Rules and Overview

The Texas Pinball League (TPL) was established to promote the growth and prestige of Texas pinball by 1) creating intra-region competition, 2) fostering inter-region cohesion, and 3) increasing the state’s WPPR point opportunities. The TPL will unite the leagues in Austin, Dallas and Houston, to create a massive, Texas-sized pinball showdown and party at Finals.


General Overview:

Each major region of Texas will host a qualifying event, each following the same format. The top 5 players from each event will be advanced to the finals. The finalists from each region and 1 wild card player will converge in a single city to represent their region in the finals. Finals will be scheduled to coordinate with the three major Texas events (Texas Pinball Festival, Houston Arcade Expo, Bat City Open, and State Finals) to reduce travel burdens. The winner will be immortalized on the TPL cup (Formerly the Pinbot Cup), and will possess the cup until the next TPL season.


TPF Season Schedule*

NOTE REGARDING COVID-19. Finals is indefinitely postponed. We will announce a new date and location ASAP.

Event Location Date Time
Houston Qualifier EinStein’s Pub and Arcade March 1, 2020  1 PM
Dallas Qualifier Ken Kemp’s** March 7, 2020  1 PM
Austin Qualifier Buffalo Billiards March 1, 2020 1:30 PM

* Location and times subject to change. Please contact your regional board member for details.

** Private residence. Contact Marcus Trevino for directions.



For each “season” of the TPL, qualifying events will be held in each primary region of the TPL. Qualifying events will determine which players will advance to the finals to represent their region. Each region will be responsible for hosting exactly one qualifying event. Players may play in any qualifying event — however they may only play in one! E.g., A player can play in either Dallas or Austin, but not both.  Players are encouraged to participate in their regional event, even if they might not be able to participate in the TPL Finals.


Each qualifying event will use the following format:

  • four-player group matchplay, whenever possible (there will likely be some 3-player groups)
  • IFPA style scoring (7-5-3-1, 7-4-1 for three-player groups).  
  • balanced pairing. balanced game selection. balanced player order


All events will be managed using the website. The IFPA/PAPA rules will be used to cover all other rulings not listed on this document.


The total points earned across 8 rounds (one game per round) will determine each player’s TPL qualifying score. Each regional event may choose to also hold a regional finals or award regional event prizes, but these have no bearing on players’ TPL qualifying status.


Qualifying events must be open to the public. Dates, times and locations must be determined at the beginning of the season, and posted on the TPL website one month prior.  


All players are encouraged to attend the TPL Finals to both participate and cheer on their region’s players.


TPL A Division: The top 5 players from each region will advance to the A Division TPL Finals. Those who qualify to advance must confirm their TPL Finals attendance at the conclusion of their regional event. If a qualified player is unable to attend the finals, the spot will be given to the next highest ranked player from the same regional event, until all slots are filled. Ties for the 5th position (from those who commit to attend the TPL Finals) will be broken by playing a single game on a randomly chosen machine at the conclusion of each region’s event. At the Official’s discretion, a similar tiebreaker may be held for the 6th or 7th position, in case any of the Top 5 have to cancel their attendance. One wildcard position will be awarded to the host city. This position will be awarded to the 6th highest qualifier of that city, with ties broken by playing a single, randomly chosen game.      


Seeding for the finals will be determined using the following method. Positions 1-3 (Bin 1) will go to the top qualifiers from each city,  Positions 4-6 (Bin 2) will go to the second qualifiers from each city, and so on. The 16th seed will always go to the wildcard position. Positions within each bin will be determined by qualifying points, then number of first place finishes, then number of second place finishes, then Texas IFPA ranking, measured on the day after the last of the three regional events .

The date and location of the finals will be announced at the beginning of each season, before qualifying events are announced. We will attempt to have the finals coincide with one of the three major Texas events (HAE, TPF, BCO) so that players do not have to make a separate trip.  


The finals format will be as follows:

  • PAPA style, 4-2-1-0 scoring
  • 3 games per round.
  • Top seed chooses each game or playing position; but unlike PAPA Finals rules, can only choose a game once over the entire Finals (unless they have already chosen each available game once, in which case, they can choose a game a second time).
  • top 2 from each group advance
  • 30 seconds warm-up allowed per player on a pin they haven’t yet played.
  • See Papa-Style Format for complete info


There will be a $1 fee collected at qualifying events to cover IFPA fees. Players who qualify and choose to participate in the TPL finals (both A & B Divisions) must pay a $10 fee. Finals fees will be used to cover awards and miscellaneous league expenses. Any remaining fees will be paid out to the highest finishing Finals players:  40% to 1st, 30% to 2nd, 20% to 3rd, and 10% to 4th (same % to highest B Div finishers from the B Div Finals fees, if applicable). For clarity, B Div Finals remaining fees will only be distributed to the B Div. top four finishers.

The TPL Board of officials


Each primary region (Austin, Dallas, Houston) will be represented by a single board member. Board members will make rules and decisions for the league. A majority vote is required for all major rule changes. Additional regions may be added to the league, contingent on board approval. New regions must demonstrate an ability to reliably obtain 16+ rated players and collect league dues.


Current board members:

Austin: Colin MacAlpine

Dallas: Marcus Trevino

Houston: Phil Grimaldi

Rules Updates

  1. January 15, 2018 – Reduced number of wildcard positions from 4 to 1, and increased the number of qualifiers in each region from 4 to 5.
  2. May 10, 2018 –
    1. Changed the seeding procedure for finals, such that finishing higher in a regions qualifying guarantees a higher seeding in the finals.
    2. Wildcard automatically awarded to 6th highest qualifier of the host city.
  3. February 27, 2019 – Added B Division Finals.
  4. August 28, 2019 – Removed B Division Finals.
  5. November 6, 2019 – Added State Finals Season