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View Full Version : What's the difference between Skill levels in APA


thyme3421
10-17-2007, 06:53 PM
I'm trying to learn how to judge the speed of someone... one match, maybe 2... and then say "Yeah, he's a solid 6" or a weak 5 or whatever.

But I don't know the difference between a 4 and 5, a 5-6, or 6-7.

can anyone explain the differences?


Oh, and if someone can explain the differences between the BCA skill levels, that'd be cool too.

Thanks :)

StormHotRod300
10-17-2007, 07:29 PM
If your talking 8ball here it goes

2/3 newbies, probably can make a ball or two, maybe more depending on the table, but rarely runs 3 or 4 balls.

4/5 probably the toughest to judge, because, of the rating system. they probably can run several balls, but will eventually lose position or miss a ball. Safes are generally weak to lucky. But have been known to run a rack.

6's depending on the area, they can either be a MONSTER or a paper champ. They'll generally break and run a few balls, play good position and good safes also. Also are known to break n run often.

7's basically the same as a 6, but can range from a weak 7, to a SUPER 7. Meaning it could be your local house pro, to a guy who plays 2 or 3 days a week. Your Weak 7, is the guy in the smaller league who should be a 5 or 6, but beats up on everyone so he gets bumped to a 7. The Super 7, is your typical B+ to A player. Safes are good! and break n runs happen regularly. Normal games last maybe 1 or 2 innings.

JimS
10-18-2007, 06:45 AM
If your talking 8ball here it goes

2/3 newbies, probably can make a ball or two, maybe more depending on the table, but rarely runs 3 or 4 balls.

4/5 probably the toughest to judge, because, of the rating system. they probably can run several balls, but will eventually lose position or miss a ball. Safes are generally weak to lucky. But have been known to run a rack.

6's depending on the area, they can either be a MONSTER or a paper champ. They'll generally break and run a few balls, play good position and good safes also. Also are known to break n run often.

7's basically the same as a 6, but can range from a weak 7, to a SUPER 7. Meaning it could be your local house pro, to a guy who plays 2 or 3 days a week. Your Weak 7, is the guy in the smaller league who should be a 5 or 6, but beats up on everyone so he gets bumped to a 7. The Super 7, is your typical B+ to A player. Safes are good! and break n runs happen regularly. Normal games last maybe 1 or 2 innings.

The difference is who can best hide their true speed. Handicaps are an open door to cheating. Period.

Thunderball
10-18-2007, 07:10 AM
If your talking 8ball here it goes

2/3 newbies, probably can make a ball or two, maybe more depending on the table, but rarely runs 3 or 4 balls.

4/5 probably the toughest to judge, because, of the rating system. they probably can run several balls, but will eventually lose position or miss a ball. Safes are generally weak to lucky. But have been known to run a rack.

6's depending on the area, they can either be a MONSTER or a paper champ. They'll generally break and run a few balls, play good position and good safes also. Also are known to break n run often.

7's basically the same as a 6, but can range from a weak 7, to a SUPER 7. Meaning it could be your local house pro, to a guy who plays 2 or 3 days a week. Your Weak 7, is the guy in the smaller league who should be a 5 or 6, but beats up on everyone so he gets bumped to a 7. The Super 7, is your typical B+ to A player. Safes are good! and break n runs happen regularly. Normal games last maybe 1 or 2 innings.

I agree.....and yeah there are issues with the systems as a whole,but the above quote pretty much nails it.

I'll add there really is no telling how bad a two or three might be....same for a seven.Everyone else you can at least get a feel for assuming they come to play at the best speed they can week in and week out.As mentioned,that's not always the case.

42NateBaller
10-18-2007, 07:14 AM
Been playing APA for years now, and I agree with all of the posts so far. Storm did a good job.

juggler314
10-18-2007, 07:34 AM
I've been a captain in the APA for a while and here's how I define things:

2 (and as a point of information, in manhattan, where I play, as with the national format, only women can be 2's): This is going to be someone that can pocket a ball or two, but really has no hope of playing both a good shot and good position. It's a war of attrition/luck for these players to win a game.

I feel the transition from a 2 to a 3 is either when the player gets good enough at pocketing to be able to make more than just one shot in a row reliably, or if some safety play is learned and incorporated - either of these two advancements will raise a player from a 2 to a 3.

3: Female 3's can generally hold a cue decently and would be able to run a couple of balls and understand a bit about where the cue is going to go even if they can't make it happen all the time. Men will range from absolute beginners (since they can no be 2's) to being able to make a few shots.

I think the transition from 3 to 4 is when your fundamentals start to come together a bit and you have played enough to understand how the cue can be moved around (draw/follow/spin).

4: These players usually are starting to grasp all the fundamentals together. They have a semi-decent stance, bridge, form. They understand how to use follow and draw and can execute them inconsistently. Given an easy open table they should be good to run 3-4 balls. They do not have the control to really run out or play fantastic safeties. They will not think very far ahead.

I think the transition here is when you can play at least a moderate sized area position consistently. 4's will go up to 5's when they can put the cue ball somewhat near where they want it to go as well as executing pocketable shots consistently.

5: In my league these players can be the wildcard. A weak 5 is not going to be very hard to beat. But a strong 5 might be able to manage a break and run here and there, will probably be able to play a tough safety to get out of. To me the biggest thing that identifies 5's is the amazing ability, time and time again for them to run until they have just 1 problem ball left. The full rack run out though process is not learned here yet. They can move the ball around, break things up, but not well enough to really handle all the situations that come up. More often then not a 5 will clear most of the table for me and leave an easy run out, even if they are shooting well.

The big thing here is the ability to complete the rack. Knowing what racks wont be likely to be completed without exceptional play. Having an ability to honestly calculate the percentage to make a shot/run out and either go for the out or play an appropriate safety at the appropriate time. Also at this point you should be building an arsenal of "difficult" shots to call on. IE they have played enough to know the details on how to make shots that are not obvious/require solid fundamentals and have played enough or practiced enough to actually make them consistently.

