Same old problem, different country..

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Happyham
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Same old problem, different country..

Post by Happyham » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:19 pm

Not very long ago at all Mary Moore (head of IFP foosball tour in the US) announced that she is taking over ALL tour events in the US. This is great news because the HOFC and worlds will now always use her software, which for anyone who hasn't used it, is absolutely brilliant. Its also great because there will be just ONE ranking system again, instead of two currently (IFP and USTSA).

She's posted up a few polls on various topics like who should be rated pro master, Whether or not to keep pro events etc.. Which is great because it shows shes listening to the players in order to try and make it best for everyone (Which we all know is impossible, but nonetheless its still a great effort on her part).

So my question is an age old one:

How can you turn pro master status for a tournament into an ACHIEVEMENT, rather than a reason to retire?

Someone posted on the US board saying that the current system is set up to retire players once they reach pro master status! Given travelling / accomodation costs remain the same, yet cost of entry fees go up and chance of success goes down, I would have to say I agree with him.

The UK has a slight advantage over the US scene in that travelling doesnt cost as much, and entry fees aren't as high so players lose LESS money by turning pro master. Yet I still see this problem apparent in the UK!

So is there any reason why you would WANT to become a pro master?

The only one I can think of (which was relevant when I was not rated pro master) is to show friends / family / work colleagues how successful you are at foosball by pointing out your ranking to them.

Other than that, lets face it.. Pro master status is a pain in the ass! So what incentives can you introduce that encourages players to aim to be a pro master?

I appreciate there will be a lot of jokes, as no one posts anything serious anymore.. but can I ask a mod to delete unrelated posts as and when needed?

Thanks,
Joe
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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Oatsey » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:41 pm

Hi Joe,

hope u and the familly are well?

its not easy my suggesstions would be \:

If you get any sponsorship it goes to the pro master level like it generally does in other sports i.e. you make this where the real money is so everyone wants to get there like they do in other sports,

You also pay deep down that level so a pro master has a good chance of getting at least thier costs back.

However without sponsorship there is a limited amount you can do to make it something people want , perhaps limit the cost by no table fees for pro masters or something similar, all matches in the pits or on the best tables etc etc

Try and get more companies paying for them by sponsorship of them e.g. Spredeman and fireball , I am always amazed Rob A does not have a similar deal.

All these things would make it something to aim for but I also think the PM;s have to dress better and look more professional as well for this to happen.

In the old TS days that is exactly how things worked and I wanted to be a pro like crazy as did everyone else , they were all sponsored and all looked up to and dressed professionally and most were sponsored.

However obv the best answer is to create far more players as then the money will come.

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Bundy Volume 1 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:47 pm

We're changing the BFA expert challenge fees so that the higher rank you are, the more money you get. I know it's a pretty small change, but it is something.
It is a problem that there is very little incentive to get promoted, other than self satisfaction.

It's an even harder problem to solve in the UK, where we do not have a unified tour. With just one tour in America, they could do things like hold money back from each tournament and give it to those who have gained the most ranking points over the sporting year etc. I have wanted to do things like this for a little while in the UK, but it's just not workable in our system.

Still, with the rise of Fireball, I'm sure they'll have some ideas on the topic.....

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Boris » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:11 pm

Joe got there first re incentives for promotion in the form of eligibility and a sliding scale of fees for expert challenge events based on a players rank.

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by davez » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:23 pm

Like you Joe, I hesitate to respond because I suspect my ideas will be made fun of. But here goes...

Rank progression needs to be properly reflected.

First use an Elo system so that the relative player rankings are correct.

Then map the Elo points to named rankings with a major and minor key. For example have 4 major ranks (Rookie, SP, Pro, PM) and 3 minor ranks is a gradation within that (e.g. white, blue, black).

Then do a deal with one of the grip manufacturers to produce grips with colours/patterns where the design/colour corresponds to the minor/minor rank. Similarly produce clothing patches with the same design.

Then sanction the national organistion to be responsible for selling the grips/patches and ensuring that they are only purchased by players of the correct rank.

Finally, make a big deal when people get promoted.

Later on, attach theory components to the various levels as well, e.g. at each major rank level you are required to know more of the rules.
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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Christopher Lyall » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:12 pm

At the WO2010 we ran an invitational event for the top 8 players in attendance called Elite Singles with a sponsored prize fund that ended up giving out more to first than OS. Two of the players didn't bother getting out of bed for it though, so meh.

