Is the National Billiards League legit, or a scam?

kaznj

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I would certainly NOT call Ed a cheat. As far as I know he has not made a penny from this league. He has spent countless hours, and he has spent thousands of his own money. This is difficult with his business suffering from lack of customers because of the pandemic restrictions.
I would agree that there is some confusion about payouts. This is based on full fields and calcutta. Perhaps this needs to be reworded.
This is a new venture. As it moves along perhaps some parts need to be adjusted. Lets get behind him and everyone should benefit.
 

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
. . . This is difficult with his business suffering from lack of customers because of the pandemic restrictions.
I would agree that there is some confusion about payouts . . . Perhaps this needs to be reworded.
This is a new venture.
So wait like everyone else. Crawl before you walk. Hire a competent lawyer. "Perhaps"? Pool cannot withstand this type of "confusion".
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I would certainly NOT call Ed a cheat. As far as I know he has not made a penny from this league. He has spent countless hours, and he has spent thousands of his own money. This is difficult with his business suffering from lack of customers because of the pandemic restrictions.
I would agree that there is some confusion about payouts. This is based on full fields and calcutta. Perhaps this needs to be reworded.
This is a new venture. As it moves along perhaps some parts need to be adjusted. Lets get behind him and everyone should benefit.
You cannot make the assumption that everyone plans to bet on / buy themselves in the calcutta. Stating that you are guaranteeing to pay out the top 8 finishers when some of those top 8 are only winning a percentage of the calcutta purse payouts and not entry fee purse payouts is intentionally misleading, in my opinion. At the very minimum, this needs to be corrected in the tournament info immediately.
 

JMiller1975

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I would certainly NOT call Ed a cheat. As far as I know he has not made a penny from this league. He has spent countless hours, and he has spent thousands of his own money. This is difficult with his business suffering from lack of customers because of the pandemic restrictions.
I would agree that there is some confusion about payouts. This is based on full fields and calcutta. Perhaps this needs to be reworded.
This is a new venture. As it moves along perhaps some parts need to be adjusted. Lets get behind him and everyone should benefit.
I don't want to call him a cheat, I just feel like the website was worded in a way that would attract more players. If it was more forthright in how the payouts were going to be paid, and it didn't imply that the money was coming out of the entry fees, then there wouldn't have been a problem. NOWHERE does it say that the payouts are "based on full fields and a calcutta"...Nowhere. If I sign up for a tournament with a stated $150 entry that says the "top 8 finishers will be paid cash prizes that day" Then that is what is expected. If I show up and I only have $20 left to my name and can't buy myself in a calcutta, how am I going to make the money if I don't take first place? There is no "perhaps" here. It absolutely needs to be reworded to reflect the truth about what is going on.

Look, I really would like to see something like this succeed, and I would like nothing more than to remove any negative posts I've made about this. But until then, I want people to know exactly what they're getting into because you can't find accurate information where it should be most available...on their own website.
 
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maha

from way back when
Silver Member
personally i would pass on playing from what ive read here.

and from the above payouts it looks like he gives out about 1200 or so and takes in 4800. the lottery gives much better than that for a return.
 

rwhite

New member
I don't want to call him a cheat, I just feel like the website was worded in a way that would attract more players. It was more forthright in how the payouts were going to be paid and it didn't imply that the money was coming out of the entry fees, then there wouldn't have been a problem. NOWHERE does it say that the payouts are "based on full fields and a calcutta"...Nowhere. If I sign up for a tournament with a stated $150 entry that says the "top 8 finishers will be paid cash prizes that day" Then that is what is expected. If I show up and I only have $20 left to my name and can't buy myself in a calcutta, how am I going to make the money if I don't take first place? There is no "perhaps" here. It absolutely needs to be reworded to reflect the truth about what is going on.

