Bias with Your Own Team's Playing Order? (long)

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
This thread reminds me of a team we played in BCA one night.

After the match was over the other team's captain Jimmy took off right away and the other 4 players were there still.

Since I am league president and our team captain one lady on his team asked me "Jimmy said the team captain has to play first is this right"? I told her no he is free to play the team in any order he wants.

A second player on his team then asked to no one in particular " Then why does he play first"?

A third player replied "And why is he team captain"?

The final player then asked "Why does he even play pool'?

I was relieved there was no one left to ask the next obvious question. :ROFLMAO:
While an entertaining story, I think that this thread is a reminder for everyone in leagues to design the rules to eliminate as much bias as possible. It's human nature to second guess decisions. It's also human nature for some savvy players, to try to use the playing order to benefit themselves -- so that they end up higher in the standings or that they obtain prize monies that they wouldn't have gotten had they done things more fair.

Some have tried to take the captain's side in my story. But I think that those people just enjoy arguing the other side of things. Anyone who argues that a fair coin flip is NOT the best way to determine the fate of the individual "prizes", I think are the type of people that will cause this same type of problem in the future in their own leagues.
 

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
...
Heck yeah it would bug me if my teammate and I flipped a coin and he lobbied for the flip to be overturned. But I probably would have deferred to the captain in the first place without flipping the coin.
The two other additional points that make this whole situation worse. Earlier in the year with the exact same teammate, we were tied, we flipped a coin, I lost, so this teammate had no trouble with accepting the results of the coin flip.

The other unforgivable thing that the captain did was that he lied to my face to try to justify his decision to overrule the coin flip. He told me that the League Operator TOLD HIM that they use total wins after the average to break a tie -- and that I actually am higher than my teammate in the standings.

The next day I found two cases of other players that were tied and where the person with less total wins was listed first (above them on the sheet). I just wanted to know if those were errors. And eventually when he figured out what I was asking him, he said that he never told my captain that and there is no tie-breaker criteria.

The lying thing I couldn't get over. That took this to a whole new level. On the one hand, it's a shame that what was something kind-of small in the big picture of things, ended-up ruining a few friendships. But on the other hand, I accept everything that happened and I really don't mind. It's better not to play with those guys or be friends with them IMO anyway. Especially the guy that wouldn't accept the results of the flip and the captain that blatantly lied about it.
 
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David in FL

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
You read it wrong. I never said that we were both big favorites to win all 3 games against the weaker player. I said that "I" was a strong favorite to win all 3 games against the weaker player. In fact, the other guy only beat the weaker player 2 games, although, my teammate did blow a chance to win the 3rd game.

And I quote, from your OP...

“So whichever one of us got to play the much weaker player, was a HUGE favorite to win all 3 games and have a lock on second place in the league for the next week.”


You need to figure things based on the odds. The odds are that I beat the weaker player all 3 games. My teammate has played the stronger player in the past and won 1 game.

By your own statement above, the odds were that he would beat the weaker player all 3 games, and you would be likely to do better than his previous 1 win against the strong player. It didn’t quite work out that way, but that was the reasoning for the captain’s decision and the correct choice.

The bottom line is, either way we played was a WASH as far as the team was concerned. The actual real-life matches we've played proves that I'm likely correct on that. A captain CANNOT use bias and must use a coin flip in this type of situation. I agree. You would have screwed me just like my captain did. Congrats.

It’s not bias, it’s a decision based upon what he perceived to be the course of action more likely to result in a better result for the team. The fact that it didn’t quite work out that way doesn’t mean that the decision was flawed.

OK, I‘ve pretty much said my piece whether you understand/agree with it or not.

Good luck next session.
 

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
And I quote, from your OP...

“So whichever one of us got to play the much weaker player, was a HUGE favorite to win all 3 games and have a lock on second place in the league for the next week.”




By your own statement above, the odds were that he would beat the weaker player all 3 games, and you would be likely to do better than his previous 1 win against the strong player. It didn’t quite work out that way, but that was the reasoning for the captain’s decision and the correct choice.



It’s not bias, it’s a decision based upon what he perceived to be the course of action more likely to result in a better result for the team. The fact that it didn’t quite work out that way doesn’t mean that the decision was flawed.

OK, I‘ve pretty much said my piece whether you understand/agree with it or not.

