Is the National Billiards League legit, or a scam?

JMiller1975

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have a sincere question to all of you who have either participated in, or at least heard about, the National Billiards League (NBL) ran by Ed Liddawi. Do you guys think it will last with the way that it is being ran? I ask this because I had an unfortunate run-in with this "league" on January 9th, 2021 and it has been an absolute nightmare ever since.

For those of you who don't know, the NBL is supposed to be a series of qualifying events played with 32 players in 32 locations. Here are the two pertinent statements I read before attending one of the tournaments:

"The Winning Formula​

With full fields of 32 amateur players at stage 1, running twice each quarter at 32 sanctioned locations, will generate a $200,000.00 main event prize purse 4 times a year. Amateurs can play in the main event by winning a stage 1 qualifier. Professionals can play in the main event paying the $1,000.00 entry fee. 10-Ball will be the discipline for the 1st and 3rd quarters and 8-Ball for the 2nd and 4th quarters."

"Stage 1 – Qualifiers​

32 Amateurs will compete locally at each sanctioned location where the top 8 finishers win cash prizes that day. The winner advances to the national main event, fully sponsored, with their $1,000.00 entry fee, travel expenses, and lodging completely paid for. Additionally, the winner will be issued a player tour card and 2 personalized official NBL competition jerseys to be worn while playing in the main event."

After reading about it I tried to get a spot in one of the events in California, but it was full. I called around and sent a ton of emails to the other venues before I was finally contacted by the TD at the Houston location who said they had 3 spots available. I drove over 9 hours to get there and when I arrived it looked like they were going to have about half of of the 32-player field what was expected. Literally, minutes before the tournament started, as I was handing the TD my entry fee, he tells another player that they're only paying one player. When asked why, he said that was what "Ed said." At first we all thought it was because of the smaller field, but when asked, he said it was the "same rule at every location." I found that to be pretty shocking considering it states VERY CLEARLY on their website that the "top 8 finishers win cash prizes that day" I asked that the TD call Ed to clarify. He did and I talked to Ed on the phone who told me that it was "my interpretation" that they were going to pay out the top 8. Then he said if we wanted to pay out more places we could have a calcutta. I asked how other locations, where calcuttas are illegal (like California) were going to pay out and he said they could have side bets, etc. His answers, especially him telling me that it was my messed up interpretation of his website, made my decision pretty clear, and I chose not to play. I basically drove all the way to Houston for no reason.

After leaving I contacted some of my friends who were playing in the California NBL event and none of them were happy when they got told about the old switcharoo as well. Maybe I am "misinterpreting what is written" but I don't think so. I've been in contact with Ed who flat out refuses to admit that this is misrepresenting how the NBL works. He's taking credit for side bets and calcuttas and saying those are the payouts the top 8 get! He also stated he omitted any mention of this from his website because "calcutta's aren't legal." In other words, he wants someone to read about his tournament on his website, and have that person try to figure out if what the website REALLY means is, "is there possibly another, illegal, way that the top 8 people get paid? Or should I just take the website at its word?"

Does anyone else have a problem with this? I feel like it was done intentionally because he had to have known there was no way he would get a bunch of amateurs to put up $150 for a tournament that was "winner take all" I really wanted this to be a tournament (league?) we could all get behind because it looked and sounded like a lot of fun. I guess I'll just keep playing in Oscar's Mezz Tour where you don't have to be a champion to make the money.
 
Last edited:

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have a sincere question to all of you who have either participated in, or at least heard about, the National Billiards League (NBL) ran by Ed Liddawi. Do you guys think it will last with the way that it is being ran? I ask this because I had an unfortunate run-in with this "league" on January 9th, 2021 and it has been an absolute nightmare ever since.

For those of you who don't know, the NBL is supposed to be a series of qualifying events played with 32 players in 32 locations. Here are the two pertinent statements I read before attending one of the tournaments:

"The Winning Formula​

With full fields of 32 amateur players at stage 1, running twice each quarter at 32 sanctioned locations, will generate a $200,000.00 main event prize purse 4 times a year. Amateurs can play in the main event by winning a stage 1 qualifier. Professionals can play in the main event paying the $1,000.00 entry fee. 10-Ball will be the discipline for the 1st and 3rd quarters and 8-Ball for the 2nd and 4th quarters."

