Texas Pinball League Qualifier 2017 Houston: As Red would say, “It’s a dud”

The title kind of gives away just how well I did (and no, Road Show was not actually in the line up). I do appreciate Austin Knight hosting this tournament on his collection, as I did gain some experience despite the lousy finish. The details have kind of faded from my memory a bit in the days since the tournament so I’m going to keep this to a brief summary of each game and what I remember.

The format was eight rounds with 7-5-3-1 scoring (or 7-4-1 if we had any three-player groups, which we didn’t).

First round: NBA Fastbreak with William Thornton, Kevin Tooley, and Jeff Mleynek. Overall I had a very good game and finished with a solid score of 76, good enough for first place easily. My confidence got the boost it needed as we went into the second round.

Second round: World Cup Soccer with David Pollock, Austin Knight, and Joshua Fishman. Even though I did finally start multiball, I wasn’t able to do much with it, and this game wound up being a disaster. I would finish dead last with a paltry 210M+ behind a 344M+ from Joshua, a 398M+ from Austin, and a 1.476B+ from David.

Third round: Metallica with Fred Revnew, Phil Grimaldi, and Cory Westfahl. I’m normally decent on this game. No matter what league or tournament you’re in though, the odds just don’t favor a sub-4M score getting it done. My 3.79M+ was no exception, good for dead last behind Cory’s 7.07M+, Phil’s 28.92M+, and Fred’s 29.71M+.

Fourth round: Ghostbusters with Bryce Revnew, Matt Quantz, and Frankie Griffin. Another case where the score I put up (in this case, a pissant 9.62M+) just wasn’t going to get it done no matter what. Scores of 12.2M+ from Matt, 331.4M+ from Bryce, and 104.5M+ from Frankie all ran circles around my lacking effort.

Fifth round: X-Men with Carey Fishman, Ben Whittington, and Fred Revnew. It’s really just more of the same. I was barely able to put up a 2.41M+, which just wasn’t going to get it done behind 4.42M+ from Ben, 5.37M+ from Fred, and of course, Carey takes first easily with 33.5M+.

Sixth round: World Cup Soccer (again) with William Thornton, Frankie Griffin, and David Dronet. This time it’s even worse, 159M+, but David lays an even bigger egg with 54.7M+ giving me third place. The real contest was between William and Frankie with 1.294B+ and 944M+ respectively.

Seventh round: Lord of the Rings with Jeff Cook, Carey Fishman, and Cory Westfahl. I’ve done much better on this game than the 12.54M+ I put up. I eeked out a third ahead of Cory’s 10.56M+, but I was no match for Jeff’s 38.11M+ and Carey’s 21.40M+. If I had actually been able to cash in the multiball instead of draining out with two balls locked, I might have been able to push that a bit higher.

Eighth round: NBA Fastbreak (again) with Joe Cuellar, Matt Quantz, and Joshua Fishman. Knowing my earlier play on this game was my only first-place finish of the day so far, even though I had long since been mathematically eliminated from any realistic hope of qualifying for the finals, I hoped to do well to at least finish the tournament on a high note. Unfortunately, that was not to be. A paltry 16 rounded out the day behind 23 from Joe, 41 from Matt, and 58 from Joshua. What a damn fine way to go out.

After finishing up my game on NBA Fastbreak, I got to see part of the trailing end of the eighth round action featuring David Pollock, David Dronet, William Thornton, and Phil Grimaldi. David Pollock winds up tilting out before surpassing David Drouhet’s score, giving the latter third place and saving him from a last-place overall finish in the tournament as a whole. David Pollock would still take fourth place in the tournament, qualifying him for the finals alongside Fred Revnew, Phil Grimaldi, and Carey Fishman.

Final standings: 19th place with 18 standings points, either tied with Cory Westfahl or outright (since I technically had the tiebreaker over him with my one first-place finish in the first round).

It stands to reason that I’d immediately put up a 76 on NBA Fastbreak, a 22.77M+ on Lord of the Rings (which unfortunately still wouldn’t have been enough to beat Jeff), and a relatively decent 69.65M+ in single player games after the tournament was over. Of course. Anyway, despite the absolutely crummy finish of either dead last or next-to-last, I had a great time and gained more tournament experience.

Austin Knight did an awesome job of hosting. Lest I forget, Carey Fishman was also awesome for letting me recharge my phone on his USB battery after I did something that’s just typical me: I brought along an external USB battery of my own and forgot the cable to plug my phone into it. I immediately found the cable when I got home, of course. Such is life as a competitive pinball player.