Good luck next session.
I understand what you're saying perfectly. A captain has to make decisions as to what he thinks is best with the playing order. BUT, when it's the end of the season and prizes are on the line, he SHOULDN'T have overruled a fair coin flip. Period. The real-life playing "data" says that it was a wash for the team. My teammate "might" have beat the stronger player all 3 games. But the end result was, my teammate likely got 1 extra game out of the deal and I likely got 1 less game out of the deal.
 

TxBullDog

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
I think that many people might never give a second thought to their own team's playing order, but I have found that WHO you play each week is literally HUGE when it comes to the end of the league and where each player places in the standings.

Also, the leagues that I play in generally pay out extra money for the people who finish in first, second, and third place, along with individual trophies for first, second, and third place. One league does these two things and also the top player on each team at the end of the season gets to play in a separate “all-stars” tournament, with a chance to win even more money.

I've found that it's especially important to eliminate any biases in the playing order when you have a really strong team, where all 5 players are in the top 10 in the league, like is normally the case for our team.

Here is an example. Our captain one year insisted on playing FIRST each night. This was a league with 5-man teams, where the Away Team rotates down each round so each player only plays 3 of the people on the other team. While it's true that each team can put their players in any order in the line-up that they wish, the vast majority of teams arrange it so that their player with the highest average plays the last game of the night, the second highest average the second last game of the night, etc.

Therefore, if the captain of the team always plays FIRST in the line-up every night, they most likely will always be playing the 3 weakest players on the other team. This happened one year, and the captain, who was nowhere near the strongest player on our team, ended up with just three weeks left, with only a few games lost and all alone in first place in the league. Well, another player better than the captain and me insisted that the captain play last in the order for the last 3 weeks. And guess what happened? He lost his next 7 out of 9 games and ended-up second in the league.

For this very reason, I always insist that the highest average that week play the last game of the night, and the second highest average that week plays the second last game of the night, etc. And I'm normally the top player on our team, so I usually end-up playing the toughest players each week. But I insist on it, because it's fair for everyone else on our team. And if a player passes me for the high average, then the next week they need to play last. It helps to even out the finishes for all of the players on our OWN TEAM by the end of the year.

So now on to this year. We are playing in a new league, but the payouts for an individual are just like I mentioned above. The one difference in this league however, was that the highest averages on each team MUST play each other all 3 games. The second highest averages on each team MUST play each other all 3 games, etc. So the rules themselves are setup to eliminate most biases with the playing order.

So far so good. Except for one case. When two people on the same team have the exact same average. This happened to me twice this year. A teammate and I were tied for second in the league with the exact same average and with only 2 weeks left to play. And, we just happened to be playing a team where their player with the highest average was WAY better than their player with the second highest average. So whichever one of us got to play the much weaker player, was a HUGE favorite to win all 3 games and have a lock on second place in the league for the next week. (And the two teams we had to play to finish the season were the weakest teams in the league. So whoever on our team was in second before the last two weeks, had a really good chance to win all of their games and cinch second in the league and maybe even get first place in the league).

Now is where things went off the rails. Earlier in the year when the guy with the same average and I were tied before, we flipped a coin to see who had to play the strongest player on the other team. And the last time, I lost the flip and I played the stronger player. So far so good.

So now this new night that we were tied, I grab my teammate and pull out a coin to flip it, and he starts to hesitate. I told him that we did this last time and it's the only fair way to do it. I proceed to flip the coin, he called it, and he lost the flip. So far so good again. I'm now happy and thinking that I might have a chance to catch the guy in first place in the league.

But then our captain showed up. My teammate started to whine to the captain telling him that I wanted him to play the other team's top player. So I jump in and mention that we flipped for it like last time, but that he lost this time. The captain then proceeded to put my name down next to their top player and said that it's, “for the good of the team”. WTF?

I then started to protest a bit and then the captain literally lied to my face and he told me that I'm listed before my teammate on the standings sheet because I have more total wins, and that the guy who runs the league told him that since I have more total wins, that I'm ahead of him. So I stopped protesting and I played the top player. I was a huge favorite to beat the weaker player all 3 games, but I only beat their strongest player 2 games. My teammate also won 2 games, so we were tied again for the next week. (The last time my teammate played their top player, he only won 1 game. So obviously he wanted to have an easier night so he could stay in second place). The captain is better friends with my teammate too, so he sided with him and overruled our coin flip.

