How Does a 6 Team Bracket Work?

How does a 6 team bracket work

A common question that arises in sports is how does a 6 team bracket work? The number of teams does not fit naturally like a 4 team or 8 team brackets. As a result, it can be a bit confusing at first. There are several proven ways to set up a 6 team bracket across all types of sport that we cover. It doesn’t matter if you are playing in a baseball or pickleball tournament, the methodology remains the same. There are three types of 6 team brackets that are used most frequently: single-elimination, double-elimination, and round robin. 

6 Team Single Elimination Bracket

A 6 team single elimination bracket is most commonly used when playing all games or matches on the same day. This format will allow the event to have a championship game with a total of five games or matches played. The bracket can be set up as a seeded or blind-draw event. 

Seeded single elimination brackets are more commonly used for baseball, basketball, and football events. The seeds for end-of-season tournaments are based on regular season records. For weekend tournaments, there will generally be a pool-play day that determines team’s seeds. 

A blind draw 6 team single elimination format is more commonly used for individual matches or games where the skill level is considered equivalent across the group of teams. They are commonly used for darts, pool, and even recreational pickleball tournament brackets. The primary difference in the bracket is there is not a seed listed by the line for the team’s name. You can download the 6 team single elimination bracket in PDF format here (seeded) and here (blind draw).

6 team bracket single elimination

6 Team Double Elimination Bracket

The 6 team double elimination bracket is one of the most common formats for this number of teams for a sports bracket. This ensures each team plays at least two games in the tournament. After the first round of play, there is a “loser’s” bracket that continues play in a single-elimination format until one team is left.

Unlike a 6 team single elimination bracket, there are a minimum of 11 games played using the double elimination format. If the loser’s bracket winner defeats the winner’s bracket champion, then a 12th game will be played to award the overall winner. A variation of this format is to declare the first championship game a “winner-take-all” but technically disadvantages the team who has not lost in the tournament. You can download a 6 team double elimination bracket (seeded) in PDF here.  

6 Team Round Robin Bracket

A 6 team round robin bracket differs from single and double elimination brackets in that every team faces each other at least one time. If it is a sport where there are ties or draws, then points are awarded for wins, ties, and losses. The team or individual with the most points at the end of the round-robin play is the winner. Since every team plays the same competition, the round robin bracket format is considered a more fair contest than a blind draw or seeded bracket. 

How Does Seeding Work in a 6 Team Bracket?

Seeding a  6 team bracket depends on the nature of the event that is being run. There are a few methods that are commonly used to seed tournaments this size. The most common for end-of-season tournaments is the regular season records of each team. The best team is the #1 seed. Whichever team has the worst seed is the #6 seed. If teams are tied, the head-to-head record against the other tied team is used. If they went 1-1 or a variation of .500 against each other, then records against the higher seeded opponents are often used. The “break glass” tie-breaker option is to flip a coin with the two head coaches. 

If there is no common regular season record to use for seeding, it is not uncommon to have a “pool play” day on one or two days of the tournament. Each team will play 2-3 of the other teams to determine a “record” to use for seeding in the bracket portion of the tournament. A third way that is used a lot in youth all-stars is to use the previous postseason results for team seeds. 

6 team double elimination bracket

How Byes Work in a 6 Team Bracket?

In a 6 team bracket, there are not enough teams to level the playing field fairly in a seeded tournament. As a result, the common convention is to award a bye to the overall #1 and #2 seeds in the tournament. This means that they get a free pass, or don’t have to play in the first round of the tournament. Instead, the team will play the winner of two lower seeded teams.

If a team is seeded #1 overall, then they will play the winner of the #4 vs the #5 seeds. Byes will normally only be awarded for the first round of the tournament. In some college basketball tournament formats, some teams can be awarded double byes. This means the team does not have to play for the first two rounds of the tournament. 

Will Lewis

Have been covering sports of all types for more than 18 years. Will is a lifelong Kentucky Wildcats fan and rooted for the Bengals way back when Joe Montana dashed our hopes and dreams. Now a Padres fan as well. He covers all sports here at Sports Brackets.

Leave a Reply