Handicap Events

Saturday, May 28th, 2011


Throughout the last fifteen years of tournament participation, I have noticed that handicap events have been some of the most exciting for all participants. So what is a handicap event?

This event is open to all participants. This is not an event for disabled people nor does it count towards your national rating. This is the only event in a tournament where all participants have an equal opportunity to win despite a large difference in skill. In this event, the higher rated player is “handicapped” because the lesser opponent begins with a head start in points. The match is a single game played to 31 points. The amount of handicap points given will depend on the difference in the players’ ratings.

For example, Bob is rated at 900 and Sue is rated at 1100. Because Bob (the underdog) is 200 points lower, he will start the game with an 8-point lead to give him a chance to win.

Wang is rated at 1500 and Steven is rated at 2500. Because Wang is 1000 points lower, he will start the game with a 25-point lead. There’s a proper formula to determine the handicap amount.

This event is fun yet very competitive because the underdog actually has a good chance to beat his more highly-skilled opponent. If you are entering a tournament to win money in the main events, it is a great consolation event if you don’t walk home with your desired result. If you are playing in the recreational events, it is a great opportunity to beat one of the “top guys.” So give it a try; you won’t regret it.

Samson Dubina is an accomplished player and coach. He was the US Nationals Men’s Singles Finalist in 2010. Learn more about Samson.


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3 Responses to “Handicap Events”

  1. H. Jeremy Wu says:

    In addition to the point lead, to make the game “fun-filled” between two not-so-compatible players is to use different paddle hold style (penhold vs. handshake), cheap paddle (without a sponge, for example), or even different hand (right vs. left), etc. Thanks for sharing. Jeremy

  2. Robert says:

    relates to: Handicap Events
    Can you correct the fact that 1100 Points minus 900 Point does not add up to 300.
    With best regards

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