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Tie Resolution for Round Robins

19 Oct 2020

Round Robin is a tournament format where all players shall play against each other, with the top performers defined by the players that had won the most matches.  However, many a times, there happens inevitable ties for the top positions.  Which leads to this very common topic, “How to Resolve Ties?”  

There are 2 methods to resolve ties – comparing Wins or comparing Differentials.  Tie breaking rules should be consistent and easy to understand and apply, so as to reduce, if not eliminate, any disputes that can easily arise during the passion of competition.  

Comparing Wins though the most straightforward, do have some limitations, e.g. where the USAPA Rulebook recommends Head-to-Head Matches Won as the 1st Tie Breaker, Tournament Directors should be note that this method is only effective for 2-way ties, and does not resolve all 3-way ties.  Comparatively, Differentials allows higher comparison resolution than simple wins, and therefore is more likely to be able to break ties.  The USAPA recommends one form of point differential method or another for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th tie breakers.


This article would like to mention another method of tie resolution employed in the Pickleball Global (PG) Tournament Software. This method adopts the differential methods consistently across 3 levels of tie-breakers, and the 3 levels are ranked in the order of Matches, Games then Points.  The tie breakers are described as follows,

1. First Tie-Breaker – Overall Match Differential.  

The first tie breaker would be to compare all the differential of Matches won and lost of each player, and the player with the higher winning match differential prevails. ​​

2. Second Tie-Breaker – Overall Game Differential.  If two or more players remains tied with match differentials, the second tie-breaker would be to compare all Games won and lost of each tied player.  The player with the higher winning game differential prevails.

3. Third Tie-Breaker – Overall Point Differential, i.e the Point differential for all games played.  E.g Player A with point differential of +2 shall prevail over Player B with point differential of -4.  This is where “Every Point Counts” truly matters.  Incidentally, this is the same method recommended by USAPA as their Second Tie Breaker.

The PG software has only three tie breakers as they found that most ties can be resolved with this method.  Should further ties remain, PG allows the Tournament Director to decide the subsequent tie breakers.


We hope this article is able to shed some light on tie breakers and will be helpful to Tournament Organisers and Tournament Directors.

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