Bitcoin Casino Blog

Tips & tricks

A look into the different esports tournament formats

A look into the different esports tournament formats

A look into the different esports tournament formats

Mon Jun 28 2021 01:48:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

While it’s no doubt esports is a rising billion-dollar industry today, people who follow it can agree that it’s a unique and lawless organisation. Unlike traditional sports’ top-tier championships and ‘promotion & relegation’ structure, tournaments here are franchises with different formats and standards. 

It’s no wonder that even regular esports fans sometimes confuse the meaning behind a match or how the importance of an entire league can affect the reputation and record of a team. This sort of instability makes esports betting tricky yet, at the same time, exciting for what the future holds for this industry’s growing diversity.

The complexity of esports is no secret, so before you dive into choosing which teams to bet on in 2021, see to it that you have a full grasp of how its vast ecosystem works. Whether you are a new supporter, interested bettor, or aspiring professional gamer, Bitcasino guides you to the inside out of tournaments’ general structure.

Here's a rundown of the three major elements commonly found in any esports event: availabilityseries of matches, and tournament stages

  1. Open and closed events: By qualification or invitation

Franchised tournaments have a select number of available spots, where each one comes with a specific cost. Since they don’t have relegation policies throughout an entire regular season, franchisers have the liberty of either formatting them as an open or closed event.

Open tournaments are based on a qualification stage, which means that any team is welcome to join if they qualify. Examples of this format are the annual Evolution Championship Series (Evo), Valorant Agni Series, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).

On the other hand, closed tournaments are strictly by invitation. Not only do franchisers limit the number of contenders, but they also pick who will compete. Examples include Riot Games’ League of Legends World Championship, Blizzard’s Overwatch League, and Call of Duty (CDL) Home Series.

Then again, there are also some exceptions. Major tournaments like Dota 2’The International (TI) are closed events, but the teams are called upon based on their performances from a series of matches called the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC). 

For many reasons like finances and intellectual property (IP), open and closed events clearly draw a line on the difference between esports and traditional sports. 

  1. 5 match types: Steadfast performance through a series of matches

The ultimate test in esports lies in the teams’ steadfast longevity. Akin to the rules in volleyball and basketball, matches are played over a series of rounds to determine a winner. Below are the following match types often used in group stages or knockout games: 

  • Best of 1 (BO1): It only consists of one map victory.
  • Best of 2 (BO2): While it has two map victories, a possible draw of 1:1 leads the event to BO3.
  • Best of 3 (BO3): Often seen in knockout stages, BO3 is a series of two victories.
  • Best of 5 (BO5): BO5 is a rare format of three victories occurring in major tournaments like Dota 2 TI and CS:GO.
  • Best of 7 (BO7): BO7 reaches five victories, taking around two to five hours depending on the game, like Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege and Psyonix’s Rocket League.


  1. Tournament stages: Vie for prize pool and glory

Once the franchisers have finalised their contestants, group stages and bracket stages enter to sift out weaker participants and grant future seeding. Their main types of format are as follows:

Group stage


Also known as ‘the circle’ or ‘all-play-all tournament’, all contenders compete with one another using the BO1, BO2, or BO3 match types. It’s often a lengthy format that gives players equal chances of winning and helps punters make concrete decisions in esports crypto sportsbooks. Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, such as LoL and Dota 2, are the typical esports disciplines that use round-robin group stage matches. 

Double Round Robin

In special cases where two or more contenders have equal points, a double round-robin puts them against each other to finally determine which should move forward. Like the round-robin, its match types also follow BO1 to BO3 formats. 

Swiss Seeding

Tournaments with a large number of participants cannot use the round-robin and double round robin format due to time constraints. As an alternative, swiss seeding is used to quickly filter them out through a fixed number of rounds. In other words, they don’t get the chance to play one another but rather compete depending on aggregate points and standings.

Take CS:GO for instance. Since 2017, they have used the Swiss format for their 16 teams. Eight of them go on to the playoffs and face each other based on their earned seeds.

Bracket play: Playoffs/knockout stages

Playoffs or knockout stages feature the industry’s astonishing hypercompetitive environment. They are straightforward because contenders are kicked off until two finalists remain. As expected, the highest tournaments of LoL to CS:GO are prime examples of this format. 

Before they dive into these stages, there are two types of playoffs: single and double elimination. The former is an all-or-nothing format where one loss kicks them off and a win moves them forward. On the other hand, the latter is a format that divides winners and losers, and an official defeat in the lower bracket sends a losing team or player home. 


The bright future of esports

The intrinsic digital nature of esports continuously drives franchisers to push for new formats. From matches to playoffs, Bitcasino covers significant details about your favourite tournaments and teams. Akin to the industry, there is no other possible step but to move forward. Our up-to-date news and instructive esports betting blogs guide you towards great rewards from the market’s leading esports crypto casino.

Are you interested to know more about what pro gamers experience during tournaments? You can get into the exciting world of betting here at Bitcasino and join some thrilling tournaments and promotions as well. Get your game face ready, and play immersive live game shows, receive generous free spins, and win top of the line prizes.

Words by: Antoinette Laraze

Play esports at Bitcasino now

Enjoy our fantastic variety of casino games. Check out slots with different themes, right here at Bitcasino.

A look into the different esports tournament formats