Handicapping individual sets


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think I am going to set this up at our pool room but would like to get some input first.

Two players play a race to 10. The loser pays the difference in the score. If the score is 10 – 7 it costs the loser $3.00 or any multiple thereof (From 30 cents to $3,000.00).

Next set the loser gets three games on the wire.

Loser of this set pays the difference between scores.

So you get to gamble and equalize the competition over time.

I think it best to use the last match as the number of games on the wire for either player.

We have many people who play in our room but most will not gamble because everyone knows how well they play and who they can and cannot best.

This idea equalizes the competition and may encourage some of the players who will not play for money to get involved as you can't really lose a whole lot and if your on, you might win a little money.

Because we are all basically friends and know how well we play if anyone sandbags the other player can quit after any set and probably not play the sandbagger again.

The players agree to play at least two sets but are not required to play the third set.

For some players it might be better to start by giving the weaker player x games on the wire.

I am trying to give the weaker players a shot and encourage everyone to get involved. Ideas that further this goal would be appreciated. It is not about making a lot of money, it is about creating a sporting diversion that encourages people to get involved.


Fargo Rating 597
Silver Member
Sounds good on paper.. basically paying per game instead of a race, but must settle up every 10 racks and you can't quit until settle up time. The difference becoming the spot is interesting.

But thinking about it, if you lock up 2 sets this way, you're effectively playing the first set for free, and then simply playing even the next set.

We play even, I win 10-7, you pay me $3.
Next set you get 3 on the wire, I lose by one game, I pay you $1.
Net loss for you -$2.

Same outcome as:
We play even, I win 10-7, nobody pays anything.
We play even again, you would have won by +1, but without the 3 game spot you lose by -2. Net loss for you -$2.

Is my thinking flawed here? Basically if you commit to 2 sets, any winnings you make in set 1 are handed right back to the other guy at the start of set 2, via the spot.

Maybe play the way you described for the first set, and then the 2nd set is a traditional race, winnter take all, with the first set being an inexpensive way to determine weight.


Silver Member
I never have anyone willing to compete with me unless they are a stronger player. I play the stronger players but it does get tiresome not having anyone step as I am doing. Anyways....

Let's say someone is a slow starter. They will win money almost every match. Lose the first. Get warmed up and dominate the second. Someone might even try to do that on purpose...sandbag as you say. How do you tell the difference?

Love the idea though!

What I have done is to play races to 7 and spot half of the difference from the set before. It has worked into having a couple of sparring partners willing to step up and has been quite fun! But like you this is not about making money. It is about creating an interesting game for both parties from which both can glean improvement.

I play cheap. I have played for hundreds of dollars but to be honest it is the same for me if I play for $5. I am THAT competitive!

Good idea Joe! Keep us posted how it works for ya'll!


Dead money
Silver Member
I think it's a great format for folks who just want to have a little skin in the game to make it interesting...but not take all the risks they associate with gambling. Of course, the outcome isn't really any different but the "handicap round two, based on round one" makes it feel less risky. Good idea.


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Lets say its a race to 7...i win first set 7-5 my opponent gets 2 games on the wire next set, i win the coin toss and run the set out. he gets 6 games on the wire? then breaks and runs 1 rack and beats me 7-0 so i get 6 on the wire the next set?


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks guys, some interesting ideas that I will have to think about.