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.