And in case anyone says that it WAS actually better for our team if I played their strongest player. I was a big favorite to beat the weaker player 3 games and my teammate beat their strongest player 1 game the last time that they played each other, which if this happened again, we would have gotten 4 total wins between us. That's exactly the number of wins that we got with me playing their strongest player. My teammate and I each won 2 games, for a total of 4 wins. So my teammate playing the weaker player was only really better for HIM, and not for the team. Lol

So I found out the next day from the guy who runs the league, that not only did he never tell our captain that I was ahead because I had more total wins, but that there is nothing to break a tie in this league. If you're tied, you're tied. So now I'm really pissed off. My captain lied to my face to benefit the other teammate and screwed me out of a chance to maybe catch the guy in first place.

I then informed the team in a group text message that the guy who runs the league told me that there is no tie-breaker and that he agrees that the most fair way to handle a tie is to flip a coin. Then you eliminate any bad karma of someone wanting to play the weaker player. You are just accepting the randomness of the coin flip and you play whoever you need to. And my team was basically ignoring anything that I told them. Like they didn't care and like I was just crying about it.

I admit that I'm very competitive. We just started playing in this league and I really wanted to take first-place, or to at least get as high as I could. The weird thing to me is, I was sure that my other teammates would jump all over the other teammate for crying to the captain to overrule the coin flip, but instead, they all were against ME and acted like I was the one crying. This whole experience left a really bad taste in my mouth and I'm pretty sure that I won't be playing with any of those guys ever again.

Am I being super anal or petty about this? Or should I be mad that my teammate and captain basically tried to give my teammate second place in the league, pretty much by decree?

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Where certain teammates insist on playing the weakest players every week? Do you mind if they then end-up tops in the league, while you've been struggling and trying to grind out your wins against all of the top players?

(I've got to say, the older that I get, the less and less tolerant that I am with any kind of unfair situations, BS, or lies. This one I think got the best of me, as small or insignificant as it may seem to some). So let's hear all of your opinions!
I dont care if it is a league or tournament or for the cash.... I always want to play the best player! How else can I have fun, learn something about my game and have a chance at a winning performance. Enough said.
 

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
I dont care if it is a league or tournament or for the cash.... I always want to play the best player! How else can I have fun, learn something about my game and have a chance at a winning performance. Enough said.
In this league, if you're the top average on the team (like I've been most of the year) you MUST play the best player on the other team every week. There is no glory in gambling with players much better than you and donating all of your money to them. Good play should be no mystery.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
In this league, if you're the top average on the team (like I've been most of the year) you MUST play the best player on the other team every week.
So for the bulk of the season you were definitively the strongest player on the team...? So the other guy managed to pick up his socks and get even with you near the end. Sounds to me that you should have volunteered to play the top guy. By your own admission at this point, you were the strongest player on your team despite the dead locked averages.

I completely agree that the other dude on your team sucked out by crying to captain. Maybe he felt pushed into the coin flip...? That said, he does have an valid argument imo. You had been the strongest player for the most of the season. Why should he have to fall on the sword to save the strongest player's average...? Maybe the captain just fed you a line about the 'most wins' thing (which I still say should be the tie breaker) because he didn't want to listen to it from you....?
 

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
Undeniable truths of life:

When they say literally, it isn't

When they say it's not about the money, it is
Considering that I became a millionaire this year, I don't think an extra $50 from the league is going matter one bit. I actually am letting the team have my league money to split up between them. What you wrote was "cute", but of course dead wrong in this case.
 

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
Forget about the averages. Who is the better player? That is who should be playing their best player.
My teammate doesn't have a Fargo Rating. I feel that I'm more highly skilled than him. But the bottom line is, if he's good enough to be tied for second place in the league, then he's good enough to play the other team's best player if he loses the coin flip.
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
While an entertaining story, I think that this thread is a reminder for everyone in leagues to design the rules to eliminate as much bias as possible. It's human nature to second guess decisions. It's also human nature for some savvy players, to try to use the playing order to benefit themselves -- so that they end up higher in the standings or that they obtain prize monies that they wouldn't have gotten had they done things more fair.

Some have tried to take the captain's side in my story. But I think that those people just enjoy arguing the other side of things. Anyone who argues that a fair coin flip is NOT the best way to determine the fate of the individual "prizes", I think are the type of people that will cause this same type of problem in the future in their own leagues.
Sign me up on the "not going to play on a team with you" list. I'm a serious player but not that serious of a human when doing my recreational activities. Which is what pool is.
 

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
So for the bulk of the season you were definitively the strongest player on the team...? So the other guy managed to pick up his socks and get even with you near the end. Sounds to me that you should have volunteered to play the top guy. By your own admission at this point, you were the strongest player on your team despite the dead locked averages.