6: 6's should be able to run an open table (that is one with no major problems) and should be able to run out on tables with only moderate problems (say a cluster to break up, but a favorable break ball already in position). They should at this point be able to calculate more advanced shots - lining up off angle combinations. Knowing how to aim bank shots and make them at least somewhat consistently (well the "easy" ones anyway). They should have some understanding of how to move the cue around the table even if they have to use multiple rails. Safety play should be to the point where they can lock up the cue for any lesser handicapped player sufficiently.

The basic difference here is that 7's are just better at everything than the 6's. They will make every shot a higher percentage of the time. Be able to execute a break and run more often and on more challenging rack layouts. They will play better safeties. They will play better position. Etc etc etc. I don't think many 6's watch a 7 play and are unable to see what's going on, they can imagine it, just maybe not execute it as well.

7: These players run a wide gamut as already mentioned. In particular newly minted 7's usually do terribly against strong 5's and 6's. Since the way the game spot works when you move to a 7 everyone else has to win one less. This makes things much easier for strong 5's and 6's. On the flip side 7's can run all the way up to open speed players. The APA manual says you can't play in the APA only if you make a significant amount of money from pool - well that rules out just about everyone - including plenty of semi-pros. There are plenty of 7's I (as a strong 6 in my league) absolutely do not want to play because the odds of my winning are very small. These players at least should have a chance to run out most racks that aren't overly challenging. And should be able to both play very good safeties and get out of most moderately well played safeties. A 7 should not be giving up ball in hand in any but the most difficult circumstances (or when you give it up as a safety in and of itself). Personally I think this is a huge weak spot in the handicapping - there just aren't enough levels to represent the skill range in the 7 category...

All that being said - if you search for previous posts by me you'll see my big rant on the APA from another thread:)

I think it is pretty easy to put someone in the right category just by watching them play a few matches - you can sandbag all you want, but you simply can't hide fundamentals. A skilled observer can easily notice when someone is under handicapped.

juggler314
10-18-2007, 07:37 AM
Also on the math side of things, the SL is basically determined by a secret formula that boils down to something along the lines of "innings-safeties/games" some people know more about the secret formula than others, but the premise is the lower your inning count is (minus safeties) the higher your handicap. If you want to search around on google you can probably find lots of information on the way things are actually calculated.

Thunderball
10-18-2007, 08:08 AM
I think it is pretty easy to put someone in the right category just by watching them play a few matches - you can sandbag all you want, but you simply can't hide fundamental.

Agreed and it true in your own league.

Tougher in latter play though.New faces and such.

I lost to a three after lagging and shooting exactly one time at the cities once.

Solartje
10-18-2007, 08:11 AM
thanks for the info.

as european player, we dont have any handicap system here, i can understand now what you guys mean with APA7 etc..

i run racks now and then, and i have a 40% chance to beat the 9ball ghost with ball in hand after the break, i run 20breaks in most of my straightpoolmatches in races to 75, and my high run is 27in league and 42 on a 8fter.

guess i'm a weak apa6 then correct? :o

42NateBaller
10-18-2007, 08:41 AM
Solly,

You could be anywhere from a killer 4 to a solid 6 in my area. The deal is sandbagging to stay down, or let your stroke out and go up. Truly I'd have you at a 6. Your team mates, most likely, would ask you to sandbag enough to be no more than a 5. But that would be up to you.

juggler314
10-18-2007, 09:07 AM
Solly,

You could be anywhere from a killer 4 to a solid 6 in my area. The deal is sandbagging to stay down, or let your stroke out and go up. Truly I'd have you at a 6. Your team mates, most likely, would ask you to sandbag enough to be no more than a 5. But that would be up to you.

Thus the reason my team eventually just got outright slaughtered by a sandbagging team in vegas...sigh...

If anything everyone who considers themselves at actual player should want to be slightly overhandicapped - it makes you work harder and play smarter.

BrooklynJay
10-18-2007, 09:19 AM
people aren't always sandbagging and if you get caught in vegas you get thrown out. your rating is also representative of the league you're play in. play in a killer league and you might only be a 5 where you would be a 6 or a 7 elsewhere in a league where the competition isn't as good.

the apa does as well as any league i've been in in trying to regulate and create a standardized system for ratings - but as with all systems there are ways for people to 'cheat'

juggler314
10-18-2007, 09:55 AM
people aren't always sandbagging and if you get caught in vegas you get thrown out. your rating is also representative of the league you're play in. play in a killer league and you might only be a 5 where you would be a 6 or a 7 elsewhere in a league where the competition isn't as good.

the apa does as well as any league i've been in in trying to regulate and create a standardized system for ratings - but as with all systems there are ways for people to 'cheat'

Too true, but if you are going to have a national format...well then it's not really fair for people of equal skill level to be spotting each other one or two games just because the competition is not as intense in their particular area. As a 6, I should not be playing a 5 who shoots better and has better position play and has better safety play than myself - no matter what league area we each play in.

The match that got my team kicked out, the last match we played was against a 5 on their team...who was obviously underhandicapped. They had one of the official "watchers" watching. But they didn't think he was out off line I guess. The guy, on more than one occassion made incredibly difficult bank and carom shots with nearly perfect position play. He absolutely slaughtered our 5. He also had nearly picture perfect form and stroke, with a complete and full follow through - very pretty. Very obviously not a 5. Probably as good as any 6 in my league area.

Nonetheless, my trip to vegas was free so it was fun. I did not however win even a single match in any of my mini mania's. Now in manhattan I'm a very strong 6 - my record, over the prior 3 seasons, before hitting vegas was 23-4...not too shabby and well over half those matches were to 5's and 6's - so it wasn't like I was playing "easy" matches. In vegas I did not win a single match I played between 3 competition matches and 6 mini-mania matches. My first match I got beat by a 4...who out safetied me to win the match. The disparity between handicapping in the leagues is a serious problem - coming from the manhattan league system it's nice to go to vegas, but realistically no team from manhattan has a shot at getting anywhere near the serious money - our league of 100+ teams is apparently not competitive enough (or we don't sandbag enough - whatever). To keep us competitive on the national level. So while we will definitely try and make it to vegas again, it's viewed as more of a lark, than a real chance to place in say the top 16.

