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Handicap Tournaments

Handicaps can be used for any tournament and will provide a better chance for all teams or individuals to win a match or possibly even the tournament. They are usually used in a tournament where partners are drawn by chance to help give every team a chance and usually provides surprise winners. Remember that a team playing against another team with a handicap not only gives up points, but must play more carefully giving up some of their power shots to avoid errors. This also tends to make the matches closer! Use the following steps in using handicaps.

  • Wait until the draw is closed and all teams are paired.
  • List teams from best to worst. You will usually have several groups of teams of similar ability
  • Now assign handicap points starting with team #2 in an effort to make teams equal. Groups of teams of similar ability should have the same handicaps.
  • You should probably never assign more than an 8 point handicap in an 11 point game or 11 point handicap in a 15 point game.
  • Now make the tournament draw. If team A has a 8 point handicap and team B has a 4 point handicap then the match will start with team A having 4 points. The team with the handicap will serve first.
  • In a two out of 3 game match, the team losing the first game will have the handicap adjusted by 2 points in their favor. In the example given, if team A loses the first game they will start the 2nd game with 6 points (4+2), but if team A wins the first game they will start the 2nd game with 2 points (4-2). This tends to promote more 3 game matches.
  • Remember this is a format that produces surprises. It is impossible to handicap teams perfectly and teams do have good days and bad days and even good games and bad games, so just do your best.
  • Because it is impossible to handicap perfectly, it often helps to combine this format with the following Points of the Compass Format so that everybody gets at least 3 matches regardless of how bad your handicapping turns out to be.