City Champ

THANK YOU to all participants, volunteers, and operators for a great tournament.

This page will be updated with information on the 2016 City Champ as it becomes available. As of now, the information below is for the 2015 City Champ.

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Welcome to City Champ IV!

This page will be dedicated to information regarding the PAPA Circuit event City Champ. Check in here to read official information from the organizers.




$40 to enter +ticket fee of $3 via Eventbrite + Coin drop for each game. Tickets will go on sale at 10:00 AM Pacific Time, September 15th, 2016. Go here to get your ticket!


Tournament Location

Free Gold Watch is located at 1767 Waller St. between Shrader and Stanyan. Tourists call the neighborhood “Haight Ashbury.” Locals call it the Upper Haight.



  • Maximum 72 players.
  • Qualification will be 13 rounds in groups of 4 players, where new groups will be drawn for each round. Scoring will be 7/5/3/1. Parings will be random for the 1st round and tiered Swiss for subsequent rounds (somewhat like Pinburgh). The MatchPlay software we use to run the tournament picks games. Playing order will be balanced.
  • The top 28 players will qualify for playoffs. Seeds 1-4 get a bye round.
  • The first playoff round will be 4 groups of 4. Same scoring as before on a bank of 3 games. The top 2 from each group move on to the quarterfinals. The bottom 2 in each group will be placed in positions 17-24 depending on their point total.
  • Quarterfinals will be 4 groups of 4 players, with the 1-4 seeds entering the playoffs. Same scoring as before on a bank of 3 games. The top 2 from each group move on to the semifinals. The bottom 2 in each group will be placed in positions 9-16 depending on their point total.
  • Semifinals will be 2 groups of 4 players. Same scoring as before on 3 games. The top 2 from each group move on to the finals. The bottom two from each group will play 1 machine for 5-8th place.*
  • The Finals will be 1 group of 4 players. Same scoring as before on a bank of 3 games. If there is a tie, a 1-game tiebreaker will be played on a randomly drawn machine from the same bank that was used in the finals.

Games and banks will be drawn randomly before each round. In the playoffs, the higher seed has the choice of playing order on each machine. This means that a higher seed will NOT have machine choice.

*Original seeds are used to determine play order choice. 1 random machine is picked for this group. 



Round 1 will begin at 11 AM on Saturday. Players must be checked in no later than 10:30 AM. Each round will take approximately 30 minutes. Warm up on non tournament games will be available from 10:15 AM on Saturday. Practice on tournament games will not be allowed. There will be other games available for this purpose.


Rd 1 11:00 AM

Rd 2 11:30 AM

Rd 3 12:00 AM

Rd 4 12:30 PM

Lunch break

Rd 5 2:00 PM

Rd 6 2:30 PM

Rd 7 3:00 PM

Rd 8 3:30 PM

Rd 9 4:00 PM

Rd 10 4:30 PM

Rd 11 5:00 PM

Rd 12 5:30 PM

Rd 13 6:00 PM

Tie breakers 6:45 PM

We will only play tiebreakers that have an impact on who will make it into the playoffs, and for getting a bye round. For other ties, we’ll use the built in tiebreaker (SOS) in MatchPlay. Tiebreaker matches will be best of 1 game on a random machine.


Sunday. (If play is quicker than planned, we will start rounds sooner than listed below.)

1st Round                         11:00 AM

Quarterfinals                     12:30 PM

Semifinals                           2:00 PM

Finals                                   3:30 PM

Awards ceremony              5:00 PM


Prize money

In a field of 72 players, the pot will be around $2300. A share of the entry fee will go to cover costs for pizza for the volunteers, trophies, and other misc. costs associated with running a tournament.

Prize pot distribution:

1st 25%

2nd 20%

3rd 15%

4th 10%

5th 6%

6th 5%

7th 4%

8th 3%

9th-12th 2%

13th-16th 1%

Top qualifier: $50

Second best qualifier: $25

List of games

This is a tentative list. Games are subject to change, but the bulk of machines listed here will be used.

Mars Trek

Black Pyramid

Eight Ball Deluxe


Playboy, Bally

The Addams Family

Attack From Mars

Cactus Canyon


Demolition Man

Dirty Harry

Iron Man

Kiss, Stern Premium

Medieval Madness


Monster Bash


Stern Trek


Wizard of Oz

The Walking Dead



Getting to Free Gold Watch

Within San Francisco, the 43, 6, 33, and 7 MUNI bus lines all have stops within walking distance of Free Gold Watch. The same goes for the N-Judah train. Either the Carl & Cole or Carl & Stanyan stops are your best bet. Outside the city? BART and Caltrain are your friends.

You can track arrival/departure times at Routesy is also super handy for figuring this out, plus the transit stops nearest to your location: Routesy.

