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{{Pinball Tournament!}}

If you have questions about tournaments, contact me.

 (/obnoxious animated gif)

 Battle for the Iron Throne Tournament Series


GeneX of Orange Photography is running a 3 or 4-part tournament series with cumulative results counting for IFPA ranking points.

I just learned of this series-event this past weekend and event 1 is already in the bag, however, you can still qualify for the “final battle” or just come out for a standalone good time.

To qualify for the “final battle” your cumulative results have to be in the top 24 over the three events.


Battle 1: Sunday October 11, 2015 @ 2:00pmGestalt (3159 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103) – (archived results: Main Tourney / Finals)
Battle 2: Game of Thrones Pinball Launch Party: Sunday October 25th, 2015 @ 2:00pm – Gestalt (3159 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103)
Battle 3 and/or Final Battle*: TBD [*we have the potential for a really cool new venue and if that happens, we will make that Battle 3 and have the final battle a 4th date back at Gestalt (most likely)]

Each Battle will have a $5 entry fee. Formats for the preliminary Battles may vary depending on the location but will use MatchPlay to Battle in Groups of four (4) if we have more than 20 entrants. If we have under 20 we will battle head-to-head in a 2-strikes format (using Brackelope)!

As you may know, in Game of Thrones, when you lose, you are pretty much dead, but this isn’t really Westeros and you won’t die! Instead, everyone will earn points on a set scale according to their finishing position.

More details, including the results of the first event, on the official page here. Also, the Facebook events page is here.


ENTRY: Entry to this tournament is FREE with regular admission to the Pacific Pinball Museum (reg. Adult Admission $15).  Entry also grants you unlimmited play on most of the Museum’s 90+ pinball machines all day!  Pre-registation is not required.  Just show up and play.

Please no Groupons or other discounts for this event.  Annual Membership holders are welcome and memberships may be purchased and used for this event in lieu of regular admission.  Full details and Memberships available here:

WHERE: Pacific Pinball Museum, 1510 Webster Street, Alameda, CA

WHEN: Saturday February 21.  Players may register from 4 – 7 PM.  No new players will be accepted after 7 PM.  The qualifying round runs between 4 – 7:30 PM.  Finals begin at 8 PM.

PRIZES: Prizes include plaques, STERN merchandise and Museum goodies.


Each player is assigned to a bank of three games and plays each game one time each.  Points are awarded depending on how well you play against others on the same bank Example: 29 points for 2nd, 18 points for 13th and 1 point for 30th.  The total of your points across the three games determines your qualifying standing.

If you get the highest score on any single game, you advance to the Playoffs.  5 players, based on their point total will also qualify for the Playoffs (Note: this number may change depending on attendance).


Depending on Attendance, the top 32 or 24 players advance (approximately half the field) to Playoffs.  Players are randomly placed in groups of four and assigned three machines to play.  The top 2 players from each group will advance to the next Round.  (In the event of 24 players, there will be a special knock-out round when six players remain)

Players will ‘draw straws’ for play order for Game One.  For games two and three, players will have choice of play order in order of their performance in the previous game.  For example: If Joe finishes last on game one, he will he will get first choice of whether to play first, second, third or fourth for Game 2.  If he finishes 2nd in Game 2, he will get third choice of order for Game 3.

Playoffs continue until the final group of four players.  The winner of that match shall be declared the champion.  The top three players will have their names added to the plaque which hangs in the museum.

ENTRY: $30, limited to 40 players. Advance registration is encouraged.  Open spots may be available the day of the tournament.

NOTE: Regular museum entry must be purchased to compete in this tournament.  Please no Groupons or other discounts for this event.  Some modern games also require coin-drop.

WHERE: Pacific Pinball Museum

WHEN: February 21, 10:30 AM Registration/Check-in, 11:30 AM orientation and tournament start.


PRIZES (assuming all 40 spots are filled):

1st: $450 (37.5%)
2nd: $270 (22.5%)
3rd: $180 (15%)
4th: $120 (10%)
5th: $72  (6%)
6th: $48  (4%)
7th: $30  (2.5%)
8th: $30  (2.5%)


This tournament will challenge players across several historical eras of pinball: Modern (a.k.a. ‘DMD’), Solid-State, Long-flipper Electro-Mechanical and Short-Flipper Electro-Mechanical.

1. Round Robin format.  All players play all other players in the tournament one time each during qualifying.

2. If there are 23 players or less, the top 8 players shall advance to the finals.  If there are 24 players or more, the top 12 players shall advance to the finals, with the top four overall earning a Bye.


1. The qualifying round is a full round-robin event.  Every player plays every other player.

If there are 24 players or less, there will be one Round Robin group.

If there are more than 24 players, two Round Robin groups shall be formed, seeded by WPPR ranking. Example: The highest rated player will be assigned to Group A, Player 1. The next highest rated player will be assigned Group B, Player 1.  The next highest rated player will be assigned to Group A, Player 2, etc.

2. Each player may only select Modern era games four times during qualifying.  Four tickets will be alloted to each player for Modern games at the start of the tournament. (Note: This does not mean you will only play four modern games during qualifying. The number will depend on how many times both you and your opponents select Modern.)

3. After a player has chosen Modern four times, the player must select Solid-State, Long-flipper Electro-Mechanical or Short-flipper Electro-Mechanical for the remainder of Qualifying.

4. A round of play is as follows.  1) A coin flip is called.  2) The winner of the coin flip has the option of a) Choosing the game to be played and no choice of order, or b) The era of game as well as choice of order.  (Choosing b uses up one of the player’s tickets if Modern games are selected.)  3) The players play a one-game match and submit their score sheet indicating the winner. 4) Players pair up with another player needing a match and begin a new round.

Example: Bill wins the coin toss against Paul.  Bill chooses to select Era and Position.  He chooses Modern, thus spending one of his Modern tickets.  Paul selects Medieval Madness for the game. Bill chooses to play 2nd.


If there is one RR group, the top 8 players shall advance.  If there are two RR groups, the top six players from each group shall advance, with the top two players of each group getting a bye to the semi-finals.  The bottom 8 shall be seeded as follows: Group 1) 12-10-7-5 and Group 2) 11-9-8-6.

If there are tied records at the end of qualifying but enough spots for all tied players, a coin-flip shall decide seeding.  If there are not enough spots for all tied players, affected players shall play a one-game tie-breaker to determine which players will advance to the finals.  Game and Era shall be selected using the same rules as Qualifying.

1) The Finals will consist of 4-game, 4-player Match Play on a randomly selected machine within each Era.  Play order preference is decided by Seed.

2) Scoring for each Finals game will follow the usual 4-2-1-0 format.  The top 2 players from each group shall advance.  In the event of ties, a one game tie-breaker will be played on a randomly selected machine.  Play order preference will be decided by qualifying seed (coin flip, if both players tied).

3) In the semi-finals, players who earned a Bye will have preferential seed and be assigned to Group 1 or Group 2, as follows: Group 2 2nd Place (of quarter-final), Group 2 First place, 3rd Highest Bye Player, 1st Highest Bye Player.  The second group shall be: Group 1 2nd Place, Group 1 First place, 4th Highest Bye, 2nd Highest Bye.  The top two players from each group advance to the Finals.

3) Finals are seeded in order of performance in the semi-finals.  The player with the most points at the end of four games is declared the winner.


1) In cases of stuck balls, malfunctions or other situations affecting play, THE AFFECTED PLAYER MUST STAY WITH THE MACHINE and his/her opponent must locate an official.  If the player steps away from the machine, s/he automatically loses the match.

2) Balls which may be nudged free, such as resting on a pop bumper skirt, in an insert, at the top of the sling shot, etc, must be freed by the player, regardless of tilt warnings remaining.  In ambiguous situations, an official will render a decision.

3) Balls which cannot be nudged free, such as an air ball lodged behind a playfield feature, will be freed by an official and placed in the shooter lane, if possible, else “as fairly as possible”.

4) If a game auto-launches a ball (for example: at the start of the ball), this will not be considered a malfunction and the affected player must play it.

5) If a game encounters a catrostrophic failure during a match and play cannot continue, the match is replayed using the same game (if possible) or another game in the same Era.  In any case there will be no “state” or progress restoration.

6) If a player earns an extra ball, the player is allowed to press either flipper button one time after the ball is plunged into play, regardless of whether or not the flipper makes contact with the ball.  Prior to the plunge, the player may flip in order to change lanes, hold a flipper in the up position to activate a super skill shot, set up a pass, etc.  Video modes, upper/mini playfield modes may not be played if achieved on the single flip.

1) Once the tournament has started, there are no refunds.

2) Players are expected to complete all their matches, regardless of the standings.  The tournament is a 5 – 8 hour commitment.  If a player abandons the tournament, the player shall receive a loss for all unplayed matches and may not be allowed to compete in future events.

3) Some modern games are on coin play.  Players are responsible for providing their own quarters for those games.

4) This is not a closed-venue tournament and players should expect distractions from some of the Museum’s regular guests.  Additionally, players are expected to maintain a reasonable level of decorum for a public venue.  Players may be ejected from the tournament without refund at the sole discretion of the organizer. In cases of extraordinary distractions an official may decide a course of remedy.

5) Once a match begins, both players are required to remain at the game until the match is finished.  Use time between matches to use the restroom, take breaks, get food, etc.  If a player cannot be located, an official should be called.  If the player still cannot be located, his/her next ball will be plunged.  If the player cannot be located a second time, he/she automatically loses the match.

6) If a player “tilts-through”, such that a tilt on their ball carries over to the next player:

1) On games equipped with tilt warnings, and assuming not enough warnings were generated to cause a tilt, the affected player shall continue play.  On the offending player’s next ball, they shall get to plunge the ball and flip once (see rules regarding Extra Balls), after which they must let the ball drain.  If the offending player was already on his/her last ball, then the offending player loses the match.

2) If the offending player causes his/her opponent to tilt, the player loses the match.

7) If a player plays out of turn, the player loses the match.  Likewise, players are required to complete their turn (verify plunger lane is clear, all Extra Balls played out), prior to turning the game over to their opponent.

8) DMD ‘tickets’ shall be ‘branded’ to the player, however, any attempt to use another players’ ticket shall result in disqualification with no refund.

9) If the tournament ends up running unusually long, and the player also participates in the other tournament, players may be required to play their qualifying games for the other tournament between balls of the Finals in order to keep the other tournament on schedule.

10) Players are responsible for locating opponents and progressing through matches in a timely fashion.  At the organizer’s discretion, a player deemed significantly behind, and thus delaying the tournament, will be penalized with automatic loss of coin flip, automatic loss of a match, or disqualification from the event.

