PAPA 20 World Championships

April 5-9, 2017

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.

PAPA Headquarters will be open to the public on Wednesday, April 5 for the PAPA Circuit Final, followed by the PAPA 20 World Championships from April 6-9.

PAPA staff have made several significant changes for PAPA 20 based on feedback received during PAPA 17, 18, & 19. Major updates have occurred to the overall tournament format, event pricing, prizes, and game selection for all competitive divisions. Please be sure to review our Recent Changes tab below to keep up to date. We take our player feedback and event surveys very seriously and are always striving to provide the events that competitors request. If you have an opinion, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

How to Qualify:

Due to heavy player feedback on this issue, the PAPA 20 World Championships qualifying format has changed from the traditional, but far less common, “PAPA Qualifying” to a more modern “Modified Best Game” format. Newer players will find this format more familiar, as it has been widely adopted within the competitive pinball community since its inception several years ago.

In Divisions A, B, and C, qualifying scores will be drawn from a player’s best attempts on six of the twelve available machines. Each individual attempt on a machine will be weighted against all other attempts on that same machine and ranked on a scale of 0-100 points. This ranking system allows individual game scores from different eras of pinball to be compared directly with one another. Players are permitted as many attempts as they wish on each of the twelve machines within a division, but only their best attempt on six different machines will count toward their overall qualifying score.

In the three classics divisions, competitors will be scored on their best four out of sixteen machines. In all other divisions, competitors will be scored on their best four of the eight machines available. Qualifying attempts for Divisions A, B, C and D may be made any time the facility is open between Thursday morning and closing time on Saturday.

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 confident competing in Divisions A or B. Please note that some restrictions will be applied to help determine who can and cannot enter Division C.

Division D:  Division D at the PAPA World Championships is designed for beginners and novice players. This Division is intended to offer experience to players who are new to competitive pinball. If you are unsure of how PAPA’s tournament process works or do not feel comfortable competing in Divisions A, B, or C, we encourage you to play in Division D. Please note that Division D is heavily restricted to only allow newer competitive players.

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 medals 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.

Women’s: Only women are permitted to participate in this division.

Split Flipper: The Split Flipper Division gives competitors the chance to play with a partner. Each player is only allowed to control the buttons on one side of the machine cabinet.

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, & D 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 D being the lowest, automatically voiding all scores 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 score in the higher division. Non-voided scores 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.
Wednesday04/05/17
9:30am – 10pmDoors Open
10amPAPA Circuit Final
Thursday04/06/17
9:30am – 12 MidnightDoors Open
10am – 12 MidnightQualification for Divisions A / B / C / D / Seniors / Split Flipper / Womens.
10am – 6pmQualification for Classics I & Juniors I divisions. Cut-off for play at 6pm
6:15pmFinal Rounds for Classics I and Juniors I divisions
Friday04/07/17
9:30am – 12 MidnightDoors Open
10am – 12 MidnightQualification for Divisions A / B / C / D / Seniors / Split Flipper / Womens.
10am – 6pmQualification for Classics II & Juniors II divisions. Cut-off for play at 6pm
6:15pmFinal Rounds for Classics II and Juniors II divisions
Saturday04/08/17
9:30am – 12 MidnightDoors Open
10am – 12 MidnightQualification for Divisions A / B / C / D.
10am – 12 NoonLast minute qualification for Seniors / Split Flipper / Womens.
Cut-off for play at noon
10am – 6pmQualification for Classics III & Juniors III divisions. Cut-off for play at 6pm
12:15pmFinal Rounds for Split Flipper Division
3:15pmFinal Rounds for Seniors & Womens Divisions.
6:15pmFinal Rounds for Classics III & Juniors III divisions
Sunday04/09/17
9:30am – 3amDoors Open
9:30am – 10amFinalists in A, B, C & D divisions must check in
10am – 5pmFinal Rounds for A, B, C & D divisions.
5:30pmAwards Ceremony

Total prize package $37,000+

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

All competing players are required to register before playing any qualifying rounds. Pre-registration is not required. Any player may register at the tournament itself whenever qualifying rounds are open. All winners will be required to fill out appropriate tax documents. Prizes will be mailed out no later than 60 days from the close of the tournament.

Note: The guaranteed prize pool for PAPA 20 has been adjusted when compared to previous years due to the significant uncertainty introduced by the new pricing model and tournament format. Moving forward, the prize pool will be readjusted annually based on previous event attendance and performance. If future attendance and performance are strong, the overall prize pool will rise, and vice versa. We have made these changes based on player feedback, but we also recognize no tournament has ever been run with this new format on a scale the size of PAPA 20, making revenue and prize projections difficult.

Division A 
1st Place7000 + Trophy
2nd Place2000 + Medal
3rd Place1200 + Medal
4th Place800 + Medal
5th-8th Place400
9th-16th Place250
17th-24th Place200
Division B 
1st Place2000 + Trophy Cup
2nd Place1000 + Medal
3rd Place600 + Medal
4th Place400 + Medal
5th-8th Place200
9th-16th Place125
17th-24th Place100
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 Place150 + Trophy Cup
2nd Place125 + Medal
3rd Place100 + Medal
4th Place75 + Medal
5th-8th Place50
9th-16th Place25
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

Pricing

Types of PassesPriceDivisionPrice
General Attendee$20Division A
$5 per ticket, or 3 tickets for $12
Weekend Pass
(All 5 Days)
$75Division B$4 per ticket, or 3 tickets for $10
Evening Pass
(After 7pm)
$15Division C$3 per ticket, or 3 tickets for $8
Kids Pass
(6-16)
$15Division D$1 per ticket
Kids Under 5Free!Classics Divisions$4 per ticket, or 3 tickets for $10
All Other Divisions$2 per ticket, or 3 tickets for $5
  • A door fee of $20 will be required to access PAPA World Headquarters each day. Also, all games inside will now be placed on free-play. Tokens will no longer be used at future PAPA or Replay Foundation Events.
  • In response to consistent feedback received over the previous several years, the qualifying format of the PAPA World Championships will transition to a Modified Best Game format. This overhaul of the qualifying system, when combined with the transition to a door fee rather than tokens, have caused us to lower the guaranteed prize pool until we can assess the impact of these and other changes.
  • Divisions A, B, and C will now feature 12 machines that may or may not be drawn from all eras of pinball. Classics divisions will now feature 16 machines each day, rather than 12. All other divisions will feature 8 machines.
  • Due to reduced demand, no shuttle will be provided for PAPA 20.