I completely agree that the other dude on your team sucked out by crying to captain. Maybe he felt pushed into the coin flip...? That said, he does have an valid argument imo. You had been the strongest player for the most of the season. Why should he have to fall on the sword to save the strongest player's average...? Maybe the captain just fed you a line about the 'most wins' thing (which I still say should be the tie breaker) because he didn't want to listen to it from you....?
So now playing their strongest player is "falling on the sword"? Many of you believe that my teammate also should have wanted to play the best player, to learn and improve.

Our league operator said it the best. A coin flip is the best way to go because it eliminates any bad karma for requesting to play the weaker of the two players. I of course didn't do that. I just wanted to abide by whatever the coin flip indicated.

The bottom line is, my teammate had played that other better player once earlier in the year and he only won 1 game. He wanted to stay in second place by playing the weaker player. It's obvious.

Once I won the flip, I wanted to play the weaker player because that was my only legitimate chance to catch the guy ahead of us in first place. I play their stronger player all the time and I'm a little bit better than him. I'm obviously no Mother Teresa. I'm competitive. But I'm smart enough to know that there is no way I have a chance to take first place if I play the stronger player at that point in the season.

Sure, I wanted ONE NIGHT to place the SECOND best player on the other team.
 
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Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
Sign me up on the "not going to play on a team with you" list. I'm a serious player but not that serious of a human when doing my recreational activities. Which is what pool is.
While pool is fun to play as a team, I don't think it's too much to ask for the rules and your captain to fairly implement the rules and decisions to make taking the top spots in the league fair to everyone on the team.

Maybe many of you haven't seen it, but there is absolutely a general bias against the top players. Everyone wants to do whatever they can to catch them and beat them. It's just the way it goes. Some of that was going on here as well, because a friend of the captain told me recently that the captain felt that he was playing good but that he couldn't advance because of his teammates doing good also. There you go....motive...
 

JC

Coos Cues
Gold Member
While pool is fun to play as a team, I don't think it's too much to ask for the rules and your captain to fairly implement the rules and decisions to make taking the top spots in the league fair to everyone on the team.

Maybe many of you haven't seen it, but there is absolutely a general bias against the top players. Everyone wants to do whatever they can to catch them and beat them. It's just the way it goes. Some of that was going on here as well, because a friend of the captain told me recently that the captain felt that he was playing good but that he couldn't advance because of his teammates doing good also. There you go....motive...
I have been our league's top player for years. Want to avoid the bias? Use your bonus money to buy the house a round.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
So now playing their strongest player is "falling on the sword"? Many of you believe that my teammate also should have wanted to play the best player, to learn and improve.
Well yes... that certainly seems to be the way you're pitching it to us. You keep saying that you're the strongest on the team. It just so happens at the time in question you shared an average with the ever so slightly lesser teammate. ...and yes I do believe both of you should have been lobbying for the opportunity to play the guy. Not hoping to lose/win(?) a coin toss to gain in personal rankings.
Our league operator said it the best. A coin flip is the best way to go because it eliminates any bad karma for requesting to play the weaker of the two players. I of course didn't do that. I just wanted to abide by whatever the coin flip indicated.
Whatever the captain decides is the best way to do it. The LO is just going to blow smoke so he doesn't have to listen to it. Personally I still think the most wins should break tie in average. Same amount of wins...?..., then most consecutive wins up to that point.
The bottom line is, my teammate had played that other better player once earlier in the year and he only won 1 game. He wanted to stay in second place by playing the weaker player. It's obvious.
Not arguing your stance. I agree he wanted to duck the stronger opponent. Whatever the reasoning doesn't change that fact, imo.
Once I won the flip, I wanted to play the weaker player because that was my only legitimate chance to catch the guy ahead of us in first place. I play their stronger player all the time and I'm a little bit better than him. I'm obviously no Mother Teresa. I'm competitive. But I'm smart enough to know that there is no way I have a chance to take first place if I play the stronger player at that point in the season.
Seems a hair self serving... I don't blame you if your intent is to put personal goals ahead of the team. Frankly, if that's truly the case. Then I think everyone wins with you opting not to play on the team further. If I was involved with your team, I'd probably lobby to get you replaced. Personal goals are all well and good, but it's a team league, and your teammates should be abl to count on you (whoever) to put the team success first.
 

