Pinball Wizards: Tips from the pros

Alive staff

Looking to get started in pinball but afraid of getting embarrassed? Or do you want to take your game to the next level? Here are some tips from our local pinball wizards on how to play the silver ball.

Trent Augenstein

Play in a league. Play as much as you can. You've got hundreds of different tables. Play everything, not only to practice the game, but also to learn the rules. You may hit a ton of shots, but if you don't know what the rules are you might not make the right ones at the right time.


Stay alive, get control of the ball and shoot flashing stuff. Those are the three biggest things. If you take a pot shot at something, usually it backfires. It has a higher probability of backfiring than a controlled shot. I would also say play through the pain of losing. … You don't really get warmed up until like game three or four. And watch tournaments. You can watch tournaments online, on YouTube or on Twitch.

Amy Kesting

Go online and watch the tutorials. That's how you actually grow as a player — watching somebody really good play. They talk you through it, too. And there's always a skill shot. Sometimes it's hidden behind something, and you wouldn't even know it was there. It's different on every machine, but there's almost always a skill shot. A beginner wouldn't know that.

Brett Ruland

What a lot of people don't realize is, you need to slow that ball down because it's just going everywhere. Control it and catch it and slow it down so that you're making the shot you want to make and you're not just making random shots.

Deborah Tahlman

The “bounce-over.” New players tend to do double-flips, where they just flip away at both flippers at the same time. But you want to slow the ball down by letting it bounce over and then control the ball with the other flipper. Once they slow it down, you get to choose what you aim at. Also, don't be afraid to shove and otherwise manipulate the table.