Date: 29th & 30th April, 2017
The Dutch Pinball Masters is one of the major European tournaments and can generally expect a healthy turnout from many of the continent's top players.
This year there was a slight diminution due to a clash of dates with the German Pinball Association's convention in Potsdam, but competition was still fierce at the Dutch Pinball Association's (NFV's) clubhouse in Veenendaal in the centre of the Netherlands.
The location was the same as it had been for the past few years, a light-industrial unit on a commercial park on the outskirts of the town. There's are no catering or hotel facilities close-by, so a car or taxi was a must to get here. Vacant spaces outside the unit, on the street and in front of adjacent buildings meant there was no problem parking.
Once inside the door, there was an arrangement of plants, flowers and copies of the NFV's Spinner magazine, as well as a wall showing supporters' logos.
Once fully inside the building, the first section is the cafe and seating area.
The cafe had a full kitchen and prepared a range of hot food items, including fries, burgers, chicken sate, sausages, mini-snack selections and salads. The prices for all these were very reasonable, with a burger costing €2 ($2.17/£1.68) and a chicken meal with fries and salad at €6.50 ($7.07 /£5.56).
Soup was also available, while soft drinks, beer and wine could also be purchased.
Although there was a demand for quality craft or abbey ales, only Heineken or Bavaria beers were available for €2 a bottle. Those looking for something a little better had to either go elsewhere or bring their own.
Seating was available for those enjoying their meals or drinks, as well as those resting from the pinball. Alternatively, the weather outside was good enough to enjoy your purchases alfresco.
At the very front of the building were several small rooms either containing games to play or used for game repair.
The main selection of pinballs was located in the back two-thirds of the hall. The two rows on the left were the main tournament machines, bolstered by a group on the back wall which were used as back-up machines in case of failure by any of those in the main tournament.
Those tournament machines were:
The back-up machines were: The Sopranos, High Speed 2: The Getaway, Terminator 2 and Corvette.
On the right side of the hall were the free-play machines, while on the back wall was a row of eight machines used for the classics tournament.
The eight classics tournament machines were:
The back-up machine was Mata Hari.
In addition to these tournaments, there was also a team competition held on Friday night.
The team tournament saw eight teams of four split into two groups. The teams and groups were:
Each team played a match against each of the other three teams in their group. A match consisted of each player playing a member of the opposing team on a machine to win 1 point per game, and a pair of split-flipper games for two points each.
The two teams with the most points in each group went into the semi-finals. Here the winner of Group A played second place in Group B and vice-versa in the same style of match as in the first round.
The winners from the first round were Dutch Pinball Team and Pinball DNA, while second place qualifiers were Team Delta and Team Ro-Me.
Dutch Pinball Team and Pinball DNA won the semi-final matches, setting them up for a final match held in the same format.
In the final, the Dutch Pinball Team won three of the four individual matches to lead 3-1, meaning Pinball DNA needed to win both split-flipper games. They won one of them, but that was not enough, meaning the Dutch Pinball Team of Albert Nomden, Paul Jongma, Mark van der Gugten and Joska Keunekamp won 5-3.
In the play-off, Team Ro-Me beat Team Delta for third place.
The main Dutch Pinball Masters tournament began on Saturday with a qualifying round for all 141 players. Tournament entry cost €15 in addition to the daily €7.50 fee for entry to the clubhouse, meaning a €30 total price for entry if you played on both days. As a bonus, all competitors received a 10% discount off products from playfield-protectors.com.
There were three qualifying periods starting at 09:30, 13:15 and 17:00, each one lasting around three-and-a-half hours.
In each period, players were split into four groups (A-D, E-H and J-M) with around twelve players in each group. Every competitor played a single three-ball game against each other player in their group, in a predetermined order and on preselected machines. A win in a game earned one point, a loss scored a zero.
When a game was over, the winner would come to a terminal and register their win.
As each result was recorded, the overall picture emerged on a large screen.
For all groups, a score of eight wins or more would guarantee you a place in Sunday's second round. If you got seven wins it was a toss-up whether that would be enough, or if you would end up in a tie-breaker. With six wins you would be lucky to progress. It wasn't impossible, but unlikely, and a tie-breaker was an almost certainty.
Those who did progress needed to be back at the venue at 9:40 on Sunday morning for the start of the second round. For everyone else, their Dutch Pinball Masters was over, and just the classic tournament remained.
