Activities Sports & Athletics How Does a Double-Elimination Tournament Work? Everyone in a the tournament starts in the winner's bracket Share PINTEREST Email Print Mitchell Layton/Contributor/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images Sports & Athletics Baseball Playing & Coaching History Best of Baseball Gear Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Scott Kendrick General Editor, ESPN The Ohio State University Scott Kendrick is a sports writer and editor for ESPN and covered Major League Baseball and other sports for newspapers in Cleveland and Florida. our editorial process Scott Kendrick Updated April 18, 2019 A double-elimination tournament is one of the more complicated to understand tournament styles, but it's a great format for sports that often consist of series games. Unlike the college basketball tournament, which is single-elimination, a double-elimination tournament allows a team to lose and still have a chance to win the tournament as a whole. Rules of Double-Elimination A double-elimination tournament is broken into two sets of brackets, generally called the winner’s bracket and the loser’s bracket. Each team begins in the winner’s bracket, but once they lose, they move to the loser’s bracket, where they still have an opportunity to make it to the championship. In a four-team bracket, which is what Division I college baseball uses in regional tournaments, the first round consists of two games. In the second round, the two teams that lost in the first round play in an elimination game. The loser of that game is eliminated from the tournament. In addition, the two teams that won in the first round play each other. The third round is a single game featuring the team that lost the game between the first-round winning teams and the team that won the game between the first-round losing teams. The loser is eliminated from the tournament, while the winner goes on to the championship. The fourth round could be one or two games. If the team with one loss wins, both teams will each have one loss, and another game will be played to determine the winner. If the team with no losses wins, it is the champion. Example of Double-Elimination For example, in the 2016 Division I college baseball tournament, Dallas Baptist lost in the first round, but then won its next two games and played undefeated Texas Tech in the championship. Dallas Baptist won the first game, giving Texas Tech its first loss of the tournament and forcing a second game. Texas Tech won the second game and the championship.