Shannon.spronk

Anybody read this?
Silver Member
I will first admit that I did not read every post here but here goes.

Do you think you are the better player? If so then it shouldn't come down to a coin flip or anything else. You should be playing the other teams best player unless you really are there more for individual awards then maybe playing on a team isnt really for you.

The captain should not have lied to your face.

The captain should have been making the decision from the onset. That is their job, let them do it.

If you really want to be first in the league then do it by going out and beating all of the best players.
 

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
I will first admit that I did not read every post here but here goes.

Do you think you are the better player? If so then it shouldn't come down to a coin flip or anything else. You should be playing the other teams best player unless you really are there more for individual awards then maybe playing on a team isnt really for you.

The captain should not have lied to your face.

The captain should have been making the decision from the onset. That is their job, let them do it.

If you really want to be first in the league then do it by going out and beating all of the best players.
Yeah, that's fair enough. The guy in first place is definitely the best player in this league. The only way I had a chance to catch him was to play the second best player on the other team, so that I could beat him all 3 games, with maybe a table run or two to get extra points.

I actually had to play the best player on each team almost every week, except for the couple times I was second on our team, and then this last night. I am VERY realistic about playing ability. And I'm very anal about the rules and fairness.

I obviously knew how telling this story and asking for opinions would make me look. It doesn't bother me at all. I told the story for something to talk about and to hear others opinions. There is actually more to the story believe it or not. I might actually start a different thread to discuss how people feel about playing on a team with guys that you normally wouldn't even talk to if you knew their background. That discussion I think will be even more interesting than this one!
 

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
Well yes... that certainly seems to be the way you're pitching it to us. You keep saying that you're the strongest on the team. It just so happens at the time in question you shared an average with the ever so slightly lesser teammate. ...and yes I do believe both of you should have been lobbying for the opportunity to play the guy. Not hoping to lose/win(?) a coin toss to gain in personal rankings.

Whatever the captain decides is the best way to do it. The LO is just going to blow smoke so he doesn't have to listen to it. Personally I still think the most wins should break tie in average. Same amount of wins...?..., then most consecutive wins up to that point.

Not arguing your stance. I agree he wanted to duck the stronger opponent. Whatever the reasoning doesn't change that fact, imo.

Seems a hair self serving... I don't blame you if your intent is to put personal goals ahead of the team. Frankly, if that's truly the case. Then I think everyone wins with you opting not to play on the team further. If I was involved with your team, I'd probably lobby to get you replaced. Personal goals are all well and good, but it's a team league, and your teammates should be abl to count on you (whoever) to put the team success first.
My only defense to the self-serving comment is that this league was set up to award extra money and trophies for the individuals that take 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the league, as well as the top players on each team get to play in a separate "all-star" tournament at the end of the season.

I personally think it's ridiculous to say that the person that is perceived to be the best player on our team, automatically needs to play the best player on the other team. If my teammate and I are tied for second in the league, we are totally even, tied, end of story.

In fact, I told the teammate that cried to the captain to overrule our coin flip, that it's ridiculous that he wants to take second place in the league and yet he's afraid to play the other teams top player.

Heck, I also understand if many people wouldn't ever want to play on a team with me. I have no problem with that either. I'm more into the honestly and fairness and people ranking themselves properly. It drives me nuts when guys think that they are better than they really are, whether they are on my own team or not. That's why I love the Fargo Rating system. Once you're established, there is no more BS and guessing on who is better than who. But during leagues, there is a lot of variability when only playing a few league games a night. By the end of the season, normally the best players take the top positions, but not always. This thread is a good indication of why that isn't always the case.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
My only defense to the self-serving comment is that this league was set up to award extra money and trophies for the individuals that take 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the league, as well as the top players on each team get to play in a separate "all-star" tournament at the end of the season.
Well ya, the league kinda set up itself for this kind of teammate dissension. Props to them for providing something over and above the norm. Shame they also didn't put some extra effort into creating a tie break system. Frankly, the notion of a coin flip deciding anything you battle for througout the season for is half assed at best.
I personally think it's ridiculous to say that the person that is perceived to be the best player on our team, automatically needs to play the best player on the other team. If my teammate and I are tied for second in the league, we are totally even, tied, end of story.
I don't at all. Barring a real set of tie break set of rules, if two players share the same average then it definitively boils down to the captain's opinion on who is the best match up. I can think of countless situations wherein a strong player has more difficulty with someone of lesser skill then someone of equal abilities.
 
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