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HomeCroquet Tournaments
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Tournaments

One way to enjoy croquet is to play in tournaments. You'll meet new players from other places, learn new techniques and strategies, and enjoy the thrill of victory.


Start by playing in an event at your local croquet club. Then enter a state or regional tournament sanctioned by the USCA. Broaden your horizons by competing in other states. Finally, enter an international competition in another country.


The way in which players are paired up against each other is call the format of the tournament. There are many different formats. They may confuse you at first, but you can read about them here, or ask the tournament director.


Clubs usually have an on-going tournament in a format (like Ladder) that allows continuous play among, and ranking of, all the members of the club.


Large tournaments are often divided into flights, with each flight containing a reasonable number of players of approximately the same ability.


Large flights are often held in three phases: blocks, knockout, and plate.


All the players are divided into several equal-sized blocks. Each block plays a format (like Round Robin) that ranks the players. High ranking players advance to the knockout, and low ranking players enter the plate. The block is like a qualifier.


Advancing players from all the blocks enter a single knockout. The knockout plays a format (like Single Elimination) that determines the winning player. Losing players sometimes enter the plate.


Players eliminated from the blocks and the knockout may enter the plate competition. The plate plays a format (like Egyptian) that determines a winner from any number of players. The plate is like a consolation prize.


The USCA has published regulations for running tournaments, and for selecting players for team and individual events. You may need to get the Adobe Acrobat Reader, or Microsoft Word Viewer, to open them.




Double Elimination Format


Each player enters a Single Elimination called the winners bracket. Losers in the winners bracket enter a modified second Single Elimination called the losers bracket. The winner of the winners bracket, who has no losses, plays the winner of the losers bracket, who has one loss, in the bracket playoff. If the winner of the winners bracket wins, then they win the tournament, because all other players have two loses. But if the winner of the winners brackets loses, then both players have one loss, and they play again to decide the tournament winner.

Below, is an example of a Double Elimination format for eight seeded players. Player B, the winner of the losers bracket wins the first bracket playoff, and forces another bracket playoff against Player A.

Second
Round  
  First
Round
Second
Round
Final
Round
Winners-Bracket
Winner
Second
Playoff
Winner
1st Player A Player A
26-2
Player A
26-2
Player A
26-17
Player B
26-25
Player A
26-21
8th Player H
5th Player E Player D
12-10
4th Player D
3rd Player C Player C
26-6
Player B
26-24
6th Player F
7th Player G Player B
26-2
2nd Player B
  First
Round
Second
Round
Third
Round
Final
Round
Losers-
Bracket
Winner
  Player B Player B
26-19
  Player C Player C
26-2
Player C
22-21
  Player H Player E
9-6
  Player E
  Player F Player F
6-2
Player D
20-10
  Player G
  Player D
  Player A


Draw and Process Format


Each player plays in two simultaneous Single Elimination formats called the Draw and the Process. The winner of the Draw plays the winner of the Process to determine the winner of the tournament. If the same player wins both the Draw and the Process, then that player wins the tournament.

This format is a type of Double Elimination format.

The Draw is seeded according to Single Elimination, or at random (but note that Draw and Process was not designed with seeding in mind, and seeding more than half of the Draw produces an unsatisfactory seeding in the Process). The Process is ordered so that any players who meet in the first or second rounds of the Draw cannot meet until the final or semi-final respectively of the Process (and vice versa for the first two rounds of the Process).

Also, see the Croquet Association's Regulations for Tournaments.

Below is an example of a Draw and Process for eight players. Player 1, the Draw winner, won the tournament by beating Player 2, the Process winner, in a playoff game.

First
Round
Second
Round
Final
Round
Draw
Winner
Tournament
Winner
Player 1 Player 1
26-25
Player 1
26-9
Player 1
26-2
Player 1
26-9
Player 2
Player 3 Player 4
26-20
Player 4
Player 5 Player 5
22-21
Player 8
21-12
Player 6
Player 7 Player 8
9-6
Player 8
First
Round
Second
Round
Final
Round
Process
Winner
Player 1 Player 1
26-2
Player 1
26-6
Player 2
26-25
Player 5
Player 3 Player 3
26-17
Player 7
Player 2 Player 2
26-9
Player 2
26-22
Player 6
Player 4 Player 4
26-2
Player 8


Egyptian Format


Each player plays as many games against as many players as they like. Each player has a rating, which increases when they win, and decreases when they lose. The player with the highest rating at the end of the tournament wins.

Each player has a card that they pin to a board which has three sections: waiting, playing, and resting. Players waiting to play, pin their cards in waiting. When a court becomes available, the tournament director assigns a game from the pool of waiting players, and moves their cards to playing. After a game, each player records the results on their card, and moves their card to either waiting or resting (if they want to take a break).

The tournament director usually avoids pitting players against each other more than once.

Rating
Difference
Higher Rated Lower Rated
Win Lose Win Lose
0 - 8 +5 –5 +5 –5
9 - 16 +4 –6 +6 –4
17 - 24 +3 –7 +7 –3
25 - 32 +2 –8 +8 –2
33 - more +1 –9 +9 –1

Each player starts with an rating of 100, or some other rating based on their rank or handicap. After each game, the winning player's rating is increased, and the losing player's rating is decreased, by an amount that depends on the rating difference between the two players.

For example, Player A with a rating of 110 plays Player B with a rating of 90. Their rating difference is 20 (110–90). If Player B beats Player A, then Player B's rating is increased by 7 to 97, and Player A's rating is decreased by 7 to 103.



