How Does a Round Robin Tournament Work?

In a round robin tournament, each team in the tournament plays every other team. It is perhaps the fairest of tournaments since it gives all contestants the same opportunities and prevents one bad game from eliminating a team from the competition. It sometimes lacks the excitement of top-seeded teams playing for the championship, though some do have the top two teams play at the end.

In a round robin tournament, there is one less game than number of teams or players competing in the tournament. For example, if there are 12 teams, there are 11 games in the tournament. There must be an even number of teams. For the sake of time and interest, the games are typically played simultaneously. Teams get points for games won, and the team with the highest number of points at the end of the tournament wins the competition. Alternatively, the two teams with the most number of points may play a final game or a three-game playoff for the tournament championship. Round robin tournaments work well for most types of sports, including tennis, golf, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer and football games. They also work well for board games, such as chess, and other games like billiards and ping pong.