This section will focus on what IPSA recognizes as official competition styles of Pai Sho along with which styles are played at which events.
Formal, Ceremonial, and Special Styles
There are a few styles of Pai Sho IPSA recognizes but does not use for competition. These styles are primarily used in formal settings or at ceremonies.
Ancient Pai Sho
Ancient Pai Sho is used almost exclusively at formal events. Many players will play Ancient Pai Sho during their downtime, but there are no IPSA sanctioned events that focus on Ancient Pai Sho. The Order of the White Lotus is known for holding an Ancient Pai Sho tournament for their Grand Lotus ranked members.
Iroh Pai Sho
IPSA recognizes Iroh Pai Sho but does not hold any event for it. Iroh Pai Sho is played almost exclusively by members of the Order of the White Lotus.
3-Piece Pai Sho
3-Piece Pai Sho is recognized by IPSA but there are no official events for it. As its common name suggest, Street Pai Sho is played primarily by non-competitive Pai Sho players. Commonly played in Taverns, Bars, and Hotels.
The styles of Pai Sho recognized by IPSA for official tournament play are Modern Pai Sho, Skud Pai Sho, and Basic Pai Sho. Each level of the competitive scene uses a different style. They are as follows:
Local events are events that focus on the participants located in or around the city in which the event is being held. Local events are a great place for players looking to join the competitive scene but lack some of the experience found in competitive Pai Sho. Due to a large number of new players at Local events, the selected style for these events is Modern Pai Sho. Modern Pai Sho provides an easy to learn and quick to play style for these smaller events.
Regional events are events that focus on the participants located in a specific region. Regional events are larger than Local events with more player turnout. Due to the larger number of competitors, Regional events start with Modern Pai Sho in a swiss style elimination bracket. Once a Top 8 is formed the style is switched to Skud Pai Sho. Skud Pai Sho offers a more complex style of play that helps demonstrate the skill of the players.
National events are the largest event within a country. In order to qualify for a National Event, you need to either have been Top 8 at a Regional event or accumulated enough competitive points to earn a spot. Similarly to Regional events, National events start with Skud Pai Sho in a swiss style elimination bracket. One the Top 8 is formed the style switches to Basic Pai Sho. Basic Pai Sho is the standard competitive style of Pai Sho recognized by IPSA.
World Championship Events
The World Championship event is the largest event run by IPSA. Similarly to National events, in order to play in the standard World Championship tournament, you need to have been Top 8 at a National event or accumulated enough competitive points to earn a spot. Basic Pai Sho is played throughout the entirety of the tournament. World Championship events also host a Skud Pai Sho only tournament that is open to anyone who would like to participate.