Swiss vs Random pla...
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Swiss vs Random player pairing at No Quarter

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Brian Oliver
Posts: 4
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Joined: 10 months ago

I thought I'd start our first thread here with a discussion of which tournament player pairing style do you like best and why?

Swiss pairing is where similarly ranked players in a round play against each other. Players with zero strikes play against other players with zero strikes and players with 1 or 2 strikes play against those with a similar number of strikes.

Random pairing is where anyone can play against any other player in a round.

This year all of the No Quarter 3-strikes tournaments have been random player pairing, except last night which was changed to Swiss pairing.

My understanding is that it was changed to speed up the tournament. 

But, did it speed it up? Below are the average round time for the past 3 tournaments.

Feb 1st Random Pairing for rounds 1 through 9 the average time was 22:30 mins, while the average for the entire tournament was 18:52 mins for 16 rounds. 44 players

Feb 8th Random Pairing for rounds 1 through 9 the average time was 20:00 mins, while the average for the entire tournament was 17:15 mins for 13 rounds. 39 players

Feb 15th Swiss Pairing for rounds 1 through 9 the average time was 24:20 mins, while the average for the entire tournament was 21:00 mins for 14 rounds. 52 players


Do you enjoy swiss vs random?

Did you do better or worse because of the pairing?




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seth steele
Joined: 10 months ago

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Posts: 1

Can confirm it was done as an attempt to speed things up and to be fair, there was one round w/ a game swap due to technical issues which stalled things a bit for a top group.

My non-data-supported-and-completely-observational-while-drinking opinion would be that with swiss we ended up with a lot of people waiting on the 0 strikes players to finish a long running game on a modern Stern, where we might see a little more balance and closer end-game times with random in the past.

I personally find myself indifferent on the format, but my goal would be to give players the best experience, so I'm excited to see/hear feedback from others. I do think there is an appeal to be matched up with players in like-minded scenarios, but I'm curious if that's a driver for overall experience.


Tyler Campbell
Posts: 1
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Joined: 10 months ago

Yeah, definitely changed the format at the last minute last night in an attempt to speed it up. But no, I don’t think random v Swiss actually affects the length of the tournament. 

Setting 3 player games to two strikes instead of one would probably be a better way to speed it up. 

Jason Wilson
Posts: 2
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Joined: 10 months ago

I don't think this was a good tournament to gauge difference in time and let me explain why.


Previous tournaments this year have ended at 1:15am. 

This one ended earlier which INCLUDED multiple delays including a 20 minute delay with a group because of a game that should not have been in the tournament with the issues it had. 

It also included ANOTHER 15 minute delay which involved a match with me because my phone was stolen and Matt and Aaron were kind enough to hold each ball I had while I was running around to Up/Down for all places. 

Another 10 minute delay on White Water where the game had to be taken out caused a longer game on Mando. All of these played into the tournament running  the same time supposedly. 


However with 53 people it still started at 7:45 or so and the arena draw was on "random" which greatly affects the probability of the better players ending up on a non classic vs removing games they have already played. It is usually on "balanced" and you can clearly see a lot of players played multiples of games vs 1 of each game in each round the usual weeks. We did "random random" for the Game Galaxy tournament because I wanted there to be 0 player input as a test even down to the games, but the absolute best format to run at No Quarter for speed is "Swiss" and "Balanced". 


Each tournament I have done this way finishes before 11pm. At No Quarter. Yes it's been awhile and yes I do take ball saves off but even at Game Galaxy I get 9 rounds with Moderns done in 2:15


Personally if the tournament was run with "balanced" arenas it would have been different but this can't really be compared to the random/balanced usual format. 


And by virtue of numbers Swiss is less rounds. 100%. You have a specific group of players except for the top 2 always getting an equal number of strikes. 

Caleb Dirks
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Joined: 7 months ago

Swiss isn’t going to shorten the length of a round. However it will absolutely decrease the total number of rounds played. Therefore it always gives the best chance for a shorter tournament. Swiss - balanced as Jason recommends makes the most sense to me. 

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