PAPA 11 World Championships

August 14-17, 2008

The Professional & Amateur Pinball Association World Championships is the most competitive pinball event held anywhere in the world, bringing more than a thousand players and spectators together to enjoy four solid days of pinball battles and plain old-fashioned fun! The World Pinball Championships includes four major divisions for competitors of varying skill levels, three classics tournaments featuring older machines, and more.

Spectators are welcome to attend & admission is free!

How to Qualify:

In Divisions A, B, and C, competitors will play five of the ten available machines to complete each qualifying entry. In all other divisions, competitors will play four of the eight machines available. Qualifying attempts for Divisions A, B, and C may be made any time the facility is open between Thursday morning and closing time on Saturday. All games in each entry count equally toward a player’s qualifying total, meaning the system is intended to reward consistently good play, rather than a mixture of good and poor play. Therefore, it is virtually impossible for a player to buy his or her way into the final rounds.

Scores from each game in each qualifying attempt are ranked against all other players, yielding a qualifying point total. Only a player’s single best multi-game qualifying total will determine his or her qualifying position for the final rounds.

Divisions of Play

Division A:  The main division of the PAPA World Pinball Championships is the most renowned event in all of competitive pinball, annually deciding the title of PAPA World Pinball Champion. All players of any skill level are welcome to compete in Division A and challenge for the title!

Division B:  While Division B is frequently labeled as an intermediate division, this designation is relative to the rest of the PAPA World Championships. The level of skill exhibited in this division is higher than the main divisions of the vast majority of tournaments throughout the world. Players with higher than average league or tournament experience who are not yet capable of competing in the main division at the PAPA World Championships play in Division B. Please note that some restrictions will be applied to help determine who can and cannot enter Division B.

Division C:  Division C at the PAPA World Championships is designed for players with below average league or tournament experience, or anyone who does not feel confidant competing in Divisions A or B. Please note that some restrictions will be applied to help determine who can and cannot enter Division C.

Classics: PAPA offers three separate Classics events at the World Pinball Championships, featuring machines created prior to 1990. The Classics divisions function as their own self-contained daily tournaments and do not prohibit any player from also competing in any other division.

Juniors: Only players 15 years old or younger are permitted to play in Juniors. This division offers plaques to the winners and is intended to encourage younger players by providing them experience in the PAPA tournament setting. In order to ensure each player has a chance to experience the pressure of a final rounds format, all Juniors players will be entered into the final rounds.

Seniors: Only players 50 years of age or older are permitted to compete in the Seniors division.

New Divisions: We are developing criteria for creating new divisions by public demand. Our goal is to run the events and divisions players will enjoy most. More information will be coming soon.

Division Restrictions

Divisions A, B, & C are considered major divisions. Competitors may only play in one major division at a time. A player may choose to move to a higher major division, with Division A being the highest and Division C being the lowest, automatically voiding all entries in lower divisions (no refunds are provided), but no player may move to a lower division without special permission from tournament directors. Players are not permitted to change divisions after noon on Saturday.

The following restrictions are designed to discourage any player from intentionally competing beneath his or her level of skill:

  • Any player who has placed in the top four of Division B or C at the finals of any previous PAPA tournament must enter the next higher division in their next PAPA tournament. If they fail to qualify in the higher division, they may return to the original lower division in the following year.
  • Any player who has qualified in the Division A or B of any previous PAPA tournament may not enter a lower division in subsequent tournaments except at the discretion of tournament officials.
  • At the discretion of the tournament officials, any player may be required to move to a higher division based on his or her performance or past league or tournament standings.
  • Any player who plays in more than one major division will not be allowed to void their first entry in the higher division. Non-voided entries are used by the automated scoring system to establish which division is valid for each player.
  • Players ranked between 1 and 199 in the World Pinball Player Rankings are restricted to Division A.
  • Players ranked between 200 and 599 in the World Pinball Player Rankings are restricted to Division B or higher.
  • Only unranked players, or players ranked higher than 7500 in the World Pinball Player Rankings are permitted to compete in Division D.
Division A 
1st Place10000 + Trophy
2nd Place4000 + Plaque
3rd Place2000 + Plaque
4th Place1000 + Plaque
5th-8th Place350
9th-16th Place150
17th-24th Place100
Division B 
1st Place4000 + Trophy Cup
2nd Place2000 + Medal
3rd Place1000 + Medal
4th Place500 + Medal
5th-8th Place250
9th-16th Place125
17th-24th Place75
Division C 
1st Place1000 + Trophy Cup
2nd Place500 + Medal
3rd Place300 + Medal
4th Place200 + Medal
5th-8th Place100
9th-16th Place75
17th-24th Place50
Division D 
1st Place500 + Trophy Cup
2nd Place300 + Medal
3rd Place200 + Medal
4th Place100 + Medal
5th-8th Place75
9th-16th Place50
17th-24th Place25
Classics I, II, & III 
1st Place1000 + Trophy Cup
2nd Place500 + Medal
3rd Place300 + Medal
4th Place200 + Medal
5th-8th Place100
9th-16th Place75
17th-24th Place50
All Other Divisions 
1st PlaceMedal
2nd PlaceMedal
3rd PlaceMedal
4th PlaceMedal

Total prize package $45,000+

The winner of Division A will receive the title World Pinball Champion”.

All competing players are required to register before playing any qualifying rounds. Registration is $5, and allows each player to purchase as many subsequent entries as he or she likes. Pre-registration is not required. Any player may register at the tournament itself whenever qualifying rounds are open.


Basic Registration (required for Division play)$5
Division A, each qualifying attempt$20
Division B, each qualifying attempt$15
Division C, each qualifying attempt$10
Division D, each qualifying attempt$5
Classics Divisions, each qualifying attempt$15
All Other Divisions, each qualifying attempt$5

This is a list of differences between PAPA 10 and PAPA 11. We are implementing these changes based on player feedback and new ideas.

  • There is no longer any qualifying on Sunday morning. When we close the facility at 3am Saturday night, the final qualifying standings will be available online. Juniors and Seniors division finals will begin at 10am on Sunday, rather than being rushed right before the A/B/C finals. A/B/C finals will still start at 1pm on Sunday, however.
  • The prize package has been significantly revamped, shifting more money into Classics to reflect strong participation there, while reducing prize money in C in order to discourage sandbagging. C players are encouraged to consider the B division instead; C should remain accessible for true novice players. For the first time in ten years, we are paying out 16 places, rather than just four, in the A/B/C divisions. The aim is to increase player participation in those divisions.
  • Classics entries are now $15 rather than $10. As this division is already saturated, this is a good opportunity to increase the prize money in an area where players are very interested.
  • Classics finals now use the same format of semifinals and finals rounds as the A/B/C divisions.
  • The Top Qualifier shootout now has three prizes rather than a single winner-takes-all prize; this is far more fair to all divisions.
  • We have eliminated the “basic” pre-registration for $5. This served no purpose and only created confusion. The $35 pre-registration package is still available, while on-site registration will continue to offer the $5 basic registration. T-shirts will be sold separately during the event.
  • The rules have been tweaked and improved based on incidents over the past several years. None of the changes are substantial. For example, players who qualify for finals are now allowed a 30-to-60 second warm-up on the machines selected for the finals rounds.
  • Tiebreaking for seeding position has been simplified in order to avoid requiring as many tiebreaking games.
  • The mini-tournaments have been redesigned as charity events with donated prizes. These were money losers, and we prefer to benefit our selected charity or charities instead.
  • The doubles split-flipper mini-tournament will now feature a final round of competition (top four teams) on Sunday morning.