OP Tournaments Glossary
Play! Pokémon splits its players into tournament groups based on the year they were born. These groups are the Junior, Senior, and Masters Divisions. Whenever possible, players are paired with other players in their same age group. Prizes are typically awarded to the best player in each age group.
Age Modified Swiss Pairing
As an adjustment to the Swiss Pairing method, players are paired both by record and age division. Players may be matched with players from other age divisions in certain circumstances.
Age Separated Swiss
When there are at least 6 players in each age division, a tournament is typically split into “pods.” Each pod consists of players from a single age division only. Each pod is run as a separate tournament, though the results of all three pods are reported as a single tournament.
One of the award items that may be given to League players. These lapel pins represent a player’s completion of certain goals during a League season. Badges are typically tied to the Pokémon video games.
A Limited tournament format in which players are grouped in smaller “pods,” usually of 8 players. Players open booster packs and secretly select and remove single cards from them, passing the remainder of the pack to the next player in their pod to make their selection. Players open and select from several packs this way, building their decks for the event from these cards. Further details on Booster Drafts can be found in the Official Formats documents, on the Tournament Rules and Resources page.
When there are an odd number of participants in a tournament, a random player in the poorest match record bracket in a round is not paired with an opponent and is given an automatic win. This win is called a bye.
The suspension of Play! Pokémon privileges, including use of the Player ID Card and participation in tournaments, Leagues, and Play! Pokémon ratings and rankings. The Play! Pokémon program is, above all, designed to be fun, safe, and fair for everyone involved. Accordingly, we reserve the right to suspend any player from participating in the Play! Pokémon program if we determine that any of these values may be compromised or that suspension is in the best interests of Play! Pokémon or other participants.
The rating system that Play! Pokémon uses to calculate a player’s rankings. It is based on the formula developed by Professor Arpad Elo. Play! Pokémon's ELO rating system is similar to the system originally used in most competitive chess events. A detailed explanation of Play! Pokémon's ELO can be found in the Ratings and Rankings Explained document on the Tournament Rules and Resources page.
A casual event, often held in local trading card game retail stores or community centers, in which the Pokémon TCG and Pokémon video games are played. Results for playing in these events do not count toward a player’s rating or ranking in the Play! Pokémon system. League events are organized and operated by third parties independent from The Pokémon Company International.
A person who organizes and administers a League. This person is usually a fan of the Pokémon TCG who wishes to conduct local events. League Leaders are third parties independent from The Pokémon Company International—that is, they are not employees, agents, or independent contractors of The Pokémon Company International.
The League owner is ultimately responsible for everything that takes place during his or her League sessions. League owners are third parties such as a local trading card game retail store, who are independent from The Pokémon Company International—that is, they are not employees, agents or independent contractors of The Pokémon Company International and who allow Leagues to be held at their locations.
Any tournament format in which all players receive the cards they will use in the tournament at the event. Players do not use cards from their collections for these events but do keep the cards they use in these tournaments.
A number of games played in a single round of a tournament. Matches played during Swiss Pairings rounds are usually one game, while matches played during Single Elimination rounds are sometimes best two out of three.
A tournament format that places restrictions on what cards can be used in deck construction or what Pokémon and items can be used for team construction. These restrictions can be found in the Tournament Formats document can be found on the Tournament Rules and Resources page.
A Title event held annually in which players compete in different age divisions to become the National Champion in their age division. These events typically offer invitations to the Pokémon World Championships to top players.
Play! Pokémon (formerly "Pokémon Organized Play")
The sanctioning body for all official Pokémon Leagues and tournaments. Play! Pokémon maintains all player data, event data, and rules for use in officially recognized events.