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Boris » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:03 pm

Dave - Am I right in presuming that the theory behind Elo presumes a normal distribution (bell-curve) of abilities?

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by davez » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:20 pm

Boris, I can't believe after like 5 years of silence you choose to engage me on this now, and in this forum! Let's forget about the Elo part in here and open up a dedicated place for that discussion. This is primarily about answering Joe, and my idea was to have ranked grips like martial arts belts. My point here was just the rankings needs to be relatively correct.
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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Mike A » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:41 pm

There are a couple of benefits to being a pro master.

1. You get a preferential draw in a tournament.

2. As a better player you have a higher chance of doing well and getting prize money.

However, in order to be fair, the system should not charge all pro masters a higher amount regardless of how many prize giving slots there are in relation to the number of pro masters entering the event e.g. if 10 pro masters enter an event, it is unfair to charge all 10 the full pro master fee when you know there will only be four places paid and two of those won't cover a pro master entry fee.

Also, it seems odd that our system treats OD and OS in a different way to rank specific events. For example, we all know the stronger and weaker semi pros, yet they all pay the same to enter the semi pro event! But in OS and OD, we divide the players to make those with better chances of doing well pay more - why don't we do this in ranked events?

The reality is that being a low ranked pro master is the worst position to be in, and a system that artificially creates such a disadvantaged position is wrong. Flat entry fees are fair, but the green eyed lefties don't like them.

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Happyham » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:49 pm

Oatsey wrote:Hi Joe,

hope u and the familly are well?
Hey Dave, yeah I'm doing well thanks. Both me and Tasha are workin hard and Jessa is plain awesome.
Oatsey wrote:
If you get any sponsorship it goes to the pro master level like it generally does in other sports i.e. you make this where the real money is so everyone wants to get there like they do in other sports
I completely agree and this is obviously the long term solution to this problem. I'm sure you are in agreement with me that sadly this isnt possible right now. I am wondering what possible incentives / solutions can there be that can be applied to todays state of the game? Thats asking a lot, I realise.

BV1 wrote:
We're changing the BFA expert challenge fees so that the higher rank you are, the more money you get. I know it's a pretty small change, but it is something.
It is a problem that there is very little incentive to get promoted, other than self satisfaction.
Thats kinda cool, although not applicable world wide. Still - I would definitely like the extra money if I was based in the UK! Good idea..
BV1 wrote:
It's an even harder problem to solve in the UK, where we do not have a unified tour. With just one tour in America, they could do things like hold money back from each tournament and give it to those who have gained the most ranking points over the sporting year etc. I have wanted to do things like this for a little while in the UK, but it's just not workable in our system.
Joe, I think the idea of giving cash annually to reward those with the highest progression is kinda cool. Although I wonder how much money you would have to give to stop someone bitching about payin high entry fees for less events and less chance of winning anything!!
Clyall wrote:
At the WO2010 we ran an invitational event for the top 8 players in attendance called Elite Singles with a sponsored prize fund that ended up giving out more to first than OS. Two of the players didn't bother getting out of bed for it though, so meh.
I think thats a great idea, and I think if it was a consistent fixture in tournaments throughout the year then it gives the new promasters a realistic goal of breaking into the top 8.


What do people think about the idea of pro masters entering into the draw in the 2nd or 3rd round (arbritrary) like in the FA cup? It means they have to play less matches to place in the money which could be an incentive? I realise this wouldnt be very n00b friendly as this greatly reduces their chances of drawing a top player in the open events, but something needs to be done to make the pro master position glamorous!
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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Mike A » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:09 pm

Placing someone deeper in the draw sounds nice, but in the UK system of unified rankings, a pro master who relies on the early rounds to get warmed up on an unfamiliar table would be even more disadvantaged.

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Bundy Volume 1 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:39 pm

We tired flat entry fees for open events before, and stopped doing it after only a couple of tournaments. It massively discourages novice/amateur players from entering, as it makes their tournament much more expensive.

If you're looking for a financial answer, then I say pay deep in opens. Pay out very little/none in ANY other event and put it all into opens, pay down to 25th etc even it that is just a fiver. That way everyone stands a good chance of winning money, and the divisional events are a way for people to win a title.

Still, that's not an incentive for people to turn PM and it doesn't make it an achievement, just less of a financial cost.

