How Does a Double Elimination Tournament Work?


A double elimination tournament is a competition with a defined number of entrants where teams or players are not knocked out, or eliminated, until they lose two games or matches. This differs from many other tournaments, where one loss will eliminate a team or player.

Winners and losers brackets

After the first round of matches, double elimination tournaments are divided into two separate brackets--a winner's bracket and a loser's bracket. Teams that lose in the first round are sent to the loser's bracket, while those that win are sent to the winner's bracket. Teams in the loser's bracket still can win the tournament. They cannot, however, lose another game or match for the remainder of the tournament.


Once the brackets are separated, the brackets themselves become mini tournaments, with teams vying for first place. Teams in the loser's bracket continue until all but one team has two losses; that remaining team then is entered into the finals to face the last team standing of the winner's bracket. Some double elimination tournaments use for the championship round a best of three, five, or seven format, with both teams starting anew with zero losses. Other final rounds are played with the champion of the loser's bracket starting with one loss; they then have to best the winner's bracket champion two straight games to be crowned overall tournament champion.