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Types of Tournaments

What are the different types of tournament formats?
There are quite a few different ways to run tournaments, but there are about 7 formats that are far more popular than the rest. If you read on, there is a brief description of each tournament type. By clicking on the link to that particular format you will get a complete explanation along with printable brackets for each format.

Single Elimination Tournament
The single elimination format is by far the easiest to organize. The name says it all, if a team loses one time they are out of the tournament. This type of tournament works best if you have a large number of teams and a short time frame. Single elimination tournaments don't work well for "matches" that are very short in time. For example an Arm Wrestling Tournament, where a match takes just a few seconds. If participants are traveling to enter the tournament, they would like to be around for more than 3 seconds. So you would be better of using one of the other formats listed below. Check out our Single Elimination Tournament Brackets.

Double Elimination Tournament

The double elimination tournament is my favorite format, and along with single elimination is the most popular. To be eliminated from this type of tourney, a team or player must lose two times. There is a winner's bracket and a loser's bracket, everyone starts in the winner's bracket. Upon defeat they will move to the loser's bracket where they will battle their way to play in the championship match, which they must defeat the winner's bracket champion twice. Check out our Double Elimination Tournament Brackets.

Triple Elimination Tournament

Not quite as popular as the Single and the Double, the triple elimination format is good to add to you arsenal if you are looking to add a few extra matches for the participants. Just as with the other two, Triple Elimination simply means that a team or player needs to lose 3 times in order to be eliminated from the tournament. When a team loses in the winner's bracket they will drop to loser's Bracket 1, when they lose there they will drop to loser's bracket 2. If beaten in loser's bracket 2 they are eliminated from the tournament. Check out our Triple Elimination Tournament Brackets.

Round Robin
The Round Robin Tournament is fairly popular and simply means that every team will play every other team in the tournament one time. This allows for a wide variety of opponents, and as opposed to an elimination tournament the teams can see how they match up with all teams. Based on the number of participants, the round robin format can be broken up into "pools". A pool is a group of teams that will play round robin and the winner of each pool will usually face off in a championship tournament. Example: A normal 24 team Round Robin Tournament would have 276 games, so the ideal way to run this would be to break it up into 6 Pools of 4 teams which would have 36 total games. You could then take the 6 winners from each pool and have a single elimination tournament to decide the overall championship.

We have basic Printable Round Robin Schedules and we also have a Round Robin Generator which will allow you got customize your tournament by typing in team names, locations, number of pools ect..

3 Game Guarantee Tournament

The 3 Game Guarantee format is popular in the Softball world as it allows teams traveling from far distances to be assured they are getting in enough games to make it worth their time and money. Each team will play a minimum of 3 games, the format is similar to double elimination. There is a winner's bracket and a loser's bracket, the main difference being teams that lose their first two games will get to play an extra game in the loser's bracket in order to assure everyone gets to play at least 3 games. Check out our 3 Game Guarantee Tournament Brackets.

Consolation Tournaments

Consolation tournaments are very popular in the wrestling world. There are quite a few variations to the consolation brackets, but the basic idea behind them is the same. When a team wins in the first round they move/stay in the winner's bracket for the duration of the tournament and will be playing for the overall championship. When a team loses in the first round they will be moved to the Consolation Bracket where they will have no chance of winning the tournament, but instead be competing for the consolation championship. Some Consolation Brackets will also have the losers of later rounds of the winner's bracket drop down to the consolation bracket to compete for the consolation championship. Check out our printable Consolation Tournament Brackets.

Compass Draw Tournaments

Last, but not least, is the Compass draw tournament, which is used widely in Tennis and Pickleball, but is actually a really nice format that can be used for any sport. The are various brackets on each draw sheet that are marked by points on a compass(East, West, North, South, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest). When a team loses they are moved to a different bracket, winners always just advance in their current bracket. This allows players to play in plenty of matches and as the tournament progresses the bracket is designed to automatically pair them with others of their skill level. Check out our printable Compass Draw Tournament Brackets.