When will Tournaments, Expos and Events start up again???? Mark your calendars, book your tickets!!!

When will Tournaments, Expos and Events start up again???? Mark your calendars, book your tickets!!! 869 617 GAD Vending

As with most, we are ready for COVID to be in the rear view mirror. Travel. Attend events. Go to tournaments. Get back out there! Safely, of course.

Stern Pinball has an events page that is starting to fill up! Three game room expos are already scheduled for fall – Chicago, Houston and Sturbridge, MA. (Of course, GAD is easy driving distance to at least 2 of these expos!) 

Been wanting to join the Stern Army? Now is a great time! Stern Army events coming soon. 

At IFPA, sanctioned events are starting August 1. According to their website: 

The IFPA will officially resume sanctioning events for WPPR points starting August 1, 2021. 

Tournament and League Directors are welcome to begin submitting events to the IFPA calendar using their tournament manager accounts. The 30-day advance notice rule is still in effect, so any event held on August 1 must be submitted by July 2. Until further notice, non-US events with fewer than 16 participants at private locations will be sanctioned provided that registration for those events is public. Any leagues that were unable to complete their 2020 seasons can pick up where they left off, but the IFPA will not retroactively sanction events: leagues or tournaments held between March 17, 2020, and July 31, 2021, are not eligible for WPPR points.

Please note the following updates on IFPA championships as we resume the sanctioning of events.

The 2021 qualifying seasons (with finals in 2022) for the following championship series have been cancelled:
– IFPA North American Championship Series
– IFPA Women’s North American Championship Series
– IFPA European Championship Series
– any IFPA Country Championship Series

The cancelled championships listed above will return with 2022 qualifying seasons (and finals in 2023). Sanctioning fees will continue to be collected in North America during the 2021 season. Those funds will be distributed as part of the 2022 season prize package.

The IFPA17 World Pinball Championship originally scheduled for June 2020 has been rescheduled for May 26-29, 2022. The 2022 IFPA Women’s World Championship and IFPA North American Pinball Championship have been cancelled.

We expect all organizers and attendees to follow the health and safety guidance from local health officials, the World Health Organization (WHO), and national bodies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We encourage tournament directors to implement whatever health and safety requirements they feel will make their event as safe and welcoming as possible. As long as these guidelines are clearly stated upon announcement of the event, the IFPA supports their enforcement.

While we are thrilled to resume sanctioning, we want to acknowledge that not all organizers, venue owners, and tournament and league directors are necessarily ready to facilitate competitive events. This has been a challenging period for many people who are still navigating difficult decisions regarding future events, and we ask players to be considerate and respectful in those circumstances.

Please contact us with any questions. Good luck, have fun, and stay safe!



Pinball: Run a Casual (or Professional) Pinball Tournament

Pinball: Run a Casual (or Professional) Pinball Tournament 640 646 GAD Vending

You may already be running dart tournaments, trivia games off your digital music jukebox, and Golden Tee digital tournaments. Your audience is already competitive and looking for unique experiences, running pinball tournaments is a naturally fun addition.

*The suggestions in this article are general. Make sure you check your local NE, SD, KS, MO or IO laws about gaming, awards and tournament rules before you choose the tournament type and rules that work for you.

Play Control

Try an app like Match Play to control your tournament. Players can enter their score, with you controlling the official approval. You choose the games from head-to-head, round robin, elimination, best score, ladder brackets…. This allows you to run tournaments over time. Change the type of tournament to entertain your audience. And – extend the contest so everyone who wants can participate.

If you want a simple, manual bracket game – try printing a large format bracket. Or use chalkboard paint on a wall and draw or paint a bracket.


Think ahead to make the game approachable. Everyone likes to participate and win!

  • Grand “Prize”
  • Best Fan Club
  • Announce winners across your TV screens with AMI Ad Manager
  • Consolation “prizes” – worse ball, best flipper, etc
  • Prizes can be money, trophies, medals, gift cards, bar swag (free advertising!), or other prizes

Don’t Drag It Out – But Maybe You Can

Pay attention to how long your tournament will last. You don’t want people to get too bored and leave. Or you can’t finish within last call.

Think about your tournament running over multiple evenings or on a particular week day. Invite players back for a “best of” tournament – along with drink/food specials.

Here’s one real life example from SkyKing2301, Pinside member:

“The last tournament I held was probably more complicated than necessary, but it kept everyone interested (most of whom were just casual / rare players) and they all had a blast. Here was the format I used:

  • 16 people
  • 6 operational pins
  • First: ‘Mini-tournaments’ on each individual pin
  • Players randomly broken into two groups of 8
  • All players play 2 games. (For reasons Bugsy described — sometimes you just have a crap game, or need a chance to figure it out.)
  • Players with the top 2 scores in each group advance to a semifinal match
  • Semifinal winners play one more game to determine individual pin champion
  • Overall Finals: After all 6 pins’ champions are established, each champion then plays one more game on each of the six pins
  • Champion who wins the most games out of the six is the overall tournament winner!
  • Tournament winner receives a trophy and a few scratch-off lotto tickets.
  • High score on each machine gets a scratch-off lotto ticket.
  • Low score on each machine gets a scratch-off lotto ticket.
  • Fun is had by all!”

Start Your Own Pinball Tournament

Interested? Looking for more resources?

  1. Professional and Amateur Pinball Association ( guidelines.
  2. Stern Army
  3. International Flipper Pinball Association
  4. Bullshooter Dart League Downloadable Ads

Call GAD Vending office closest to you or our Omaha office at (402) 553-2812. Our staff has extensive knowledge in tournament resources