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Happyham » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:05 pm

Mike A wrote:Placing someone deeper in the draw sounds nice, but in the UK system of unified rankings, a pro master who relies on the early rounds to get warmed up on an unfamiliar table would be even more disadvantaged.
Mike,

Whilst I understand what you're saying, and me and you have talked plenty of times about how we have used the early rounds of a garlando tournament to get warmed up for the later rounds, I don't think this is a big disatvantage.
I would say most pro masters succeed in open events because they have a much higher skill level (mindset also) than semi pros / pros, and have an advantage in a longer format matches (less likely to be crapped out).

You say 'even more disadvantaged' due to the fact that you will already be alien on that table and there are no warmup tables in English tournaments right? I can see where you're coming from with that also.
I just think that playing well on the other tables comes with the territory of being a pro master. If you really WANT to improve and succeed on those other tables, then it may mean owning one / practicing on them exlusively prior to a tournament. If you're losing on an unfamiliar table and you don't like it, then I think buying that table, or finding a venue with that table in is a good idea. Thats what most top players do who struggle on other tables and want to improve.

Whilst I see a very small benefit of having early round matches in that you get to smack a ball around and score 30 goals (or whatever), think about how it could affect a travelling pro master to a big tournament.

If you travelled to the garlando worlds as a pro master and you didnt have to play untill the round of 33, I think that would be very beneficial. Less matches to try and win money back in what would be a tough field. Plus there would be plenty of free tables to warmup / scrimmage on. Thats a hell of an incentive to want to go pro master for me!

I know this is an extreme example, but remember I am aiming to discuss global solutions to this problem as well as something that might work for the UK.

Does anyone else like / dislike the idea of pro masters skipping early round(s) of open events? Obviously the amount of rounds skipped has to be proportioned (is that a word?!) to the size of the tournament!

EDIT: Are there any pros or low pro masters who would see this as a good benefit to them? And perhaps make them want to be a pro master?
Last edited by Happyham on Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Happyham » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:15 pm

BV1 wrote:We tired flat entry fees for open events before, and stopped doing it after only a couple of tournaments. It massively discourages novice/amateur players from entering, as it makes their tournament much more expensive.
I am pretty ignorant to how flat fees worked, but are you saying that instead of a rookie paying 5 and a pro master paying 25, both players paid 15 to enter the same event? I'd be interested to get the views of a rookie on this, perhaps the atomic tortoise! I don't think 15 is THAT much money, and its not like the worse you are at foosball, the poorer you are?

Is there any chance that if you combined flat entry fees with pro masters entering the draw a little later on, rookies would see this as a chance to perhaps progress further in the competition? They would gain more valuable experience in this event than any other too IMO...

Rookies, what do you think?
BV1 wrote: If you're looking for a financial answer, then I say pay deep in opens. Pay out very little/none in ANY other event and put it all into opens, pay down to 25th etc even it that is just a fiver. That way everyone stands a good chance of winning money, and the divisional events are a way for people to win a title.

Still, that's not an incentive for people to turn PM and it doesn't make it an achievement, just less of a financial cost.
Less of a financial cost could be seen as an incentive to a lot of pro masters I think. A player (of any rank) is more likely to come to a tournament if its going to cost them less!

Pro masters what do you think?
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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Happyham » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:18 pm

davez wrote:Like you Joe, I hesitate to respond because I suspect my ideas will be made fun of. But here goes...

Rank progression needs to be properly reflected.

First use an Elo system so that the relative player rankings are correct.

Then map the Elo points to named rankings with a major and minor key. For example have 4 major ranks (Rookie, SP, Pro, PM) and 3 minor ranks is a gradation within that (e.g. white, blue, black).

Then do a deal with one of the grip manufacturers to produce grips with colours/patterns where the design/colour corresponds to the minor/minor rank. Similarly produce clothing patches with the same design.

Then sanction the national organistion to be responsible for selling the grips/patches and ensuring that they are only purchased by players of the correct rank.

Finally, make a big deal when people get promoted.

Later on, attach theory components to the various levels as well, e.g. at each major rank level you are required to know more of the rules.
Dave, I have not ignored your ideas, but would like to put myself forward as the first person to make fun of them. I think it would be far too much effort and upkeep, but then again you're way smarter than me :wink:
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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Graeme » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:49 pm

Mike A wrote:Also, it seems odd that our system treats OD and OS in a different way to rank specific events. For example, we all know the stronger and weaker semi pros, yet they all pay the same to enter the semi pro event! But in OS and OD, we divide the players to make those with better chances of doing well pay more - why don't we do this in ranked events?
I don't think we can claim the ranking system is accurate enough to justify sub-dividing the rank specific events. Personally I don't think the SP/AM events are that predictable, especially with the short formats.