"Stage 1 – Qualifiers​

32 Amateurs will compete locally at each sanctioned location where the top 8 finishers win cash prizes that day. The winner advances to the national main event, fully sponsored, with their $1,000.00 entry fee, travel expenses, and lodging completely paid for. Additionally, the winner will be issued a player tour card and 2 personalized official NBL competition jerseys to be worn while playing in the main event."

After reading about it I tried to get a spot in one of the events in California, but it was full. I called around and sent a ton of emails to the other venues before I was finally contacted by the TD at the Houston location who said they had 3 spots available. I drove over 9 hours to get there and when I arrived it looked like they were going to have about half of of the 32-player field what was expected. Literally, minutes before the tournament started, as I was handing the TD my entry fee, he tells another player that they're only paying one player. When asked why, he said that was what "Ed said." At first we all thought it was because of the smaller field, but when asked, he said it was the "same rule at every location." I found that to be pretty shocking considering it states VERY CLEARLY on their website that the "top 8 finishers win cash prizes that day" I asked that the TD call Ed to clarify. He did and I talked to Ed on the phone who told me that it was "my interpretation" that they were going to pay out the top 8. Then he said if we wanted to pay out more places we could have a calcutta. I asked how other locations, where calcuttas are illegal (like California) were going to pay out and he said they could have side bets, etc. His answers, especially him telling me that it was my messed up interpretation of his website, made my decision pretty clear, and I chose not to play. I basically drove all the way to Houston for no reason.

After leaving I contacted some of my friends who were playing in the California NBL event and none of them were happy when they got told about the old switcharoo as well. Maybe I am "misinterpreting what is written" but I don't think so. I've been in contact with Ed who flat out refuses to admit that this is misrepresenting how the NBL works. He's taking credit for side bets and calcuttas and saying those are the payouts the top 8 get! He also stated he omitted any mention of this from his website because "calcutta's aren't legal." In other words, he wants someone to read about his tournament on his website, and have that person try to figure out if what the website REALLY means is, "is there possibly another, illegal, way that the top 8 people get paid? Or should I just take the website at its word?"

Does anyone else have a problem with this? I feel like it was done intentionally because he had to have known there was no way he would get a bunch of amateurs to put up $150 for a tournament that was "winner take all" I really wanted this to be a tournament (league?) we could all get behind because it looked and sounded like a lot of fun. I guess I'll just keep playing in Oscar's Mezz Tour where you don't have to be a champion to make the money.
Post up what they printed to get you motivated.
From that I will gladly give you an opinion.
In my 50 yrs + of play I've seen so many ''concepts'' come and go.
I was surprised the APA actually worked, but it catered to a crowd in the bar scene that was quite different than the BCA league teams.
The APA took years of hard work from devoted league operators to come to fruition. And most of the money went into operators pockets.
 

JMiller1975

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member

"The Winning Formula​

With full fields of 32 amateur players at stage 1, running twice each quarter at 32 sanctioned locations, will generate a $200,000.00 main event prize purse 4 times a year. Amateurs can play in the main event by winning a stage 1 qualifier. Professionals can play in the main event paying the $1,000.00 entry fee. 10-Ball will be the discipline for the 1st and 3rd quarters and 8-Ball for the 2nd and 4th quarters."

"Stage 1 – Qualifiers​

32 Amateurs will compete locally at each sanctioned location where the top 8 finishers win cash prizes that day. The winner advances to the national main event, fully sponsored, with their $1,000.00 entry fee, travel expenses, and lodging completely paid for. Additionally, the winner will be issued a player tour card and 2 personalized official NBL competition jerseys to be worn while playing in the main event."
Those are copy and pasted directly from the NBL website. Basically, I thought it was setup like a regular tournament that feeds into larger tournaments and you also have a chance to place in the money because this is what is stated in multiple places including their website and youtube videos. The problem I'm having with it is that after they had everyone signed up, and they had your money, they changed it and said they weren't paying out top 8 like they said and that I just assumed that's what they were going to do (as you can see it's pretty clear that it says they're paying top 8)
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Since they did not do this............top 8 finishers win cash prizes that day.

