Setting the Right Number of Courts and Games for Your Round Robin Cornhole Tournament

One of the best things about round robin is that everybody gets to play the same number of games. To make sure that happens, you need to know many games you should let them play, how many courts you should run, etc. The good news is that it’s easy peasy thanks to some rules of thumb I’ll share below. I’ll explain a little bit of the “why” for you curious types.

If you’re looking for easiest peasiest mode, here’s two things that render the rest of this blog unnecessary.

  1. 4 is Your Friend: If you run four games, you’ll always be golden.
  2. Odd + Odd = Bad: Don’t run an odd # of games and an odd # of teams.

If you want to learn more, read on. I’ll offer up these tips in terms of singles tournaments, set teams tournaments (Blind Draw or BYOP) and our unique Switcholio format that gives players a new partner for every game.

Singles

How many games?

Just make sure the number of games or the number of players is even.

Yes, either one. If you set your round robin for 2, 4 or 6 games, you can have any number of individual players — odd or even — and they will all end up playing the same number of games. And if you know you’ll have an even number of teams, say 16 or 32, you can run any number of games. For social events with an unpredictable number of players, most tournament directors set their round robin to four games because it means they never have to worry about an odd number messing with their plan to run 3 or 5 games.

How many courts?

Court count is a matter of bandwidth, dictating how long things will take. If you have 24 players on 12 courts, everybody would be playing non stop and things would blaze. If you ran 3 courts, only 6 people would be playing at a time with 18 on the bench, and it’d take forever. Most tournament directors prefer a “players to courts ratio” of around 3:1. A ratio of 4:1 works too, and you can even run 5:1 but things will take a while. This table show this ratio affects how many players are active at a time, vs. how many waiting, using 24 players as an example. Pink is problematic, green is good.

Ratio Players Courts Playing Waiting
2:1 24 12 24 0
3:1 24 8 16 8
4:1 24 6 12 12
5:1 24 5 10 14
6:1 24 4 8 16

Blind Draw and BYOP

How many games?

Same as singles: make sure the number of games or the number of teams is even.

How many courts?

This too is just like singles above, but with “teams” instead of “players.”

Dealing with an odd number of players in a blind draw

With blind draw events, you will sometimes have an odd number of people want to play. Somebody is going to need to play solo, and that person will be what cornholers call a “walker” because they walk durig a game to play both ends of the court. If you have an odd number of players, add a “ghost player” before you randomize your teams. That way everybody will get a partner, even if one of them finds their partner somewhat…invisible.

Switcholio

Switcholio is a fun new format in which every player gets a new partner for every game. It’s fun for players, and nice for organizers for a few reasons. First, you can run any number of players, odd or even. You can add people who show up late. And if somebody leaves during an event, it’s not as big a pain in your ass as it is when somebody bails during a BYOP or blind draw event.

How many games?

Just make sure the number of games or the number of players is divisible by 4.
There actually are some other combinations that work, and you can see those in this table, but I say make life easy and just run four games so you don’t need to worry about it.

How many courts?

If you don’t have 6+ people in “Coming Up” reduce the number of courts.

For Switcholio the number of courts is key because of the need to randomize players into new pairings for each match. If you have so many courts that everybody is playing all the time, then when a game finishes those four people will be the only four people available to be formed into teams. That’d mean Scoreholio would have to pair them up amongst that group of four. Here’s how player to court ratio affects Switcholio’s ability to randomize partnerships. Pink is problematic, green is good.

Players Courts Playing Waiting
2:1 24 12 48 0
3:1 24 8 32 0
4:1 24 6 24 0
5:1 24 5 20 4
6:1 24 4 16 8
7:1 24 3.5 14 10
8:1 24 3 12 12

Hope that was helpful!

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