing against each other for 3 rounds. All the scores of each player will be added in order to determine their final rankings.
      • The player who garnered 7 points gets First Place
      • The player who garnered 5 points gets Second Place
      • The player who garnered 3 points gets Third Place
      • The player who garnered 1 points gets Fourth Place

Australian Timezone Supanova Pinball ChampionshipAustralian Timezone Supanova Pinball Championship

One of the biggest pinball tournament in Australia would be the Timezone Supanova Pinball Championship. Most Australian pinball players have earned their title through this tournament. Unlike other tournaments, qualifying rounds of Timezone Supanova takes place in several parts of Australia to give everyone a chance to compete. All winners of the qualifying round will compete for the grand finals that will take place in Brisbane. Some of the pinball machines they use Xmen LE, Iron Man, Star Trek PRO and Metallica LE.

Venue: Brisbane, Australia

Date: Every November

Qualification: Anyone from Australia can join the tournament.

Fee: $10 for the competition and $25 for access in all areas

Current Champion: Johnny Crabtree (572nd in WPPR)


  • Any public place or arcade with a pinball machine can be a host for the Local Qualifying Tournaments with a $55 registration fee per machine.
  • Local Qualifying rounds will be held in several parts of Australia starting April.
    • All players will a one single player game with each of the 4 pinball machines available in the venue
    • Each of the player’s score per pinball machine will be added in order to determine their rankings.
    • The Top 16 players of this round are automatically eligible to compete for the State Finals Round
  • State Finals Round will follow the same format as the Local Qualifying Round.
    • The winner of the State Finals Round automatically gets a spot to the Grand Finals which will be held on November in Brisbane
    • 5 players from this round are eligible to play at the Grand Finals. However, only the player who earned the first place has a sure spot at the Grand Finals. The other 4 will have to compete for another qualifying round during the Grand Finals
  • Grand Finals
    • A total of 8 players will be competing for the title
    • The process is the same as Local Qualifying rounds and State Finals. However, there’s a Runner’s Up Competition wherein players at the Top 2-5 spots of the State Finals Round will have to compete in order to be eligible to the Grand Finals.  
  • The tournament is recognized by the IFPA. All points that will be earned from the tournament will be subsequently added to each player’s WPPR.


Got other pinball tournaments you want us to include in the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Share them through the comment section below.