(Topic ID: 43917)

Detailed descrption of "Herb Format"


By DarthXaos

6 years ago



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  • 38 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by phishrace
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    #1 6 years ago

    I have seen the term "Herb Format" occasionally but I can't seem to find a detailed description of it.

    #2 6 years ago

    Not too sure about the "format" part.

    #3 6 years ago

    hmmmm I feel I should be able to describe this one.....

    #4 6 years ago

    probably has something to do with legendary sexual prowess

    #5 6 years ago

    Herb for Matt?

    #6 6 years ago

    "Pump and dump". You buy as many tickets as you want to play games during the qualifying period. Your highest score on each game is ranked and you get points based on the ranking of your score on each game. At the end of the qualifying period, the top 12/16/whatever players move on to finals which typically work much like the PAPA finals (groups of 4, 3 games, 4/2/1/0 points for 1st/2nd/3rd/4th on each game). This format is used a lot for major events partially because it cranks the prize pool through the roof.

    #7 6 years ago
    Quoted from KevinDDR:

    "Pump and dump". You buy as many tickets as you want to play games during the qualifying period. Your highest score on each game is ranked and you get points based on the ranking of your score on each game. At the end of the qualifying period, the top 12/16/whatever players move on to finals which typically work much like the PAPA finals (groups of 4, 3 games, 4/2/1/0 points for 1st/2nd/3rd/4th on each game). This format is used a lot for major events partially because it cranks the prize pool through the roof.

    How are the scores translated into points?

    #8 6 years ago

    not quite as cool as I had hoped...

    #9 6 years ago
    Quoted from DarthXaos:

    How are the scores translated into points?

    It's a little different for every tournament that is played, but you can find examples at the pages hosting the tournaments... Here's one for the MGC:

    http://www.midwestgamingclassic.com/tournaments/pinball-tournaments/mpc-rules/

    I don't like the term "Herb format", I like it as "open qualifying." It isn't just something to send the prize pools through the roof - it actually helps not-so-great players have a chance too. If you are inconsistent, and you play a game and you just stink, in "open qualifying" you can play it again to try to improve your score. If you are playing in PAPA style, head to head, or limited entry, it very hard to bounce back from a lower score.

    #10 6 years ago
    Quoted from goatdan:

    not-so-great player

    Quoted from goatdan:

    you just stink

    Quoted from goatdan:

    If you are inconsistent

    #11 6 years ago
    Quoted from DarthXaos:

    How are the scores translated into points?

    Typically something like:

    High score on game = 100 points
    2nd place score = 90 points
    3rd place score = 85 points
    4th place score down to 87th = 84 down to 1 point

    http://papa.org/papa15/rules.php

    Quoted from herbertbsharp:

    not quite as cool as I had hoped...

    Many players, including me, prefer the Herb format. If you've never tried one, give it a shot. Virtually all of the big tournaments these days have some sort of casual division. The casual divisions allow first time competitors to play along side the really good players (everyone plays the same games) while still having a shot at winning some cash. The casual division at CAX has blown up the last couple of years. Very competitive (in a casual way d.

    #12 6 years ago

    Is the format used in any other sports or just pinball?

    #13 6 years ago
    Quoted from DarthXaos:

    I have seen the term "Herb Format" occasionally but I can't seem to find a detailed description of it.

    It's a format that was started by Herb Silvers of Fabulous Fantasies. Others have covered the details.

    Some people love them and others hate them.

    Pros:

    1) builds the prize pool
    2) gives competitors more tournament play - who wants to get on a plane to play five games, not qualify, and then fly home?
    3) Gives players who maybe have never seen a game before an opportunity to learn the game enough to be competitive.
    4) Finals are arguably a truer test of the better players since a lucky entry or two is likely not going to offset a truly skilled player's consistency across the board.
    5) Regarding the idea that it gives newer players a chance, I disagree with this. If I had to play Keith Elwin for a thousand bucks, would I want to play him one time or five times? Or 10 times? In the long run, Keith is far more likely going to win. Herbs give the *impression* that beginners have a better chance but they actually have a far worse chance.

    Herb formats can give *some* players in particular scenarios a better chance. It might give a very skilled player who has just never seen a game a chance to qualify with multiple entries (see 3, above).

    Another situation is it allows a "control" player to learn the subtleties of the game. Once dialed, a control player can put up a huge score. With a limited qualifying format or a one and done, the control player may never reach a level on a game where they're comfortable before they run out of chances.