If you want a little more control over your arrival time, use Uber or Lyft, and to a lesser extent local taxis. Taxis can also be hailed with the Flywheel and Yellow Cab app.

Note that if you’re heading back downtown after 9PM, certain MUNI rail tunnels will be closed for maintenance and you’ll need to transfer to a bus at some point. As many an SFPD member can testify: Doing this with a buzz, sore feet, and a pocket full of quarters really sucks.

Ride-sharing services are preferable late at night, but beware of surge pricing.



 As of this update (September), there are no available discount rates for City Champ IV. We do have a couple of recommendations, however, primarily because they are relatively close to Free Gold Watch. (There are also AirBnB and VRBO options below.)


Stanyan Park Hotel

750 Stanyan Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Stanyan Park is so close to Free Gold Watch that if you listen hard enough you might be able to hear Twilight Zone multiball kick off from your room. A boutique hotel with 36 rooms, the Stanyan Park is on the smaller side and quite popular, so consider booking ASAP if you like that “bed to pinball in 3-minutes” amenity.


The Metro Hotel

319 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 USA

The Metro isn’t very close to Free Gold Watch (maybe a 20 minute walk), but it is right next to the bus line which runs down Haight Street. It’s also close to a ton of some of the most amazing restaurants on Divisadero Street, the border between the Upper and Lower Haight. It’s also not too far from Molotov’s bar, a regular haunt for drinking teams with a pinball problem (2 machines). There are only 24 rooms at the Metro, so if this sounds good to you, book now.



There’s a pretty good selection of places to stay near Free Gold Watch on AirBnB. Savvy ballers might want to pool their quarters by reserving a place with room for more than a couple. Below is a link to AirBnB listings in the 94117 zip code:



The grandpa to the AirBnB model was VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner), and it might have listings which you won’t find on AirBnB, too. Below are links for Cole Valley (the neighborhood next to the Upper Haight)

Haight Ashbury:

Cole Valley:



Parking in the Upper Haight is harder than the Gem shot in Tron. Sure, you can do it, but as many will testify, you can’t do it every time. Try to avoid driving, or be prepared to walk after you’ve parked elsewhere.

If you absolutely must drive, here are some parking options:


The ABC Parking Lot on Stanyan

No, it won’t be cheap, but it’s cheaper than a couple of parking tickets. Which brings us to option #2:


Street Parking

 There’s metered and free parking in the neighborhood around Free Gold Watch, but both are limited to about two hours. (Metered parking runs about $4.50 per two hours.)

Either way, every couple of hours you’ll need to set a Creature from the Black Lagoon smartphone reminder to MOVE! YOUR! CAR!


Parking Warnings

If you do find a spot on the street, make sure:

  • The curb isn’t painted red, blue, or green.
  • There isn’t a fire hydrant.
  • You’re not blocking someone’s driveway, not even by a foot. (Driveway owners will call to have you towed, which is expensive.)


Before you disregard any of these warning, please consult the SFMTA ala carte “pricing menu” here:


Also, look for signs like these, as they’ll tell you the street cleaning days/rules/limits:

In general, be very suspicious of abundant, free parking. Remember Admiral Akbar.

Special Bonus Parking Warnings:

Do not park in the McDonald’s or Whole Foods parking lot. They will tow you.

Do not leave anything in your car, no matter how marginal you believe the value to be. This includes things like your garage door opener, if you have one. Vehicle break-ins are common right now in SF, and in the Upper Haight in particular.


Food, Beer, & Caffeine

If you need a coffee to sharpen your reflexes, a beer to take off the edge, or some food to fuel your match, there are tons of options within a short walk from Free Gold Watch. Below is a selection of SFPD member recommendations.

You can see all of the food recommendations below and their relative distance from Free Gold Watch on the following map:



 Flywheel Roasters

This is the closest independent coffee joint, on Stanyan. Pour overs take three to four minutes, so if you’re in a hurry, grab an iced coffee straight-up or on nitro tap. Also carries pastries, bottled juices, and snacks.


If you’re coming down Haight Street towards Stanyan, Stanza is a choice spot. Small selection of pastries, good coffee.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods has a coffee bar, but it also has a selection of cold coffees in the refrigerated case near the checkout lines. Excellent spot for Stumptown bottles and Blue Bottle cartons.



Bars are everywhere on Haight St., as are a few bodega-style shops. Kezar Pub on Stanyan is practically connected to Free Gold Watch, and Murio’s Tap Room is just across the way on Haight Street. Most SFPD members will buy beer at Whole Foods or at Parkview Market on Frederick at Stanyan (



The food options below are listed in order of their proximity to Free Gold Watch. Where applicable you’ll also find some recommended menu choices. Once again, you can see these all on a map together here:

Some places on this list will let you order ahead via OrderAhead ( or GrubHub (


Kezar Pub

770 Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Pub food and serious international sports hangout. The wings here are good.