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DID YOU KNOW the average tax rate in Denmark is 49%?  It’s true!  The money goes to pay for Denmark’s world renowned heath care and social subsidy programs.  In their “No Pinballer Left Behind” program, citizens who find themselves down on their luck or otherwise unable to pay for pinball games are guaranteed emergency access to pinball to stave off the shakes of withdrawal.  After an initial period on the usual Williams games, players are put on a strict diet of Bagatelle, and then video pinball games are used as a methadone-like replacement.  Unfortunately, the program has had limited success, and recidivism is near 100%.

On Saturday January 11, there will a Danish Culture Festival* at the Pacific Pinball Museum.  Mads Kristensen and Mikkel Sjolin will be on hand to answer all your Danish Culture Questions.  Come learn more interesting facts, and ask questions about Denmark.  For example, “Aren’t those wooden shoes uncomfortable?” and “How do you make those cool pocket knives” and “Why did you name your country after a breed of dog?”  Afterward, Mads and Mikkel will don their speedos and sun bathe topless on the Alameda Beach, according to Danish custom.

Also there will be a pinball tournament.  Entry to the tournament is FREE with Museum admission.  This is a fun, friendly format perfect for first-timers and seasoned competitors alike.  If you’ve ever been curious, this is a great event to give it a try.

When: Saturday 1/11/2014, 2PM Start Time

Where: Pacific Pinball Museum, 1510 Webster Street (By BART, exit 12th Street and take the 58A Bus to the Santa Clara Street stop.

How Much: Entry to the main tournament is FREE with regular Museum admission ($15 for adults).  Please no Groupons for this event.  Annual Memberships and Club Cards are okay.  There will also be a side tournament for a small additional fee.

Games: To be announced the day of the tournament, however, they will consist of Electro-mechanical (EM), solid state (SS) and dot matrix display (DMD) game eras.

Format: Players will be assigned a bank of three games and will play each game one time each.  The top score on each game will automatically advance to the playoffs.  The next 6 – 18 players (depending on total attendance) will qualify for the playoffs.  There will also be a special novice playoff for those who qualify**

The side tournament is top secret and will be described at the event (meaning uh… we haven’t worked out all the details yet!)

Prizes: Our good friends at STERN pinball are donating some prizes.  Plaques will go to the top 3 players in the Open division and to the winner of the Novice division.  Cash prizes will be paid out to Side Tournament winners as follows: 1st: 40% of total pot, 2nd: 30%, 3rd, 20%, 4th, 10%.

Come learn more interesting facts, and ask questions about Denmark.  For example, “Aren’t those wooden shoes uncomfortable?” and “How do you make those cool pocket knives” and “Why did you name your country after a breed of dog.

WPPRs: This tournament will award full World Pinball Player Ranking points, as well as half-WPPRs for the Side Tournament. Win or lose, by the end of the night you will be a world-ranked pinball player.

Food: Potluck!  If you bring something to share you get free entry into the side tournament, but no worries if you can’t. If nothing shows up we’ll order pizza.

*Limited to Danish Pinball Culture only

**Novice – 1) You have never finished top 3 in an open division pinball tournament that awarded full WPPR points. 2) You have never won a novice tournament. 3) You have an IFPA rank no better than 300 4)  You have never finished top 3 in a bay area pinball league that awarded WPPR points.

12/29/13: Hi Life Pizza – Auld Lang Syne Tournament

Tim Hansen played some solid pinball to win the event, first defeating Josh Lehan (who previously squashed me like a small insect on Batman with around 140M to my 70M) and sending him to the Loser’s bracket.  Josh went on to rally and defeat TJ Beyer for a second shot at Tim.  Fatigue was clearly setting in for both players.  On the first game of Attack from Mars, neither player cracked 2B, and there were noticeable fatigue-induced flipper fumbles.  Tim was able to hold off Josh on Fish Tales and take the win.  Congrats Tim!

MAIN Tournament

2 Josh Lehan $60
3 TJ Beyer $40
4 Chris Lindboe $20
5 John Lautmann $10
5 Jon Olkowski $10
7 James Squires $10
7 Tony Lavigna $10
9 Chris Harkins
9 Eric Wagensonner
9 Daniel Daury
9 Karen Tsunoda
13 Josh Warren
13 Jeff Gagnon
13 Usama Farage
13 Cary Carmichael
17 Damien Charlety
17 Devon Kelly
17 Jeff Fehervari
17 Andy Donovan
17 Tom Collins
17 Jeff Bumgardner
17 Aaron Schneickert
17 Walter Hurwitz


In side tourney action, everyone on Star Trek washed out in Round 3, including yours truly, while six players on Radical advanced to Round 4 on Whirlwind.  In Round 4, only Walter Hurwitz surpassed the required score of 8M, so if no other players could do likewise, he was the guaranteed winner.

The side tournament format was ‘High Jump’.  In Round 1, you had to either get 10M on Star Trek or 3M on Radical.  In Round 2 you needed 16M on Star Trek or 5M on Radical.  Each round gets tougher until four or less players are left, at which point they play for highest score.

Damien didn’t do well in the main tournament but managed to make it to Round 4 in the side tourney.  He finally remembered he was playing in a competition and turned his game up to full blast, just squeaking over the 8M line on the end-of-ball bonus of his last ball to earn a face-off with Walter.   I made some jokes about the French to get Damien fired up and it worked.  He put up a solid 10.8M on a very mean Whirlwind with extra balls turned off (the low score in Round 4 was under a million!).  Walter also had a solid game but came up just a bit short. Congrats to Damien!

1 Damien Charlety $64
2 Walter Hurwitz $48
3 Usama Farage $32
4 John Lautmann $16
5 TJ Beyer
6 Josh Lehan
7 Aaron Schneickert
7 Chris Harkins
9 James Squires
9 Jon Olkowski
11 Josh Warren
12 Tim Hansen
13 Karen Tsunoda
13 Devon Kelly
15 Tony Lavigna
15 Eric Wagonsonner
17 Jeff Fehervari
17 Tom Collins
19 Chris Lindboe
19 Cary Carmichael
21 Jeff Bumgardner


2 Andy Donovan
3 Chris Heilig
4 Per Schwarzenberger
5 Josh Warren
6 Matt Willmarth
7 Molly Atkinson
8 Darren Ensley
9 Julie Gray
10 Damon Gallagher
11 Echa Schneider
12 Jen St. Hilaire
13 Josh Lehan
14 Devon Kelly
15 Damien Charlety
16 Tom Collins
17 Mike Haffner
18 David Joud
19 Tim Harrison
20 Michael Mattsson
21 Mitch Tunick
22 Chris Lindboe
23 Jim Vierra
24 Boris Charlton
25 Walter Hurwitz
26 Eric Waggensonner
27 Chris Kochan
28 Kenley Fritts
29 Molly Parker
30 Andrei Massenkoff
31 Jon Olkowski
32 Jake Doren
33 Eugene Gershtein
34 Dylan Eichenbaum
35 Jeannie Rodriguez
36 Matthew Henri
37 Dylan Joliffe
38 Cat Fox
39 Karen Tsunoda
40 Andreas Pedersen
41 Fred Hamilton
42 TJ Beyer
43 Ashley Woodward
44 David Hermonas
45 Jeremy Herrmann
46 Kimberly
47 John Lautmann
48 Amber Simm
49 Sally Sparks
50 Marti Leann Brass
51 Russ Sweetser
52 Azlyn Henri
53 Nicole Anne Reik
54 James Squires
55 Justin Haber
56 Marc Morasco
57 Alex Samonte
58 Patrick Coleman
59 Courtney Hermonas

Feb 24, 2013, Battle at the Beach 3: Love or Pinball


In Main Tournament Action, 2011 Pacific Pinball Expo Novice Champion and recent founder of the SF Pinball Department took top honors as Grand Champion and World’s Greatest Lover, with a Casanova Action Figure to prove his supreme virility, besting 2011 World Pinball Champion Andrei Massenkoff by one ball.  What’s especially admirable about this win is he also shared duties with Eric Wagonsonner running the Side Tournament.  Way to go!!



Andrei Massenkoff 2
Damien Charletty 3
Walter Hurwitz 4
Alex Samonte 5
Josh Lehan 5
Jeff Fehervari 5
TJ Beyer 8
Tim Hansen 9
Eric Hansen 10
Echa Schneider 11
Marcus Peterson 11
Keith Parkins 13
Eugene Gershtein 14
Erin Ray 14
Josh Warren 14
Andreas Pedersen 14
Tom Collins 14
Devon Kelly 14
Mark Nakamura 14
Chris Heilig 14
Darren Ensley 22
Debbie Cluney 22
Jim Vierra 22
Russell Dare 25
Jesse Peterson 25
Challisa Parisi 25
Jake Wrench 28
Steve Frisvold 29
Eric Wagonsonner 29
Dottie Ledesma 29
Dominic Nardini 32
Nicole Anne Reik 33
James Squires 33
Chris Deleon 35
Gene H 35
Dexter 35
Chris Gershtein 38
Brittany Shoot 38
Chris Lindboe 38
Jessica Rodgers 38
Chris Kochan 41
Tracy Chiatello 42
Kenley Fritts 42
Masha Hass 44
Roone Silverman 46
Jeannie Rodriguez 46
Bella Gershtein 48


Josh Lehan is one of the most unassuming players you’ll ever meet.  He doesn’t do a lot of fancy control moves like champion players Neil Shatz, but he just has physic moves and flips to score points.  Josh was Grand Champion at my very first tournament, and at Battle at the Beach 3, he was side tourney champ.  Nice work Josh!!


1 Josh Lehan
2 eric Wagensonner
3 Keith Parkins
4 James Squires
5 Devon Kelly
6 Echa Schneider
7 Andrei Massenkoff
8 Walter Hurwitz
9 Kenley Fritts
10 Gene Hwang
11 Tim Hansen
12 Tom Collins
13 Erin Ray
14 Dexter Dong
15 Brittany Shoot
16 Dranne Ensley
17 Chris Gershtein
17 Damien Charlety
19 Chris heilig
19 Jeff Fehervari
19 Jessica Rodgers
19 Marcus Petersen
19 Nicole Anne Reik
24 Alex Samonte
24 Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen
24 Bella Gershtein
24 Chris Kochan
24 Chris Lindboe
24 Eugene Gershtein
24 Jesse Petersen
24 Jim Vierra
24 Josh Warren
24 Per Schwarzenberger
24 Shawnte Fernandez


In Novice action we had a few surprises.  First-timer Challisa made the cut and passed the semis to make the final 4, finishing 4th.  Debbie Cluney, who used to sit on the sidelines while watching her fiance TJ Beyer play, got in the mix for 3rd.  Erin Ray has a crazy sense of humor, and is one of the few people who can make me laugh out loud – he got 2nd.  But it was the the 13-year old wunderkind Jesse Petersen who won it decisively by two balls.  Way to go, Jesse!!