    Cons:

    1) If you want to be competitive, you likely have to forgo the rest of the show.
    2) It can be expensive. I typically spend at least $100 in a herb format.
    3) You get more "tournament play", but in qualifying it's by yourself. In my opinion that's a quantity over quality kind of thing.
    4) They're a beast to run for organizers and volunteers.
    5) People get tired, cranky and assholey. Last hour of qualifying in a Herb is like a war zone.
    6) Games tend to be set up extremely hard (aka 'bastardized') to keep play times short. You almost never find games set up similarly in the wild (except Classics/EMs). If you don't own games of your own, and can't get a feel for bouncy rubbers, big outlanes and tight tilts, frankly, you are going into a Herb at a big disadvantage.

    #14 6 years ago

    Here's the thought process of someone who likes to keep his money, and does not think it's fun to lose it in a tourny.

    Let's see, I'm an average player. I'll have to buy a bunch of tries to just make the "ever increasing" score cut. Then **IF** I do, I'll probably be beaten by a much better player. He'll get my money and everone else's. So, why attempt? Just play pinball outside a tournament. Simple as that.

    If you are awesome, you get the money. Good for you, bad for everyone else.

    #15 6 years ago
    Quoted from jonnyo:

    5) Regarding the idea that it gives newer players a chance, I disagree with this. If I had to play Keith Elwin for a thousand bucks, would I want to play him one time or five times? Or 10 times? In the long run, Keith is far more likely going to win. Herbs give the *impression* that beginners have a better chance but they actually have a far worse chance.

    Most all of the big tournaments have a casual type division now. This allows noobs to play along side guys like Keith, while still having a shot at winning some money. Didn't you hand out the trophies and cash to the casual players at CAX last year?

    Judging by the large increase in competitors in the casual division at CAX the last couple of years, it seems like many of the noobs feel like they have a shot at winning something. Can't imagine why you wouldn't mention casual divisions.

    Quoted from jonnyo:

    6) Games tend to be set up extremely hard (aka 'bastardized') to keep play times short. You almost never find games set up similarly in the wild (except Classics/EMs). If you don't own games of your own, and can't get a feel for bouncy rubbers, big outlanes and tight tilts, frankly, you are going into a Herb at a big disadvantage.

    They are setup harder, but at least they're setup properly. Often in match play tournaments, games have very little to no setup. Leaning games and loose tilts are not uncommon. I'd rather play hard games setup properly than games that aren't setup at all. That's a better test of skill IMO.

    #16 6 years ago
    Quoted from jonnyo:

    It's a format that was started by Herb Silvers of Fabulous Fantasies. Others have covered the details.
    Some people love them and others hate them.

    I'm in the semi-"hate" category. A big reason for why I dislike this format comes from *my perspective* that tournaments are about competing in the moment. If you can't beat someone or score a qualifying score in X amount of tries when it counts, you weren't the best player that day.

    Although now I know better, when I first saw this format in pinball I thought it was a con to just pad the pools.

    What I *do* like is when this format is run with a cap on the re-buys. I believe that is how you ran it at PPE? If you think you can qualify in 1 shot, you save money. If you need all X amount of times to qualify, that's fine...because EVERYONE is on the same level playing field to qualify.

    #17 6 years ago
    Quoted from sosage:

    I'm in the semi-"hate" category. A big reason for why I dislike this format comes from *my perspective* that tournaments are about competing in the moment. If you can't beat someone or score a qualifying score in X amount of tries when it counts, you weren't the best player that day.

    That's where the playoffs come in with the Herb format. Head to head and you have to win.

    Quoted from sosage:

    What I *do* like is when this format is run with a cap on the re-buys... If you think you can qualify in 1 shot, you save money. If you need all X amount of times to qualify, that's fine...because EVERYONE is on the same level playing field to qualify.

    Due the luck factor in pinball, if you limit rebuys, the best player may not always win. I understand that people like this, but if you want a true test of your skills, try a Herb style tournament or some variation of it, like PAPA. Limited rebuys decreases the prize pool and increases the luck factor. Might as well do match play.

    People say you can buy yourself into a Herb style tournament. This is true to some degree, but you still have to put up the scores. You can't just hand over a wad of cash and automatically qualify for the playoffs.

    #18 6 years ago

    Re: herbertsharpe - Hey, no...

