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A bye, in sports and other competitive activities, most commonly refers to the practice of allowing a team to advance to the next round of a playoff tournament without playing. This is generally the result of having a number of entrants in the competition that is not a power of two (i.e., not 2, 4, 8, 16, etc.); any such tournament must eventually arrive, through elimination, at an odd number of participants at some point, thus necessitating the bye. In large tournaments, sometimes the best-ranked teams get a bye in the first round(s), to reward them with less risk of elimination.

In round-robin tournament competitions where there are an odd number of teams an odd number of competitors each round, usually just one, would get a bye. Thus during no round would all teams be able to play. However, by the completion of the tournament each team would have played the same number of games as well as having sat out for the same number of rounds during the tournament.

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