Novice Champion: Jesse Petersen

2nd: Erin Ray

3rd: Debbie Cluney

4th: Challisa Parisi

5th: Tom Collins

6th: Andreas

6th: Keith Parkins

8th: Mark Nakamura

1/13/13: Subpar Mini Golf Tournament

(Finishing Position/Player Name/WPPR Rank/WPPRs earned)

1  Tim Hansen player picture 42 26.33
2  TJ Beyer 396 16.05
3  Jeff Fehervari 1190 11.37
5  Damien Charléty player picture 165 6.14
5  James Vierra 142 6.14
5  Josh Lehan player picture 117 6.14
8  Kenley Fritts 1802 2.78
8  Matt Willmarth 724 2.78
8  Chris Heilig 157 2.78
12  Echa Schneider 2962 1.48
12  Per Schwarzenberger player picture 452 1.48
12  Erin Ray 998 1.48
12  James Squires 766 1.48
12  Nina G player picture 1620 1.48
12  Alex Samonte 133 1.48
17  Devon Kelly player picture 741 0.95
17  Chris Harkins 1367 0.95
17  Darren Ensley 426 0.95
20  Chris Lindboe 680 0.63
20  Nicole Anne Reik player picture 778 0.63
20  Erik Holverson 754 0.63
20  Bob Matthews player picture 29 0.63
24  Roland Roland 10976 0.21
24  Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen 1929 0.21
24  Aaron Schneickert

Kimballs 12/19 White Elephant Tournament:

1 Tj Beyer
2 James Squires
3 Darren Ensley
4 Devon Kelly
5 Matt Willmarth
5 Echa Schneider
7 Per Schwarzenberger
7 Damien Charletty
9 Chris Merrill
9 Bob Schwarzmann
9 Josh Warren
9 Eric Wagensonner
13 Jonny O
13 Erin Rey
13 Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen
13 Keith Parkins
17 Darrin Bebout
17 Darren Brown
17 Dottie Ledesma
17 Nick Price
17 Jessie Kearse
17 Jeannie Rodriguez
17 Jeff Fehervari
17 Nina G
25 Chris Lindboe

1  Neil Shatz player picture 44 25.47
2  TJ Beyer 637 18.48
3  Josh Lehan player picture 131 14.90
4  Alex Samonte 158 12.28
5  Chris Heilig 155 10.23
7  Usama Farage player picture 7704 7.25
7  Justin Haber 1139 7.25
7  Mike Hafner player picture 849 7.25
10  Chris Kuntz 10840 4.47
10  Per Schwarzenberger player picture 509 4.47
10  Kevin Riekki 464 4.47
10  James Vierra 159 4.47
14  Debbie Cluney 3839 2.55
14  Chris Lindboe 747 2.55
14  Damien Charléty player picture 180 2.55
14  John Lautmann 854 2.55
19  Masha Hass 10840 1.60
19  Kenley Fritts 2069 1.60
19  Henry Huang 3296 1.60
19  Keith Parkins 619 1.60
19  Stephen Kleckner 846 1.60
25  Rich Machado 1728 1.19
25  Mark Birching 2254 1.19
25  Devon Kelly player picture 817 1.19
25  Darren Ensley 484 1.19
25  Dottie Ledesma 1495 1.19
25  Jeannie Rodriguez 945 1.19
25  Jon Olkowski player picture 365 1.19
25  David Rockholt 388 1.19
34  Cat Fox 10840 0.68
34  Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen 2478 0.68
34  Russell Dare 5490 0.68
34  Jay Sandy 3021 0.68
34  Erin Ray 1035 0.68
34  Nicole Anne Reik player picture 770 0.68
34  Dylan Eichenbaum 777 0.68
34  Mitch Tunick 688 0.68
34  Jim Anderson 2585 0.68
42  Joan Vierra 10840 0.23
42  Chris Smith 4657 0.23
42  Brittany Shoot 3575 0.23
42  Jeff Fehervari 1547 0.23
42  Chris Harkins 1429 0.23
42  Erica Riekki 2459 0.23
42  Josh Warren player picture 317 0.23

Screw Sandy Fundraiser Tournament: 11/17/2012

1st Chris Heilig
2nd Kevin Reikki
3rd David Rockholt
4th Jim Vierra
5th Alex Samonte
6th Josh Lehan
7th Matt Machado
8th Aaron Wong
9th Walter Hurwitz
9th Justin Haber
9th Rich Machado
9th Chris Smith
13th T.J. Beyer
13th Keith Parkins
13th Matt Willmarth
13th Kenley Fritts
17th Damien Charlety
17th Josh Warren
17th Dottie Ledesma
17th Erik Holverson
17th Nicole Ann Reik
17th Chris Lindboe
17th Jay Sandy

GRAND CHAMPION: Alex Samonte ($46 + Plaque)

2: Jonny O ($34 + Plaque)

3: Josh Lehan ($23 + Plaque)

4: Walter Hurwitz ($12 + Plaque)

5: Jim Vierra ($25 Playland Family Pass)

6: Kenley Fritts ($15 Playland pass)

7: Damien Charletty

8: Per Schwarzenberger (Raffle Prize Winner: Drop Target Zine)

9. Dan Schulman

10. Jeff Fehervari (Novice 4th: Plaque)

11. Matt Willmarth

12. Stephen Kleckner

13. Chris Lindboe (Novice 1st – $25 family pass + plaque)

14. Molly Reismann (Top Woman, Novice 2nd – $15 pass + plaque)

14. Erin Ray (Novice 3rd – plaque)

16. Max (Raffle Prize Winner: Pinball 101)

16. Echa Schneider

16. Darren Ensley

19. John Lautmann

20. Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen

21. Brittany Shoot

22. Elias Zamaria

23. Devon Kelly

First Place Kids: Peter Williams (Plaque + $15 pass)

Kimballs 8-14 Results

The first tournament at Kimballs went great with some new faces in the mix.

1 Chris Kuntz : $30.00
2 Mitch Tunick : $22.50
3 Damien Charletty : $15.00
4 Eric Wagensonner : $7.50
5 Chris Heilig $5
5 Darren Ensley $5
7 Chris Lindboe $5
7 Henry Huang $5
9 Devon Kelly
9 Andy Kuntz
9 Preston Mccuistion – Raffle Prize Winner of Pinball 101
9 Erin Rey
13 Kenny Smith
13 Demarrio Tryial
13 Jeannie Rodriguez
13 Nicole Anne Reik
17 Steve Frisvold
17 David Brashear
17 Brian Fazio

Sadly, July 17th was the last Vitus tournament as the venue closed without warning the following Monday to the surprise of us all.  On the positive side we had a great turnout.  World pinball ranking points, cash and $100 worth of California Extreme tournament entries were up for grabs.  31 players had to go through the double-elimination meat grinder and the pace was relentless.  Big thanks to David Lee, Damien Charletty, Jim Vierra, Josh Warren, Aaron Wong, and others for help timing the rounds.

The format is two players assigned to two games.  The timer is started and they get three minutes on each game to put up whatever score they can.  Extra balls, Restarts, and even Continues are all fair game, but when three minutes is up whatever it says on the scoreboard is what you’re left with.

Full Double-Elimination Bracket:

Hal, Damien, Josh, David and Jonathan get ready for action.

Patrik Bodin vs. Andrei Massenkoff

Patrik Bodin of Sweden is currently ranked 24th in the world rankings and happened to be in town.  Players asked Patrik what pinball in Sweden is like, as well as how to repair their Volvos and if he was friends with the dragon tatoo girl.  He was a nice guy but I was secretly disappointed he didn’t bring any Swedish meatballs.

Patrik defeated Andrei and then lost to Hal in the winner’s bracket.

Andrei took down Eugene for a second shot at Patrik and a chance to win the loser’s bracket, but Patrik prevailed and moved on to the final match against Hal.  Patrik had to win twice against Hal to win the tournament and the action was more frenetic than a Christmas Sale at IKEA.  Patrik won the two matches to take home the win.  Congrats!

1 Patrik Bodin – $54 + $40 in CAX entries + $5 raffle prize
2 Hal Erickson – $40 + $30 in entries
3 Andrei Massenkoff – $27 + $20 in entries
4 Eugene Gershtein – $13.50 + $10 in entries
5 Damien Charletty – $5
5 Kenny Smith – $5
7 Dylan Eichenbaum – $5
7 Jonathan Olkowski – $5
9 Matt Willmarth
9 Nina G
9 David Lee – $5 raffle prize
9 Chris Lindboe
13 Edward Dobson + $5 raffle prize
13 Jim Viera
13 Josh Warren +$5 raffle prize
13 Jonathan Abrams
17 Aaron Wong
17 Devon Kelly
17 Per Schwarzenberger
17 Ashley Woodward
17 Erin Rey
17 Darren Ensley
17 Andrea Hartman
17 Nicole Anne Reik
25 Jeff Debock
25 Chris Harkins
25 Joe Said
25 TJ Beyer
25 Jeannie Rodriguez
25 Chris Gersthein – $5 raffle prize
25 Jason Roper – $5 raffle prize

STERN Determination, 5/29/2012

We had a big 55 players turn out for STERN Determination, aka, “The STERNament” at the Pacific Pinball Museum, including a couple import players: Julie Gray from Seattle, and Eden Stamm from Vancouver British Columbia.

There was some debate at first as to whether we should allow a Canadian to play, and the arguments went back and forth.  However, an anonymous person shouted “Well you let those DANISH guys play!”  And we had to agree it would only be fair to let the Canadians in.  We also agreed Canada is a much better country than Denmark because it’s far easier to find on  a map.  But I digress…

The impetus for this tournament was to celebrate the Pacific Pinball Museum’s latest acquisition of STERN’s newest game: ACDC Premium Edition, so it was a natural to run an event with all STERN games, both moderns and classics.  STERN backed the event HUGE with promotional plastics and TEN translites.  The combined value was well in excess of $1000 in prizes.

The line-up was:


ACDC Premium



Tranformers Limited Edition


Sea Witch



On a sunny Mother’s Day weekend, I wasn’t expecting so many players, but the more the merrier, and things went great.  Plus, I set up a potluck competition, cause if it’s one thing I know: pinball players love food.  Around a dozen tasty dishes showed up.