    Using me as an example, I'm generally a pretty decent pinball player. Using my friends as an example, if we play 20 games, I'll win probably 16 of them. Good percentage. On three of those games, it will probably be pretty close, and the other player will have had a good game. On one of those games, I will score like 1/30th of their score.

    Open qualifying format helps me as a player because if in qualifying, I get that 1/30th of a score, I can play again and wipe it out. I'm not though good enough to not have games that just suck sometimes.

    So for me, this is a much better way to play. I get a chance to play and with a few scores, I get to see where I stand. If I bomb the same game but am okay on the other 4 or whatever, I can opt to replay it.

    Also, contrary to what some people have said, I don't get what people mean by you have to "grind" it out. If you set a monster score on a game as your first play, chances are you don't need to play it again. Generally, the top qualifying people won't be playing all day, unless they want to get a continued "feel" for the machines and / or try to hold their spots. We have had some people qualifying in the first two hours Saturday and then not play another entry.

    Quoted from Propaganda:

    Here's the thought process of someone who likes to keep his money, and does not think it's fun to loose it in a tourny.

    I don't like to "loose" money either...

    Quoted from Propaganda:

    Let's see, I'm an average player. I'll have to buy a bunch of tries to just make the "ever increasing" score cut. Then **IF** I do, I'll probably be beaten by a much better player. He'll get my money and everone else's. So, why attempt? Just play pinball outside a tournament. Simple as that.

    It depends. In our tournament format, we give out stuff to something like the top 44 players. Based on our qualifying pool in most years, that means nearly 50% get to play for something, and competing in a setting where there is something on the line is fun. Besides that, there is a chance that someone can play better than expected. A couple years ago, a guy who never played in a tournament until our show took part and got third, while playing against people who were top 25 players in the world. The following year I think it was, we had a player win who it was his third tournament.

    I think it's worth playing in at least one to see what you think of it

    #19 6 years ago
    Quoted from goatdan:

    Re: herbertsharpe - Hey, no...

    I was just messin around

    #20 6 years ago
    Quoted from herbertbsharp:

    I was just messin around

    Well... good! I only care that people have fun, really.

    A few years ago, my mom played in the tournament. She won't even play my games, I offered to buy her a couple entries for he staying so late, and much to my surprise she said sure.

    After that, I would get regular updates about what rank she was in the world. There truly is something fun that just about anyone can find in a tournament

    #21 6 years ago
    Quoted from jonnyo:

    It's a format that was started by Herb Silvers of Fabulous Fantasies. Others have covered the details.
    Some people love them and others hate them.

    I agree with every last thing you wrote. I would also add that Herb formats are particularly brutal to "bubble" players like myself, who have enough skill to pretty quickly and easily advance to the fringes of qualifying, or perhaps just over the line, but have to work extremely hard to keep improving or building upon our scores to hold those positions from other hungry bubble players. Usually there are about 2 spots that end up going to us while the other 14 are snatched up by the truly elite players. Adding to the pressure is the knowledge that if we just cross that line, we will get a bunch of our money back. Usually the best players qualify with only a couple of plays on each game (more if they're going for specific positions or byes), and the worst players quickly realize they have no chance and give up, while us middle-ground players keep shoveling in money until Saturday at 2am. When you're sitting in 17th or 18th place and just need a slightly better game on a single game to potentially qualify, it feels like it would be stupid to NOT keep trying. But it doesn't feel good, it has that gross sort of gambling quality to it. And the times that I have crossed the line have been bitter-sweet, as I've generally bumped friends out of qualifying in the process. It's kind of a big nerve-wracking drag to be honest.

    Obviously I can't complain too much since I make the decision to show up and spend the money every time there is one near me, but I can't say that I consider the format particularly fun.

    #22 6 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Most all of the big tournaments have a casual type division now. This allows noobs to play along side guys like Keith, while still having a shot at winning some money. Didn't you hand out the trophies and cash to the casual players at CAX last year?
    Judging by the large increase in competitors in the casual division at CAX the last couple of years, it seems like many of the noobs feel like they have a shot at winning something. Can't imagine why you wouldn't mention casual divisions.

    Yes, I ran Casuals Finals at CAX last year. And I won it in 2010.

    I LOVE the casuals idea, for all the reasons you mentioned and additionally because it doesn't exclude any player from earning wppr points. I use a similar variation in nearly all my full-day tournaments and it's very popular with players.

