The player pairing tournament settings describe how players are paired with opponents, either a single opponent in head-to-head tournaments or a group of opponents in group tournaments.
First round pairing
The player pairings in the first round of your tournament is determined by your player seeding. As a consequence the player pairing setting is separate from the rest of your tournament.
Players are paired with completely random opponents. The tournament setting for seeding has no impact.
Players are paired with their adjacent seed. Seed #1 will be playing Seed #2 and so on. This mimics Swiss pairing for the first round. This provides a disadvantage to the top seeds as they are sure to face other top seeds in the first round. For example, with eight players:
|Seed #1||Seed #2|
|Seed #3||Seed #4|
|Seed #5||Seed #6|
|Seed #7||Seed #8|
The field of players are divided into two equal halves. Then the top seed in each half plays the bottom seed in each half. This gives a some advantage to the top seed, while protecting the weaker seeds from facing very strong opponents in the first round. For example, with eight players:
|Seed #1||Seed #4|
|Seed #2||Seed #3|
|Seed #5||Seed #8|
|Seed #6||Seed #7|
The strongest seed plays the weakest seed, the second-strongest plays the second weakest and so on. This gives a big advantage to the top seed. For example, with eight players:
|Seed #1||Seed #8|
|Seed #2||Seed #7|
|Seed #3||Seed #6|
|Seed #4||Seed #5|
After the first round of your tournament, the initial seeding does not affect how players are paired, and players are paired together using the general pairing setting.
A thorough attempt will be made to pair players with random opponents they haven't faced before in the tournament. However, there are no guarantees, and a few players may end up with repeat opponents. This typically happens in small tournaments using four-player groups.
Players are paired with completely random opponents. This will result in players playing the same opponents more than once. For most tournaments, balanced is a better choice.
Players are paired with opponents who have roughly the same amount of points (in match play-style tournaments) or strikes (in knockout tournaments). For knockout tournaments in particular, Swiss pairings is an effective way to cut down the amount of rounds required.
In head-to-head tournaments, a simple attempt will to pick opponents that haven't been faced before in the tournament, but only among players who are tied. In group tournaments, no such attempt will be made. It is normal for a player to play against the same opponent multiple times when using swiss pairings.
Just like the swiss option above players are paired with opponents who have roughly the same amount of points (in match play-style tournaments) or strikes (in knockout tournaments). With strict swiss pairings a much greater emphasis is placed on avoiding repeat opponents and a smaller emphasis is placed on pairing people with the same amount of points or strikes. This more closely mimics classic swiss pairings from, for example, chess tournaments.
Tiered Swiss is a specialized pairing method for Swiss tournaments with a large amount of players. Players are grouped into tiers that narrow as the tournament progresses. A visualization of these tiers are available as an interactive tool.
Tiered swiss pairings is only available for group match player and require at least 16 players and no more than 128 players. In addition, this format requires running a predetermined number of rounds (3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12 or 13 rounds).
Because of these limitations, tiered Swiss pairings are generally not recommended. Regular Swiss pairings provide much more flexibility.
Balanced across series
This is a special version of the balanced pairing. Instead of only looking previous opponents in the current tournament, any opponents from previous tournaments in the current tournament series will be taken into account. This is useful to avoid repeat opponents when running a league.
Some tournament formats assigns a single bye each round if necessary. Match Play will assign the bye to a random player who has not received a bye yet. If all players have received one or more byes, the bye will be assigned to a random player amongst those who have received the fewest amount of byes.