Above: Keith Parkins in the Finals.

The big surprise in the OPEN Finals was Keith Parkins, edging out solid competition heavies Josh Lehan and up-and-comer Damien Charlety  in the semi-finals, to wind up in the Final Four.  Keith fought valiantly, but in a group where half the players knew almost nothing about ACDC, yet still were putting up 40M+ scores, it’s a tough battle.  Keith took 4th overall, and took home a plaque and translite for his efforts.

Above: Andrei Massenkoff in the final game.

In the Playoffs and Finals, it’s 4-player group play.  1st gets 4 points, 2nd 2 points, 3rd 1 point and fourth, a big ol’ zero.  Finalists play three games and your total points determine whether you advance to next round.

Andrei won the first two Finals games with monster 70M+ on TRON and 800k+ on Galaxy scores.  He already had a lock on the win, with 8 points, making it a three-way horse race for second.  Keith had 1 point, Alex had 3 points and Tim had 2 points.  This meant that if anyone took first on ACDC, they’d clinch 2nd or force a playoff.

Andrei could only grief at this point, but set the bar high at 51M for the other players.  Alex put up 38M, and Tim was sitting just below that going into ball 3.  If he took 2nd, to Alex’ 3rd. it would mean a tie in points, forcing a playoff.  But Tim went the distance and eclipsed Andrei’s score with 57M+, securing 2nd.

OPEN Results:

Above: Andrei (left) took top honors.

2nd: Tim Hansen

3rd: Alex Samonte

4th: Keith Parkins (Congrats to Keith for his first final-four showing).

Tied for 5th: Josh Lehan, Josh Warren

Tied for 7th: Glenn Bedford, James Squires (Congrats to Glen Bedford on his first tournament)

9: Damien Charletty

10: Eden Stamm

Tied for 11th: Chris Heilig, John Lautmann

NOVICE Results:

(Note: Regarding World Pinball Player Ranking Points, Novice Finals do not affect position.  Rank is based on Qualifying Performance)

1st: Mike Schiess (translite + plaque)

2nd: Devon Kelly (translite + plaque)

3rd: Chris Gershtein (translite + plaque)

4th: Debbie Cluney (plaque)

5th: Chris Lindboe

6th: Chris Harkins

Tied for 7th: Lilia Bedford, Jeannie Rodriguez

Several novices were MIA at the end of qualifying so we kept going down the list to fill the bracket.  Novice qualifying went all the way down to the 34th place overall!  Doh!

Possible major boo-boo on my part in Kids.  I think I may have awarded 1st to the 2nd place player (Bella Gershtein) instead of Kevin Bedford, who I think might have been 1st.  Hopefully the Bedford family sees this post and contacts me, and we’ll make it right.  However, Bella will not have to return her prizes.  Also, Glenn Bedford was the 4th place winner of the side pot and I owe him 14 bucks.

Qualifying Results 

1 Andrei Massenkoff 352
2 Tim Hansen 348
3 Josh Warren 317
4 James Squires 303
5 Alex Samonte 300
6 Josh Lehan 298
7 Damien Charlety 290
8 Glenn Bedford 289
9 Chris Heilig 287
10 Keith Parkins 282
11 Eden Stamm 281
12 John Lautmann 276
13 Julie Gray 265
14 Chris Lindboe 257
15 Jon Olkowski 250
16 Kevin Reiki 245
17 Michael Spears (Cal) 244
18 Darren Ensley 242
19 Hal Erickson 240
20 Eugene Gershtein 235
21 Zoe Vrabel 233
22 Chris Gershtein 227
23 Per Schwarzenberger 226
24 TJ Beyer 224
25 Jim Vierra 223
26 Jeannie Rodriguez 220
27 Debbie Cluney 218
Chris Harkins 218
29 Ric Craig 213
Michael Scheiss 213
31 Devon Kelly 212
Jim Anderson 212
33 Rumtin Rahmani 208
34 Lilia Bedford 205
35 Nina G 197
36 Matt Willlmarth 193
Dylan Jolliffe 193
38 Chris DeLeon 189
39 Selena Shook 187
40 Nicole Anne Reik 173
Andrea Hartman 173
42 Chris Hoff 165
43 Jem Gruber 157
44 Kevin Bedford 149
45 Jeff Ridenour 141
46 Reno Reiki 136
47 Bella Gershtein 133
48 Bob Schwarzmann 132
49 Erin Rey 124
50 Andrew Hoff 122
51 Alex Kirsonis 121
52 Edward Dobson 98
53 Symphony Bedford 94
54 Dottie Ledesma 58
55 Sandra Lennie 57

SIDE POT: A $10 optional side pot was held with 14 entrants.  Payouts were to top 4 (40%, 30%, 20%, 10%) 1st: Andrei Massenkoff ($56), 2nd: Tim Hansen ($42) 3rd: Josh Lehan ($28) 4th: Glenn Bedford ($14).

POT LUCK Grand Champion: Nicole Anne Reik won with her Italian Wedding Soup.  Keeping with the Italian theme of the soup, Nicole went into Italian Mom mode and made it a point to introduce indecisive eaters at the potluck table to her offering, even going so far as to serve her soup to them.  The combination of her awesome soup and hospitality was irresistible to voters.   Nicole can no longer compete in Novice in future potluck competitions.  Nicole got a Ripley’s Believe it or Not translite for her culinary skills.  Personally, I consider her win a fluke, as Andrei Massenkoff is known to bring a mean package of Oreos, but sufficed with just winning the tournament. :-)

VOLUNTEER AWARD: All scorekeepers, techs and other do-goodniks were entered into a drawing for a translite.  Eugene Gershtein won and took home a Monopoly translite.

Thanks to everyone who came.  See you next week at Pin a Go Go!

4/25 Results:

1ST: Darren

2nd: TJ

2nd: Hal

4th: Chris H.

5th: Jim V

6th: Erin R.

6th: Jonny O

8th: Alex

9th: Chris L.

10th: Stephen

10th: Eric W.

12: Mitch

13: Erin G.

13: Nina G.

15: Kenney

15: Henry

17: Debbie

4/11/12 Results

Format was single-elim head-to-head time attack with 3-minute rounds. In addition to cash prizes, players won complimentary drink coupons, PAPA tokens and chiclets bubble gum. 1st place won the soundtrack to the 1995 hit motion picture Hackers.

Hackers: “Their only crime was curiosity.”

1 hal
2 zoe
3 Jim Vierra
4 Bryan
5 Chris H.
5 Garrett
5 Per
5 kenny
9 Erin G
9 Darren
9 Tim H.
9 TJ
9 steve F
9 Mike S.
9 taylor
9 Henry
17 jonny o
17 Scott K
17 Erin R.
17 aaron S
17 nicole
17 christian h

Photos by Nicole Anne Reik and Henry Huang

ACDC Launch Party


We had an explosive crowd on Wednesday Night for the AC/DC Pinball Launch Party. The venue was filled with spectators and 47 Bay Area competitors who vied for top honors on STERN’s latest machine.

STERN Pinball donated five translites and dozens of keyfobs for the event. The Pacific Pinball Museum donated tons of T-Shirts and posters. Vitus donated coupons good for drinks and appetizers. Overall, nearly $500 in cash and prizes was up for grabs.

Thanks to everyone who came out!

We’re planning another tournament soon with the Pacific Pinball Museum because they have an ACDC Premium on the way with the added lower playfield. Expect that one around late April!

Above: Keith Parkins

Above: Josh Lehan


Above: Jim Vierra (left) and Hal Erickson (right)

Above: (left) Matt Wilmarth

HUGE CONGRATS to Chris Kochan for winning his first tournament!

2nd Place: Matt Wilmarth

3rd Place: Jim Vierra

4th Place: Zoe Vrabel

Tied for 5th: Marcus Petersen, Damien Charletty, Damian Gallagher, David Rockholt

I apologize but the novice results were lost. :(

Qualifying Scores (only the first 6 digits of scores are showing, so Jim Vierra Scored around 118.4M, for example):

Jim Vierra 118405
David Rockholt 111989
Marcus Petersen 62638
Damon Gallagher 44465
Damien Charlety 38535
Matt Wilmarth 27283
Zoe Vrabel 26543
Chris Kochan 25601
Per Schwarzenberger 21539
Josh Lehan 21061
Jason Delano 18427
Neil Shatz 17419
TJ Beyer 15813
Chris J (no last name) 14133
Walter Hurwitz 13950
Erin Ray 13464
Keith Parkins 12117
Stephen Kleckner 12049
Tim Harrison 12030
Jonny Zee 11770
Jody McCullough 11010
Chris Heilig 10951
Mike Haffner 10484
Dottie Ledesma 9727
Hal Erickson 9472
John Lautman 9346
Chris Lindboe 8728
Alex Kirsonis 8611
Fran Griffin 8458
Jesse Petersen 8174
Brad Grant 7477
Nicole Anne Reik 6927
David Heinbokel 6738
Sam Hall 6441
Darren Ensley 6341
Caryn Aulenbach 6084
Kenneith Smith 5689
Jeannie Rodriguez 5620
Mitch Tunick 5617
Dylan Eichenbaum 5568
Garrett Albright 4822
Marissa Adlard 4451
Roone Silberman 4203
Chris Harkins 3635
Jon Olkowski 3368
Echa Schnieder 3144
Henry Huang 3043
Cori Savaiano 2968

Vitus January 18, 2012 Results

What a monster turnout last night. Cash and prizes totaled $300. Thanks to Vitus for the appetizer prizes, and to Playland not at the Beach for the Free Entries.

The big winner was Damien Charlety of Sacramento, who walked out with $100. Several people told me later he immediately went into the adult movie theater next door while laughing maniacally (I kid).

Super duper thanks to Zoe Vrabel for running the show, and to Chris Heilig for computer help. Also, thanks to TJ Beyer and Jim Viera for installing overhead lights to make the games easier to see and more fun than ever. Thanks for coming out, everyone, and see you next time!

