Stacking the match ups and lying about your best

Stacking is based on the principle of saving your best resources for winnable games or making sure that you use your best player in a situation likely to produce an outcome of your choice. If there’s a game you are unlikely to win, for instance, you would rather insert a player who is likely to lose and save your best talent for another game. Also it might be sort of customary or ritualistic to put your best player in the first match up rather than saving him for the last which shows that the team is acknowledging his potential as well as relying on his result for the team morale.

Let me make it clear with an example. Let us take two teams from PBL randomly. Bengaluru Topguns and Hyderabad Hunters. Let us consider the Men’s singles in this tie-up.

Bengaluru Topguns has Srikanth Kidambi and would definitely want him to win and not be paired up against Lee Chong Wei who will most likely play the first match. Bengaluru would definitely want him to be paired up with P Kashyap in the final match as the chances of winning are more. But if Hyderabad decides to go with Kashyap for the first match it will be a counter strategy and Srikanth will end up playing Lee. With Trump also being introduced for the first time, this strategy might make all the difference in deciding the winner.

What happens if everyone tries to use this strategy?

If stacking works for one team, that raises the question about how the other team could counter. If decisions can be changed indefinitely, the game might not have a logical end. But since coaches have to choose at the same time, something more interesting happens–match ups end up being made randomly which in my opinion spices things up.

What can be the end result of stacking: pairings end up random or a team gets an upper hand

From what I can tell, most coaches don’t try to stack lineups, and even those that do rarely face opponents that respond. So we’d rarely expect to see random assignments. But interestingly, they may happen. It will be fun to watch and the match ups being more random may really make them unpredictable and exciting.

Insights from this strategy:

  • It is  possible to improve winning odds by stacking
  • One strategy is to save the best talent for winnable games
  • If your opponent starts countering your strategy, the matchups will likely end up being random
  • Practical constraints, like emotions and extra rules (like Trump), need to be addressed as in the end they may play a crucial role in determining the winner.

NB: This might also be a secret weapon in the arsenal for most of the teams as they will play regular team in all the matches and may save this strategy for the best games or the knockouts where it is all or nothing.

Summary

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