Quick Overview

The IFPA North American Championship Series is an annual pinball competition with players qualifying throughout the entire calendar year. Included in the NACS are the IFPA State Championship Series in the United States, IFPA Provincial Championship Series in Canada and the IFPA District Championship Series in Washington D.C. At the end of each calendar year, the top 16 ranked players (or 24) with the most WPPR points from each state will qualify for the playoffs, where they will play for the title of IFPA State/Province/District Champion within that area.

From there, these champions will be invited to play for the IFPA North American Pinball Championship, details of which can be found below. Any mentions of the SCS below also apply to the PCS and DCS.

Competition Details

  1. How to qualify

Unlike most tournaments where the qualification process takes place over a couple of days at the tournament site, qualifying for the IFPA State Championship Series is based on results from all the IFPA endorsed tournaments held throughout the year in each eligible state. Utilizing its World Pinball Player Rankings, the IFPA will be tracking results based on where those IFPA endorsed tournaments are held, maintaining separate state rankings made up of those filtered results.

For example, the Illinois State Rankings will be made up of IFPA endorsed tournaments including Pinball Expo’s Flip Out tournament, Chicagoland Pinball League, Gameworks Pinball Tournament of Champions, Illini Pinball League, Gameworks Monthly Pinball Tournament, Pre-Expo Fall Classic, etc. Those 16 (or 24) players that earn the most WPPR points based only on these subset of events, will qualify for the IFPA Illinois State Championship. Similar to the World Pinball Player Rankings, only a player’s best 20 events within that state will count towards their standing.

No player will be eligible to play in more than one IFPA State Championship, so it is likely that the IFPA will have to move down the state rankings list to find 16 (or 24) eligible qualifiers to participate in the State Championship. It is possible to qualify for an IFPA State Championship within a state that player does not live in, and it is even possible for players that live outside of the US to qualify for an IFPA State Championship should they earn enough WPPR points within a state to qualify.

It is the player’s responsibility to make sure they have an email address on file with the IFPA, or they run the risk of not being contacted for participation in any State Championships they are qualified for. Please fill out an IFPA profile to ensure we have a way to contact you. If you see a green check within your profile information on your IFPA profile page, it means we do have a registered email address on file for you. The IFPA requires that you have a registered account to be eligible to compete in the IFPA North American Championship Series.

While all States will have a minimum of 16 players that qualify for the State Championship, certain states will be eligible to expand their qualifying field to 24 players. Any States that have a minimum of 400 unique players and 100 events held within that state during the calendar year will be eligible for that expanded 24 player final.

  1. Fees

An endorsement fee of $1 per player, per event will now be required for events to be endorsed by the IFPA and award WPPR points within the United States, Canada and Washington D.C.

Tournament Directors are responsible for submitting payment to IFPA after results are approved. WPPR points will not be posted until payment has been received by the IFPA.

The fees collected will be allocated to the prize pool of that state (65%), prize pool of the North American Championship (20%), prize pool of the IFPA World Pinball Championship (5%) with 10% of the fees being withheld to cover processing fees related to those payments. Please note for Canadian Provinces the endorsement fee will be paid in CAD, however the funding for the North American Championship will be at the USD total. Based on current exchange rates this makes the PCS split roughly 60% province, 25% to the North American Championship, 5% to the IFPA World Pinball Championship and 10% fees.

Format of Matches

  1. Seeding of finalists

Once all participants are finalized, the 16 or 24 players will be seeded based on their State rankings position at the end of the calendar year. In the event that any players are tied with the same amount of In-State WPPR points, we will look at the overall WPPR rank of those players as of the end of that calendar year. Any players tied on the qualifying bubble with the same State ranking position will result in a play-in tiebreaker game to determine who joins the field of finalists for the State Championship. Game and position will be pulled at random by the TD.

  1. Machines Chosen

With each IFPA State Championship being held at a different location, each will have a different set of games available for the tournament. Please check with the IFPA State Representative for details on the game list once the location has been finalized for that particular IFPA State Championship.

  1. Head-to-Head Single Elimination Format

Players will be placed in a single elimination bracket once the seedings have been completed.