I don't have a problem with the handicapping per se, it's that it's so bad at keeping things even between the disparate league areas...

Dawgie
10-18-2007, 10:04 AM
Good commentary. I agree with the point about the strength of the league you play in. I play in NJ and FL. there is a difference in the skill of these two leagues.

juggler314
10-18-2007, 10:15 AM
Good commentary. I agree with the point about the strength of the league you play in. I play in NJ and FL. there is a difference in the skill of these two leagues.

That's quite the commute...I guess you winter in FL or something?

Gregg
10-18-2007, 10:23 AM
If your talking 8ball here it goes

2/3 newbies, probably can make a ball or two, maybe more depending on the table, but rarely runs 3 or 4 balls.

4/5 probably the toughest to judge, because, of the rating system. they probably can run several balls, but will eventually lose position or miss a ball. Safes are generally weak to lucky. But have been known to run a rack.

6's depending on the area, they can either be a MONSTER or a paper champ. They'll generally break and run a few balls, play good position and good safes also. Also are known to break n run often.

7's basically the same as a 6, but can range from a weak 7, to a SUPER 7. Meaning it could be your local house pro, to a guy who plays 2 or 3 days a week. Your Weak 7, is the guy in the smaller league who should be a 5 or 6, but beats up on everyone so he gets bumped to a 7. The Super 7, is your typical B+ to A player. Safes are good! and break n runs happen regularly. Normal games last maybe 1 or 2 innings.

Near perfect analysis.

seymore15074
10-18-2007, 10:26 AM
Sandbagging is retarded. Also note: everyone is paranoid.

frankncali
10-18-2007, 10:28 AM
Heres my thoughts

2- Just tries to make a ball... some can make 3-4 in a row but also can miss 3-4 easy ones in a row as well. No speed control -- safety ? whats that?

3- Can run more 3-4 just like the 2 but wont miss as many in a row as
a 2. Can take a little direction and some have learned not to smack every ball.

4- Average bar banger -- can run balls ... a run out of 5-6 is rare .. usually never sees where they messed up .. usually thinks that they can make anything.

5- Average good bar player ... can run out but doesnt break out balls that well .... plays the simple safties and thinks that they are good .. thinks the 7s get luckier than he does ....

6- 5s that try to run out to much or people that should be a 7 but are in a really strong area. Most are the first part.
Due to the APA handicap being based on innings the 6s usually are rated
where they are because the try to run out and leave the table for the other guy. From my experience this level is one of the most beatable by players rated under them.
Some 6s do play better than a 5 but not as good as a 7 and play semi correctly. However they are small quantities

7- huge range --- some I wonder how they are 7s and others its almost like they are stealing ... the game of 8ball does bring the gap between a Super 7 and a regular 7 closer. In 9 ball a super 9 can and will kill a weaker 9 more often.


SL 3 is where you will see the biggest variance in skill.... some will be close to a 2 while others will be much better and seemingly should be twice as good as a 2. I have been told that the range in which a person can be rated a 3 is twice as big as the other levels except for the 7 level.
Makes since .... 2 should be really bad and then they give you time to learn at the inconsisitent 3 level.

BrooklynJay
10-18-2007, 11:55 AM
Too true, but if you are going to have a national format...well then it's not really fair for people of equal skill level to be spotting each other one or two games just because the competition is not as intense in their particular area. As a 6, I should not be playing a 5 who shoots better and has better position play and has better safety play than myself - no matter what league area we each play in.

The match that got my team kicked out, the last match we played was against a 5 on their team...who was obviously underhandicapped. They had one of the official "watchers" watching. But they didn't think he was out off line I guess. The guy, on more than one occassion made incredibly difficult bank and carom shots with nearly perfect position play. He absolutely slaughtered our 5. He also had nearly picture perfect form and stroke, with a complete and full follow through - very pretty. Very obviously not a 5. Probably as good as any 6 in my league area.

Nonetheless, my trip to vegas was free so it was fun. I did not however win even a single match in any of my mini mania's. Now in manhattan I'm a very strong 6 - my record, over the prior 3 seasons, before hitting vegas was 23-4...not too shabby and well over half those matches were to 5's and 6's - so it wasn't like I was playing "easy" matches. In vegas I did not win a single match I played between 3 competition matches and 6 mini-mania matches. My first match I got beat by a 4...who out safetied me to win the match. The disparity between handicapping in the leagues is a serious problem - coming from the manhattan league system it's nice to go to vegas, but realistically no team from manhattan has a shot at getting anywhere near the serious money - our league of 100+ teams is apparently not competitive enough (or we don't sandbag enough - whatever). To keep us competitive on the national level. So while we will definitely try and make it to vegas again, it's viewed as more of a lark, than a real chance to place in say the top 16.

I don't have a problem with the handicapping per se, it's that it's so bad at keeping things even between the disparate league areas...

you're assuming that your guy who's a 5, and yourself who is an SL 6, are rated correctly. how do you know that you're not OVER rated? I'm being serious here cause everyone assumes where they play everyone is ranked correctly.

i just started the apa in brooklyn/queens so i'm just a lowly 4. people who've seen my game, who have been to vegas numerous times on several championship apa teams, tell me i would be a 5 nationally but i would have a hard time at vegas as a 5. i recently beat a 6 and a 7 in the league i'm in fairly easily because they're highly over rated, SL wise.

my benchmark for judging speed? i was in vegas in august and watched a lot of the apa matches, it's what made me join the apa, and the 6's and 7's were PLAYERS - strong Cs and Bs (at the minimum) in letter terms.

juggler314
10-18-2007, 12:16 PM
you're assuming that your guy who's a 5, and yourself who is an SL 6, are rated correctly. how do you know that you're not OVER rated? I'm being serious here cause everyone assumes where they play everyone is ranked correctly.

i just started the apa in brooklyn/queens so i'm just a lowly 4. people who've seen my game, who have been to vegas numerous times on several championship apa teams, tell me i would be a 5 nationally but i would have a hard time at vegas as a 5. i recently beat a 6 and a 7 in the league i'm in fairly easily because they're highly over rated, SL wise.

my benchmark for judging speed? i was in vegas in august and watched a lot of the apa matches, it's what made me join the apa, and the 6's and 7's were PLAYERS - strong Cs and Bs (at the minimum) in letter terms.

