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MPF’s ball holds are used to temporarily hold a ball that has entered a Ball Devices while something else happens.
The most common use cases are to hold a ball while you play a show, or while a video mode is going on. Ball holds do not affect the balls in play count, and if all other balls drain while a ball hold is in progress, the players ball does not end.
Ball holds are not used to lock balls for multiball. (See the multiball_locks device for that).
You can have lots of different ball holds in your game, typically configured per mode.
Video about ball locks and multiballs: