Tournament Circuit: Official Rules

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Table of Contents

I. Introduction

The Tournament Circuit is a series of pinball tournaments sponsored by the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association (PAPA). This document specifies the official operating rules and regulations of the Circuit.

The Circuit coordinators are Bowen Kerins, Mark Steinman, and Kevin Martin. Circuit coordinators work with tournament directors to ensure the smooth operation of the tournament. Circuit coordinators may participate in Circuit events, but their results will not be considered in Circuit standings, and they are not eligible to participate in the Circuit Final.

Complete information about the PAPA Tournament Circuit can be found online at

There are no fees required in order to participate in the Circuit, other than entry fees charged by Circuit events, and there is no fee charged to qualified players participating in the Circuit Final.

II. Circuit Events

The complete schedule of Circuit events can be found at

Players who place in the top 24 at any of the Circuit events will be awarded points for the Circuit standings, as described below.

PAPA does not exert authority over, nor operate, these events, with the obvious exceptions of the Pinburgh Match-Play Championship and the PAPA World Pinball Championships.

III. Points and Rankings

Each Circuit event will produce results indicating its top 24 players. Points are then awarded to each player based on those results, as follows:

Rank Points
1st 100
2nd 75
3rd 60
4th 50
5th 45
6th 40
7th 35
8th 30
Rank Points
9th 28
10th 26
11th 24
12th 22
13th 20
14th 18
15th 16
16th 14
Rank Points
17th 12
18th 11
19th 10
20th 9
21st 8
22nd 7
23rd 6
24th 5

In the event of a tie, which may occur when an event does not clearly distinguish each of the top 24 positions, the points available to the tied players will be averaged, and any fractional point will be rounded up to the next whole point, for each tied player.

Only the best six results of each player will be credited to his or her total for the Circuit standings.

Note that all Circuit events are worth exactly the same number of points. This point system is predetermined and not subject to changes during the Circuit season.

Current Circuit standings will be maintained at

IV. Circuit Final

The Circuit Final event is operated as a PAPA event, and therefore the latest version of the PAPA World Pinball Championships rules apply, in terms of handling malfunctions, player behavior, official rulings, and all other guidelines. The Circuit coordinators are the designated tournament officials for the Circuit Final. These rules can be found at

The Circuit Final will feature a group of pinball machines selected by officials. Machines outside this group may not be selected for play. Officials may make machine substitutions as they deem necessary.

The Circuit Final will begin promptly at 9:30am on the Thursday before Pinburgh.

1. Qualified Players

Final Circuit standings will be determined promptly after the last Circuit event. Any player in the top 20 of the rankings will be invited to the Circuit Final. Any players tied for the 20th position will be invited. Any player who has placed first in any Circuit event will also be invited, even if he or she did not place in the top 20. These players will be seeded according to their standings (i.e., 21st, 22nd, and so on).

There is no entry fee for the Circuit Final, and it is only open to the invited players.

Qualified players will be notified promptly by Circuit coordinators. There will be no substitutions, and entries to the Circuit Final are non-transferable. Because some players may not attend, and others may have qualified through an event victory, the exact number of players in the Circuit Final will not necessarily be 20. Players who do not attend will not receive any prize from the Circuit Final.

2. Endurance Phase

The Endurance Phase of the Circuit Final consists of a series of four-player games. The first game is played by the four lowest-seeded players. The highest-seeded player has choice of machine or order of play. Choice proceeds through the remaining players in descending order of seeding.

The player who has the lowest score is eliminated from the Final, and receives the appropriate prize. The player who has the highest score immediately receives $100. The next lowest-seeded player, who has not yet played, is added to the group for the next game.

In each subsequent round, the highest-seeded player (who will be the player who just joined the group) has choice of machine or order of play. The next choice is given to the winner of the previous game, and choice proceeds in descending order of score on the previous game.

No player may choose the same machine more than once, but any player may choose a machine already played, provided it was not the machine most recently played. Officials may remove any machine from consideration at any time.

The top-seeded player does not participate in the Endurance Phase; when he or she is among the final four players remaining, the Marathon Phase immediately begins.

3. Marathon Phase

The Marathon Phase consists of seven games played between the final four players, utilizing the rules and scoring of standard PAPA finals, except as described herein.

The top-seeded player has choice of machine or order of play for the first game played in this phase. Choice proceeds through the remaining players in descending order of seeding.

The winner of each game will immediately receive $100, and receives first choice of machine or order of play for the next game. Choice proceeds in descending order of score on the previous game. No player may choose a machine that has already been used in this phase.

Each four-player game will be scored as follows:

Rank Points
1st 4
2nd 2
3rd 1
4th 0

Any ties for first place at the end of the Marathon Phase will be resolved by an additional game, played between the tied players, on a machine randomly selected by officials. In a tiebreaking game, the highest-seeded player has choice of order of play, proceeding in descending order of seeding. Tiebreaker rules from the PAPA World Pinball Championships shall apply where necessary.

4. Operational Details

Each player participating in the Circuit Final must provide a cellular phone number where they can be reached. Exact times for each round are not guaranteed. Any player who is missing when his or her round is set to begin will be allowed no more than 5 minutes to appear. Play will then continue, with balls being plunged for any missing player or players.

Collusion and deals are not acceptable in the Circuit Final.

5. Prizes

The Circuit Final features a guaranteed package of cash prizes. Tournament expenses are covered by PAPA, and recouped in part through sales of merchandise and tokens. In the unlikely event of an overrun beyond expenses, excess revenue will be retained to finance future PAPA events. In the event PAPA discontinues its events or is disbanded, any such retained revenue will be donated to charity.

The guaranteed prize package for the Circuit Final event is:

Cash Prize
1st Place $2,500 and trophy
2nd-4th Place $800 and plaque
5th-8th Place $300
9th-12th Place $200
13th Place and below $100
Each Game $100 for each victory, a minimum of $2,300
Total Prize Package: $10,000+!

The winner of the Circuit Final will also receive the title "PAPA Circuit Player of the Year".

Cash prizes may be paid by check in lieu of cash, and appropriate IRS regulations for tax reporting will be followed. In the event the winner is not a U.S. Citizen, we will provide the appropriate forms.