Quoted from ninjadoug:
Nope. There are a few tickets set aside for people who help the event but none set aside because someone is a top player.
I was wondering about how this worked and think there should be more transparency about this. Before I go any further, I want to let you know that I have never played in any tournaments before and currently have no stake in this at all.
I believe that the top players should definitely receive an automatic entry in the tournament. I find it crazy that it is possible the defending champ Keith Elwin wouldn't be able to play next year because he didn't refresh his browser quick enough to get tickets.
For example, I think almost everybody would be happy with a system where the top 40 players in the A division automatically qualify to purchase tickets for the following year.
I am assuming players like the Sharpe brothers, Keith Elwin, etc. might fall under the "helping the event" category, but obviously am not privy to this type of information, which I have no problem with. The top players and influential pinball people have done more than I will ever be able to do for the pinball community.
My wife and I had a great time and am thankful for all the work done by the organizers of this event.