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View Full Version : What is the best way to handicap a local tournament?


TheNewSharkster
06-22-2010, 08:15 AM
Hello fellow AZers,

Little backstory. Myself and 3 other people run a weekly tournament at a local bar (we do a rotation). The bar matches 100%. We do double elimination and using a race to 2 on the A and B side.

Recently the number of good players had incresed significantly. This had been good for people who want some good competition but players who have played in this tournament for some time now have no chance.

We are trying to come up with an idea to make the tournament more enjoyable. The first things we discussed was no SL7 or A players. The problem with that is a couple of the people that play regularly would fall into that category.

The other idea would be to use a handicap. In my mind it seems fair to have the A players have to win 3 games rather than two. So it would be a 3-2 race. If it were 2-1 race it would have too much luck involved.

Any advice on a good way to handicap a tournament like this?
Any ideas on how to rate players?

justadub
06-22-2010, 08:26 AM
I believe that's at least a start, and shouldn't annoy the A's/SL7's, tho it probably won't appease the lesser players much.

I'm going to be curious what resposnses you get on this subject. I play in a similar 9-ball tournament that a local bar runs, and we have the same issue. A few really good players show up, and the rest of us bangers don't have much of a chance. Doesn't bother me, I'm playing for the fun and for the experience, and it's just $5 to get in, so what the heck. But I can see how some people might not want to bother when you know Player A, B & C will be there in the end regardless. I have heard that from some of our locals. We only had 6 show up last night, when some nights we have had 12-14 people. (I actually came in second, as we only had one SL7 playing for a change! What a hoot. Double elimination, he beat me the first match of the night, and the last, ha! Funny stuff, gives me a story to tell the other locals when I see them.)

When we started this weekly tournament, the guy running it didn't want the hassle of handicapping anything. I agreed with him. But I can see the other side too (being the banger that I am) and am curious if there is an easy way to balance things a bit.

poolplayer2093
06-22-2010, 08:30 AM
Hello fellow AZers,

Little backstory. Myself and 3 other people run a weekly tournament at a local bar (we do a rotation). The bar matches 100%. We do double elimination and using a race to 2 on the A and B side.

Recently the number of good players had incresed significantly. This had been good for people who want some good competition but players who have played in this tournament for some time now have no chance.

We are trying to come up with an idea to make the tournament more enjoyable. The first things we discussed was no SL7 or A players. The problem with that is a couple of the people that play regularly would fall into that category.

The other idea would be to use a handicap. In my mind it seems fair to have the A players have to win 3 games rather than two. So it would be a 3-2 race. If it were 2-1 race it would have too much luck involved.

Any advice on a good way to handicap a tournament like this?
Any ideas on how to rate players?

a baseball bat!


nah i'm kidding. i don't think a 3-2 race is appropriate for a bar tournament. make it a race to 2 for the strong players 1 for the weaker players. or you could just make the entire thing a race to 1. sure the better palyer is going to win most of the time but with it being a race to 1 the weaker player's odds of winning go up imo. i've beaten players that i shouldn't have playing race to 1 tournaments

LeagueGuy
06-22-2010, 08:40 AM
Hello fellow AZers,

Little backstory. Myself and 3 other people run a weekly tournament at a local bar (we do a rotation). The bar matches 100%. We do double elimination and using a race to 2 on the A and B side.

Recently the number of good players had incresed significantly. This had been good for people who want some good competition but players who have played in this tournament for some time now have no chance.

We are trying to come up with an idea to make the tournament more enjoyable. The first things we discussed was no SL7 or A players. The problem with that is a couple of the people that play regularly would fall into that category.

The other idea would be to use a handicap. In my mind it seems fair to have the A players have to win 3 games rather than two. So it would be a 3-2 race. If it were 2-1 race it would have too much luck involved.

Any advice on a good way to handicap a tournament like this?
Any ideas on how to rate players?

One of the tournaments I played in when i was younger used the following

A players - race to 3 (a high end 6 or 7 in APA was an A player for this format)
everyone else - race to 2

also the tournament payed top 3 and for anyone in the money the previous 2 weeks, their opponent needed 1 less game.

You ended up with some 3-1 races but that kept the strong players from dominating week in and week out. If you were an A player who finished in the money, it made it difficult to get back in the money the next 2 weeks. It kept the money spread around pretty good.

Using this format we averaged between 24 and 32 players for a $5 weekly tourny. the bar matched the entyr fee so you ended up with a pot of 250-320 for a small bar tourny. Payout was always 50%, 30% 20% true double knockout.

