How to Play Pinball Like a Pro

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If you imagine a pinball machine, you will likely take yourself back to when you were a kid and went to arcades with your friends. This is a game that is a classic and is still popular in game rooms today.

However, though this may be thought of as a kid’s game, you can be a professional in it. In fact, there are tournaments where you can show off your skills.

But if you haven’t played it in a long time, how can you be able to practice and play pinball like a pro? Well, there are some basic steps to learn the game and a few tips that will help you get better quickly.

How to Play Pinball

Is Pinball a Game of Skill or Luck?

Well, though there is quite a bit of chance involved in the game, this is not very different from other games as well. The percentage of luck and skill are said to be around 30% and 70%, with skills being the higher amount.

So, this means that you will need to learn how to play correctly and how to practice to get better.

However, because there is always a bit of luck involved, you should keep in mind that this is a game that is meant to be challenging, but fun. You can’t control every aspect of the game, so you can’t always win. So, remember to enjoy the game when you play too.

Can Two or More Players Play Pinball?

Although you cannot play against another player on the same table at the same time, pinball machines allow you to play against other players one at a time to see who gets the highest score. In this way, you can play with up to however many players the pinball machine allows.

Most pinball machines will allow up to four people to play against each other. However, depending on the brand of the machine, it might only allow two or three players to compete. Though you might not think of pinball as a multi-player game, it is meant to be played with others.

Sure, you can play alone, but the friendly competition that comes with other players makes it a great game for even groups of people.

Not only that, but there are also competitions where you can play against other players to see who is “officially” the best. These range from tournaments for beginner players to those who at a professional level. Those who compete will either play on different machines at the same time or compete one at a time on the same machine.

How to Play Pinball

Now, let’s take a look at how exactly you can become good at playing pinball.

Step 1: Learn the Flippers

The flippers are not as easy to use as you might think, and getting the timing right for every hit will take some skill. Learn how to use the flippers to hit the balls the farthest and you will be able to last longer in the game.

Step 2: Control the Balls

Another important step in your pinball journey is to learn how to control the ball. Once you know how to hit the ball with the flipper, then you will need to learn how to shoot it in different directions to get you more points. Learning how to control the ball this way will make a big difference in your gameplay.

Step 3: Pay Attention to the Lights

When you first start playing, it might seem like the lights on the pinball game are just flashing at random times to try to take your attention away from the ball and make it easier to lose. However, these lights do have patterns to them and often tell you where the best place to hit the ball is to get the most points. If you can follow them, you will end up with many more points.

Step 4: Expand Your Horizons

After you get used to playing, you need to learn all the aspects of the game. This means that you want to play with every possible style and rules. The game modes all have different gameplay and will help you learn another way to play the game.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

When you are a newer player, you don’t often have the finesse and skill that you need to play the game to the best of your abilities.

#1: Don’t Lock Up the Table

So, one thing that you should practice first is to not play so hard. New players often hit the table too hard, causing it to lock up. This could hurt your score overall and keep you from getting better. You have to take it easy.

#2: Spice Up Your Game

When practicing for a competition, or just to boost your skills, you don’t want to practice the same every time. This can make you stagnant as a player and stop you from being as creative. You want to play in different modes with different rules to make the game feel new to you. This will test your skills and not just your muscle memory.

You also want to avoid using the same techniques each time you play. Some newer players will tend to rely on their favorite move or the one they feel more comfortable with when the game speeds up. This will make you rely more on luck than skill. Train yourself to stop that bad habit and adjust to each situation instead.

This will give you a more competitive edge in the game, no matter what is thrown at you.

#3: Keep Practicing

You can’t be a professional after a single practice, so don’t stop playing.

If you want to be good, then practice does make perfect, or close to it. However, getting to an arcade to spend lots of coins can make it hard for everyone to practice as much as they should. So, look for a smaller version, like a handheld option, that will allow you to practice at home. Just get used to the game, and the skills will transfer.

#4: Lear the Drop Catch

Finally, you also want to learn some new tricks to use. Perhaps the most important one to know – the one that pros know by heart – is the Drop Catch.

The Drop Catch is a move where you slow down the movement of the ball and attempt to catch it at the very end of the flipper. To do this, you will need to lower the flipper to the point where you think the ball is going. Then, let the flipper rest right as the ball is coming close to it.

The result happens when the ball hits the flipper right as it comes to its original position. This is difficult and takes a long time to learn, but if you start early, you may be able to do it sooner than you think.


Being a pro pinball player is not as easy as you might think, but with the right tips and tricks to practice, you will get the hang of it.

Whether you just want to be able to compete for the excitement, or you want to be the best, learning how to play like a pro will get you there.