It's entirely possible. But within the frame of the manhattan APA I'm definitely not overhandicapped. However in vegas I felt like I was definitely overhandicapped and would only be able to legitimately compete as a 5. I've played in the singles regionals in LI 6 times, 2x I've made finals (and lost:( and 1 time I made semi's. I'm pretty sure my Handicap - at least in respect to our local competition around here is very accurate.

Sometimes after a particularly good match people will joke around about "when am I finally going to get raised to a 7". For the most part I think I could do ok in manhattan as a 7 (obviously on the weaker end of the spectrum). But once again, in vegas even as a 6 I get blown out of the water, being a 7 would only make playing in vegas that much harder...

and for what it's worth (and since *I* don't mind pegging my handicap on a public forum - it's been posted on the league board at ABC anyway), I play in the Amsterdam individual league as a B (in the more competitive team league - last time I was in it was a couple of years ago - I played as a C+).

To be honest my experience in vegas was probably a bit atypical. I played 2 7's in the team competition and lost to one on the hill. It was the 4 that outsafetied me that really pissed me off - if he can play table length safes that well...he just shouldn't be a 4. And the mini-mania events are notorious for only having the strongest players in them - especially the 6/7 events (there are very few 5/6 events - mostly they are 4/5 and 6/7 or 5/6/7). So my competition was particularly stiff. I got to the hill in one of the mini-mania events playing another 7 as well. And almost beat an SL9 at 9ball playing as an SL7 (they had to assign me one SL up because I had no 9 ball rating). People like Jason Kane go to vegas just to shellac everyone else and win a couple of K in the mini-mania events. You've got to be playing at that speed to have a decent chance of winning the 6/7 mini's.

It is a real eye opener for sure! I will probably go next year for at least a few days even if my team does not make it.

JoeyInCali
10-18-2007, 12:20 PM
APA 3 beginner sandbager.
lol

trustyrusty
10-18-2007, 01:11 PM
juggler - My team made it to Vegas this year, and I saw some baggers, but "we" were getting WAY more complaints about our skill level than we were complaining about others....we had a 3 and a 4 raised right before we went to Vegas, and thought we'd be OK as far as raises go. Nope, I got raised (4 to 5), one of our 5s got raised, and the 3 who went to a 4 before the tourney was being watched as a 4. I was also told that if I won again that I'd go to a 6 (being raised twice in the tourney). Our last two matches we couldn't feild 5 players...LOL

All that said, I think we play in a league that has a few SUPER players as 7s, and the rest are kinda judged off of them. Anytime teams from our area go to Vegas they have to seriously worry about being DQed, and I think it is the league operators fault. I'm fairly new to it all, but it did seem weird to me that I hovered around an 80% win percentage, and went 9-1 in the qualifying tourney, and stayed a 4 (beating 2 7s in said tourney). Maybe they put to much weight in innings for rankings???? One team we played from AL said that they NEVER marked safties in their league play....lotsa factors, and lotsa different ways the leagues are run. BTW, I took down one mini and 2nd in another as a 4 :)

juggler314
10-18-2007, 01:37 PM
juggler - My team made it to Vegas this year, and I saw some baggers, but "we" were getting WAY more complaints about our skill level than we were complaining about others....we had a 3 and a 4 raised right before we went to Vegas, and thought we'd be OK as far as raises go. Nope, I got raised (4 to 5), one of our 5s got raised, and the 3 who went to a 4 before the tourney was being watched as a 4. I was also told that if I won again that I'd go to a 6 (being raised twice in the tourney). Our last two matches we couldn't feild 5 players...LOL

All that said, I think we play in a league that has a few SUPER players as 7s, and the rest are kinda judged off of them. Anytime teams from our area go to Vegas they have to seriously worry about being DQed, and I think it is the league operators fault. I'm fairly new to it all, but it did seem weird to me that I hovered around an 80% win percentage, and went 9-1 in the qualifying tourney, and stayed a 4 (beating 2 7s in said tourney). Maybe they put to much weight in innings for rankings???? One team we played from AL said that they NEVER marked safties in their league play....lotsa factors, and lotsa different ways the leagues are run. BTW, I took down one mini and 2nd in another as a 4 :)

Marking safeties is key, without it everyone will be underhandicapped. Generally the difference between any two skill levels amounts to "about" 1 less inning/game average. So if you are a 4 and normally have to win 3 games for a match, and lets say on average you play 4.5 games / match. This means if you never take any safeties then your SL will be accurate. But if you are regularly taking say 4-6 safeties/match, your adjusted innings would come down by about 1 inning/game - enough to change you (potentially) from a 4 to a 5.

Not properly marking defensive shots is rampant in the APA. This is one reason both teams keep a scoresheet - theoretically this should inhibit sandbagging as the opposing team has it in their best interest to mark every shot that appears to be defensive down. In practice there are whole divisions or entire league areas that don't much mark safeties.

The thing at Vegas is that whatever *was* happening at home - either people not marking safeties or LO's not properly entering data in is NOT going to happen in Vegas. Thus if you had 3 different people on your team all move up, they were likely under-handicapped per the hard and fast rules to start with. If you were about to go from a 4 to 6 it means you were WAY underhandicapped and it is not surprising that you did well in the minis. If anything your testimonial above points out exactly what is wrong with the APA league system. In vegas, every team makes damn sure that safeties are marked and I'm willing to bet whichever score sheet has more of them is the number that gets input and the TD will almost never change whatever the computer spits out (as an aside I had a 2 on my team win her first match 2-0 against a 4, my 2 made only 3 balls between both games, her opponent nearly ran out, but scratched on the 8 ball both times - I think anyone would agree this was not really a "win" for my 2, however my 2 was very near to going up to a 3 and when this was input to the computer she got spit back out as a 3 - I complained to the TD about this - since it's obvious she did not get "better" based on this match - she barely shot, the TD basically said "too bad").