Then it's obvious to me, you and others will do this.

Not show up.

Sounds like another ''pie in the sky''.

Why don't you get Ed to respond to this thread?
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
It's discouraging to hear of your experience, JMILLER1975, for we all have high hopes for the NBL.

I would agree that this was misrepresentation, and it's an ominous start for the NBL, something for which most of us are cheering hard, as we hold Eddie Liddawi, a guy who does a lot for pool, in the very highest regard and we all want him to succeed in this venture.

Receiving Calcutta money certainly does not qualify as winning a cash prize from the event. A Calcutta is a method by which people gamble on the side during a pool event.

It seems the NBL is, essentially, claiming that its website is written cryptically because its prize money methodology lies outside the law. At very least, such misrepresentation is unethical, and the website needs to be corrected so that would-be participants are not blindsided as you were. If the events are winner take all, the website needs to say as much.

Thankfully, it's early enough in the life of the NBL that this can be addressed and all can live happily ever after, but if too many others like you have a bad taste in their mouth after participation in one of these events, the word will spread quickly and the NBL's shelf life may be short.
 

iusedtoberich

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I thought the website was confusing as hell on the "nuts and bolts" of how the tour is ran, and stated that in Ed's main thread on here a few weeks ago.
 

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
I do not want to be in the position of supporting, but let me play devil's advocate.

I have seen specified in many tournaments "Pay out will be adjusted based upon the number of entrants." Is not such so common as to have become understood? The problem I see is that you drove a long way after being told there were only 3 spots left which would have indicated that 29 entrants had already paid. However, Caveat Emptor being my rule of thumb in any new financial venture in the pool world, I would have asked, "so you have 29 paid entries". But even then there would be fine print info missing, for instance, is their rule "money laid is money played" or could refunds be had? As they say, "the devil is in the details".

I also do not understand why you did not pre-pay to insure a spot in a field which seemed to be fast closing out. You might have driven 9 hours only to find there were no spots left.

Finally, it appears to me that you needed a lot more information than the 2 paragraphs you cite. Since you were involving yourself in a continuing competition, you really needed a lot more information than if entering a mere weekend tournament.
 
Last edited:

MattPoland

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here’s a question. Is it possible to show up to a qualifier, finish in the top 8, and not win any cash prizes? It appears the answer is yes.
 

Attachments

  • 6347BB45-D5C1-4D4D-A907-181B6750EA31.jpeg
    6347BB45-D5C1-4D4D-A907-181B6750EA31.jpeg
    114.7 KB · Views: 174

Scrunge19

Registered
The top 8 payout confusion has been brought up several times both here and in a Reddit thread so Ed is definitely aware. So much of the information he’s included in these threads isn’t contained on his website so it doesn’t surprise me. Much of the content on the nbl website is either missing, poorly written, intentionally vague, or some mixture of all three. This isn’t a matter of spending vast amounts of money for a fancy website, it’s about not having all of the information about your league/tournaments posted somewhere that is complete, easy to understand, and accurate.
 

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
The top 8 payout confusion has been brought up several times both here and in a Reddit thread so Ed is definitely aware. So much of the information he’s included in these threads isn’t contained on his website so it doesn’t surprise me. Much of the content on the nbl website is either missing, poorly written, intentionally vague, or some mixture of all three. This isn’t a matter of spending vast amounts of money for a fancy website, it’s about not having all of the information about your league/tournaments posted somewhere that is complete, easy to understand, and accurate.

Ahh yes, the age old problem of finding someone with the ability to write concise, cogent sentences and then paying them to describe the proposed activity.
 

JMiller1975

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I do not want to be in the position of supporting, but let me play devil's advocate.

I have seen specified in many tournaments "Pay out will be adjusted based upon the number of entrants." Is not such so common as to have become understood? The problem I see is that you drove a long way after being told there were only 3 spots left which would have indicated that 29 entrants had already paid. However, Caveat Emptor being my rule of thumb in any new financial venture in the pool world, I would have asked, "so you have 29 paid entries". But even then there would be fine print info missing, for instance, is their rule "money laid is money played" or could refunds be had? As they say, "the devil is in the details".