Look, I really would like to see something like this succeed, and I would like nothing more than to remove any negative posts I've made about this. But until then, I want people to know exactly what they're getting into because you can't find accurate information where it should be most available...on their own website.
Agree. the info said clearly top 8 finishers paid. Lots of people inquired about where the money would come from and he wrote paragraphs to explain. I’m sure he will explain soon.
 

jasonlaus

Rep for Smorg
Gold Member
Silver Member
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?
He had to add $2,800 to pay 8 places at his own room. No way I'm a room owner adding $2,800 to an event for 32 players that MIGHT spend $10 apiece, especially an amateur event.

Just sayin
 

KissedOut

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Agree. the info said clearly top 8 finishers paid. Lots of people inquired about where the money would come from and he wrote paragraphs to explain. I’m sure he will explain soon.

Funny how in the 2 threads with over 200 posts that @Sandman participated in, here, the word Calcutta doesn't seem to appear anywhere.

The degree of misleading is so extreme that it is hard to view it as anything other than intentional. My guess is that the complete lack of transparency and clarity will make this initiative stillborn.
 

APA Operator

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."
The first thing anyone should do when reading this is the math. 32 players at $150 each is $4800 in entry fees. Divide $200,000 by the number of qualifier events (64) and you get $3,125 per event into that prize purse, not $1,000 as you're led to believe, leaving $1,675 to pay prizes and travel expenses for the winner. Even using a conservative $500/person reimbursement for room and other travel expenses (it technically only says the lodging is completely paid for and it doesn't say you won't have to share a room with three other competitors), that leaves $1,175 per event, not enough to even give 8 people their money back.

What's advertised now is not doable without another source of funds. Anyone who does the math has to come to that realization, and should ask about other sources of funding before entering the event. Make your decision from there. Ask yourself if the experience is worth the money (for many people it is), because that's likely all you will end up with. That's what we all sell, in one form or another.
 

Scrunge19

Registered
I also did the math and raised the same questions as you back when he did his original post. That $4,800 figure you stated doesn’t even factor in the $600 per event that he’s splitting between the tournament director and the venue. So the financials are even worse than you mentioned.

This is a capped event so there is no reason not to list the payouts for the 32 person qualifiers. Put in a disclaimer that payouts will be adjusted if the field isn’t full, but that’s about it. This league not being up front and deceptive about the qualifier payouts is a big red flag. That plus threatening to sue the OP over whatever comments he made does not instill a lot of trust in this venture. I don’t know the nature or wording of what the OP posted, but threatening legal action straight away (and there’s 0 chance he would have) definitely gives me a bad feeling.

Ultimately, I just think this league is trying to scale way too quickly AND trying to be financially self sustaining from day 1. They’re holding way too many tournaments in a calendar year and the financials are just too tight to accommodate the prize pool at the main event, travel/lodging expenses, and have a decent prize pool for the qualifiers without added money from someplace. I think they’d be much better off starting small and trying to grow the league over time.
 

sparkle84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
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
Perhaps, because your above statement implies you have knowledge on the topic, you'd be willing to share what that "reason" is.
As far as where the money goes I agree most doesn't go in the LO pockets, it goes in the LO pockets and the corporate coffers.
This league gives back (to its members or the game in general) a minuscule percentage of what they take in compared to the other leagues.
 

sparkle84

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The first thing anyone should do when reading this is the math. 32 players at $150 each is $4800 in entry fees. Divide $200,000 by the number of qualifier events (64) and you get $3,125 per event into that prize purse, not $1,000 as you're led to believe, leaving $1,675 to pay prizes and travel expenses for the winner. Even using a conservative $500/person reimbursement for room and other travel expenses (it technically only says the lodging is completely paid for and it doesn't say you won't have to share a room with three other competitors), that leaves $1,175 per event, not enough to even give 8 people their money back.

