Winter Season, Rules and Format: How to Qualify for Team Playoffs

Hey poets,

It’s the Winter Season of Van Slam. That means that the format returns to 2 rounds of three-minute poems. 12 poets (or so) poets in round one. The top five advance to round two. Qualifying slams occur (normally) on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and potentially 5th Monday of every month. The winners are determined by their cumulative score over the two rounds.

The top 4 finishers of the night acquire points that will help qualify them for the Women of the World Playoffs in January (if you are a self-identified female poet) and the Team Playoffs. The winners of these playoffs receive paid trips to represent Van Slam in major international tournaments! Get writing!

Poets will be awarded a set number of points per slam, determined by where they finished in the top 4. They will amass these points cumulatively over the course of the qualifying season.

The point system for each night will look like this.

1st place – 16 points
2nd place – 9 points
3rd place – 4 points
4th place – 1 point
5th place – 0 points

Playoff-stage slots are determined by selecting our top 14 cumulative point-scorers up to that point.

In The Last Chance Slam, the priority of entry goes to our remaining top 12 point scorers. Any spots not filled by those poets are then open. The winner of the Last Chance slam gets the 16th playoff slot in semi-finals.

This points system does not apply to ‘alt’ slams, only to qualifying slams, held (usually) on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and potentially 5th Monday of every month from September to March.

In the points system rankings, ties are broken first according to who had the higher finish, and second by points. So, for instance, if at the end of season Poet A had one second place finish, they would have 9 points, and if Poet B had two third place finishes and a fourth place finish, they would also have 9 points. Poet A would receive the higher ranking because Poet A finished higher in a slam than Poet B ever did. But if Poet A and B both had one second place finish, and both had 9 points, and they were tied for the final and fourteenth slot to go directly to playoffs, the tie would be broken by who had the higher score on their second place finish, and the other poet would have to compete in the Last Chance Slam.