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At the Cupids and Canines Casino Night and Pinball Tournament on February 7, 2009, over 350 people played blackjack, poker, craps, roulette and pinball at the Professional Amateur Pinball Association's (PAPA) headquarters in Scott Township (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania. Tournament players and pinball enthusiasts could play over 400 pinball machines from all eras, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Batman (The Dark Knight), two of the newest offerings from STERN Pinball, Inc. In addition to the admission fees, all coin-drop from the pinball machines went to charity.

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Every paid attendee at the event received $20,000 in "play money" to use at the casino gaming tables. Each $5,000 in "play money" earned you one ticket to use for the chance auction and raffle. You could also re-buy "play money" if you were tapped out.

Among the charities that benefitted from this event were: Bob Wow Buddies (Camp Bow Wow) and the Pittsburgh-area Humane Societies with the goals of promoting canine cancer research and animal adoptions.

Though the event officially opened at 8:00 PM, PAPA President, Kevin Martin opened the facility at 11:00 AM for the pinball tournament competitors. Multiple time World Pinball Champion Bowen Kerins organized the event.

Among the games involved in the tournament were:

Batman (The Dark Knight)
Harlem Globetrotters
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Family Guy
The Simpsons
Flip Flop
Paragon
Jungle Queen
Medieval Madness
Judge Dredd

A $10 entry fee bought you a slot in a group of 8 players for a satellite tournament/preliminary round (though, your admission into Cupids and Canines came with one free entry into the tournament). Each group of 8 players was split in half. These two groups of 4 played a "best of three" series where first place in each game earned 4 points, second place earned 2 points, third place received 1 point, and fourth place got zero points. This was later changed to a "best of two" series because of the high amount of people who wanted to enter the tournament.

Finishing first or second overall in your group meant you advanced to the next round of four players with the winner of that group reaching the final round. A great feature about this system was that as soon as you lost a round, you could immediately reenter. A new preliminary round began as soon as eight more players were ready. A portion of the entry fees for the pinball tournament also went to charity. Trent Augenstein, ranked number 6 in the world as of this writing, won the tournament and took home an electromechanical pinball machine donated by PAPA.

It was a fantastic event, and I encourage all, who are looking for a slice of pinball heaven, to come out to the PAPA world headquarters when it reopens for the PAPA 12 World Pinball Championships this August.

Cupids and Canines
PAPA
Pittsburgh Post Gazette Article

Cupids and Canines 2009 Casino Night and Pinball Tournament