Sometimes people don't realize that *every* shot you take, if you don't intend for a ball to be pocketed is to be marked as a safety. This means even shots where you do pocket balls can be safeties. And if you are kicking at a ball just to avoid ball in hand for your opponent - if it's played just hard enough to get to your object ball - also a safety. I think many people either don't understand this or ignore it. It's actually possible to have more safeties than innings if you follow these rules rigidely. I've had some matches where 2-3 games in safeties have equaled or been more than innings - due to unintentional ball pocketing when playing a very close to the pocket safety.

trustyrusty
10-18-2007, 02:02 PM
When I was raised out there is was after a match like you described with your 2. Opponent was a 3. He broke, made the 8 on the break and scratched. I broke 2nd game - dry....he runs 3 or 4 balls and makes the 8 outta turn. I break the third game and make a couple of balls and play safe. He kicks and knocks in the 8 outta turn again. I win 3-0 in 1 inning, and am raised for my next match....sure, I probably shoulda been raised to a 5 anyway, but it took a fluke match to do it??? I whined for about 2 minutes - LOL :)

I started playing in a league last fall session, and for spring played two nights. I'm back to one night again, and it's for the team that virtually has no shot at making Vegas....yes, that's on purpose. I'm as competitive as anyone, but sheesh, Vegas was; like you said, a real eye opener. BTW, we had a 6 that went 3-0 out there that didn't lose a game, and we thought for sure he'd go up if he played again too (he truly looked a lot better than the 7's we played against, and our 7 can regularly walk all over that 6...). I think we were rated correctly for our area, but admittedly not for Vegas. I feel sorry for the next team that goes....I might even tell them to raise anyone who is strong for their SL to help lessen the worry of DQing.

Bugz
10-18-2007, 02:14 PM
It all comes down to what league you play in. It is hard to judge a players speed at first glance.

The SL# descriptions are very inaccurate for the Joliet area. I should be a 6 on your charts, and i'm a 4 here.

P.S. Whoever said that the mid to weak SL6 is the easiest to beat is wrong. In joliet i'll take the strong 4 against any 7 in a 5 - 2 race all day.

trustyrusty
10-18-2007, 02:19 PM
It all comes down to what league you play in. It is hard to judge a players speed at first glance.

The SL# descriptions are very inaccurate for the Joliet area. I should be a 6 on your charts, and i'm a 4 here.

P.S. Whoever said that the mid to weak SL6 is the easiest to beat is wrong. In joliet i'll take the strong 4 against any 7 in a 5 - 2 race all day.

I'm with you Bugs...central IL is the same way. Unless the 7 is McGrath...then the 4 racks, sits & watches, and might even take notes LOL :D

Bugz
10-18-2007, 02:24 PM
I'm with you Bugs...central IL is the same way. Unless the 7 is McGrath...then the 4 racks, sits & watches, and might even take notes LOL :D


Or Sargent. I'm with you, with the notepad and pen. LOL :D

juggler314
10-18-2007, 02:52 PM
It all comes down to what league you play in. It is hard to judge a players speed at first glance.

The SL# descriptions are very inaccurate for the Joliet area. I should be a 6 on your charts, and i'm a 4 here.

P.S. Whoever said that the mid to weak SL6 is the easiest to beat is wrong. In joliet i'll take the strong 4 against any 7 in a 5 - 2 race all day.

Yeah - proving the point more, however it shouldn't come down to that. Based on your comment, my team has absolutely zero chance of beating your team - knowing nothing else about any of the players other than that your local SL's run 1-2 under mine! What's the point of playing if you know you have no shot.

I play in the tri-state tour around here sometimes, it's handicapped, I've money'd a few events. But if I ever entered one of the Joss tour events, it would just be for fun, no way do I have anything near an even chance to get in the money in an open event...

in particular I have heard that TX and IL have SL's very out of whack with the rest of the areas...don't know how much truth there is to this though as I've only been to vegas the one time.

I wrote a letter to the APA asking to explain why the perceived SL differences were so great between different leagues, but, predictably, they did not reply. I think when it comes down to it the APA has two missions: encourage more people to play pool and stay in business. They manage the former pretty well simply by having an amatuer targeted handicapped league system. They manage the 2nd by basically letting their LO franchises do whatever they want and not really policing the system. It is plain as day to anyone that watches a few matches that the variance is SL's is all over the map, certainly something could be done about that to try and bring a bit more even-ness to the national scene - but as far as the national org goes it really doesn't matter - people will come to vegas and play, and the APA gets their money.

If I were to show up in some random local tournament in chicago and i told them I play as a B at Amsterdam in NYC, I could then tell them the handicaps of some other players that might be more well known and they could put me in to their local tourney at an appropriate skill level. Whether that would be higher or lower I don't know. It would be easy enough to have some sort of adjustment factor for the APA as well.

I could understand there being some variance, but if you say your 4's as a group can all run a given table without big problems - well that's far far above the skill level of 4's anywhere in the tri-state area. The singles regionals here that I play in encompass manhattan, brooklyn, queens, suffolk and nassau county and at those regionals I'm a strong 6. I get the impression from other people I know that if anything the NJ leagues are even weaker than that.

It's hard to understand how our SL's are so much higher than the ones in the Joliet area considering that Pool is a pretty serious business here. I see a number of pro's all the time at amsterdam. NYC is generally regarded as one of the best places in the country to play straight pool. Hell Thorsten Hohmann seems to have taken up residence here even though he technically lives in Jacksonville last I checked.

The only theory I've been able to come up with is that the main reason SL's are so much higher here is that most league players are just that - league players. They don't really try and work at the game. Most people serious about pool play in "serious" leagues at Amsterdam Billiards, master billiards or other places around the area. Most people I know through the APA are not serious students of the game - to give an indication of this I'll offer up this bit of a conversation I had once with a *7*.

The situation is he needed to draw back into a rail and then come off to his left from the rail (with spin) for shape. I tell him to do this by applying right hand english - we proceed to debate whether you should use right or left english (correct answer is right). So he still doesn't believe me but i convince him to shoot it anyway by telling him I'll buy him a beer if I'm wrong. I did not have to buy him a beer. So here's a 7, that should understand these basic pool playing concepts - but in reality, he's just played league 8 ball for so many years, he eventually built up enough memory of how to run tables, safety, etc that he wins a lot and does so in not so many innings.