    I don't know for sure, but I doubt that most Herb tournaments use that format, so I was addressing the majority.

    #23 6 years ago
    Quoted from sosage:

    What I *do* like is when this format is run with a cap on the re-buys. I believe that is how you ran it at PPE? If you think you can qualify in 1 shot, you save money. If you need all X amount of times to qualify, that's fine...because EVERYONE is on the same level playing field to qualify.

    No, when I ran it, it was PAPA qualifier format (i.e. a "run" of games) but still unlimited re-buy.

    Jeannie and Eric of PPM ran it this year with the cap.

    I agree, though, the cap is a nice balance between how much money is spent, allowing players to make up some bad games (but not all) and preventing the tournament from becoming an incredible time sink. Likewise, the match play side tournament meant everyone who wanted it got a good amount of competition time. I would say between all my entries and the match play tourney I was probably in there for about six hours total.

    #24 6 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Due the luck factor in pinball, if you limit rebuys, the best player may not always win. I understand that people like this, but if you want a true test of your skills, try a Herb style tournament or some variation of it, like PAPA. Limited rebuys decreases the prize pool and increases the luck factor. Might as well do match play.

    One major thing about your perspective that I don't share is the "luck factor" (aside from games like Fireball, which are designed to play by themselves). Yeah, there are house-balls and yeah, the "ball is wild" in as much as any ball bouncing in a predictable way can be -- but I don't believe luck actually plays as much into this genre of game as some people claim. If pinball was that much about luck, Herb format most certainly does not somehow nullify the luck and replace it with skill. An argument could be made that Herb is just an attempt to replace bad luck with good luck (the more times you roll the dice, the better chances you have of hitting the side of the dice you want). If a pinball player is leaning that hard on the luck factor, unfortunately, it's a sign to me that he/she is not mentally prepared for competitive play yet.

    As for if we might as well just have match play, that's the end of the means of Herb. The point is to seed for match play. Limiting re-buys does not suddenly make the qualifying round not worth going through.

    #25 6 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    People say you can buy yourself into a Herb style tournament. This is true to some degree, but you still have to put up the scores. You can't just hand over a wad of cash and automatically qualify for the playoffs.

    I would say it gives rich players an unfair advantage over poor players, though.

    #26 6 years ago

    In our tournament format, we give out stuff to something like the top 44 players

    This was my experience.

    Prize_Money.jpg

    #27 6 years ago
    Quoted from sosage:

    One major thing about your perspective that I don't share is the "luck factor" (aside from games like Fireball, which are designed to play by themselves). Yeah, there are house-balls and yeah, the "ball is wild" in as much as any ball bouncing in a predictable way can be -- but I don't believe luck actually plays as much into this genre of game as some people claim.

    Don't take my word for it. Plenty of great players have said that pinball is around 25% luck. When you limit the number of entries, you increase the luck factor.

    In tournament play, Fireball is all about the skill shot. On paper, it looks to be a luck game. It's not. Not a good tournament game for that reason.

    Quoted from sosage:

    If pinball was that much about luck, Herb format most certainly does not somehow nullify the luck and replace it with skill.

    No, it definitely doesn't replace luck with skill. But it does reduce the luck factor significantly. Because of the luck factor, playoffs are rarely one and done. Luck is a part of the game, no matter what format you use. If your tournament is mostly for fun, a high luck factor is fine. If you truly want to test skills, you want to reduce the influence of luck.

    Quoted from DarthXaos:

    I would say it gives rich players an unfair advantage over poor players, though.

    A dude living in his van qualified in the casual division at CAX two years ago. Nice guy.

    #28 6 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Don't take my word for it. Plenty of great players have said that pinball is around 25% luck. When you limit the number of entries, you increase the luck factor.

    ...Because of the luck factor, playoffs are rarely one and done. Luck is a part of the game, no matter what format you use.

    Again, no, it does not. This is where we're going to have to agree to disagree. Positive results in luck-based games thrive on increased attempts, not less. I see your perspective, that you see scenarios where a bad player flails a killer qualifying score in 1 try. Everyone is limited to 3 re-tries and none of the skilled players can take it. That isn't a failure of the limited re-buy format somehow giving the bad player an advantage, it's a failure on the part of the skilled players getting schooled by a random flailer on an even playfield.

