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With Spring upon us, we’re entering tournament season! Tournaments can be epic affairs with hundreds of people, but they can also be a blast at a backyard BBQ or family reunion. Even if it’s a small event, it helps to know a bit about what types of tournaments work best in which situations.

I’ve asked around in the Cornhole forum for some information about tournaments. The following is the first of 3 guest articles by “tednwv” from the Cornhole Players forum.


Different Types of Touraments

Single Elimination tournament. My experience is you will have a hard time bringing in teams for this. Teams do not want to take the chance of coming to a tournament, losing one game, and being done! However, you can run a Single Elimination tournament and make it a “best 2 out of 3” format. A team must win 2 out of 3 games against their opponent to advance. The losing team will get to play 2 games, even though it’s a Single Elimination tournament.

Double Elimination tournament. This seems to draw more teams. Teams have to lose 2 games before they are eliminated. The three basic options are as follows.

  • Option 1: The most common way is to have two teams play. The winner advances on in the winners bracket and the loser goes to the losers bracket. The loser has only one more loss to go before being eliminated from the tournament. (2 game guarantee)
  • Option 2: Have two teams play each other in a 3 game set. The first team to win 2 games advances on in the winners bracket and the loser goes to the losers bracket. The loser has only one more loss to go before being eliminated from the tournament. (3 game guarantee)
  • Option 3: Have two teams play each other in a 3 game set. The first team to win 2 games advances on in the winners bracket and the loser goes to the losers bracket. The losers bracket is also the best 2 out of 3. (4 game guarantee). This option makes for a longer tournament. But…teams that are hanging around waiting to play will venture over to your concession stand! (They may even play in some of the Carnival Games as explained below.)

Round Robin tournament. This is a better tournament from my experience. Round Robin tournaments will guarantee teams an X amount of games. If you have 10 teams, then each team will play 9 games. Teams can play each other once or twice, however you decide. The team with the most wins is the WINNER!

Combine Types of Tournaments. The BEST “bang for your buck” tournaments are Round Robin with a Single Elimination or Double Elimination at the end. Each team plays each other once for a “seeding”. The team with the most wins is the #1 seed. Second most wins is #2 seed, etc… Now, #1 seed will play #10 seed, #2 seed will play #9 seed, and so on in the first round of the Single or Double Elimination part of the tournament. Teams will drive further for this type of Round Robin tournament than for any other. Of course, this is my own experience!

Guest article by Ted Dillon, Cornhole Forum member “tednwv“.
Edited by Jeremy.

  • adewusi a a September 15, 2009, 10:10 pm

    i need a comprehensive note on types of tournament for my project as an undergraduate

  • Thato February 23, 2010, 11:49 pm

    do u have an idea what a spider web tournament is?

  • Jeremy February 25, 2010, 12:23 am

    @Thato – I’ve never heard of a spider web tournament. I google’d it but didn’t find anything. Is the bracket shaped like a spider web, with winning teams moving toward the center?

  • Tournament Brackets February 26, 2011, 4:07 pm

    We almost always use the Double Elimination format with a 3 Game Set. This is especially true for organized tournaments. If we are just getting together with some friends and plan on doing multiple tournaments the same day, we will still do double elimination, but we will just do 1 match.

  • Dave March 30, 2011, 4:20 am

    Does anybody know of a way to rotate teams so they don’t play on the same set of boards thru out entire tournament.I wouldn’t think that would be fair to stay on same boards

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