I get the impression that this is common around here - people don't really work at the game in league, they come in, their SL adjusts to their natural skill and they only play league once/week and that's it.

However if say your team is likely to play a lot of bar pool all week long while hanging out and you have knowledgeable experienced players telling them how things work. Well I think you'll end up with the situation you describe - 4's that play like 6's here. Generally I don't see many players under a 5 who really understand how and when to safety...even 5's are not so good with it.

I tend to think that areas where there isn't a competitive local "real" pool scene are the areas that have entire leagues full of people that would beat the crap out of similiarlly SL'd folks here in the tri-state area.

That's just my guess anyway.

thyme3421
10-18-2007, 04:16 PM
Thanks to everyone that posted an explanation, it's cleared up a lot of questions I've had, but didn't know how to ask.

My next question is something to the effect of what follows:

I just started in APA, and I've only played 4 games... I haven't gotten 100% control over my nerves in league play yet... so I'm SL 3... most recent matched ended up being 86 innings (literally)...
I feel I'm probably a strong 4 or a weak-mid level 5 according to a bit of a meshing of all the descriptions.

What I'm wondering is if I start playing closer to my true speed, people are going to say "You're a 3?!" and may accuse of sandbagging. I'd rather not go down that route...

so my question is.... do you think this is likely?

UWPoolGod1
10-18-2007, 04:45 PM
I played a 6 from Boston at the NTC two years ago that was damn strong. After the match he said that there are a bunch of other stonger players in his area that are the 7's so to make thing seven he was still a 6 (sounds like his teammate is the league operator). Was a 2 inning match, me race to 5, him to 4:
I won lag.
Broke and ran the first 3 games in a row. Up 3-0.
Empty break. He runs out. 3-1
He breaks and runs out. 3-2
Empty break. I run out. 4-2
Empty break. He runs out. 4-3
He breaks and runs 6 but hooks himself by 1/2" on last ball before 8. He makes a good hit. I run out. 5-3.

There is difference between the top players. There are 6's that are just good shot makers and so their innings stay low so they are 6's. Stronger 6's play some good safeties and know when to use them. There is also a big variance in 7's. Like others have said there can be world beaters who play perfectly and string racks together, and there are others that are just 7s cause they have been in the league a long time. Sure the innings stay low but they don't run 7 and out consistently.

Bugz
10-19-2007, 06:19 AM
Yeah - proving the point more, however it shouldn't come down to that. Based on your comment, my team has absolutely zero chance of beating your team - knowing nothing else about any of the players other than that your local SL's run 1-2 under mine! What's the point of playing if you know you have no shot.

I play in the tri-state tour around here sometimes, it's handicapped, I've money'd a few events. But if I ever entered one of the Joss tour events, it would just be for fun, no way do I have anything near an even chance to get in the money in an open event...

in particular I have heard that TX and IL have SL's very out of whack with the rest of the areas...don't know how much truth there is to this though as I've only been to vegas the one time.

I wrote a letter to the APA asking to explain why the perceived SL differences were so great between different leagues, but, predictably, they did not reply. I think when it comes down to it the APA has two missions: encourage more people to play pool and stay in business. They manage the former pretty well simply by having an amatuer targeted handicapped league system. They manage the 2nd by basically letting their LO franchises do whatever they want and not really policing the system. It is plain as day to anyone that watches a few matches that the variance is SL's is all over the map, certainly something could be done about that to try and bring a bit more even-ness to the national scene - but as far as the national org goes it really doesn't matter - people will come to vegas and play, and the APA gets their money.

If I were to show up in some random local tournament in chicago and i told them I play as a B at Amsterdam in NYC, I could then tell them the handicaps of some other players that might be more well known and they could put me in to their local tourney at an appropriate skill level. Whether that would be higher or lower I don't know. It would be easy enough to have some sort of adjustment factor for the APA as well.

I could understand there being some variance, but if you say your 4's as a group can all run a given table without big problems - well that's far far above the skill level of 4's anywhere in the tri-state area. The singles regionals here that I play in encompass manhattan, brooklyn, queens, suffolk and nassau county and at those regionals I'm a strong 6. I get the impression from other people I know that if anything the NJ leagues are even weaker than that.

It's hard to understand how our SL's are so much higher than the ones in the Joliet area considering that Pool is a pretty serious business here. I see a number of pro's all the time at amsterdam. NYC is generally regarded as one of the best places in the country to play straight pool. Hell Thorsten Hohmann seems to have taken up residence here even though he technically lives in Jacksonville last I checked.

The only theory I've been able to come up with is that the main reason SL's are so much higher here is that most league players are just that - league players. They don't really try and work at the game. Most people serious about pool play in "serious" leagues at Amsterdam Billiards, master billiards or other places around the area. Most people I know through the APA are not serious students of the game - to give an indication of this I'll offer up this bit of a conversation I had once with a *7*.

The situation is he needed to draw back into a rail and then come off to his left from the rail (with spin) for shape. I tell him to do this by applying right hand english - we proceed to debate whether you should use right or left english (correct answer is right). So he still doesn't believe me but i convince him to shoot it anyway by telling him I'll buy him a beer if I'm wrong. I did not have to buy him a beer. So here's a 7, that should understand these basic pool playing concepts - but in reality, he's just played league 8 ball for so many years, he eventually built up enough memory of how to run tables, safety, etc that he wins a lot and does so in not so many innings.

I get the impression that this is common around here - people don't really work at the game in league, they come in, their SL adjusts to their natural skill and they only play league once/week and that's it.

However if say your team is likely to play a lot of bar pool all week long while hanging out and you have knowledgeable experienced players telling them how things work. Well I think you'll end up with the situation you describe - 4's that play like 6's here. Generally I don't see many players under a 5 who really understand how and when to safety...even 5's are not so good with it.

I tend to think that areas where there isn't a competitive local "real" pool scene are the areas that have entire leagues full of people that would beat the crap out of similiarlly SL'd folks here in the tri-state area.