Pokémon Trainer Club (formerly "My Pokémon")
Player ID (formerly "POP ID")
Each player is assigned a Play! Pokémon Identification Number (Player ID) that is used to track that player’s tournament play and League participation and to identify him or her in our system. Players must have this number with them whenever they attend a Play! Pokémon event. Players who have never played in a Play! Pokémon event, like a tournament or League, will be given one by the organizer of the event that they attend. Alternatively, you can get a Player ID online if you already have a Pokémon Trainer Club account.
Premier Event or Premier Tournament
A high-profile Play! Pokémon tournament, such as a Battle Road, or Championship series event. Results for playing in these events count toward a player’s Premier Rating and Ranking in the Play! Pokémon system.
Matches played in any Premier event count toward a player’s Premier Rating. At the end of the tournament season, players have the opportunity to earn an invitation to the Pokémon World Championships based on their Premier Rating.
Premier Tournament Organizer ("PTO")
An independent third party who organizes and operates a Premier tournament and who is not an employee, agent, or independent contractor of The Pokémon Company International.
A tournament in which players have access to cards from an upcoming Pokémon TCG expansion, usually held a week or two before that release is available for retail sale. Prereleases always use the Limited tournament format.
Professors are dedicated fans of Pokémon games who contribute their time in order to organize events and teach new players the Pokémon TCG and Pokémon video games. Because many Professors go on to judge at events, they must demonstrate their rules knowledge and ability to organize events by first passing a required exam. Professors are third parties independent from The Pokémon Company International, Inc.—that is, they are not employees, agents, or independent contractors of The Pokémon Company International.
The position an eligible player’s rating puts them in when compared to the ratings of other eligible players. This allows determination of how many eligible players in a group are rated higher or lower than a particular player. The rankings page posts your state, country, or worldwide ranking.
The classification of an eligible participant in Play! Pokémon based upon the number of points that participant earns by playing in sanctioned tournaments. A player’s rating fluctuates as he or she wins and loses matches in sanctioned tournaments. Only matches played at Premier tournaments count toward a player’s rating.
All of the matches being played at one time during a tournament. Each player participates in one match during each round of a tournament. A tournament consists of a number of rounds based on the number of players in that tournament.
An event that the Tournament Organizer determines, run according to the Tournament Rules, which can be found on the Tournament Rules and Resources page. Play! Pokémon offers free prize support to all tournaments that are sanctioned at least two weeks prior to the event’s date.
A Limited tournament format in which players receive and open several booster packs and build their decks from these cards. Further details on Sealed Deck can be found in the Tournament Formats document, found on the Tournament Rules and Resources page.
A pairing method in which players are eliminated when they lose. Swiss events may shift to Single Elimination finals after a number of rounds. The last remaining undefeated player is the winner of the tournament.
Matches for tournaments are set up using the Swiss Pairing Method. In this method, all players in a tournament play in each round against an opponent with a similar win/loss record. Players are not paired against opponents they have previously played.
Theme Deck Challenge
A Theme Deck Challenge is a non-sanctioned tournament in which less experienced players are offered the opportunity to play with new Preconstructed Theme Decks rather than boosters in the event. By playing in a Theme Deck Challenge, players are afforded a more simple play format where they don’t have to build a deck from cards they have never seen before, making this an ideal format for younger or less experienced players.
A Premier event, such as the City Championships, National Championships, or World Championships, generally attended by more players than other tournaments, in which players from different age divisions compete for a title for their age groups. Results for playing in these events count toward a player’s rating and ranking in the Play! Pokémon system.
The person in charge of all organizational aspects of a tournament and who typically handles staffing, scheduling and venue selection. This person is ultimately responsible for all aspects of running a successful tournament.
The rules established by the Pokémon Organized Play staff. These rules must be followed at tournaments by Play! Pokémon players, Tournament Organizers, Judges, and others in order for the event to be a POP-sanctioned event. The Tournament Rules are found on the Tournament Rules and Resources page.
The ultimate Play! Pokémon title event of the year. Players earn invites to this tournament via qualifying events held earlier in the year. Players compete in different age divisions to become the sole World Champion in their age divisions.