1 Damien Charlety

2 Maurice Tierney

3 Hal Erickson

4 Jim Vierra

5 Steve Frisvold

5 Darren Ensley

7 Ryan Murphy

7 Matt Willmarth

9 Wendy Phillips (Forfeited)

9 Chris Heilig

9 Zoe Vrabel

9 Daniel Kirpen

13 Alex Kirsonis

13 Jeannie Rodriguez

13 TJ Beyer

13 Kenny Smith

17 Jason Delano

17 Jon Olkowski

17 Lulu Richter

17 Mitch Tumick

17 Eric Wagensonner

17 Tim Harrison

17 Darrin Bebot

17 Elena Diaz

25 Henry Huang

25 Dottie Tice

25 Molly Reisman

25 Erin Ray

25 Nicole Anne Reik

25 Marcus Petersen

25 Francisco Grajales

25 Jesse Petersen

33 Keith Parkins

33 Leo Haertling

33 Per Schwarzenberger

33 Charlie Wood

33 Jacob Mirbegian

33 Beth Davies (Forfeited)

33 Elias Zamaria

33 Sam Hashemi

Vitus January, 4 2012 Results

1 Hal : $32.50
2 Tim Harrison : $16.25
3 Zoe Vrabel : $9.75
4 Jon Olkowski : $6.50
5 Erin
5 Glenn B
7 Nicole Anne Reik
7 Darren Ensley
9 TJ Beyer
9 Jim Vierra
9 Alex
9 Megan
13 Maurice Tierney

Congrats to Alex, Megan and Glenn on playing their first tournament ever!

December 14, 2011 Results

Tried out a new format last night: Zombies!  Everyone starts as a human, and we set up 4-player games.  If you came in 3rd and 4th, you were now infected –  a zombie!  Your only goal in life from then on was to consume humans.  And if you did, you won a prize or cash.  If you didn’t, you went back into the hoard of unending zombies which typically characterize these types of end-of-world scenarios.  However, if you managed to be the last human standing, you would win half the prize pot.

Nina G, Zoe V, random Asian guy and Jim V

Powered by Cheetos and Homeroom Mac and Cheese, TJ is the last human survivor and took about $40 in cash.

“Wear some golf shoes, otherwise we’ll never get out of this place alive. Impossible to walk in this muck. No footing at all.” Running tournaments always presents unique challenges.

Here’s the final results of the 2nd Pacific Pinball Open.

Thank you to everyone for coming out, especially the volunteers: Chris Kochan, Dottie Ledesma, Andrei Massenkoff, Tim Hansen, Mark Altvater (also made awesome plaques), and several others I know I’m missing.

For the Finals, the top 10 average scores advanced, and then the top 6 high scores on the games after that, for a total of 16 finalists in the Open Division.  Novice took the next 8 best average scores of players who qualified for the Novice division.

John Lautmann – novice champ

Novice Division Finals:

John Lautmann
2nd Jim Anderson
3rd Molly Reisman
4th Michael Schiess
5th Dylan Eichenbaum
6th Stephen Kleckner
7th James Squires
8th Selena Shook


(Thanks to volunteer Damien Charlety for running the novice finals.)

Onto to the open bracket.  The top 16 places were decided in head-to-head play, after it came down to average position across the three games.  Also note that performance in the novice finals doesn’t modify overall position.

Erica Reikki and Mads Kristensen
Two tries were allowed on the short flipper game with the better score recorded
Chris Heilig plays TRON in the final four
Grand Champ Andrei Massenkoff, who put up over 100M on his first ball on TRON, always has time for mom. Aww…

Onto to the open bracket.  The top 16 places were decided in head-to-head play, after it came down to average position across the three games.  Also note that performance in the novice finals doesn’t modify overall position.

Congrats to everyone and see you next time.  More pics and full write-up will be posted to

Position Points Player

Andrei Massenkoff

2 Mads Kristensen
3 Chris Heilig
4 Tim Hansen
5 Zoe Vrabel
6 Jesse Petersen
7 Neil Inn
8 Walter Hurwitz
9 David Rockholt
10 Bob Schwarzmann
11 Kevin Reikki
12 Beth Davies
13 Marcus Petersen
14 Daren Ensley
15 Jon Olkowski
16 Owen Wilcox
17 30 Keith Parkins
18 31 Selena Shouk
19 33 Michael Schiess
20 34 Molly Reisman
20 34 Jim Anderson
22 36 Stephen Klekner
23 37 Dylan Eichenbaum
23 37 James Squires
25 39 John Lautmann
26 41 Damien Charlety
26 41 Josh Warren
28 43 Stefania Ruibal
29 44 Mitch Tunick
30 45 Deanna Jordt
30 45 Mark Hitesman
32 46 Mark Altvater
33 49 Aaron Aot
34 50 Chris Kochan
35 52 Tim Harrison
36 54 Darrin Bebout
37 55 Chris Deleon
37 55 Helmut Jordt
39 56 Matt Wyse
39 56 David Lee
39 56 Mike Miller
42 58 Matt Willmarth
42 58 Chris Lindboe
42 58 Erica Riekki
45 59 James Vierra
46 60 Dottie Ledesma
46 60 Ron Lautmann
48 62 Javier Jimenez
49 63 Nicole Anne Reik
50 67 Nina G
51 69 Henry Huang
52 72 Steve Rube
53 74 Per Schwarzenberger
53 74 Nicole Keenan
55 76 Alejandra Guillen
56 77 Erin Rey
57 78 Natalie Ortega
58 79 Jem Gruber
59 80 Code Violet
60 87 Francois Barrilleaux
61 90 Emma Greenberg-Bell
61 90 Jonathan Yenoukian
61 90 Jacob Greenberg-Bell
62 91 William Knight
62 91 Zach Maier
62 91 Henry Smith
62 91 Emmet Burk
62 91 Theo Gruber
62 91 Steven Rude
62 91 Theo Gruber

Vitus 11/9/2011 Results:

Format was single game, double-elimination.

Highlights: Jeannie Rodriguez sent World Champion Andrei Massenkoff to the loser’s bracket by a win of less than 15k on Lord of the Rings and finished 4th.  Aaron Wong played solid to take the winner’s bracket.

Thanks to Vitus and Pacific Pinball Museum for prizes.  We had more prizes than we could give out!

1 Andrei Massenkoff
2 Aaron Wong
3 Zoe Vrabel
4 Jeannie Rodriguez
5 James Vierra
5 Matt Wilmarm
7 Hal Erickson
7 Chris Heilig
9 Ashley
9 Emmet Gadigan
9 Beth Davies
9 TJ Beyer
13 Dylan Eichenbaum
13 Keith Parkins
13 Mitch Tunick
13 Maurice Tierney
17 Dottie Ledesma
17 Darren Ensley
17 Eric Martin
17 Michael Spears
17 Nicole Anne Reik

It’s fun.  It’s easy.  It’s Pin Golf!

Where: Playland not at the Beach in El Cerrito

When: Saturday November 5th.  Registration and warmup starts at 10 AM, play begins no later than 11 AM. Registration closes at 1PM.

Entry Fee: Entry is free with Playland Admission.   Nachos and Pizza will be provided around 1:30pm.

Format: Pin Golf


1 Andrei Massenkoff
2 Chris Heilig
3 Tim Hansen
4 Josh Lehan
5 Damien Charletty
6 Josh Warren
7 Zoe Vrabel
8 Jon Olkowski
9 Keith Parkins
10 John Lautmann
11 Kenny Reyna
12 Erin Ray
13 Tim Harrison
14 Jeannie Rodriguez
15 Dottlie Ledesma
16 Tim Langeloh
17 Molly Reisman
18 Darrin Bebout
19 Matt Warren


1st: Keith Parkins

2nd: Erin Ray

3rd: John Laughtmann

4th: Kenny Reyna

Another Pacific Pinball Exposition has come and gone. Phew! It kicked my ass! There were 44 competitors in the Open event, 59 in the Classics, 41 in Novice, and 13 in Kids, for a grand total of 157 entrants. That’s more than double anything I’ve ever run before. It hit me like a cannon ball and I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

Multi-world champion Keith Elwin also ran a Pin Tac Toe tournament on Friday which had over 30 players. Keith, it should be mentioned, also ran the tournament the last couple years. His skills are legendary.

Here’s a look at the tournament area. Dave Baach, my co-organizer, quickly realized the overhead track lighting could add some awesome to the tournament. The position of the lights didn’t create glare on the games and made for an excellent atmosphere. We ran with it.

Here’s Dave Baach and I, the tournament organizers. Dave is an exceptional tech, cool guy, great organizer and lent me his hotel room to shower when the water was shut off in my neighborhood on Saturday.

Special Guests: The Special Force Girls. Jamie George, Molly Atkinson, and Molly Reismann. Molly Reismann won the masks in Friday’s raffle and was probably the only one to put in tickets!

Nick Fitzpatrick was our first champion of the show, taking 1st in Kids Division! Way to go, Nick! Nick is getting good, folks. Look for him in future tournaments and prepare to get beat by a kid.

Local BAPA league member Walter Hurwitz destroying Centaur. He destroyed it pretty good, too.

This is a face of determination. Nate from Portland stepped up to run most of the novice finals when I had to leave to go run my “How to Play Pinball like the Pros” seminar. He ran it like a CHAMP! When I came back he just said, “No worries, we’ve got it.” And gat dayam he did. Top tier, this man, and I think he might have got bit by the tourney bug and Portlanders may be seeing some more tourney leadership from this guy.

1st in Novice: Per Schwarzenberger

Still looking for the score sheet for the rest! Sorry guys. Send me your names!

Handing out plaques for the Novice Winners.

Julie Gray defends the American Way on Special Force. Josh Lehan informed me the Special Force backglass was so unpopular in Europe that they created an alternate Euro backglass: “Special Force Girls“.

Stephan Colleredo showed solid EM skills and was an unknown. He was 2nd overall qualifier and showed you can show up from out of nowhere and do some damage.

Johnny Modica took 3rd in Classics with solid play, and he’s a fun guy to boot!

Bob Matthews showed great focus and an old school play style using a minimum of fancy flipper moves but magic prediction and reaction skills. Bob is all class. Super respect.

Andrei Massenkoff, the Bay Area phenom who recently won the PAPA World Championship, took first in Classics. Always a good guy, super-competitive, just too cool. Congrats Andrei!

In Open, Karl DeAngelo took 4th, but that was partly because he had to leave after game 1 to catch a flight. Very solid player. You don’t want to be on the opposite end of this guy in a game of pinball.

Cayle George, the IFPA Champion, took 3rd with solid, technical play. Super methodical, technical player that sees all the lights and opportunities. Nothing gets by this guy.

No surprise to see Keith Elwin in the Final Four. Keith took 2nd. Keith also ran Pin Tac Toe. Just a natural at pinball. No nonsense play, clinical, seemingly detached. Yet, an understated guy who often leaves a clutch game with sweat on his brow – you know he’s giving it 100 percent.

The big surprise at this tournament was a man named Kevin Martin. Kevin is the guy who produces the PAPA World Championships, Cupid and Canines, and most recently, the Pinburgh Match Play for All event. As producer, he chooses not to play in his events.

Before I say further, Kevin made a GIANT contribution to the prize pot and also provided the PAPA software for the tournament.

