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Wash. pinball wizard wins IFPA World Championship in Denmark

Raymond Davidson, of Mukilteo, Wash., won the 14th Annual International Flipper Pinball Associations World Pinball Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this month. (Photo: KOMO News)

MUKILTEO, Wash. - No one is doubting Raymond Davidson has a ‘supple wrist’ and plays a mean pinball.

He beat 64 of the greatest pinball players who traveled from 20 countries to compete in the 14th Annual International Flipper Pinball Associations World Pinball Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this month.

For three straight days, the 24-year-old from Mukilteo, out-lasted and out-played former world champions.

Players are invited based on how many qualifying points they earn in tournaments all over the world.

Davidson won in a marathon final match that went the maximum nine games. Davidson beat a former mentor, Cayle George, 5-4 with game scores that went into the billions of points.

“I couldn't believe it. It was like I had to pause and be like, 'oh wow that just happened,' ” said Davidson. “It was an epic match.”

Every since he was a young boy, when he played his grandfather’s 1976 pinball machine - needing to stand on a stool - it was clear he played by intuition.

"I held all the family records on the machine,” said his father, Chris Davidson. “But he ended up passing my records when he was about seven or eight years old.”

His father bought him Black Rose, the game he played growing up, to practice on.

“I used to ride my bike to the Red Robin in Yakima where we lived at the time,” said Raymond Davidson. “They had the game in the back, I would say – no food – I’m just in here to play pinball."

He believes his skill, not just feeling all the bumpers and always playing clean, but knowing the game inside and out is key to his success.

“I’m just really good at knowing what to shoot at and controlling the ball,” said Raymond Davidson.

His dad, a pinball player himself, said his son’s memory is a key to his winning.

“These new machines, the rule sets are so complex, he can remember all the modes, all the shots and where all the points are,” said Chris Davidson. “It really blew our minds when he won the world championship."

Raymond won $1,000 and a new Ghostbusters pinball machine, which typically runs about $5,000.

Despite being a world champion, Raymond is keeping his day job as a software developer, because he said there are no professional leagues where a player can earn a living playing some mean pinball.

“It’s more than a hobby, it’s a sport," he said.

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