The Bracket vote is the theory that in the very early stages of a match, generally the first 5 to 10 minutes, a character who is heavily favored in the majority of prediction brackets is going to have an advantage over his opponent. The idea is that the people who stay up late to cast the opening votes are more likely to have a high-ranking bracket that they want to support, and so once that initial wave of voting dies off the underdog is likely to start performing better.
Early bracket voting generally becomes less of an issue the further into a Contest you get, since by then most brackets have been ruined by earlier mistakes and only a select few still have solid brackets that they really care about.
The Common Misconception Edit
Every year several contest newbs post on Board 8 to demand that bracket prediction be stopped, because they think the entire day of voting is determined by the bracket vote, i.e. that the only reason Snake is beating Ness is because everyone picked it in their bracket, and so "of course they're going to vote that way!" Pointing out that only 30,000 submit brackets compared to the 130,000 who cast a vote every day is the easiest way to shut them up.
Of course there are certain cases where it's feasible to say that one character finished ahead of another due to the influence of brackets. Some potential examples include Mario defeating Crono in 2003, or Donkey Kong holding off a strong surge from Duck Hunt in the closing minutes back in 2004. But in those cases you're talking about a extremely close match that's going to have a razor-thin margin of victory, and where any of a number of influences could have been the deciding factor between a win and a loss; singling out bracket voting as the lone culprit is quite unfair.
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