How does Skillz player matching work?

Player matching and fairness are something that Skillz takes very seriously. Because of this, we structure our matching in a very specific way.

Skillz uses algorithms to match players based on ability level and game history to make sure that every tournament is fair. Currently, all matching is done asynchronously, meaning that each match will have a "Host" and a "Challenger". Often times we can match a "Host" with a "Challenger" while the "Host" is still playing, but the matching is still technically asynchronous.

Some Examples:

Example 1

Player 1 starts to play a $1 prize tournament. First we search to see if there are any "Hosts" with games pending that are within Player 1's skill band and, if there are, Player 1 becomes the "Challenger" to Player 2's pending game. We re-create any variables for Player 1 that Player 2 had when they played and then we let Player 1 play. At the end of Player 1's match, we compare their score with Player 2's score and determine the winner, instantly displaying that result to Player 1.

Note: We will never match two games that have already finished and have a score. Matching is always done before the "Challenger" plays the match.

Example 2

Player 1 starts to play a $1 prize tournament. When searching their skill band to see if there are any "Hosts" with games pending in Player 1's skill level we do not find any appropriate games for Player 1 to join. We then have Player 1 start a game as a "Host" and the game waits for a "Challenger." Because the current score is not used in matching we don't need to wait for the "Host" to finish the game before we start looking for a "Challenger," and sometimes we can find a "Challenger" before the "Host" is done.

Unfortunately we aren't always able to find a "Challenger" quickly, this is especially true in newer games and in tournaments that are higher stakes. In this situation, games can be pending for up to 7 days while we look for a "Challenger." After 7 days, we will cancel and refund the match.


While we try to vary opponents as much as possible, we do match based on skill first and foremost. It's possible that you may start running into the same player or group of players. It's important to note that the reason you're running into these players is because they are consistently within your skill range and playing for the same stakes that you are. We know that it can be frustrating to play the same opponent over and over and we're working on ways to improve variety.

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