Preferred elimination format

Best of 5 single elim or best of 3 double elim?

Best of 5 in winners and best of 3 in losers is probably best overall, but if you had to choose between the first two options, which would you choose?

Best of 3 double. There’s more luck involved there I think. That’s good for me. Haha

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I also play in high stakes pool tournaments. Most of the time they are double elimination, “race to 5” on the winners side and “race to 3” on the losers side. Works very well.


I like the best of 3 double elim

Always interesting benchmarking other sports/game comps… I’m curious: In pool, At high-level local or regional play, how many minutes does a typical single game take?

Why is first to 4, unless it is tied at 3 then it is a best of 9 an option?

Best of 3 Double Elimination.

Argument is if by some chance two high seeds play each other early in a single elimination bracket, then tough-luck, one of them is going home.

In a double-elimination you’ve gotten a chance to play two different opponents, and to quote Macho Man: “the cream will rise to the top, ooh yeah.” That early-eliminated high seed has the chance to fight back through the losers bracket.

Double elimination also gives plebs like myself a better tournament experience by not getting knocked out by a whale in round 1.


Mostly local. If playing 9-ball, 5-8 minutes. 8-ball is around 15-20 minutes.

The more games, the better evaluation of skill.

So the most games the timetable can handle is best imo.

Euro Champ series final did best of 7 winners, best 5 losers once and it was awesome.

But… a single elimination bracket will never put two top seeds against each other in an early round. That’s now how the bracket is built

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Totally fair, and I agree!

The situation I was thinking of had more to do with two highly ranked players in an event qualified in such a way where those two players ended up playing each other very early in a bracket based on qualifying performance.

Or, thinking ahead to the state championships where one highly ranked player might be seeded number one because they played a large number of events within that state, and a second highly ranked player who played very few events in that state resulting in where the 1 v 16 are the two highest ranked players in the event.


If you have the time we do a Best of 7 and a Best of 5 for loser bracket. We use this in Provincisls to give players extra games as it sucks that you travel all the way for them and could get eliminated after 4 games. (Note: for Provincials there is no way back to finals per IFPA rules, the 3/4 game is also a best of three per IFPA rules).

The format is great as normally determines who the best player was that night as there is enough games to remove what I call the luck or lucky factor. The nice thing is you can do a single or double depending on the time you have and gives a lot of games back to the people that compete in it.

I’ve BTDT re both of those and seen many other examples over the years where the two highest ranked players faced each other early due to their qualifying seeds. If the format is head to head, I think double is better. Losers bracket should have fewer games per match than winners since it’s a much longer chain.