Line Tournaments

Just when I thought I’d seen it all… a couple weeks ago I played in an 8-ball tournament at Cuetopia using a format that was completely new to me. The format is called a “Line Tournament.” I thought it was a very interesting format as there was no handicapping involved, yet, it provided a reasonable opportunity for lesser players to finish in the money. Here’s how the format works….

Suppose 8 players show up for the tournament. The tournament director ranks the players 1-8 based on his/her knowledge or best guess of each player’s skill. To start the tournament, the 1st and 2nd ranked players match up on table 1, the 3rd and 4th ranked players start on table 2, etc.  The players lag (or flip) for the break, and each match is really just a race to one. Yes… one game. After each match (or game), the winner moves up one table (closer to table 1), and the loser moves down one table (closer to table 4). If you win at table 1 you stay at table 1, and if you lose at table 4, you stay at table 4. That’s it. You run the tournament for a set amount of time (for instance, two hours), and the tournament winner is the person with the best win/loss record when time runs out.

There are many benefits to this format, two of which are of key interest to me: (1) the tournament has a set time limit….no staying up until 2:00 in the morning, and (2) I get some practice playing against a few higher skilled players in a series of sudden death matches…. PRESSURE!  I really like this format.  It is fun, provides good match pressure, and still gets you home at a reasonable time.


6 responses to “Line Tournaments

  1. I’ve never seen that structure for a competition. Interesting. Did the strongest player end up winning?

    • That night the strongest player did win. The guy running the tournament said sometimes you can get really funky results, like 4 or more players all having the same win/loss record. That’s not really a problem as long everyone knows the rules and no one is expecting to cash big in the tournament, but regardless, for a weekly tournament if you have several good players who are looking forward to a series of tough matches, this is a nice way to get in some great practice.

  2. That sounds fun. Is this a regular event at Cuetopia? If so, when?

  3. Michael Stansbury

    Hi Michael, I like the line tournament format, but what does one do with an odd number like 7 or 9?

    Michael Stansbury

    • Hi Michael, I thought about that also, and the two options I came up with were: (1) The Tournament Director (TD) could join the tournament to make it an even number, or the TD could bow out of the tournament to make it even; (2) The TD could assign a “ghost player” to fill the last spot as the ‘worst player.’ In the first round, the ‘next to the worst real player’ gets an automatic win because they played the ghost and they will get promoted upward one table in round two. The first round loser from that upward table then falls downward and will face the ghost in the second round. It’s not a perfect system, but it could work. Thanks for the comment!

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