(Topic ID: 43917)

Detailed descrption of "Herb Format"

By DarthXaos

6 years ago

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  • 38 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by phishrace
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    #13 6 years ago
    Quoted from DarthXaos:

    I have seen the term "Herb Format" occasionally but I can't seem to find a detailed description of it.

    It's a format that was started by Herb Silvers of Fabulous Fantasies. Others have covered the details.

    Some people love them and others hate them.


    1) builds the prize pool
    2) gives competitors more tournament play - who wants to get on a plane to play five games, not qualify, and then fly home?
    3) Gives players who maybe have never seen a game before an opportunity to learn the game enough to be competitive.
    4) Finals are arguably a truer test of the better players since a lucky entry or two is likely not going to offset a truly skilled player's consistency across the board.
    5) Regarding the idea that it gives newer players a chance, I disagree with this. If I had to play Keith Elwin for a thousand bucks, would I want to play him one time or five times? Or 10 times? In the long run, Keith is far more likely going to win. Herbs give the *impression* that beginners have a better chance but they actually have a far worse chance.

    Herb formats can give *some* players in particular scenarios a better chance. It might give a very skilled player who has just never seen a game a chance to qualify with multiple entries (see 3, above).

    Another situation is it allows a "control" player to learn the subtleties of the game. Once dialed, a control player can put up a huge score. With a limited qualifying format or a one and done, the control player may never reach a level on a game where they're comfortable before they run out of chances.


    1) If you want to be competitive, you likely have to forgo the rest of the show.
    2) It can be expensive. I typically spend at least $100 in a herb format.
    3) You get more "tournament play", but in qualifying it's by yourself. In my opinion that's a quantity over quality kind of thing.
    4) They're a beast to run for organizers and volunteers.
    5) People get tired, cranky and assholey. Last hour of qualifying in a Herb is like a war zone.
    6) Games tend to be set up extremely hard (aka 'bastardized') to keep play times short. You almost never find games set up similarly in the wild (except Classics/EMs). If you don't own games of your own, and can't get a feel for bouncy rubbers, big outlanes and tight tilts, frankly, you are going into a Herb at a big disadvantage.

    #22 6 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Most all of the big tournaments have a casual type division now. This allows noobs to play along side guys like Keith, while still having a shot at winning some money. Didn't you hand out the trophies and cash to the casual players at CAX last year?
    Judging by the large increase in competitors in the casual division at CAX the last couple of years, it seems like many of the noobs feel like they have a shot at winning something. Can't imagine why you wouldn't mention casual divisions.

    Yes, I ran Casuals Finals at CAX last year. And I won it in 2010.

    I LOVE the casuals idea, for all the reasons you mentioned and additionally because it doesn't exclude any player from earning wppr points. I use a similar variation in nearly all my full-day tournaments and it's very popular with players.

    I don't know for sure, but I doubt that most Herb tournaments use that format, so I was addressing the majority.

    #23 6 years ago
    Quoted from sosage:

    What I *do* like is when this format is run with a cap on the re-buys. I believe that is how you ran it at PPE? If you think you can qualify in 1 shot, you save money. If you need all X amount of times to qualify, that's fine...because EVERYONE is on the same level playing field to qualify.

    No, when I ran it, it was PAPA qualifier format (i.e. a "run" of games) but still unlimited re-buy.

    Jeannie and Eric of PPM ran it this year with the cap.

    I agree, though, the cap is a nice balance between how much money is spent, allowing players to make up some bad games (but not all) and preventing the tournament from becoming an incredible time sink. Likewise, the match play side tournament meant everyone who wanted it got a good amount of competition time. I would say between all my entries and the match play tourney I was probably in there for about six hours total.

    #31 6 years ago
    Quoted from sosage:

    Again, no, it does not. This is where we're going to have to agree to disagree. Positive results in luck-based games thrive on increased attempts, not less. I see your perspective, that you see scenarios where a bad player flails a killer qualifying score in 1 try.

    I generally agree. A Herb can't eliminate luck because it doesn't take bad luck into account (unless they're all bad), only good. Good luck is recorded and stands, even if it was preceded by 5 bad luck or 10 games that happened to be pure skill.

    I believe this is partly the reasoning behind the PAPA qualifying format, where a player has to put up a 'run' of good games, not just one.

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