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The Ranking System of the Online Game

Comparison with the theorical curve on 10/2/2003

Limits and Issues of the ELO System

"- What? A beginner enters with 1,500 points, and I have played dozen of games and I have 1,450 points! This is unfair!". True, this is an issue. It makes little sense to mix players with an unstable score and players with a stabilized score. That's why it was decided to create two ranking boards:

  • A Provisional Players Ranking, for players with less than 20 games
  • An Established Players Ranking, for players who played 20 or more games. These are considered having a stabilized rank.

"- OK, but I am well ranked, and so I don't want to play with beginners because of the risk to see my score drop dramatically if they have an excellent hand!" Formulas were modified to make sure that experienced players would play with beginners without second thoughts. The impact of a defeat is very limited, especially if the beginner player has played only a few games.

"- I am at the top of the ranking, but I keep going up and down! What is happening?" Yes, this is inevitable. When you are in the top list, almost all the other players have lower ranks. So if you lose, you do down immediately. This is amplified by the fact that only few players have a good score. The other players are likely to have scores that are far from yours, which amplifies your fall. On the other hand, if you are in the average group, you will find that your rank and score changes only slowly.

"- I am on the Provisional Ranking, and my scores have huge variations: as much as 100 points after my very first game!" This is normal, beginning players use accelerated convergence formulas, which behave gradually like ELO as their number of games increases. Their scores is then highly unstable at the very beginning.

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