That's just my guess anyway.


Remember the APA is a buisness, if they raised everyone in Joliet to the level they should be. You might as well tell all of the 7's to leave, because no one would be able to field a team with a 7 in the roster.

It is not surprising to walk into a "pool" bar in Joliet (a bar with 5-7 7' diamonds) and see 3/4/5's working with stronger players. So we put our work in, we know how to look for patterns and safties. To make it simple, the lower SL's have great teachers.

So as an area, the competition and knowledge is there to make the area in general better. That is the problem with the APA, competition and coaching changes through out the nation.

In Joliet there are plenty of 7's and 6's that can win a match in a TOTAL of 1 or 2 innings. Im talking dozens if not more, where other areas have one or two guys that are the cream of the crop.

i don't know if it is fair or not, especially when we go to nationals. Most of our teams get DQ'd anyways. Have fun and play pool is what it comes down to. A number is just a number, play your game and hope for the best.

tigerallenyim
10-19-2007, 06:28 AM
If your talking 8ball here it goes

2/3 newbies, probably can make a ball or two, maybe more depending on the table, but rarely runs 3 or 4 balls.

4/5 probably the toughest to judge, because, of the rating system. they probably can run several balls, but will eventually lose position or miss a ball. Safes are generally weak to lucky. But have been known to run a rack.

6's depending on the area, they can either be a MONSTER or a paper champ. They'll generally break and run a few balls, play good position and good safes also. Also are known to break n run often.

7's basically the same as a 6, but can range from a weak 7, to a SUPER 7. Meaning it could be your local house pro, to a guy who plays 2 or 3 days a week. Your Weak 7, is the guy in the smaller league who should be a 5 or 6, but beats up on everyone so he gets bumped to a 7. The Super 7, is your typical B+ to A player. Safes are good! and break n runs happen regularly. Normal games last maybe 1 or 2 innings.
Sounds like a DragonBall Z thing. :) haha

juggler314
10-19-2007, 08:54 AM
Remember the APA is a buisness, if they raised everyone in Joliet to the level they should be. You might as well tell all of the 7's to leave, because no one would be able to field a team with a 7 in the roster.

It is not surprising to walk into a "pool" bar in Joliet (a bar with 5-7 7' diamonds) and see 3/4/5's working with stronger players. So we put our work in, we know how to look for patterns and safties. To make it simple, the lower SL's have great teachers.

So as an area, the competition and knowledge is there to make the area in general better. That is the problem with the APA, competition and coaching changes through out the nation.

In Joliet there are plenty of 7's and 6's that can win a match in a TOTAL of 1 or 2 innings. Im talking dozens if not more, where other areas have one or two guys that are the cream of the crop.

i don't know if it is fair or not, especially when we go to nationals. Most of our teams get DQ'd anyways. Have fun and play pool is what it comes down to. A number is just a number, play your game and hope for the best.

I knew it! Seriously though I'm glad my theory comes out true, it makes total sense as to why the SL's are so far out of whack. And yeah only the best 7's in manhattan regularly win matches in a total of 1-2 innings. I'm a pretty strong 6 and I am hovering around a 2 innings/game average...

I have tried over the past few years to get my teammates (the lower SL ones) to come out and practice on weekends etc, but there's just a lack of interest for that sort of discipline. It's also *incredibly* expensive to play pool in manhattan:( Even in bars tables are all slowly migrating to $2/game...and that can go *fast*.

Richardson
10-19-2007, 09:53 AM
APA is a league built around moving people up in handicap to expand the ammount of teams in the league.

APA is a league for sandbaggers, if you are not you will cry alot about those who are as you watch them go to vegas.

My base opinion about handicaps was always this:

5's run 5-7 balls alot but dont move good enough to get out often.
6's can run out but usually make simple errors in shape or breakouts, also dont deal with safety games well.
7's honestly can be the same as a 6 and moved up because of matching up against weak players or you will run into a monster, mostly depends on where you are from.

Here is dsm there is only one monster 7 in the league, a few 7's who play ok, then a few 7's who should be 6's but wont bag to keep there handicap in check. There are 2-3 6's who at times play great pool.

Hope this info/rant helps :)

iba7467
10-19-2007, 10:02 AM
Running out ups your handicap. Playing smart and winning does not. My win/loss record is always pretty solid. I play consistently. If I can't get out I put balls in position so that they can't either. I don't break and run often, but I do win often. I am a 5. I watch a friend who is a 7 break and run often, but he leaves the other player opportunities by not protecting the table when he misses.

3 - 4+ innings per game
4 - 3/4
5 - 2/4
6 - 1-3
7 - can run out consistently

The biggest problem is that teaching your players how to play will cause you to exceed the 23 rule. This sucks. We had to divide our team and make two new this session. Each of us picked up 4 new players. Now, these four players as well as those of us playing before have all moved up again. My team will have to split again in less than 6 months and the other team will probably have to move one or two players to this team to keep from exceeding 23 as well.

The max number of points should be adjusted somehow. It is not a bad thing to teach your teammates to play better pool.

juggler314
10-19-2007, 10:07 AM
Running out ups your handicap. Playing smart and winning does not. My win/loss record is always pretty solid. I play consistently. If I can't get out I put balls in position so that they can't either. I don't break and run often, but I do win often. I am a 5. I watch a friend who is a 7 break and run often, but he leaves the other player opportunities by not protecting the table when he misses.

3 - 4+ innings per game
4 - 3/4
5 - 2/4
6 - 1-3
7 - can run out consistently

The biggest problem is that teaching your players how to play will cause you to exceed the 23 rule. This sucks. We had to divide our team and make two new this session. Each of us picked up 4 new players. Now, these four players as well as those of us playing before have all moved up again. My team will have to split again in less than 6 months and the other team will probably have to move one or two players to this team to keep from exceeding 23 as well.

The max number of points should be adjusted somehow. It is not a bad thing to teach your teammates to play better pool.

Yeah that is a problem too, between all the various rules around what your SL will be in vegas my team had to go with 76654432, after the first match it went to 76654333 (4 went down 2 went up) pretty much unplayable. Had to recruit a bunch of low ranked players for this season...

