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Get Certified! Benefits of a Cornhole Players Association Certified Tournament Director
When players see that a CPA Certified Director is running a tournament, they know they are going to be playing in a high quality event. Most cornhole players have attended very well run events and very poorly run events and know that an event run by a CPA Certified Director will be well run. Along with that, CPA Certified Directors will be allowed to notify CPA members via email about their upcoming tournaments and post these events on the CPA News page. As an added bonus, CPA directors also get special pricing from select vendors.
Members and non-members visiting our tournament page will have knowledge that CPA Certified Tournament Directors follow proven guidelines set forth to help ensure an enjoyable and successful tournament. These guidelines include:
- The director agrees to follow CPA game rules
- The director agrees to follow at least one of the tournament formats listed below
- The director uses equipment from one of our CPA certified vendors OR has their equipment inspected and approved by the CPA
Approved CPA Tournament Formats:
The formats listed below MUST be used to ensure fairness in the game and allows players more than adequate game time.
1. Each team/player will play the best 2 out of 3 games in the winner’s bracket and 1 and out in the loser’s bracket.
2. Each team/player will play the best 2 out of 3 games in the winners’ bracket and 2 out of 3 games in the loser’s bracket.
3. Each/team player will play only 1 game in the winners bracket and only one game in the losers bracket.
4. Modified double elimination – in traditional double elimination if you lose a game you still have a chance to win the tournament by going through the losers bracket and then trying to beat the undefeated team twice at the end. In the modified format, once you lose the best you can do is finish in third place. So, you still have a losers bracket, but the player/team that wins the losers bracket simply finishes in third place.
NOTE* It is always best to offer the players the most games possible for their entry fee. If there is enough time and equipment to accommodate option #2, then that’s the best option to choose.
1. Each/team player will play in at least 1 game in the winners bracket, 1 game in the losers bracket and 1 game in the second losers bracket.
2. Modified triple elimination – often a triple elimination format really drags on at the end, however, a modified version works great for most tournaments. In this case once you lose twice you can no longer win the tournament. Like modified double elimination, once you lose twice, the best you can do is third place.
NOTE* Triple elimination brackets can be found at http://www.printyourbrackets.com/
Tournaments with a Twist:
Sometimes adding a “twist” to a tournament can make for a more enjoyable time for the players. Here are some twists that you may want to consider.
1. Pay Per Win – one of the big issues in competitive cornhole is the same teams keep winning and taking home most of the cash. Pay per win helps with that by offering a team a small cash prize for every game/match they win in the tournament. While this does take some additional work to figure out the best way to divide the prize money, it tends to make teams happier that they are at least walking away with something. If you would like to see a sample pay per win bracket, simply shoot us an email.
2. Consolation Bracket – nobody enjoys attending a tournament, losing two games an going home. If time allows, run a “three game guarantee” bracket where any team that loses their first two games drops down into a consolation (single elimination) bracket where the winner of the “consolation” bracket wins a small prize or perhaps a couple of free drinks.
3. Blind Draws – growing in popularity are blind draw tournaments where players enter the tournament individually and are randomly paired with another player that has paid the entry fee. This is a good approach to keep the very best players from always teaming up.
4. Pool Play followed by Double Elimination – if time allows, give your players even more games. Say 16 teams enter your tournament, split the 16 teams into 4 groups of 4. Each group of 4 plays each team in their group (3 games per team) and this seeds a double elimination bracket. This ensures everyone gets to play a minimum of 5 games.
For fundraisers it is often best to split your tournament into two skill levels. Splitting the competition into Competitive and Recreational/Social makes for a much better experience for all of the players. Fundraisers are often run where Competitive players play for cash prizes while Recreational players play for prizes.
Here’s a common example:
Cornhole Fundraising Event
Competitive Doubles – $40/team entry, 70% cash payout, double elimination, best 2/3 in winners bracket, single game in losers bracket
Recreational Doubles - $25/team entry, top 3 finishing teams win donated prizes, pool play seeding double elimination bracket (single games), 5 games guaranteed for all teams!
Or you can try holding a 3 for 1 tournament. Each player pays $25 and they are entered into three tournaments which include a bring your own partner tournament, a luck of the draw tournament and a singles tournament. This is great for fundraisers because it allows players to get a lot of pitching in for their money and also keeps people around longer which increases revenue.
Fun Side Games that can raise a lot of money!
The following activities will help make your event successful and profitable:
1. Split the Pot (50/50 raffle)
2. Chinese Raffles (sell raffle tickets to win donated prizes)
3. Food and Drink sales
4. Last Man Standing - tournament is stopped half way through using up to 8 boards, having 8 bags on the first board, 7 bags on the second board, and so on until the last board used has 1 bag. To advance the player must make at least 1 bag from each board to. The player that goes the furthest wins half of the pot.
