Dealer’s Choice / Lucky Ace / High Ace (Williams 1974)

From Bob Matthews EM Encyclopedia 2018
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Quickie Version

 Shoot the A-K-Q-J-10 standups from both the top and bottom right flippers; shoot the 1000/Special lane next to the upper flipper from the left flippers.  You’ll get the 1 through 9 center rollover disks shooting crosswise at the cards from the upper flipper, although if you just need one or two to finish the set, go ahead and use a bottom flipper.
 Go-To Flipper:  Right.

Full Detail

This is one of my favorite games of the mid-70’s, and it has more side-to-side action than most games. I like the center 3 by 3 matrix of rollover disks: completing them once lights double bonus, twice lights triple bonus. Base bonus maxes at 10000 and is advanced by either top lane and the three yellow standup targets. Specials are worth 5000 and are earned two ways: completing 1 through 9 three or more times, or completing 10-J-Q-K-A and shooting the right special lane. Completing the five cards also lights the return lane on the right for an extra ball; on the add-a-ball version, you can build the balls-to-play count up to 10 using this lane.

Historical note: this was the game where I first started shooting the ball up the opposite return lane frequently, for the obvious reason of scoring the extra ball. I’d used that shot before, but not as a primary strategy until this game. The technique is now called shatzing, in honor of Neil Shatz. In the 1990s, Neil became such an expert at applying this technique on more games than pretty much anyone else, and with greater accuracy, that the technique began to get referred to by his name. While I learned this shot a few decades earlier, I never quite reached his degree of proficiency at it. If you ever see the initials “NES” on a game for high score, that’s for Neil - either he did it, or one of us who respect him put in his initials instead of our own in tribute to him. I think they even use NES for one of the preset high scores in Iron Maiden, perhaps on other games as well. He’s a great guy; I hope you have a chance to meet him.

As for the 1-9 targets, crosswise shots using the upper flipper are a good way to collect those, and you will usually get a card at the same time. The rebound off the card standups usually falls down towards one of the flippers rather than making it all the way across to the right outlane, although it can arc down the center at times.

From the lower flippers, shoot up the Special lane or into the cards. Shooting the 1-9 disks is a bit risky since after the ball goes over them it will probably hit and trigger one of the bumpers, which can lead to a drain down the center or either side.

This page is one of many in the The Players Guide to Classic Pinball by written by Bob Matthews