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World's No. 1 pinball player lives in Longmont, go inside his barn filled with pinball machines

World's No. 1 pinball player lives in Longmont and has impressive collection of pinball machines
World's No. 1 pinball player lives in Longmont and has impressive collection of pinball machines 02:59

Pinball was invented nearly a century ago, yet the number one player in the world today is a teenager in northern Colorado. Escher Lefkoff, 19, obtained the rank of number one pinball player in the world last June after climbing the rankings of professional competition for many years.  


Lefkoff, a student at Colorado State University, has lived his entire life in northern Colorado. He credited his love for the game of pinball to his dad who has long collected machines.  

Lefkoff said his dad used to set him near the machines as a baby, at times having to clean off the glass on the games from his drool. But, as he got older, he quickly found a love for the game as well.  

"Pinball means a lot to me, I've been playing my whole life," Lefkoff said. "A lot of my best memories have pinball in it. I went to my first tournament when I was four." 

Since then, especially as Lefkoff learned the intricacies of the game, he has blossomed into one of the most talented pinball players in the world. He regularly wins tournaments, or places at minimum. 

"In pinball, there is this whole physical level of wow, I am connected with this game," Lefkoff told CBS News Colorado's Dillon Thomas. "Everything you do is physical and you can feel it. That is something that nothing else can give you." 


Over the years Lefkoff has become so talented that he wins pinball machines at many tournaments and has also started making money off of others.  

On his parents' property in Longmont there is a barn, one which many never realize what it contains inside.  

"Out here in Longmont you would drive past a lot of barn and never realize this barn is filled with pinball machines. Not farm animals, the barn is for pinball. It catches a lot of people off guard," Lefkoff said.  

The barn is broken into different rooms, each filled with many pinball machines from different eras of the game. 

"Every era of pinball has different noises whether it is bells and chimes of the old electromechanics, to even now with the modern music. Even that puts you in touch with the game," Lefkoff said.  

One room of machines is filled with older games that have physical bells and chimes that ring as the score increases. A few doors down another room is filled with machines that have LED screens and computers that connect to the internet, allowing the Lefkoff's to compete with others around the world.  

"(Playing the different games) is very stimulating," Lefkoff said. 

Lefkoff has also started streaming many of his games online, with a camera setup that allows pinball enthusiasts to not only watch his reactions but also the game itself.  

Lefkoff said he isn't the best pinball player in the world yet, but he is now ranked number one in the world by the IFPA World Championship.  

"Being number one in the world is something I never expected. It is surreal, I can barely process it," Lefkoff said.  


It is hard to understand just how good Lefkoff is at the game until you watch him call out shots and execute on his game plan with ease. He took a moment to play a game alongside Dillon Thomas. As he methodically planned out his moves he could call out exactly where he planned to send the ball, hit the exact spot and do it repeatedly with no struggle at all.  

"To get good at pinball you're removing as much luck as you can," Lefkoff said. "You have to put in your 10,000 hours to understand how the ball works. It is all about playing well and playing consistently well." 

A shelf of first place trophies in the Lefkoff barn will last forever, but Escher's title of number one in the world has to be earned every day. There are many players around the world continuously building their scores and learning the games in the hope of taking his title. 

No matter where his gaming career takes him moving forward, Lefkoff said, in pinball, it's not about your final ball, but rather about the journey along the way. 

"I can apply that to life. It is not about when your die or where you go when you die, but what you do during your life," Lefkoff said.  

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