Parada 22

1805 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Home-style Puerto Rican food. The mofongo is outstanding, but if you want a full belly on the cheap, go with a side of arroz amarillo and a side of habichuelas coloradas.


Whole Foods

690 Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Aside from the obvious (it’s a grocery store), there are prepared foods here, a salad bar, pizza, burritos, etc.



672 Stanyan St. San Francisco, CA 94117

They have a few savory items here, but mostly it’s pastries, breads, and small cakes. The blueberry crumble cake is a go-to, plus the bread pudding.


The Citrus Club

1790 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

Noodle dishes inspired by Vietnam, China, Thailand, Japan, and Indonesia. The garlic beef with shiitake mushrooms is enormous (especially if you take it to the next level by adding shrimp).


Escape from NY Pizza

1737 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

Best choice for pizza in the neighborhood. Go with a to-go slice or two on paper plates from the XL thin-crust pies on display and get in and out for about ten bucks.


Stanza Coffee Shop

1673 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

Not the first choice you might go for food, but if you’re on your way back from Street Taco on Haight, it’s a good stop for an espresso and possibly a muffin, cookie, or other coffee shop sweet.


Street Taco

1607 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA

A newcomer to the Haight, Street Taco gets multiple votes from SFPD ballers. Two tacos for $7 and anything with al pastor are top choices here. Fast and simple.


Burgermeister on Carl

86 Carl Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

Burgers of size. Are you surprised? But the not-so-secret find here is the cheesesteak. The chicken version’s pretty good, too. This place is right off the N-Judah train stop at Carl & Cole.



901 Cole Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

Upscale Mexican food with a solid cocktail bar attached. This is mostly a dinner place, though the pro move is to grab brunch which runs Friday through Sunday. You might want to get a reservation for dinner, though if you show up on the early side you can usually score some of their walk-in seating at the communal table or bar. (We know you know guac is extra, but get it as a starter. It’s a ton of guac.)



941 Cole Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

French bistro and brunch cuisine. This place gets mobbed for brunch, so unless you go early, be prepared to wait. The good news is you can put your name on the list and let them know you’re next door at Finnegan’s Bar… where there’s also pinball.


Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

1398 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

Seasonal pub cooking, but this is no house of fried cheese sticks. Quality stuff. The main attraction is the brewery, though. More of a sit down place, so don’t think you’re going to dash out and make it back before your next round starts.


Bacon Bacon

205 Frederick Street, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

This is a bit of a walk from Free Gold Watch, but is ground zero for excessive baconry. What started as a food truck now has this brick-and-mortar cafe which was famously featured on Saturday Night Live when a local bacon-hater complained about the constant bacon smell.  Opens early, closes early-isn (3PM). Not the top of the list for vegetarians, obviously.


Hyperlocal Info

 If you want to get clued in to local news, there are a couple of good sources for neighborhood news:



Bay Area Pinball Map


Useful SF Transit & Twitter Feeds:

SF Department of Emergency Management

SFMTA (MUNI & Transit Notices)

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)

511 Bay Area


City Champ shirts

Coming soon…



Registered players

Aaron Nelson
Alex Pierson
Alex Samonte
Allison O’Neill
Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen
Andrei Massenkoff
Anna Buschman
Art Dodd
Austin Chenelle
Bella Gershtein
Brian O’Neill
Carmelo Vernale
Chris Chinn
Chris Gershtein
Chris Heilig
Chris Lindboe
Craig Ocruhlica
Damien Charléty
Darren Ensley
David Hermanas

David Joud

David Stewart
Derek Lipkin
Dominic DiPalantino
Echa Schneider
Ellen Frankel
Eric Raymond
Eric Wagensonner
Erin Ray
Eugene Gershtein
Gene X Hwang
Germain Mariolle
Jaime Uziel
James Squires
Jared Baldridge
Jared Garvey
Jason Collins
Jason Rosenberg
Jay Goldlist
Jeff Fehervari
Jeff Gagnon
Jeremy Williams
Jessica Jordon Thompson
Jim Belsito
John Lukrich
Johnny Modica
Jonathan Bair

Lisa Ramon

Louise Wagensonner
Marti Leann Brass
Matt Henri
Matt Willmarth
Maura Devereux
Michael Mattsson
Mike Barton
Mike Miller
Nate Robinson
Nathan Stellhorn
Noah Davis
Per Schwarzenberger

Rob Coli
Robin Lassonde
Ron Richards
Russell Sweetser

Shon Dolcini
Tim Hansen
Tim Moyers
Tom Collins
Tony Urso
Walter Hurwitz
Zac Wollons