I thought it was fantastic.

poolplayer2093
06-22-2010, 08:43 AM
One of the tournaments I played in when i was younger used the following

A players - race to 3 (a high end 6 or 7 in APA was an A player for this format)
everyone else - race to 2

also the tournament payed top 3 and for anyone in the money the previous 2 weeks, their opponent needed 1 less game.

You ended up with some 3-1 races but that kept the strong players from dominating week in and week out. If you were an A player who finished in the money, it made it difficult to get back in the money the next 2 weeks. It kept the money spread around pretty good.

Using this format we averaged between 24 and 32 players for a $5 weekly tourny. the bar matched the entyr fee so you ended up with a pot of 250-320 for a small bar tourny. Payout was always 50%, 30% 20% true double knockout.

I thought it was fantastic.

this is bar pool we're talking about here people. if the tables aren't open you're talking about a possible 5 bones a match situation

LeagueGuy
06-22-2010, 08:53 AM
this is bar pool we're talking about here people. if the tables aren't open you're talking about a possible 5 bones a match situation

The tables were open and there were only 4 of them. The tournament took about 5 + hours to play (started at 7:30 on a Friday night) and the bar more than made it's money on the food and beer.

hang-the-9
06-22-2010, 08:57 AM
3-2 would be pretty fair, although an A would beat a C that way 95% of the time. You may want to do 3-2 for A vs. B, and 3-2 and the 7 or 8 if paying 9-ball for a A vs C or D. If 8-ball, maybe do something like the higher player can only make the 8 in the side pockets instead of the ball spot in 9.

The place I play in weekely has 5,4,3 handicaps, with 10-12 people we get done close to 1am, double elim. 9-ball, no ball spots.

TheNewSharkster
06-22-2010, 08:59 AM
this is bar pool we're talking about here people. if the tables aren't open you're talking about a possible 5 bones a match situation

Tables are open

12squared
06-22-2010, 09:09 AM
This is a tough question. I have played in many different formats of handicapped weekly tournaments:

9-ball examples
Game weight (the ratings mean nothing by the way, just a measure of how many games we go to): b=3 games; a=4; aa=5; aaa=6. so a aa would spot a b 2 games going to 5 (b always has to win 3 games).

Ball weight: similar handicapping as above but giving ball weight to the differnet levels: 8, 7, 7&8, 6out w/breaks and you could add games too if the difference is too great.

8-ball I have seen: Game weight (better players go to 3, everyone else to 2), shorter races & separate open tournaments and b & under tournaments. Personally, I think many people like to play with the better players if it's a cheap enough tournament ($10 or less) so they can get to know them and learn, but it gets old if they have no chance ever. That's why I like the shorter races, they may only have to get lucky once. Single elimination in a short race also has the added benefit of if you get lucky and beat a better player, they are out of the tournament so they can't come back to win it.

I believe the shorter races are the best equalizer (race to 1 or 2 games alternate breaks). But here's a couple of new thoughts: what about races to 2, but the lesser player gets all the breaks and ball in hand after the break? Or, once or twice a game, the lesser player can push to a spot and it would be considered a legal shot so the in coming player must shoot from there?

I haven't seen these in action but have been thinking about them. The longer races w/game weight does not seem to make much difference, ball weight is a little better but if it's a longer race (5+) the better player usually wins.

Please let us know what you come up with. Good luck.

dave

SnapdaNine
06-22-2010, 09:09 AM
One of the tournaments I played in when i was younger used the following

A players - race to 3 (a high end 6 or 7 in APA was an A player for this format)
everyone else - race to 2

also the tournament payed top 3 and for anyone in the money the previous 2 weeks, their opponent needed 1 less game.

You ended up with some 3-1 races but that kept the strong players from dominating week in and week out. If you were an A player who finished in the money, it made it difficult to get back in the money the next 2 weeks. It kept the money spread around pretty good.

Using this format we averaged between 24 and 32 players for a $5 weekly tourny. the bar matched the entyr fee so you ended up with a pot of 250-320 for a small bar tourny. Payout was always 50%, 30% 20% true double knockout.

I thought it was fantastic.

That's sounds like a pretty fair format....

mikeyfrost
06-22-2010, 09:12 AM
That's sounds like a pretty fair format....

You don't even play pool anymore how would you know!!!!:p

SnapdaNine
06-22-2010, 09:18 AM
You don't even play pool anymore how would you know!!!!:p

Truth hurts..:crying:

TheNewSharkster
06-22-2010, 09:29 AM
I should have mentioned that this tourn is 8ball. I would be happy to hear 9ball handicap ideas though.

JDB
06-22-2010, 09:42 AM
Hello fellow AZers,

Little backstory. Myself and 3 other people run a weekly tournament at a local bar (we do a rotation). The bar matches 100%. We do double elimination and using a race to 2 on the A and B side.