The classic tournament cost an additional €10 to enter and was held on the eight machines we listed above, with competitors given ten games spread across the eight machines in order to qualify. No machine could be played more than twice and all ten scores were ranked, with the top 24 players progressing to the play-offs and the top players receiving a bye through the first round.
Players were issued with a score card for the classic tournament, but in truth all scores were recorded electronically on tablets or phones. with the current standings shown on a terminal.
Qualifying continued until 8:30pm on Saturday, with the play-offs beginning at 9pm once the main DPM rounds had finished and all players were free to take part.
Matches in the play-offs were head-to-head best-of-five games on machines drawn at random.
The final came down to a battle between Gabriele Tedeschi from Italy and Rich Mallett from the UK.
After some exciting games, Mata Hari was the decider, and with Gabriel going first but failing to score much Rich just had to hold his nerve, which he did very successfully to win the game and the final.
So, Rich was the winner, Gabriel second, while in the play-off it was Jochen Krieger Germany who took third place ahead of Frenchman Sebastien Puertas in fourth.
Here are all the placings in the DPM classic tournament:
Sunday morning rolled around with the main DPM tournament left to decide.
The top four from each of the four groups in each of the three qualifying sessions meant (4 x 4) x 3 = 48 players progressed to the second round which began at 10am on Sunday.
The format was the same as Saturday - four groups of twelve players, with everyone playing one head-to-head game against everyone else in their group (11 games). The four players with the most wins in each group would move on to the quarter finals.
The sixteen who made it into the quarter-finals were:
The quarter-finals paired up players in a best-of-five match on randomly-drawn machines. The first to win three games moved on to the semi-finals.
Kirsten Adam had three straight wins to progress, as did Ivan Geentjens, Sébastien Puertas and Cayle George. David Deturck took four games to win, the same as Jan Anders Nilsson and John van der Wulp, while Roger Wijnands took all five games to win and move on to the semis.
The semi-final was the same as the quarters - best-of-five on random machines.
This time David Deturck beat Kirsten Adam 3-2, Jan Anders Nilsson did the same against Ivan Geentjens, as did Roger Wijnands against Sébastien Puertas. Only Cayle George had an easier 3-0 win against John van der Wulp.
Jan Anders Nilsson began by choosing Congo, but the game didn't co-operate with him this time. His first ball scored 100M to put him in third place, while balls two and three only lifted that to 380M which was last place.
Cayle George had the best first ball with 215M, boosted to 800M on his second and 1.067B on his third to win. David Deturck recovered from a bad 79M start to end on 932M for second, while Roger Wijnands's 744M total was only good enough for third.
David chose Star Trek: The Next Generation for game two but once again the curse of machine choice struck as his 1.2B was the lowest of the four scores. Jan had a great last ball, scoring 2.3B to end up on 3.1B, taking first place. Cayle's 2.6B might normally be enough to win but only gave him second here, with Roger's 1.8B good for third.
Cayle's choice of Scared Stiff broke the chooser's curse with his ball one score of 16M being enough to win the game. In the end, he totalled 79M - way ahead of David in second on 9.8M, Jan on 2.7M and Roger who never got started and ended on just 0.8M.
With game four still to play, Cayle's 23 points was already enough to win the final, with Jan closest behind on 11 points, David in third on 10, and Roger on 4. But Roger could still get into a tie-breaker for second place if the other places worked out for him, while Jan and David were battling it out.
Roger chose Whirlwind, but was blown away by three quick drains to end up on just 309K. The battle for second was thus between Jan and David, and it was David who stormed his way to the win with 9.5M, ahead of Cayle's 7M and Jan's 4.5M.
So the result was, Cayle in first place, David second, Jan third and Roger fourth.
Here are the full results:
And so we come to the end of this report from the Dutch Pinball Masters 2017.
The DPM is a well-established and well-supported international tournament, one which guarantees all players at least eleven games even if they don't progress beyond the qualification round.
There were clear improvements to the match result reporting system, allowing players to record their own results and providing instant standings which made life easier for competitors and organisers. The timings all went to plan and any technical issues were resolved quickly and amicably.
The only real negative was the quality of the free-play machines, although even there the addition of Ad Jonker's The Matrix and Capt. Nemo games helped made up for any shortcomings or unavailabilties.
Hopefully next year the dates for the DPM won't clash with another major European tournament and players can get to enjoy two top-flight Spring tournaments.
© Pinball News 2017