I also do not understand why you did not pre-pay to insure a spot in a field which seemed to be fast closing out. You might have driven 9 hours only to find there were no spots left.

Finally, it appears to me that you needed a lot more information than the 2 paragraphs you cite. Since you were involving yourself in a continuing competition, you really needed a lot more information than if entering a mere weekend tournament.
Carlos, the TD in Texas, told me on Friday around 3pm that he still had a couple spots open. I pretty much rushed out of the house and called him again on the way for that exact reason, I wanted to make sure I had a spot. I tried to pay over the phone but he said don't worry, he'd hold it for me. As for the payouts, If there wasn't a full field of 32 players I wouldn't expect them to pay 8 places as there just wouldn't be enough money. The problem I had is that I found out, in talking to Ed on the phone, they weren't going to pay any places other than first at any of the tournaments including the ones that had a full field of 32 players. The only way players were going to get "paid" was if they had a calcutta or some other form of adding money to the pot above and beyond the initial $150 entry fee.
 

JMiller1975

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
It's discouraging to hear of your experience, JMILLER1975, for we all have high hopes for the NBL.

I would agree that this was misrepresentation, and it's an ominous start for the NBL, something for which most of us are cheering hard, as we hold Eddie Liddawi, a guy who does a lot for pool, in the very highest regard and we all want him to succeed in this venture.

Receiving Calcutta money certainly does not qualify as winning a cash prize from the event. A Calcutta is a method by which people gamble on the side during a pool event.

It seems the NBL is, essentially, claiming that its website is written cryptically because its prize money methodology lies outside the law. At very least, such misrepresentation is unethical, and the website needs to be corrected so that would-be participants are not blindsided as you were. If the events are winner take all, the website needs to say as much.

Thankfully, it's early enough in the life of the NBL that this can be addressed and all can live happily ever after, but if too many others like you have a bad taste in their mouth after participation in one of these events, the word will spread quickly and the NBL's shelf life may be short.
I initially posted something similar to this on Facebook last week and asked everyone to tag Ed Liddawi in it because I wanted him to come on and answer a few questions about the way the tournament was ran, and more importantly, what I felt was misleading about the website, specifically the payouts. I had heard good things about him and a lot people commented on there and defended Ed. I took that as a good sign and thought things would go well. However, instead of answering any of the questions I posed he got defensive and attacked me personally. I then had a mutual friend of ours ask me to take down all the posts. I did, but I told him I wanted Ed to change his website so that nobody else would be deceived because of the wording. Ed refused and threatened to sue me. We have since (within the last hour or so) had a very long conversation, and while I'm not entirely sure if he's being honest, I'm going tp at least ask around and verify everything he said. Ed told me that there was "added money" in all the tournaments so people would get paid. I'm not 100% sure that he's not counting calcutta money or some other player derived funds as part of that. If so, I feel that is deceitful and it should be disclosed. A lot of my friends were not happy that they made the trip to play in an even where only 1st place was being paid. I do know that the TD in California gave up the money he earned for holding the tournament ($300) and gave it to the players. I think that was the least that could have, and should have, been done
 

JMiller1975

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Here’s a question. Is it possible to show up to a qualifier, finish in the top 8, and not win any cash prizes? It appears the answer is yes.
I found an article about it here on AZ News and here are the payouts that are listed;

Texas – Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX – 15 entrants – $1,100-added (10-ball, amateur)

1st Ernesto Bayaua $430
2nd Blaine Barcus $300
3rd Tommy Tokoph $220
4th Carl Honey $150

CA – Racks Billiards in Fresno, CA – 32 entrants – $1,200-added (10-ball, amateur)

1st Spencer Ladin
2nd Al Moreno $560
3rd Daniel Campos $320
4th Curtis Partch $150
5th Todd Speakman $85
Rodney Wynn

NJ – Sandcastle Billiards – Edison, NJ – 32 entrants – $2,800-added (10-ball, amateur)

1st Levie Lampaan $800
2nd Jerry Dunn $600
3rd Rich Ng $400
4th Sean Emmitt $300
5th Jason Crowe $200
Paul Spaanstra
7th Jose Estevez $150Brian Grube, Jr.