Recently the number of good players had incresed significantly. This had been good for people who want some good competition but players who have played in this tournament for some time now have no chance.

We are trying to come up with an idea to make the tournament more enjoyable. The first things we discussed was no SL7 or A players. The problem with that is a couple of the people that play regularly would fall into that category.

The other idea would be to use a handicap. In my mind it seems fair to have the A players have to win 3 games rather than two. So it would be a 3-2 race. If it were 2-1 race it would have too much luck involved.

Any advice on a good way to handicap a tournament like this?
Any ideas on how to rate players?

One of the better formats I have played in is a split bracket; this ensures that one lower level player gets at least second place.

Split the players and put the A/B players in one bracket and the C/D players in another bracket. Each bracket plays out until one is left. The two winners of each bracket play for the finals.

You could then handicap the finals in some way to make it a fairer race but the C/D player only has to play one higher level player.

Marie's husband
06-22-2010, 09:50 AM
Just a thought of a way to have your tournaments without having to handicap every person for every match.


I am assuming that you already know what caliber of player each person is in the tournaments that you put on. If so, then instead of handicapping each individual, seperate them into two seperate tournaments groups. also, if its someone that you dont know, then put them in the higher level group for the first couple of times.

example: if you normally get 16 players that pay $10 to enter and the bar matches the pot, that gives you a prize fund of $320.

seperate them into two groups of 8 with a prize fund of $140 for each group and pay out $80, $40, $20, for each group.

With the extra $35 dollars from the prize fund, I would have the winners from each group play one game for the $35. That way there is still an ultimate winner, but everyone is happy.

With the last $5 of the prize fund, I would put it in a scratch pot jar that collects a 25 cent penalty for all scratches and fouls from everyone in the tournament. At the end of the tournament, it would be given away to a non money winner in the tournament by drawing a name out of a hat. Usually gets between well the entry fee and sometimes more than 3rd place so it gives some of the players incentive to hang out until the tournament is over.

Like I said, it is just a thought and I just wanted to give you another option.

TheNewSharkster
06-22-2010, 10:01 AM
I love all these ideas. Keep them coming

supergreenman
06-22-2010, 10:10 AM
The best way to handicap a tournament is to not handicap it.

Seriously, you're going cause more headaches than problems solved such as:


players complaining about other players handicaps
players complaining about thier own handicaps
keeping track of who is what handicap
coming up with a way to fairly move players up


The best choice is to handicap winners not players. You still have to keep good records for this, but it all but eliminates the problems mentioned above.

I would suggest anyone who wins one of your tournaments has to give a spot or games on the wire for the next 4 tournaments he plays in. This is where the good record keeping comes in.

You have to make sure that Joe who won last week doesn't just stay away for a month because he has to give games on the wire or a spot. So, basically if he does stay away for a month when he comes back he still has to give the spot.

It's only fair.

Bob Jewett
06-22-2010, 10:12 AM
Instead of double elimination, you might consider single, with a race to 4. It will take about the same length of time. This lets you give game spots a lot more easily. Suppose you have assigned numerical ratings to the players of about 30-100. You can have matches according to this table where all you look at is the rating difference between the two players to find the match game spot. If two players are 20 rating points apart, they play at 5-3.

Rating ---- Match
Diff. ---- Games

0-6 ---- 4-4 (You may need to cut back to 3-3 for real weak players.)
7-18 ---- 4-3
19-29 ---- 5-3
30-39 ---- 4-2
40-48 ---- 5-2
49-UP ---- 6-2

The most important part is the adjustment of ratings. For every match a player wins, he goes up a point, and down a point for every loss. (You can adjust new people faster if you put them in at the wrong level.)

To initially set up the ratings, put your top player in at 100, and figure out fair matches for the rest and then set the rating from the table. If Joe plays the champ fairly at 4-2, Joe becomes a 100-35 = 65.

If you have lots of tables, you could do a separate second-chance tournament for those who get knocked out early.

12squared
06-22-2010, 10:32 AM
separate them into two separate tournaments groups.

This just reminded me of a couple charity golf tournaments I've played in. They had prizes for the 1st place team and the 9th place team (16 teams over all). We were #9 (1st place in the second division) and received the same gifts as 1st place :thumbup:. So instead of splitting up the tournament into 2 groups, maybe offer prizes for the 1st, 2 or 3 places and prizes for those in the second group - simply divide the # of entrants in 2 to find the second group starting point. We had a blast - we were chanting "we're #9, we're #9, we're #9' all the way home.

So it would be played as one tournament but those in the middle would receive prizes, too. Dang, I just thought that there would be multiple winners in the second group because of the bracket things, maybe this would only work in round robins.

Never mind :) I like Bob Jewett's idea.

dave