First round pairings are as follows:

1 vs. 16, 2 vs. 15, 3 vs. 14, 4 vs. 13,
5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, 7 vs. 10, 8 vs. 9

Second round pairings are as follows:

1/16 winner vs. 8/9 winner, 2/15 winner vs. 7/10 winner,
3/14 winner vs. 6/11 winner, 4/13 winner vs. 5/12 winner

Third round pairings are as follows:

1/8/9/16 winner vs. 4/5/12/13 winner,
2/7/10/15 winner vs. 3/6/11/14 winner

Fourth round pairing are as follows:

Two winners of round 3 play for the State Championship
Two losers of round 3 player in the Consolation Final for 3rd/4th place.

Each match will be a race to 4 wins (unless a match is tied 3-3 after 6 games where a sudden death tiebreaker will be played – see below). At the start of the match each player will choose an ‘OLD’, ’MID’ and ’NEW’ machine. The lower seeded player will choose the first machine, followed by the higher seeded player choosing the second machine. This picking order will continue until all 6 games have been chosen. A machine may not be picked more than once in the same match. Once a player verbally makes any choice regarding machine or position, they are locked into that decision. Please note that State Reps have the authority to not have an era breakdown for the event, in which case the choices of each player at the start of the match will be from the entire field of available machines.

The higher seed will first choose whether they want to start on one of their own choices, or one of the lower seed’s choices. Position will be based on who originally selected the machine before the match started. The player that did not have the machine as a part of their three choices will have choice of position on that particular machine. The match will alternate between machines chosen by each player, until all 6 games are completed. Should a player reach 4 wins before all 6 games are completed, no further games should be played. If the higher seeded player chooses to start on one of their machine choices, they will choose game number 1, 3 and 5 in the match (from their 3 picks). The lower seeded player would then be choosing game number 2, 4 and 6 in the match (from their 3 picks).

Should the match be tied after these 6 games, the match will move to ‘Sudden Death’. This will be a single game where any of the remaining machines are available to be chosen. The higher seeded player will have choice of machine or position for this ‘Sudden Death’ game.

Each player will have the opportunity for 30 seconds of practice time before starting every game of every match. This is to ensure that both players have a chance to get familiar with the machine.

The winner of the match advances to the next round, while the loser is eliminated.

The 3rd/4th place Consolation Final will be played as a best-of-three instead of a best-of-seven like all other rounds, using the same rules. It is up to the IFPA State Representative as to whether matches will be played out to determine 5th through 16th (or 24th) place.

For any state that is eligible for the expanded field of 24 finalists, the top 8 players will receive a bye, with the 9th through 24th seeds playing in an opening round. The rest of the bracket will play out as above.


  1. Winners

Winners will receive cash prizes as cash or check during an awards ceremony shortly following the conclusion of all final rounds. Winners need not be present to receive prizes; prizes will be supplied via postal mail if necessary. All taxes are the sole responsibility of winners. Certain tax forms may need to be completed, as directed by tournament officials. All decisions by tournament officials regarding winners and prizes are final.

Any state with 16 finalists will have the following payout structure:

1st place – 30% of the prize pool

2nd place – 18% of the prize pool

3rd place – 12% of the prize pool

4th place – 8% of the prize pool

5th through 8th place – 4% of the prize pool each

9th through 16th place – 2% of the prize pool each

Any state with 24 finalists will have the following payout structure:

1st place – 28% of the prize pool

2nd place – 16% of the prize pool

3rd place – 10% of the prize pool

4th place – 6% of the prize pool

5th through 8th place – 4% of the prize pool each

9th through 16th place – 2% of the prize pool each

17th through 24th place – 1% of the prize pool each

First Place will also receive the title “IFPA State Pinball Champion” for the state being contested. For example, the winner of the IFPA Ilinois State Championship will receive the title of “IFPA Illinois State Pinball Champion”. This title remains in effect until the next annual IFPA State Championship Series, or will expire after two years if the IFPA State Championship Series is discontinued.

Rulings and Malfunctions

All rulings and malfunctions will be based on the rules for the IFPA/PAPA unified ruleset, available HERE.


IFPA North American Championship

As part of the prize package for each IFPA State Championship, each IFPA State Champion will win free entry into the IFPA North American Pinball Championship. If the IFPA State Champion is unable to attend the IFPA North American Pinball Championship, the runner-up at the State Championship will be allowed to participate and serve as the representative of that state.

The IFPA North American Pinball Championship will be held on Thursday, March 7th, 2024 at District 82 in De Pere, WI. Additional details on the format and prizes is available HERE.