I'd like to see:

- decent quality trophies / medals for the ranked events (i.e. not just leftovers from old tournaments with the plaques pulled off)

- no prize money for ranked events (spend a little on the trophies, the rest goes into opens)

- have the open events pay deep like Joe B says so if Am/SP teams go on a good run and win a couple of games they can get into the money

Payout from the ranked events is almost always disappointing / non-existent. I think it'd be better to have a nice trophy or medal to remember the event by, say up front that there won't be money and put the money into the open events with the understanding that the distribution of the money will be such that weaker pairs can get into it with a good match or two.
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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Bundy Volume 1 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:57 pm

Happyham wrote:I am pretty ignorant to how flat fees worked, but are you saying that instead of a rookie paying 5 and a pro master paying 25, both players paid 15 to enter the same event? I'd be interested to get the views of a rookie on this, perhaps the atomic tortoise! I don't think 15 is THAT much money, and its not like the worse you are at foosball, the poorer you are?
I'm going to have to completely disagree with this. £15 per Open event, so £30 total. That's more than most Novice packages these days. You're not going to persuade many novice players to enter opens if you're going to charge them that much, it's not that bad for traveling players who are already spending a lot, but locals, forget about it. That's what happened with flat entry fees in the past. Sure I remember it happening at a Holywell where I was one of only about 2 ams that entered opens.
I always think it's better to charge novices as little as possible and get them to have a crack at playing much better players in open events, than not have them in at all.

Also - good posting Graeme :)

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Mike A » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:10 pm

Joe, I agree that in an ideal world we would all have the tables we need to practice on, unfortunately due to space constraints, financial constraints and local table availability constraints, this just isn't always possible.

I also agree that for major international tournaments it would be nice to be placed into the last 33 or whatever if you are a pro master as this would be a big incentive to aim for, but for UK National events, I would not like this that much.

On the subject of flat fees I don't see why the lower ranks needed to pay a penny more, I would have simply reduced the entry fees for pro and pro master players to that of semi pro and accepted a lower prize fund. I cannot see the logic as to why this would put off semi pro, amateur and novice players.

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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by Happyham » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:46 pm

Graeme wrote:
I'd like to see:

- decent quality trophies / medals for the ranked events (i.e. not just leftovers from old tournaments with the plaques pulled off)

- no prize money for ranked events (spend a little on the trophies, the rest goes into opens)

- have the open events pay deep like Joe B says so if Am/SP teams go on a good run and win a couple of games they can get into the money

Payout from the ranked events is almost always disappointing / non-existent. I think it'd be better to have a nice trophy or medal to remember the event by, say up front that there won't be money and put the money into the open events with the understanding that the distribution of the money will be such that weaker pairs can get into it with a good match or two.
Interesting. This idea could definitely be a viable option in the UK as you're not spending approx $800-1000 per tournament!

Again, I would like to see what other non pro masters think of this idea? I like the idea of paying deeper in the open events, and I think that if lower ranked players were ok with the idea of playing for trophies only in ranked events then theres no reason you can't do it. Like Graeme said, it would certainly give an am / sp something to shoot for in the open events.
Mike A wrote:
On the subject of flat fees I don't see why the lower ranks needed to pay a penny more, I would have simply reduced the entry fees for pro and pro master players to that of semi pro and accepted a lower prize fund. I cannot see the logic as to why this would put off semi pro, amateur and novice players.
I dont see flat fees putting anyone off if all that happens is pro masters pay less. I'm guessing Joe thought you meant suggesting flat fees like how I described it!

Mike I take it you have no real care on whether or not you make a few bob at a tournament? Thats fair enough as its only really pennies anyway in a UK tournament. I personally don't like the idea of having to pay for something that I'm pretty successful in. If pro masters fees were lowered to sp cost then wudnt a lot of pro masters come out with a loss from a tournament? I suppose if this encouraged more pro masters to come out and play, then you add more money to the prize fund that way.

My question is, if tournaments had flat fees whereby pro masters paid less but everyone else paid the same as they currently do.. How likely is that to affect the decision of the tournament non goers?
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Re: Same old problem, different country..

Post by davez » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:54 pm

It's all wrong. The prize money should be for the spectators not the players.
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