In our league we use a starter rating provided by the team captain of the team the new player is playing with.responding to a few of the things I read in this thread,
Starter Ratings - A few have commented you will get a "starter rating" when you sign up. One person mentioned 525. AF Pool Guy mentioned he has no games recorded and he sees 200 or something.
Here's the deal. Starter Ratings are not actually part of the system. The 200 is meaningless. It is like the stock photo that comes in a new wallet. As soon as games are recorded, the 200 will be replaced with an actual performance rating based just upon those games. For instance, suppose you play 10 games against an opponent rated 550. Here is what you would see depending on how many games you won. (games won out of 10 --what you see)
Winning 0 or 10 games out of 10 is the long-term performance expected of an inanimate object and a god, respectively, and goes along with ratings of minus infinity and plus infinity. -90 and +940 are as close as we display to those.
The "P" means the rating is preliminary and might be nonsense because it is based on too little information. At 200 games the P goes away and you have a Fargo Rating. The 492 you see when you win 4 of 10 against a 550 can be generalized to say that when you win 40% of the games against any opponent, you are performing 58 points below that opponent.
It is possible for somebody who might in the long haul win 4 games here to actually win 8 for this particular 10 games. If that is the case, they would see a preliminary rating of 750 even though they are not nearly that strong a player.
Many areas or leagues or organizations already have some qualitative knowledge--maybe APA ratings or A/B/C ratings or something that can be useful for these cases of unrated players or emerging players. So let's say the player we are talking about is a local "B," and B is in the ballpark of 470. There is a mechanism to input that B guess as 470, and then the "remaining games to 200 games" will be assumed to have been played at 470 speed. So this player will have 10 real games at 750 and 190 fake games at 470 and so would see "484P," a weighted average.
That 470 is a starter rating. Most players never have one. It is not part of the system and doesn't affect anyone else. Once the player has 200 games, the starter rating and the "P" are tossed away.
If you see that someone has a starter rating, you should assume it is nonsense unless you know where it came from.
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In the big picture of what your speed actually is you are correct it means zip. For league play however when you are determining the outcome of matches with handicaps it means a great deal in the time new players are gaining robustness. Which is why we need to keep that "starter rating" going.
We have been using fargorate in our league for over 3 years now so we have a pretty good handle on who's who compared to a fargo number. Most of our players are well established.
The captain provides a starter rating seeing the player play in his estimation compared to other established and known players. Sometimes by league play night no one other than that team has ever seen the new player hold a cue. This has worked pretty well for league play to keep matches fair with new players involved. And the captains do a remarkable job as the rating of their estimates usually hangs within 20 points as the player gets established with fargo.
It's sort of the honor system but these captains know if they grossly mis represent a players speed league management will notice.