Kevin came into the Finals as the 12th seed (of 16), meaning he had to claw all the way through the ranks. In the Quarter and Semi Finals he was usually in bad position for choice of Game or Order in all his matches. Didn’t matter, he found a place for himself in the Final four by just killing fools left and right!

In the Final at game 3, with Karl out of the mix and fatigue setting in, Kevin found himself a trailing distant third. Only a three-way tie could keep him in the running on the last game. It was starting to look like his skills and karma had worn out their welcome.

But BANG Kevin started Multi and racked a Jackpot on the open to differentiate himself from his assails and the two others could not produce in convincing fashion. A little luck and his competitors finishing one-two to make the whole event tied on points pushed the matter to sudden death.

The bullet hit the bone.

And now one game to decide everything.

With scores tied, a coin was flipped. Came up Capcom Airborne. Kevin was the highest scorer in qualifiers on this game and was now, for the first (and only) time in his Finals run, in a dominant position. He didn’t squander it. He stepped up and capitalized, ruled the skies, took home top honors!

Kevin Martin has long been known to have the SHOW. But on Sunday, September 25th, he also proved without question, he also has the GO.


Novice Final Results

1st     Per Schwarzenberger

2nd   Garrett Albright

3rd    Stephan Colloredo

4th    Michael Spears

5th (tie) Jim Anderson, Jeremy Williams

7th    Izzy Schwartz

8th    Benjamin Liggett

9th    Robert Rog

10th  Damien Charlety

11th (tie) Craig Rockwood, Chris De Leo

— Qualifying Cutoff —

Place / Player Name / Qualifying Score

13 Shon Dolcini 102
14 Brian King 99
15 Mickey Shiro 97
Mark Altvater 97
17 Natalie Short 92
18 Selena Shook 90
19 Tom Terlecy 88
Erica Riekki 88
21 Jeff Ridenour 85
Tim Juchcinski 85
23 Allen Short 82
24 Joshua George 80
25 Eben Rosenberger 79
26 Johnny Igaz 76
27 Molly Reisman 71
28 Richard Nevins 69
29 Donna Rockwood 68
Matt Sarnoff 68
31 Mark Fitzpatrick 67
32 Erin Ray 65
33 Sean Reynolds 63
Teresa Altvater 63
Brian Beggs 63
36 Bryan Lester 59
37 Ric Craig 55
Jennifer Forman 55
39 Tim Harrison 53
40 Andrew Hoff 40
41 Jeanette Rog 29

KIDS Tournament

1 Nick Fitzpatrick 85

2 Bella Gershlein 85
3 Brayden Gardener 83
4 Tyler Enright 83
5 Dashel Miner 78
6 Joaquin Bansuelo 74
6 Juan Flores 74
8 Jack Gioffre 72
9 Adison Brager 68
10 Connor Kennedy 67
11 Nico Colloredo 65
12 Anthony Theis 64
13 Alexander Colloredo 62

OPEN Final Results


Kevin Martin

2 Keith Elwin
3 Cayle George
4 Karl DeAngelo
5 Johnny Modica
6 Kyle Sellers
7 Josh Lehan
8 Andrei Massenkoff
9 Julie Gray
10 Joe Scaletta
11 Hal Erickson
Bob Matthews
13 Damien Charlety
Zoe Vrabel
Nathan Stellhorn
16 Josh Warren
17 Pat Castaldo
18 Chris Heilig
19 Kevin McCabe
20 Jay Archibald
21 Matt Willmarth
22 Tim Harrison
23 Pat Choy
24 Brad McCabe
25 Rodney Olsen
26 Ron Hallett Jr.
27 Brian Goldstein
28 Chris Murray
Bob Schwarzmann
30 Darrin Bebout
31 Mike Nedresky
32 Alex Samonte
33 Tim Juchcinski
34 Todd Seaver
35 Molly Atkinson
36 Mitch Tunick
37 Gavin Keable
38 Mike Kang
39 Chris Kochan
40 Erik Martynn
41 Jeannie Rodriguez
42 Adam Newmark
43 Dave Stamm

CLASSICS Final Results

1st Place

Andrei Massenkoff

2 Bob Matthews
3 Johnny Modica
4 Stephan Colleredo
5 Keith Elwin
6 Chris Heilig
7 Walter Hurwitz
8 Gavin Keable
9 Karl DeAngelo
10 Mike Kang
11 Cayle George
Hal Erickson
Todd Seaver
14 Nathan Stellhorn
Rodney Olsen
Josh Lehan
17 Julie Gray
18 Alex Samonte
19 Kyle Seller
20 Damien Charlety
Joseph Perry
22 Bob Schwarzmann
23 Darrin Bebout
24 Josh Warren
25 Benjamin Liggett
26 Joe Scaletta
27 Erik Martynn
28 Brad McCabe
29 Ty Humphrey
30 Tim Harrison
31 Kevin Martin
32 Pat Castaldo
33 Mitch Tunick
34 Randy Elwin
35 Jeffrey Newmann
Tim Hansen
37 Molly Atkinson
38 Ryan Herceg
39 Jeannie Rodriguez
Dave Baach
41 Chris Murray
42 James MArtinez
Kevin McCabe
44 Tom Terlecky
45 Clifton Bain
46 Mike Nedresky
47 Dave Stamm
Jeff Ridenour
49 Rick Togneri
50 Jim Vierra
51 Brian Goldstein
52 Zoe Vrabel
53 Bob Rog
54 Jeanette Rog
55 Stewart Katz
56 Michael Spears
57 Cheryl Sweppy
58 Molly Reisman
59 Pat Choy

Pin Tac Toe winners:

1st: Josh Lehan, Josh Warren & Jeannie Rodriguez (won $140)

2nd: Bob Matthews, Todd Seaver & Warren ? (don’t seem to have
his name)

3rd Place was Cayle, Andrei & Tim Hansen (Tim had to leave
so they just plunged his turns).

Andrei, Cayle and Tim were the favored, however, since Tim had to bow out, his teammates had to plunge his balls and pray. Word at the tournament was that Jeannie Rodriguez was the franchise player of the winning team, and the main reason they went on to victory.

PPE goes here

CALIFORNIA Extreme, July 9 + 10, 2011

I did a show write-up for Pinball News.  You can check it out here.

Tim Hansen put on a great event.  Below are the final results.  I took 7th after I choked it up in the Finals but considering I was playing some of the bay area’s best and many of them have a dozen years experience on me, I was happy where I finished.  In addition to the prizes for 7th place I also took home a Dirty Donny T Shirt from the Pacific Pinball Museum.  Nice!


1. Tim Hansen – $420 + prizes
2. Neil Shatz – $210 + prizes
3. Neil Inn – $158 + prizes
4. Mike Hafner – $105 + prizes
5. Josh Lehan – $31 + prizes
6. Alex Samonte – $31 + prizes
7. Jon Olkowski – $31 + prizes
8. Walter Hurwitz – $31 + prizes
9. Kevin Riekki – $31 + prizes
10. Chris DeLeon
11. Chris Heilig
12, James Vierra
13. Josh Warren
14. Rick stetta
15. Matt Willmarth
John Behlen
17. Mark Altvater
18. Molly Reisman
Dylan Eichenbaum
20. Matt Moran
21. Jeannie Rodriguez
22. Victor Lee
23. Keith Miyake
24. Wei-Hwa Huang
25. Selena Shook
26. David Joud
27. Mykol Moran
28. Scott Cleaver
29. Megan Hoops
30. Jerry Connell
31. Francisco Grajales
32. Kenny Behlen
33. Omri Levia
34. Elias Zamaria
35. Yonatan Levia


1. Matt Willmarth – Prizes
2. Chris DeLeon – Prizes
3. John Behlan – Prizes
4. Molly Reisman – Prizes

Pin a Go Go, May 14, 2011

I did a show write-up for Pin a Go Go with all the tournament results.  You can check it out here.

NOVICE Champion: Jason Delano |  EXPERT Grand Champion: Emmett Cadigan

What a great time!  We got a fantastic mix of new players, experienced players and many spectators at the Stork Club for the second Pinball Mafia Tournament.  Thanks to everyone who came out!

The format was cutthroat: Play three different games one time each and your scores are ranked against the other players.  Your combined rank across the three games determined who would go on, and who would start drinking earlier.  Consistent play was rewarded – just one bad game could be enough to knock you out of the tournament.

Here’s the qualifying results:

Advance in Expert Advance in Novice

*Jim Vierra and Jen St. Hilaire tied in qualifiers, however, since they were both going to the finals a coin flip was used to determine their play order in the Expert Final.

**Andrei Massenkoff, Tim Hansen and Chris Heilig did not advance to the novice final because they do not meet the novice criteria: Andrei is ranked too high (, Tim is ranked too high, Chris has finished in the top 3 of EBPL

Jacks Open Ironman Terminator 3 Total Pts. Qual Rank
Emmett Cadigan 25 25 33 83 1
Ricky Valdez (Jr) 21 31 28 80 2
Jim Vierra 33 14 31 78 3*
Jen St. Hilaire 27 29 22 78 3*
Dylan Eichenbaum 24 23 26 73 5
Buzz Kay 22 20 29 71 6
Andrei Massenkoff 17 26 24 67 7**
Tim Hansen 19 33 14 66 8**
Rick Valdez (Sr) 29 21 16 66 8
Chris Heilig 16 18 30 64 10**
Jason Delano 32 13 18 63 11
Keith Parkins 18 27 13 58 12
Jon Olkowski 10 15 32 57 13
Beth Davies 30 2 25 57 13
Noah Bronstein 15 22 19 56 15
Molly Reisman 3 28 21 52 16
Dottie Ledesma 20 30 2 52 16
Owen Parker 28 11 11 50 18
Denise McCullough 31 7 12 50 18
Roone Silberman 14 32 1 47 20
Michael Schiess 23 4 20 47 20
Jeannie Rodriguez 26 9 4 39 22
Mitch Tunick 4 12 23 39 22
Dan Fontes 2 8 27 37 24
Phil Scicluna 12 16 8 36 25
Alexis Tarzau 6 24 6 36 25
Jem Gruber 13 19 3 35 27
Sean Campbell 9 10 15 34 28
Bob Case 11 5 17 33 29
Vincent chang 8 17 7 32 30
Rachel Satterfield 5 6 9 20 31
Kristen Ring 7 3 10 20 31
Scott Bo 1 1 5 7 33

As you can see, even if you’re not a “top” player you might still qualify for the novice final.  The lowest novice qualifier was 11th in the standings.

