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Pinball at The Creek and The Cave

Pinball Machines at The Creek and The Cave in Long Island City, Queens, which is hosting their first Annual Pinball Tournament on February 16. Photo by Val Cihak

Queens’ first-ever pinball tournament is coming up on Sunday at The Creek and The Cave in Long Island City. The bar, restaurant, lounge and comedy theater has seven pinball machines, including Star Trek Limited Edition, X-Men Pro and the Wizard of Oz. The club’s first annual pinball tournament on February 16th from 12 noon till 8pm was organized by Francesco La Rocca, who pioneered tournaments at New York City bars starting in 2009. For Sunday’s event, Francesco teamed up with Rebecca Trent, the owner of Creek and Cave and the owner/operators of the pinball machines.

The entry fee for the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) sanctioned tournament is $10, with all money plus prizes paid out to the top 4 finishers. “It could be more if we have big turn out,” said Franceso, who told ATZ that 70 players had registered in advance. Of that number, more than half are newcomers to the NYC tournament circuit. The fact that their names are unfamiliar to the longtime New York City league player and tournament organizer points to the resurgence of pinball. From Modern Pinball NYC’s interactive showroom in Manhattan to New York City bars with one to several pinball machines, there are new opportunities for first-timers to become pinball wizards.

Among the local venues with pinball machines where Francesco has helped organize tournaments are Modern Pinball (32 tables), Reciprocal Skateboards and Pinball (11) and Pioneers Bar (4), all in Manhattan, and Jackbar (9) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Current and upcoming events include Modern Pinball’s Pin-Golf tournament on Mondays-Wednesdays through March 11, and Pioneers First Annual Pinball Tournament on March 16.

Jackbar

One of nine pinball machines at Jackbar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo via Jackbar

Qualification for Sunday’s Creek and Cave tournament will consist of one game on each machine (you must play with at least two other players), where top score overall will get 100 points, 2nd place 90 points, 3rd place 85 points, 4th place 84, etc. Each individual’s five scores (assuming there will be five machines in play) will be combined to determine their total point score. The top 16 players will go on to the next round and will be split in 4 groups of 4 players by their seeds. Players will then compete in a survival format until only one player is left in each group.

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