UPA Manual of Tournament Formats

Three Teams

Copyright (c) The Ultimate Players Association, 1994

Please direct comments on this document to Eric Simon (70540.1522@compuserve.com).

3. Three Teams

There is not a lot you can do with a three team tournament, although you only need one field. The following is a round-robin tournament for three teams.

Table 3.1 - Three-Team Round-robin

                1  2  3
                -  -  -        1 v 3
            1 - 3  B  2        2 v 3
            2 - B  3  1        1 v 2
            3 - 1  2  B

3.1. The Three team tie-breaker problem

When all three teams in a pool finish with 1-1 records, apply the standard tie-breakers, but you should add the following rule to the tournament: If each team has a point differential of zero after the last game, one additional point should be played.

There are problems with this, and in any tournament where a three-team pool exists, this tie-breaker must be discussed before play starts.

Example 1.
A beats B 15-12. B beats C 15-12. Now A and C play, and the three-way point differential tie would exist if C beats A by three. Not only is there a three way tie, but if all three scores are identical, none off the other tie-breakers will work. If this is the case, simply add the rule that if the game ends with C beating A by an identical score as the other two, then the game is extended for one more point. The point differential tie will then be broken. What follows, if you continue the example, is that the team that scores the extra point takes first, the team that gave it up takes third, and the team that has the bye must take second place.
Remember, this provision only goes into effect if all three scores are identical; if merely all three point differentials are indentical, that is not enough to trigger this provision (see next example).

The problem with this, of course, is that where a team finishes, in part, is due to the round in which that team has a bye. The team with the third round bye takes second place, while the other two teams battle for first and third. On the other hand, if you don't make a provision such as this, none of the other tie-breakers work. This is why this tie-breaker must be discussed and agreed to be all captains before play starts.

Example 2.
A beats B 15-12. B beats C 14-11. C beats A 15-12. All three point differentials are zero, but not all the scores are indentical. The tie can be broken, however, with tie-breaker rule #6, which is "points scored, counting only games among the teams that are tied." A has scored 27 points, B and C have each scored 26 points. A takes first place, and you attempt to break B and C's tie by going back at the first rule. On head-to-head (rule #2), B beat C, and so B takes second and C takes third.