Above: Jen and Kim. Despite many beers, Jen St. Hillaire qualified 3rd in the expert division. (Yeah, you got beat by a girl).  Jen is a local coffee roaster and donated six bags of her coffee to the prize pool!

Above: Chris, Tim, Andrei and Dottie.  Despite my camera’s vampire detection system, Chris is actually a super-cool guy.

Above: Jonny O (left) and Andrei Massenkoff (right). Andrei is a tournament phenom and took 2nd at the most recent PAPA World Championships.  He covered the score-keeping duties on Terminator 3.

Huge Super Jackpot Thanks to the following:

  • Stork Club and Emmet for venue and logistics coordination
  • Pacific Pinball Museum and Michael Schiess/Jem Gruber for bringing games, prizes and snacks
  • Jen St. Hilaire for donating prizes.
  • Mark Altvater for score sheets.
  • Volunteers (score keepers):
    • Jeannie Rodriguez
    • Molly Reisman
    • Tim Hansen
    • Dan Fontes
    • Andrei Massenkoff
    • Chris Heilig

and several others.  Thanks!  Not possible without you!

Above: The eponymous Bugsy Siegel on the plaques, awarded to the top 3 in each division.

On to the Finals!

Novice Final on Terminator 3:
Jason Delano 28,092,140 Novice 1st Place
Rick Valdez (Sr) 22,772,930 2nd Place
Buzz Kay 12,961,210 3rd Place
Dylan Eichenbaum 11,065,110 4th Place

Note: Per International Pinball Players Association Rules: Novice Finals do not apply to WPPR results.  Points are awarded based on qualifying finish beyond expert qualifiers.

Congrats to Jason!  And bid your novice stripes farewell!

Above: Jason Delano, Novice Champ, sporting the magic purple tie – the color of the East Bay Pinball League.


Jim Vierra put up a big 15M and change, a very respectable score on Ironman, and I thought maybe that was it.  Jim performed several solid outlane saves with careful nudging on Ironman.  Jim is a great local player who has found his way into top finishes of the EBPL and other local tournaments.  Great guy, relaxed and unassuming, you don’t expect to see him in the finals, but he’s been showing up with some regularity.  A textbook “stealth” player.

But when Emmett Cadigan, the head of the Oakland Pinball Mafia stepped up to play, he made Jim an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Emmett hasn’t played any tourneys lately, but he reminded everyone the Oakland Pinball Mafia still has pull in this town.  He played a straight-up game of Ironman, a game he’s not even familiar with.  He doesn’t use a lot of fancy flipper control techniques – just make the shots, go for the multi-balls and keep the ball on the playfield no matter what.  That was the right no-nonsense combination.  Emmett is just about getting things done, and that’s what he did.


Expert Final on Ironman:
Emmett Cadigan 16,034,480 EXPERT GRAND CHAMPION
Jim Vierra 15,366,860 2nd Place
Ricky Valdez (jr) 4,283,340 3rd Place
Jen St. Hillaire 3,888,060 4th Place

Above from left to right: Jim Vierra (2nd Expert), Rick Valdez, Sr (2nd Novice), Emmet Cadigan (Expert GRAND CHAMPION), Buzz Kay (Novice 3rd), Ricky Valdez, Jr (Expert 3rd), Jason Delano (Regional Spokesman for Dyslexic Acceptance…. er, I mean Novice 1st  :-).

See lots more pictures here:

Above – From left to Right: Walter  Hurwitz (4th), Andrei Massenkoff (3rd), Hal Erickson (Grand Champion), Tim Hansen (2nd)

Thanks to everyone for coming out!!  Around 40 players entered and the top 6 Open and top 6 Novice Division players won plaques.  Every entrant got an official Flynn’s Arcade token from Disney California Adventure, as well as nachos (if they were fast, apparently…)

HUGE thanks to all who helped out but especially Mark Altvater for making those sweet-ass plaques for the top 3 in each division.

Top 8 in Novice:

7: Selena Shook
7: Jeannie Rodriguez
6: Chris De Leon
5: Jason Delaro
4: Michael Schiess
3: Justin Haber
2: David R.

Mitch Tunick – Novice Division Winner.

Top 16 in Open:

16: Keith Parkins
15: Dottie Ledesma
14: Matt Warren
13: Alex Samonte
11: Denise McCullough
11: Mark Altvater
9: Jim Viera
9: Beth Davies
8: Ricky Valdez
7: Josh Warren
6: Bob Schwarzmann
5: Pat Choy
4: Walter Hurwitz
3: Andrei Massenkoff
2: Tim Hansen

Hal Erickson – Open Division Grand Champion

Full Results:

Note: These are the results submitted to IFPA for World Pinball Ranking Points and are based on Open Playoff results and Qualifier order after that.  IFPA does not recognize Novice Final results where ranking points are concerned.

Hal Erickson    1
Tim Hansen      2
Andrei Massenkoff       3
Walter Hurwitz  4
Pat Choy        5
Bob Schwarzmann 6
Josh Warren     7
Ricky Valdez, Jr.       8
Beth Davies     9
Jim Viera       9
Mark Altvater   11
Denise McCullough       11
Alex Samonte    13
Matt Warren     14
Dottie Ledesma  15
Keith Parkins   16
Darid Rockholt  17
Chris Deleon    18
Jason Delano    18
Eugene Gershtein        20
Josh Lehan      20
Selena Shook    22
Erica Riekki    22
Justin Haber    24
Mitch Tunick    24
Chris Heilig    26
Michael Schiess 27
Kevin Riekki    27
Aaron Wong      29
Jeannie Rodriguez       29
Molly Reisman   31
Rick Valdez, Sr.        32
David Joud      33
Teresa Altvater 33
Darrin B        35
Henry Huang     36
Roone Silberman 37
Reno Riekki     38
Rory Riekki     39
Theo Gruber     40
Jem Gruber      41

Silly Details:

When: Sunday, January 30, 2010 at 12 PM.  Last Registration by 1:30 PM.

Where: Pacific Pinball Museum, Alameda, CA, 1510 Webster St

Entry: FREE with regular admission.

Prizes: Plaques to the top 6 in both novice and expert competition.

Format: Pin Golf

Nachos by Jonny.

The Pacific Pinball Open

Thank you to everyone who came out.

This tournament was a great success.  Thanks to the Pacific Pinball Museum, all the volunteers, Kevin for bringing a keg of beer and especially Mads Kristensen for putting it on.

RESULTS: See below for the final order of finish.

Full event writeup here:

The next tournament is tentatively scheduled for 1/30/2011.  Keep an eye here and on the Pinball Map for the official announcement. – Jonny O

Full Results:

1          Neil Shatz

2          Andrei Massenkoff

3          Tim Hansen

4          Kevin Riekki

5          Walter Hurwitz

6          Ricky Valdez

7          David Rockholt

8          Mads Kristensen

9          Stephen Kleckner

10        Josh Lehan

11        Chris Heilig

12        Justin Haber

13        Mark Altvater

14        Dylan Eichenbaum

15        Tanio Klyce

16        Hal Erickson

17        Jem Gruber

18        Mitch Tunick

19        Hans Yum

20        Eugene Gershtein

21        Molly Reisman

22        Mike Hafner

23        Jason Delano

24        Beth Davis

25        Michael Schiess

26        Dan Fontes

27        Jon Olkowski

28        Jeannie Rodriguez

29        Joe Trela

30        David Joud

31        Josh Warren

32        James Vierra

33        Alex Samonte

34        Eric Myst

35        Denise Mccullough

36        Erica Riekki

37        Ken Steffen

38        Rick Valdez

39        Theo Gruber

40        Matt Warren

41        Julie Lucchesi

42        Roone Silberman

43        Amanda Carlson

44        Ron Lautmann

45        Emmett Gadigan

46        Ashley Woodward

47        John Lautmann

Silly Details:

No cash prizes! But eternal fame – and your name on the wall of the museum. And maybe some T-shirts, PPM Club cards and cool stuff we find on the side of the road on the way there.  Also, this is IFPA-sanctioned so you can earn world pinball player ranking points.


All players will play one game on three machines. Please note ONE GAME
on each.

The 9 players with the best average position on the three machines
will advance to the A-finals as will the three players with a
high score on one machine.

And since we want this to be an international event we have reserved four
spots in the finals for players holding a foreign passport. PAPERS PLEAZE.  No just kidding.

MACHINES (subject to change if conditions necessitate, such as Fire, Theft, Monsoon, mechanical breakdown, etc):

El Dorado
Time Machine

B-Bank: (if turnout is large or if a A-bank machine breaks)
High Speed
Iron Man

The Battle for the Bay

About a month ago I ran a Pin Golf for the Backbone Entertainment Party at Playland-not-at-the-Beach.  I remarked to Richard Tuck (the main honcho at Playland) that while the turnout was lackluster the people who played really liked the format.  A week later I got a call from Denise, Playland’s media promotion person, asking me for details about the Pinball tournament for their upcoming Pinball Weekend of the 13/14th.

So that’s how you find out you’re running a pinball tournament sometimes.  And that’s how Richard Tuck thinks: Idea?  GO!  I sort of like that – just come up with an idea and let’s do it.

Pin Golf seemed to work so I ran with it.  The better players actually finish first, so no epic games of superlong length making the schedule uncertain.  I decided to use Bowen’s “bonus format” which has novices playing with experts but novices are eligible for their own, separate final.  I also tried out a poker chip queue system to see if it would make that duty easier (it did).  The combination of the two gives everyone a chance at the money, sweetens the pot, mixes newer and experienced players, and creates a better social mix.  Everyone seemed to like it.  It made the tourney run faster and didn’t lock players into pre-set groups.

When used in the tournament, each chip had a label with the player’s name on it and each slot was labeled for a particular game.

In Pin Golf, your goal is to complete objectives for each game using the fewest number of balls, similar to strokes in golf.  Often times, the objective is just a certain score, but I wanted to make it more interesting so I had players activate certain features in some cases.  For example, on Fun House, players could either activate all the STEPS awards, collect all goals on the Mystery Mirror, or score 5 Million.  On Creature from the Black Lagoon, players had to activate Video Mode with eight shots to the right ramp (and the ramp was very difficult to backhand on this particular Creature).

Tragedy struck right at the end of qualifying.  With only two players left on Fun House the Mirror scoop broke off!  What to do?  Have everyone play a different game?  Average these two players other scores for this one?  I chose option C: lots of tape.

My first pinball repair. Hopefully my last.

