Best of mode

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The best of mode is common in many sports where two players or two teams play against each other to determine a victory. To do this, the encounter is divided into sections and the winner of most sections is declared the winner of the encounter. Common sections into which the encounter is divided are sentences or individual completed games. It is important that best-of mode is simply a method of determining the winner of a single encounter. The best-of mode is therefore not a tournament form .


Most of the best-of modes have in common:

  • The winner is whoever decides more sections for himself.
  • Sections that end in a tie are not counted.
  • The maximum number of sections that can be removed is odd.
  • If a player can no longer catch up with the number of segments his opponent has won, the match is abandoned.

Advantages and disadvantages of a best-of mode


  • Time saving and flexibility: If the two parties differ drastically in their skill level, they don't have to play all sections - for example in the best-of-three mode only two instead of three.
  • The better one prevails: If one party is lucky enough to win a section, it will not be the winner of the entire encounter. This leads to a fairer determination of the winner.
  • Especially in cases of American professional sport, where in the playoffs the sections represent entire games, the home advantage can be largely compensated for. The team that has home advantage in the decisive game (and thus once more home advantage than their opponent) is determined by different rules (such as better placements in the preliminary round).


  • The result (for example, "He has won 2 sentences and thus wins") ignores how close the individual sections were. A very bad player who, for example, lost in tennis in the two sets 6: 0 and 6: 1 is just as good as someone who lost them 6: 4 and 7: 5. The final result reflects the actual skill level of the players rather poorly.
  • If the individual game sections represent whole games, the number of games to be scheduled before the start of the match is unclear. This can lead to considerable uncertainty about costs and expected revenues for the organizers.
  • If a tie is reached after the penultimate set, frame or game, only the last deciding set is important. Regardless of how and how long it was played before, it is now only a "best-of-1" game.


Best of one

In the best-of-one mode, the bare points are counted. The player who scores more points in this one section wins the game.

The term "best-of-one" is not used in the parlance and is only used here to illustrate the "best of" term: In football, for example, regular playing time plus any stoppage time counts as one section - whoever scores more goals has won the section (and the game). Depending on how the tournament is organized, a first leg and a second leg can count as one stage (the winner is whoever scores the higher total of goals over both games).

Best of three

In this mode, the encounter ends as soon as one party has won two sections - his opponent will ultimately no longer be able to catch up. This is used in most tennis games . Since 1903 in particular, there have only been two sets of wins in women's singles at Grand Slam tournaments .

Best of five

Best-of-five is common in men's singles in Grand Slam tennis . The winner is whoever wins three sentences.

In volleyball , the first four sets are decided by a team first reaching 25 points. A team wins the fifth set and thus the whole game if it reaches at least 15 points by two points.

The best-of-five mode is also common in the play-offs in ice hockey and basketball .

Best of seven

Like the best-of-five mode, this is common in ice hockey and basketball .

Best of nine

Formerly common in American Major League Baseball and American hockey .


In snooker , depending on the tournament and round within the tournament, the game ranges from a best-of-7 mode to a best-of-35 mode in the final of the world championship . In contrast, in the snooker shoot-out, only one frame per game, i.e. in best-of-1 mode, is played. Common modes in higher rounds of tournaments are a best-of-9, best-of-11, best-of-17, and best-of-19.


In Darts two different best-of-modes are used. Most competitions are played in leg mode. The distance in the professional area ranges from best-of-eleven ( PDC Pro Tour ) to best-of-thirty-five, whereby 6 more legs could be played due to a required two point lead (best-of-forty-one) . After five additional legs, the Sudden Death leg decides who will be the winner ( World Matchplay ). The World Championships are played in set mode, in which each set has a distance of best-of-five legs and the game distance ranges from best-of-three to best-of-thirteen sets.

Individual evidence

  1. The mode of the DEL play-offs: "Best of seven" also in the finals on