Double Elimination
Henry Wattson, 1981
Las Vegas Backgammon Magazine, June 1981
Henry Wattson The double elimination tournament has become popular, being used in such tournaments are the California Open, Clearwater, and Orlando. This format is not used by American Backgammon Championships, Inc. (not to be confused with American Backgammon Association, or any other group.) The reason we do not use this format is we do not think it is fair to the players who lose in the early rounds.

To demonstrate this, the following is a draw of the last four players in a tournament with double elimination:

A plays B, and A wins — C plays D, and C wins

The losers of these four players, B and D, then play each other, with B winning. The winner B must then play the player who has won in the loser's bracket. The winner of this match, B, must then player player C from the original draw of the last four player. B wins again. B now has to play A two more rounds. This means that a player who loses in the round-of-four must win five more rounds in order to win the tournament!

Fig 1

The following table lists the number of rounds necessary to win, in order to win the tournament.

If You Lose
in the
Round of
Number of Additional
Rounds Necessary
to Win the Tournament
Chance of

1 in 8
1 in 32
1 in 128
1 in 512
1 in 2048
1 in 8192

In my opinion it is a waste of time and energy to play in the losers bracket in a double elimination tournament.

Danny Kleinman discusses this article in
Arithmetic of the Losers Bracket

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