Qualifier scores:

Andrei Massenkoff    28
Chris Heileg    33
Mads Kristensen    38
Tim Hansen    42
Josh Lehan    42
Alex Samonte    43
James Vierra    46
Eugene Gershtein    50
Chris Gershtein    55
Mark Altvater    58
David Joud    59
Nina Ghisseli    60
Jeannie Rodriguez    60
Mitch Tunick    67
Tony Escobar    69
David Strong    77
Teresa Altavater    78
Nick Loizeaux    85
Roman Edwards    87
Spencer Tai    90

NOTE: James Vierra was eligible for Novice but qualified in Open
David Joud was disqualified for Novice for taking 2nd at the Avatar Launch Party

Plaques for the top 3 finishers in Kids, Novice and Open. Playland provided $185 worth of passes to the Novice and Kids Tournaments and the Open Division had a $200 cash pot.


1st Place: Peter Loizeaux – $50 family pass to Playland and Plaque
2nd: Peter Williams – $25 family pass to Playland and Plaque
3rd: Bella Gershtein – $15 pass and Plaque

Novice Final:

1st Place : Chris Gershtein – $50 family pass to Playland and Plaque
2nd: Mark Atvater – $25 family pass to Playland and Plaque
3rd: Nina Ghiselli – $15 pass to Playland and Plaque


The top 8 squared off on Scared Stiff, with no preference to seeding, random order.  The goal was to light at least 3 modes and light Cast a Spell.  The result of that was to divide players into two groups of four:

Jim Vierra, Chris Heileg, Eugene Gershtein and Alex Samonte were knocked out, and now playing for WPPR points (World Pinball Player Ranking)  and an impomtu $5 side pot.  Not to mention, two players (Chris and Jim) were in the East Bay Pinball League and the other two were from the Bay Area Pinball Association, so it was also a matter of league honor.

5 – 8:

5: Eugene Gershtein

6: Alex Samonte

7: Chris Heileg

8: Jim Vierra

Eugene and Alex emerged victorious on behalf of BAPA.


Andrei Massenkoff, Tim Hansen, Mads Kristensen, and Josh Lehan are the top 4.  They are all in the money at this point and playing White Water to beat the cash and WPPRs out of each other.

The goal is to activate Bigfoot Hotfoot.  This took 5 completions of the Big Foot standup targets.  Tim opens it up with a HUGE hole-in-one.

I thought the tourney was over right there.  I was ready to hand Tim the plaque and go home.  Only one other player in qualifier did this goal in a single ball.  But then Andrei Massenkoff rose up and activated.  BOOM > hole in one.  Josh Lehan exclaims “oh wow” and Mads Kristensen utters several Danish curses.  That forces the tie-breaker.

Tim and Andrei face off on Roller Coaster Tycoon.  The Goal: earn 2500 guests.  Mads and Josh fight for 3rd.

Tim and Andrei tie again with holes-in-one.  Double tie-breaker!

Meanwhile, Mads bested Josh for 3rd.

Last stop: Circus Chimera – a re-themed Ballyhoo EM.  The Goal is a mere 2000 points.  Tim and Andrei square off.  Both players get early bad balls, but then Tim makes a foray with 1300+, maybe next ball?  But then Andrei has a ball, an incredible ball, and really, it was a thing to see – many close, precise saves and clutch grabs on the ball to send it back up the playfield.  A truly intense final, no easy points in this game – Andrei left the game shaking, rattled and slightly confused with the effort.  It was up to Tim to equal… but…


Open Final:

8th: Jim Vierra
7th: Chris Heileg
6th: Alex Samonte
5th: Eugene Gershtein
4th: Josh Lehan

3rd Place: Mads Kristensen $40 + Plaque
Tim Hansen – Second Place $60 + Plaque
Andrei Massenkoff – Grand Champion $80 + Plaque

Thanks to:

Richard, Frank, and Kendra of Playland-not-at-the-Beach for hosting, promoting and providing prizes.

Mark and Teresa Atvater for help setting up.

Mads Kristensen for help with game goals.

Eugene Gershtein and Josh Lehan for scorekeeping.

Jeannie Rodriguez for help with cleanup.

STERN/IFPA Avatar Launch Party

Sponsors: Playland-not-at-the-Beach, Pacific Pinball Museum, IFPA, STERN Pinball, Audio Images, The Bay Area Pinball Location Map

The SF Avatar Pinball Launch Party was a great success.  For the curious, here’s how it happened (For those that could care less, scroll down for the results and pictures):

First I saw a post by Josh Sharpe on RGP.  People were saying “how come there’s no launch party in my town?”  Josh replied that it really came down to venues and distributors stepping up to help with it.  I immediately thought of Playland not at the Beach and the Pacific Pinball Museum as likely venues.  I contacted the owners of both and both were enthusiastic, so next I sent an email to Josh.

Josh put me in touch with STERN, whereupon I learned that the venues for the parties needed at least 3 Avatar games.  I gather from this they wanted to run these parties through their distributor network (3 games is a lot for a local arcade but not really too much to ask of a distributor).  I let PPM and Playland know of this requirement, on the off chance they had any ideas or distributor contacts.  More or less I figured it was dead at that point, though.

Then a week later I got an email from Josh Sharpe and learned a new Distributor had been signed in San Francisco and the event would be held there.  This was only about  two weeks before the date of the event!  I got on all the pinball groups and posted announcements to advertise it.  Likewise, I sent out emails to all of my pinball contacts I’ve acquired via various means – tournaments, friends, leagues, museums, etc.  On such short notice, who knew if anyone would show up?  I also asked for volunteers to help me run the event and people stepped up.

Next I got a hold of the new distributor and we planned the event.  I drove to his store, Audio Images, and we planned the space out and the logistics.  He’s a huge music fan and has seven or eight music-themed pins, such as Tommy and Guns ‘n Roses.  At that point the game had not yet arrived so we agreed to meet again when it did.

Simultaneously I let PPM and Playland know what was up so there were no potential hard feelings, but also to let them know I could hand out promo materials at the launch if they wanted.  Playland donated family passes and 2-for-1 coupons and PPM donated five club cards valued at $20 each.  Since the expert tournament was a cash payout, I decided to use some of these donations to augment the novice prizes and to hold a little impromptu raffle.  STERN also sent a few goodies.  Two T shirts, a beenie cap and a stack of stickers.

On Wednesday, Avatar arrived.  I brought my overhead camera rig and projector setup to Audio Images.  Jim Chen of Audio Images provided a projector screen.  Now the crowd could watch all the games without having to crowd right up against the machine and we could also record some game play.  We also moved and leveled Guns ‘n Roses and Tommy.  We lugged a Captain Fantastic out his basement but sadly the right flipper mechs were in bad shape.

Above – Recipe no. 7 – dish was made at a ceramics class at Laney College.

I decided early in the week I would make some food for the event.  I made nachos and caesar salad.  I did all the prep work the night before (Thursday) so I wouldn’t have a time crunch.  The venue was also providing sodas.  Likewise on Thursday I stopped by my parents’ house to pick up the trophies since package delivery is safer there.

On Friday I picked up some last minute food supplies from the restaurant supply store near work, stopped by my apartment to pick up all the food I made the night before and headed for the gig.

The event was schedule to run from 7 -11pm.  By around 7PM, 15 people already had shown up so I knew the event would be a success, and later that peaked around 40 people.  From there I just relaxed and had fun.  Everyone had a great time.

Teresa Altvater getting ready for action

Onto the tournament details.  Everyone who entered and paid their $5 came out ahead with a 2-for-1
pass to Playland not at the Beach worth $15.  They also had a shot at the prizes if they did well and were likewise entered into a raffle for even more chances to win.

Pictures of the event:

Split-Flipper Doubles (12 entries):

SPLIT FLIPPER CHAMPS: Tim Hansen and Chris Heileg

2. Mads Kristensen and Jon Olkowski
3. Alex Samonte and Stephen Kleckner
4. Kevin Johnson and Josh Lehan

Mads Kristensen (Left) and Jonny O on split flipper

AVATAR Tournament (26 entries):


CHAMPION: Mike Haffner: (Trophy + $25 Family Pass to
Playland not at the Beach + Pacific Pinball Museum Club Card)

2. Ryan Avery ($25 Family Pass to Playland not at the Beach + Pacific
Pinball Museum Club Card)
3. Mark Altvater ($25 Family Pass to Playland not at the Beach +
Pacific Pinball Museum Club Card)
4. Kevin Johnson

Neil Shatz (NES) won the main tournament


GRAND CHAMPION: (NES) Neil Shatz (Trophy + $52)

2. David Joud (Trophy + $39)
3. (ELK) Mads Kristensen (Trophy + $26)
4. Alex Samonte ($13)

(continued results – IFPA results sorted by qualifier score, not
Novice Final order)
5. Kevin Johnson
6. Mike Haffner
7. Mark Altvater
8. Ryan Avery

– or – if Novice Final determines 5 – 8 order then it’s

5. Mike Haffner
6. Ryan Avery
7. Mark Altvater
8. Kevin Johnson

9. Eugene Gershtein
10. (JON) Jon Olkowski
11. (EGO) Chris Heilig
12. Stephen Kleckner
13. Louise Swainson
14. Tim Hansen
15. Eric Waggensonner
16. Mike Spears
17. John Lautmann
18. Michelle Rockholt
19. David Rockholt
20. (ANM) Andre Massenkoff
21. Mitch Tunick
22. Josh Lehan
23. John Haydn
24. Teresa Altvater
25. Walter Hurwitz
26. Jeannie Rodriguez

Thanks to all who attended.  Around 40 people showed up for the
event.  Jim Chen is toying with the idea of a Chinese NBA launch party
so maybe we can do it again soon.  :-)

Thanks to Pacific Pinball Museum and Playland not at the Beach for
donating hundreds of dollars’ worth of Passes and Club Cards which
were awarded as prizes to the novice winners, given out in the raffle
and given to every tournament entrant.  Thanks to Jim Chen of Audio
Images for hosting the event and to all the volunteers for helping run
the tournaments and setup/cleanup.

  1. Jonny 0 permalink*
    February 16, 2011 4:32 pm

    Rick I’ve heard from a couple people that there are delays with RS so the launch party date is kinda uncertain at the moment. Also, the venue hasn’t been 100% finalized but is likely to be at Audio Images in San Francisco, like last time. They are a new STERN distributor but their primary business is high end audio.

  2. Rick Valdez permalink
    February 16, 2011 12:33 pm

    When and where is the bay area Rolling Stones Pinball Machine tournament happening? Can you direct us to the website? Thanks. Be seeing ya at the Stork Club.

  3. Will permalink
    December 2, 2010 12:25 am

    you guys have all the fun
    The Danish menu seems a little bit Italian or is there pickled herring on the pizza?


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