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.