No mention of where the money came from. Again, if it is from a calcutta or anything else the players had to put money into, that is unacceptable. I have nothing against calcuttas, I just don't want a tournament director to count any extra gambling money I may want to put in as money that HE is paying out.

Also, before I forget, as I was leaving the tournament, some of the players agreed to add an extra $50 to the pot. There were at least two that refused though and were ineligible for any of that money (understandably) but if they would have placed high enough to receive it, how would that have worked when they posted the amounts people won?
 

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I was surprised the APA actually worked, but it catered to a crowd in the bar scene that was quite different than the BCA league teams.
The APA took years of hard work from devoted league operators to come to fruition. And most of the money went into operators pockets.
Bill, you have no clue how the APA operates, as you've obviously never been involved with them...at least from an L.O. standpoint. The APA is a for-profit business. I don't know anyone that works for free. There's a reason why they are the largest amateur league BY FAR...and it's not because "most of the money goes into operators' pockets".

Scott Lee
2019 PBIA Instructor of the Year
Director, SPF National Pool School Tour
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Carlos, the TD in Texas, told me on Friday around 3pm that he still had a couple spots open. I pretty much rushed out of the house and called him again on the way for that exact reason, I wanted to make sure I had a spot. I tried to pay over the phone but he said don't worry, he'd hold it for me. As for the payouts, If there wasn't a full field of 32 players I wouldn't expect them to pay 8 places as there just wouldn't be enough money. The problem I had is that I found out, in talking to Ed on the phone, they weren't going to pay any places other than first at any of the tournaments including the ones that had a full field of 32 players. The only way players were going to get "paid" was if they had a calcutta or some other form of adding money to the pot above and beyond the initial $150 entry fee.
It’s total BS for trying to claim that he was referring to the Calcutta/auction $ pot being included when he talked about guaranteeing 8 players would be paid out every tournament.

For any tournament I’ve ever heard of and ever run, the Calcutta/auction pot, which is optional participation, is a completely separate $ pot that has absolutely nothing to do with the entry fee $ pot.

Unless you had participated in the Calcutta auction by purchasing all or half of yourself, you wouldn’t be paid out any of that $ pot if you finished in those top 8 spots.
 
Last edited:

7stud

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So, let me get this straight, someone advertises a tournament with an entry fee listed and states the payouts, and when you get to the tournament, they tell you that you have to pay another "entry fee" to enter an illegal gambling venture in order to get the promised payouts? Then the promoter personally attacks you for not agreeing to that?

Legitimate business all the way. Should be a big success.
 
Last edited:

JMiller1975

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So, let me get this straight, someone advertises a tournament with an entry fee listed and states the payouts, and when you get to the tournament, they tell you that you have to pay another "entry fee" to enter an illegal gambling venture in order to get the promised payouts? Then the promoter personally attacks you for not agreeing to that?

Legitimate business all the way. Should be a big success.
That is exactly what happened. But now that I started making a big deal about what happened, it appears as if things may be changing. I just hope they do the right thing because we don't need yet another black mark in the pool world. Again, from all accounts, Ed Liddawi seems like a pretty good guy. But then again, so did Tony Annigoni...
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That is exactly what happened. But now that I started making a big deal about what happened, it appears as if things may be changing. I just hope they do the right thing because we don't need yet another black mark in the pool world. Again, from all accounts, Ed Liddawi seems like a pretty good guy. But then again, so did Tony Annigoni...
Sounds like Ed or someone else on his behalf needs to post a response on here regarding this topic to clarify their position on this issue. I’m sure the word will get to him or someone involved in this league quickly if it hasn’t already regarding the negative PR his league is getting on here as a result of this thread. The absence of anyone representing this league to respond here on this matter likely means they have no justifiable explanation.
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
most people not all of course, that make pool related businesses are not good business people. some are cheats and most are nice people with big ideas but are not qualified to gring them to fruition.

once a person makes a mistakes and it is pointed out he needs to acknowledge it and correct it with an apology. most will accept that. if they now argue or defend it to the point they attack the whistleblower than its time to figure that business is not going to work and stay away from it.
 
Top