1st Player A
2nd Player B
3rd Player C
4th Player D
5th Player E
6th Player F
7th Player G
8th Player H
9th Player I
10th Player J
11th Player K

Ladder Format


Each player tries to climb to the 1st rung of the ladder by winning games against other players on the ladder. The player on the 1st rung is the winner.

Ladder format is also known as Challange Ladder.

In a strict ladder, a player may play only the player on the rung directly above them. If the player on the lower rung wins, the two players switch rungs: the lower player moves up, and the higher player move down. Some ladders allow players to play players one or two rungs above them.

A handicapped ladder allows a player to play any other player on the ladder — above or below them by any number of rungs. The winning player moves up one rung. This works because in handicapped play even the player on the lowest rung has a chance to beat the player on the highest rung.


Player
A
Player
B
Player
C
Player
D
Player
A
(scores) (scores) (scores)
Player
B
(scores) (scores) (scores)
Player
C
(scores) (scores) (scores)
Player
D
(scores) (scores) (scores)

Round Robin Format


Each player plays one or more games against each one of the other players. The player winning the most games wins the tournament. The player winning the second most number of games comes in second, etc.

Round Robin format is also called Block, and All-Play-All.

This format ranks the players in a fixed number of games.

Several players may win the same number of games, so a method of tie breaking is required.

Total net points is the most common tie breaker. A game score of 26-9 is +17 net points for the winner, and –17 net points for the loser. The sum of all the net points in all the games won or lost by a player is that player's total net points.

Total gross points is the most common second tie breaker — used in the unusual case when players are tied on both games and total net points. A game score of 26-9 is 26 gross points for the winner, and 9 gross points for the loser. The sum of all the gross points in all the games won or lost by a player is that player's total gross points.

Below, is a five-player double (each player playing every other player twice) Round Robin tournament. Player C comes in first place by winning six games. Players B and E each won five games, but Player E comes in second place with +61 total net points, and Player B comes in third place. Players A and D are tied in both total wins and total net points, so Player D comes in fourth place with 70 total gross points, and Player A comes in fifth place.

Player
A
Player
B
Player
C
Player
D
Player
E
Wins Net Gross Rank
Player
A
1-0 1-0 2 -111 45 5th
Player
B
26-9
26-9
26-9
26-9
26-9 5 +7 3rd
Player
C
26-0 26-0
26-0
26-0 26-0
26-0
6 1st
Player
D
26-25 26-25 2 -111 70 4th
Player
E
26-0
26-0
26-0 26-0
26-0
5 +61 2nd



First
Round
Second
Round
Final
Round
Tournament
Winner
Player A (winner)
(winner) (winner)
Player B
Player C (winner)
Player D
Player E (winner)
(winner)
Player F
Player G (winner)
Player H

16-Player
Seeding
1st seed
16th seed
9th seed
8th seed
5th seed
12th seed
13th seed
4th seed
3rd seed
14th seed
11th seed
6th seed
7th seed
10th seed
15th seed
2nd seed

Single Elimination Format


Each player plays a match against one other player in the first round. Only the winning players of a round proceed to the next round; the losing players are eliminated from of the tournament. The player who is never eliminated wins the tournament.

Single Elimination format is also called Knockout or Sudden Death.

This format determines a definite winner in the fewest number of matches, and in a predictable number of matches.

Matches may consist of one or more games; usually an odd number of games to prevent ties. Matches in later rounds, after most players have been eliminated, often have more games than the early rounds. For example, the first-round matches might be just one game, while the final-round match might be three-out-of-five games.

The better players are seeded in the first round in such a way that their matches with each other occur in later rounds. Seeding is based on player's rankings or handicaps, or the tournament director's opinion.

When the total number of players is not equal to a power of two (4, 8, 16, 32, 64, etc.), the next higher power of two is used, the players are seeded into a first round for the next higher power of two, and the empty slots are treated as byes. A player with a bye automatically advances to the next round.

Also, see the Croquet Association's Regulations for Tournaments.

Below, is an example of a Single Elimination format for eleven seeded players, using the sixteen-player first round with five byes. The first and second rounds are one-game matches. The semi-final round is two-out-of-three games. The final round is best of five.

Seed First
Round
Second
Round
Semi-Final
Round
Final
Round
Tournament
Winner
1st Player A Player A
Player A
26-2
Player A
26-25
9-26
26-9
Player A
26-9
9-26
26-9
9-26
26-25
  bye
9th Player I Player H
26-9
8th Player H
5th Player E Player E
Player D
26-25
  bye
  bye Player D
4th Player D
3rd Player C Player C Player C
26-9
Player B
26-1
26-9
  bye
11th Player K Player F
26-4
6th Player F
7th Player G Player G
26-3
Player B
26-2
10th Player J
  bye Player B
2nd Player B


Swiss Format


Each player plays other players who have done as well (or poorly) as themselves. Each player has a score that increases when they win. The player with the highest score at the end of the tournament wins.

Swiss format is also called Winners-Play-Winners.

Players receive a starting score of 0, and are paired up at random for their first game. Winning players have their scores increased by 1. Then players with the same (or similar) scores are paired up at random for subsequent games. However, no player is ever paired up with the same player twice.


Waterford Doubles Format


Each player plays with every other player, once as a partner, and twice as an opponent. The tournament winner is the player that wins the greatest number of games, as if they were playing a singles Round Robin.

Waterford Doubles format is also called Progressive Doubles, and Scrambled Doubles.