5. Long Toss – a player receives 4 bags for their donation and a designated distance to start at. They must attempt to make a bag to an air box or the target hole on a regular board. As the players move the distance backwards the winner is determined by the player throwing from the farthest distance. This side game is great if you have a location big enough for it.
6. Most Points with 8 Bags – a player is given 8 bags to pitch and tries to accumulate the most points from the normal distance.
ALJ Tournament Maker - Create and run your own single or double-elimination bracket tournaments.
Tournament Director Help Guide
Make sure playing area is sectioned off so people don't walk through a game.
Tape court layouts and foul lines.
Number your courts.
Install a quality PA system that people can actually hear and understand the announcements.
Have available Score keepers.
Supply a visible sign to show where the registration/score table is located.
Physically demonstrate the rules. (Have someone throw bags and go through the scoring)
Tell people if they have equipment problems to address it immediately, not after they lose.
For lower ceilings address how a bag will be handled. (In play or out of play)
Inform players how to report the outcome of game.
If you’re using a computer bracket, have a paper back up.
Do not leave courts empty and call games soon after a court opens.
Most people prefer indoor events, just from the standpoint that if the weather doesn't cooperate then all the work of planning doesn't get wasted or prolonged.
Beach tournaments can be especially risky due to potential windy conditions.
For new, unfamiliar event locations make sure you measure out the entire area so you know how many courts to properly set up.
Alcohol is a key component for a successful tourney; make sure you can have it close to where the tournament is actually being held.
Designated drinking areas adjacent to the playing area are ok, but requiring people to be outside or away from the playing area will effect participation and also the flow of the tournament.
Indoors or out, it may be necessary to create visual or physical barriers around the playing area so spectators and players are not interfering with the event.
Make sure you get permission to use the space you plan to have for an event.
For warm weather devise a plan for water and shade.
Have a plan to dispose of trash.
If you are borrowing equipment make sure you have reliable sources and be familiar with the quality of the equipment.
For a social or benefit tournaments make sure you have enough equipment as games between new players can take more time.
Brand new bags may not offer the most enjoyable game play. The fabric on new bags tends to be stiff; this may not allow for bags to go in the hole and may also cause the bags to be very fast. Playing a few games with new bags will help break them in.
Get help with court setup so you can concentrate on registration.
Always have extra bags in case a bag breaks open or if a bag gets wet because it will not play the same as other bags.
Have some way to mark the foot fault line. The boards will move as play goes on. Outside you can use spray paint for grass or tape on a solid surface. Indoor blue painter’s tape works very well and will not leave any permanent marks.
Use all possible online media. IE: Facebook, Twitter, CPA website, etc.
Some radio stations will advertise community service events for free.
Inform the leaders of community groups about your event. Fire departments, churches, civic groups like the Lion's Club, membership organizations like VFW, American Legion, Moose Lodge and even bowling alleys.
Signs and flyers are a must.
Word of mouth. Tell everyone you know what you’re planning and ask them to help out promoting the event for you by passing out information and informing other people.
After the event, provide the CPA with your results! This is very important to the players and will help promote your next tournament.
Unless it is a competitive tournament with significant prizes, cornhole players are not big fans of pre-registration.
If you have restricted space or time, it may be necessary to limit the number of teams.
Use Pay-Pal for online registration. Have a rain date if you’re outside.
Provide tables and chairs. (People do like to sit sometimes)
Provide a registration sign.
Have shade for yourself also.
Make sure the proper electrical requirements are put in place.
Gather contact information so you can inform players about your next event.
Have paper brackets for different numbers of participants.
If using a computer bracket system, familiarize yourself with the program before the day of the event.
Do a physical rules demonstration. Go over the basic rules and scoring. Print out a copy of the CPA Rules and have them available for people to read. A copy will also be useful if you have a rule dispute.
How to seed teams into brackets:
If you plan on having additional tournaments, invest in some white poker chips and write the team numbers on the chips and have someone randomly pull chips form a hat, box or bag and fill in the bracket one line at a time until the bracket is filled in.
Remind players they are there to have a good time and they are a guest; don't make sportsmanship even an issue at your event. Address it right away if you are aware of it.
Make it very clear to the players how and when prize distribution will be handled. If you guarantee prizes don't even consider changing once the tourney starts. If you have to change a guarantee do it before the event starts and give people the option for a refund.
If it is your first tourney, have some people lined up to assist you. You’ll need it.
For an all-day event, make sure there is time allotted for people to eat.
Try not to have empty boards. If it is an event or fundraiser than you may be trying to keep people around longer.
With competitive tournaments, keep the boards occupied and don't be concerned if one side of the bracket gets behind. It is better to keep the majority of players busy; it gives them less time to complain.