    Now, will increased entries allow for skilled players to get use to the machine they are playing on? Allow them to figure out that the skull shot on the T2 in front of them requires a later flip than the T2 in their living room? Allow them to figure out that the tilt on the tournament's F-14 only allows one solid nudge where the one at their league allows them to dance the machine out the door?

    Yes.

    But that is not an issue of luck, as much as players who fail to hit the skull shot or tilt the F-14 will want to believe. It's being able to adjust your skills to the playfield placed in front of you as quickly as possible. The truly skilled players will nail these machines in as few re-buys as possible or at least within the limited number of re-buys allowed.

    As for why finals are multiple games: It isn't to nullify any luck factors. Every game type utilizes more games in their finals matches. In game types that are truly head-to-head in nature (chess/checkers/tennis/flinging shit at each other) the increased games allows for opponents to read each other and alter strategies to win. The truly skilled player will utilize those extra games to out-read and out-play their opponent, the better doing it in as few games as possible. In something like pinball, it's which player will adjust better to the obstacle put in front of them (the machine). The better player will adjust their skills sooner and more often under the pressure of playing several different games.

    Quoted from phishrace:

    In tournament play, Fireball is all about the skill shot. On paper, it looks to be a luck game. It's not. Not a good tournament game for that reason.

    I'm sorry man, but I have no idea what you're trying to say here. That Fireball is a luck game, but it's not, but because it's not a luck heavy game it is not a good tournament game?

    #29 6 years ago
    Quoted from bobbyconover:

    I would also add that Herb formats are particularly brutal to "bubble" players like myself, who have enough skill to pretty quickly and easily advance to the fringes of qualifying, or perhaps just over the line, but have to work extremely hard to keep improving or building upon our scores to hold those positions from other hungry bubble players.

    My own experience has found this to be true for me. I've missed qualifying by 1-3 positions the last 3 to 4 tournaments I've played in...

    #30 6 years ago

    Heres a detailed description of an unlimited qualifying or "herb style" tournament:

    http://bdivision.com/rules.htm

    #31 6 years ago
    Quoted from sosage:

    Again, no, it does not. This is where we're going to have to agree to disagree. Positive results in luck-based games thrive on increased attempts, not less. I see your perspective, that you see scenarios where a bad player flails a killer qualifying score in 1 try.

    I generally agree. A Herb can't eliminate luck because it doesn't take bad luck into account (unless they're all bad), only good. Good luck is recorded and stands, even if it was preceded by 5 bad luck or 10 games that happened to be pure skill.

    I believe this is partly the reasoning behind the PAPA qualifying format, where a player has to put up a 'run' of good games, not just one.

    #32 6 years ago
    Quoted from sosage:

    Again, no, it does not. This is where we're going to have to agree to disagree...

    I agree. d

    Quoted from sosage:

    I'm sorry man, but I have no idea what you're trying to say here. That Fireball is a luck game, but it's not, but because it's not a luck heavy game it is not a good tournament game?

    Fireball isn't a good tournament game because the skill shot is worth so much. One sided scoring, much like IJ4. Everything below the skill shot doesn't score nearly as much. Make your skill shots and you're pretty much guaranteed a win. Were you suggesting it was a luck game earlier, because of the spinning disk?

    9 months later
    #33 5 years ago

    Thanks for clarifying this - so Herb isn't an acronym I thought it was like: High Entry Recorded B-something

    I learned at CAX what the strategy for this format is since at the beginning I was just psyched that I was above the cut (of course there weren't enough players to fill the cut at the beginning).

    Any bubble or crappier players like me need to understand the scoring for points and cutoffs so you know when to expend effort if you think you can make the cut. I didn't realize exactly how it worked until I went on a smoke/drink break and got enlightened

    #35 5 years ago

    The unlimited Herb entry format should be called the Greed format as that's the only reason the format is used. Higher pots doesn't equal more fun to compete.

    #36 5 years ago
    Quoted from GravitaR:

    The unlimited Herb entry format should be called the Greed format as that's the only reason the format is used. Higher pots doesn't equal more fun to compete.

    So you're not a fan? Based on this, can we also assume that you never compete at (Herb format) PAPA? Only Pinburgh?
    d

    #37 5 years ago

    Papa uses a modified Herb Format that works real well. If it was a pure herb format i wouldn't attend PAPA at all.

    #38 5 years ago

    Herb style is kicking ass and taking names in Socal...

    http://www.neverdrains.com/2014standings/index.php

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