Bayfoos has a points system we use for keeping track of local rankings. After our long break during the pandemic, we’ve played enough recent matches to update our local points. We use local points to set entry fees and seedings for tournaments, and pretty soon we’ll try out using them for handicaps as well.
There is a nationally recognized IFP Tour points system. For players who play national tournaments, we use their IFP points as our base. We then adjust local points based on an Elo rating system: you can gain or lose points in every match you play. You also gain points for strong overall finishes in events. Player’s local points are always the higher of their local points vs their IFP Tour points. Note that even though we try to keep the points in sync, there is a lot of drift between local rankings and IFP tour performance due to a “rating inflation” effect. A player with 2000-2500 points locally usually plays at a 1500-2000 point level on the national tour.
Locally, the critical numbers in our points system are 1000, 2000, and 3000. Players with under 1000 points are fairly new and are working on developing their game; they pay lower entry fees for events. Crossing the 1000 points mark is a badge of honor, but it also means you pay full price entry fees.
Players above 2000 points have a good chance of winning a tournament on any given night. Players above 3000 points are usually ranked Pro or Master nationally, and we love it when these folks come out to play. Sometimes we say “steel sharpens steel”: the competition makes all of us better players.
When comparing Elo ratings, bear in mind that the points difference between two players translates to win probabilities. If two players have no difference in points, the ratings system predicts that they are evenly matched and each player will win 50% of their matches. If there is a 100 point difference, the higher ranked player should win 2/3 matches. A 500 point difference means the higher ranked player should win about 95% of the time! When comparing teams, we add up the points for each player to get the team points.
These comparisons also impact how many points you can gain or lose in a match. Winning or losing against an evenly matched player only transfers a few points at a time. Beating a much higher ranked player transfers more points. This is a self-correcting ranking system: if you keep beating higher ranked players, pretty soon you’ll have a higher rating yourself.