How to Be a Pinball Wizard - Atlas Obscura

College Park, Maryland

How to Be a Pinball Wizard

Come learn the fraught history of a once illegal game, get tips from the pros, and enjoy a game or three at MOM's Organic Market in College Park.

Join Atlas Obscura for an afternoon of flipping out on pinball history, learning tips from a state champion, and becoming a pinhead yourself at MOM's Organic Market in College Park, Maryland, home to owner Scott Nash's sizable collection of pinball machines.

The game of pinball has a fascinating history, from its 18th-century origins to its banning due to a connection to gambling to the "perfect shot" in a New York City courtroom that saved it from oblivion. Your afternoon at MOM's Organic will start with Adam Ruben, author of the new book Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver Ball, leading a crash course on pinball's fraught past. Next, the reigning Maryland State Champion Elliott Keith will give a live pinball-playing demo and share a few secrets on how to become a pinball wizard. Keith is currently the number one ranked player in Maryland, number two in D.C., and the 68th best player in the world.

The event will conclude with time to play on the 30-plus machines as our experts walk around providing guidance and tips. The session will last a little less than two hours and will include a historical crash course, pro tips, and time to play "some mean pinball."

This event is graciously sponsored by MOM's Organic Market. 


  • This event is family-friendly!
  • There's limited seating at the venue, so please arrive early or be prepared to stand. 
  • MOM's Organic Market in College Park is accessible via Metro, about a 15- to 20-minute walk from the Greenbelt Station on the Green Line. 
  • If you decide to drive, parking is available in the store's parking lot.
  • Bring quarters or cash so you can try your hand at becoming a pinball wizard! There is a quarter machine on site. 


Contact Matt Blitz at

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Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.