Perk
10-19-2007, 10:34 AM
The OFFICIAL APA GUIDE to Skill Levels

APA 2 - Can't find the table.
APA 3 - Can't find the pocket.
APA 4 - Can't run three balls except for the LAST 3.
APA 5 - Spots Reyes the 7
APA 6 - B Player in most tournaments - Runs out occasionally.
APA 7 - Thinks they are way better than they are. B to Low A in most local tournaments. Not good enough to be an APA 5.

LOL....This post kinda shows why APA gets alot of bad rap. Your getting rep for making me laugh!

Koop
10-19-2007, 10:55 AM
I just started in APA, and I've only played 4 games... I haven't gotten 100% control over my nerves in league play yet... so I'm SL 3... most recent matched ended up being 86 innings (literally)...
I feel I'm probably a strong 4 or a weak-mid level 5 according to a bit of a meshing of all the descriptions.

What I'm wondering is if I start playing closer to my true speed, people are going to say "You're a 3?!" and may accuse of sandbagging. I'd rather not go down that route...

so my question is.... do you think this is likely?

If you had a match that lasted 86 innings :eek:
you don't need to worry much about being called a sandbagger...

Seriously man, how long did that match take?

Also, I completely agree with everyone in terms of the amount of competition in your area. I am a SL6 in the Boston area but I can remember going to Vegas and there was an 8 on the opposing team that was screaming that I had a better stroke than him. I wound up crushing his 7, 46-2.
I told him outside afterwards that I normally play on 9 footers at home and that for some reason the 7 footers out there played real easy. Not to mention, if I were sandbagging I would have never played that strong against a 7. I watched the rest of that team shoot and I would say they were all at least 1 handicap higher than they would have been in my area.
Then we ended up getting spanked by a bunch of 4's who could really shoot.

juggler314
10-19-2007, 11:23 AM
Thanks to everyone that posted an explanation, it's cleared up a lot of questions I've had, but didn't know how to ask.

My next question is something to the effect of what follows:

I just started in APA, and I've only played 4 games... I haven't gotten 100% control over my nerves in league play yet... so I'm SL 3... most recent matched ended up being 86 innings (literally)...
I feel I'm probably a strong 4 or a weak-mid level 5 according to a bit of a meshing of all the descriptions.

What I'm wondering is if I start playing closer to my true speed, people are going to say "You're a 3?!" and may accuse of sandbagging. I'd rather not go down that route...

so my question is.... do you think this is likely?


If you've been in the APA for a while and understand how things work people should not begrudge your under-handicapped status in the beginning. The formula the APA rely's on has to have at least 10 scores before it becomes useful. Since that's the case weird strange things can happen in the first few matches. For instance my first match ever I killed another 4 3-0 in 6 innings, next week I was a 7 - was this a realistic rating...no...I settled into being a 5 for about 2 years once I had a few more matches under my belt.

The thing is when you are dealing with averages and you don't have enough data points crazy stuff happens. I just added a girl to my team. She was a 3 from a couple of years ago. She wins her first match, I totally expect her to be raised to a 4, but she isn't. Next week she loses - and gets lowered to a 2. Is she under-handicapped in my opinion, totally, but she also lost two matches due to nerves - just like you. Am I going to do anything about it - no - everyone gets the same benefit from new players - I've been killed by "new" 4's that eventually got raised to 6's or 7's later in the season - it happens.

That being said, if you are a "known" player - lets say you play amateuer events for years in your area and you are known as a serious B player - the APA manual does state that you should go in something closer to your actual handicap and not start as a "new" 4. I can't believe anyone actually enforces/submits to that rule though. Here's the rule: "A League Operator is authorized to assign special skill levels
and lowest attainables to new players who are known highly skilled players or
to players who have previously established skill levels in another format" I think that pretty much only applies to people that would be 6's and 7's though.

thyme3421
10-29-2007, 04:27 PM
If you had a match that lasted 86 innings :eek:
you don't need to worry much about being called a sandbagger...

Seriously man, how long did that match take?

--snip--


All 3 games were safety battles from the break... and somehow both of us only had 3 defensive shots marked :rolleyes:

I'm not sure exactly how long it took... I know I ordered 3 beers and a shot from the waitress during the game though...... I guess that's kind of sort of a measurement of time (about 90-105 minutes?)

trustyrusty
10-29-2007, 04:51 PM
That being said, if you are a "known" player - lets say you play amateuer events for years in your area and you are known as a serious B player - the APA manual does state that you should go in something closer to your actual handicap and not start as a "new" 4. I can't believe anyone actually enforces/submits to that rule though. Here's the rule: "A League Operator is authorized to assign special skill levels
and lowest attainables to new players who are known highly skilled players or
to players who have previously established skill levels in another format" I think that pretty much only applies to people that would be 6's and 7's though.[/QUOTE]

The 7 on my team had that rule inforced...LOL - not that he shouldn't have. LO started him as a 7 and he promptly lost his first 3 matches...no decline - he asked if he'd go down, and the LO said, "no way". He then went 9-1 the rest of the session :D

juggler314
10-31-2007, 10:04 AM
Not that people really read weeks old threads...but just to cap the whole thing off...I just got raised to a 7 in my league! Sigh...

s'portplayer
10-31-2007, 10:30 AM
I knew it! Seriously though I'm glad my theory comes out true, it makes total sense as to why the SL's are so far out of whack. And yeah only the best 7's in manhattan regularly win matches in a total of 1-2 innings. I'm a pretty strong 6 and I am hovering around a 2 innings/game average...

I have tried over the past few years to get my teammates (the lower SL ones) to come out and practice on weekends etc, but there's just a lack of interest for that sort of discipline. It's also *incredibly* expensive to play pool in manhattan:( Even in bars tables are all slowly migrating to $2/game...and that can go *fast*.

WOWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! $2 a game? We still have a few places that are 50 cents a game, but by and far 75 cents is the norm, occassionally a $1 table but few and far between.

Makes me appreciate the free pool before 7:00 p.m. at several places around town.