What's advertised now is not doable without another source of funds. Anyone who does the math has to come to that realization, and should ask about other sources of funding before entering the event. Make your decision from there. Ask yourself if the experience is worth the money (for many people it is), because that's likely all you will end up with. That's what we all sell, in one form or another.
Not to nitpick but your numbers are a little off. You're forgetting that 64 Pros are supposed to put up 1K each to get in the 128 player field. Also 600.00 is gone to the venue and TD. That comes out of the 4800. Or in the Texas event it came out of 1650 because there were only 15 entries.
Ed is basing everything on the expectation that there will be 64 qualifiers with 32 players each which I think is wildly optimistic.
Also expecting 64 pros to put up (basically 2K) 4 times a year is unrealistic IMO. He says they can get sponsors to defray expenses.
Well I'm sure people will line up to get a piece of Shaw or SVB but it might be a different story for Shuff or Lombardo.
One thing I wonder about (concerning the 3 qualifiers that did happen) is that in 2 of them the winner got money but the winner got nothing in the Calif. tournament. My opinion is that seeing as they get a 1K entry plus travel and lodging expenses the rest of any extra money should be going to 2nd thru 8th. Nevertheless it should be consistent. Either all 1st place finishers get money or none do. I'd think it should be a league policy one way or the other.
As far as the extra added money goes, where that's supposed to come from is not too clear. My thought when I 1st heard about this was that Ed was working with the room owners and TD's to find some creative ways to raise some money.
Possibly small satellite tourneys to get in the 150 qualifier, raffles, etc.
Well anyway, as I said in the original thread, I admire Ed for trying something and hope it works out.
 

gregnice37

Bar Banger, Cue Collector
Silver Member
I think the problem with some of the 1st events is that prize money was supposed to be generated by running satellite tournaments throughout the country in each respective area. Due to covid 19 most of these didn't happen. Ed couldn't be everywhere at once and get 36 tournaments to run perfectly at once. From what I've heard and read on Facebook (where people were calling Ed & NBL a scam) he is trying to fix and remedy the situations around the country where the tournaments didn't go as expected.
 

Scott Lee

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Perhaps, because your above statement implies you have knowledge on the topic, you'd be willing to share what that "reason" is.
As far as where the money goes I agree most doesn't go in the LO pockets, it goes in the LO pockets and the corporate coffers.
This league gives back (to its members or the game in general) a minuscule percentage of what they take in compared to the other leagues.
As a former APA L.O. I would be happy to give you my opinion of why it is the largest (by 3x) and most successful amateur pool league in the world. First and foremost, it was never intended to be, and is still not a money league. While APA L.O.'s are allowed to have payback divisions (I did), the huge majority of teams just play for fun, competition, and a possible trip to Vegas, where, if you get there, you made money! The APA is the only league that pays last place.

Second, the handicap system, when allowed to work properly, and with competent scoring by both teams, is a reasonably effective way for players of different abilities to play each other without the better player always winning...which is the opposite idea of the other leagues. They're all about get a ringer/sandbag team together, and dominate locally...and getting your (and your competitor's) money back at the end of the session.

In the APA those monies are paid out too, in the form of prize money during playoffs and other tournaments that the L.O. runs in their area. Some L.O.'s pay out mid-six figure amounts of prize money. It doesn't all go in their pockets...or to the national corporation. Yes there is a 20% slice to APA Corporate. A VERY well organized, hard working L.O. MIGHT clear a maximum of another 20% for themselves. People seem to think that organized leagues run themselves, because of computers, but there is a tremendous amount of legwork needed to be an effective L.O., especially one that is looking out for their players, and constantly looking for new ways to improve and grow their leagues!

Third, the coaching aspect of APA league play allows for the beginner to learn while they play...instead of having to make a mistake, have your teammate tell you what you should have done, and then waiting for that shot to come up again...stalling the learning process. It was the most important factor for me, in deciding to purchase an APA franchise. I've said this before many times, and it is the absolute truth...there was no sandbagging in my league. I didn't allow it. People call BS, but it's true. I had 800 players. Every one on every team had to sign an affadavit every year. Get caught sandbagging and either you're out, or you're a permanent 7, and you just won't get to play as much. It worked...in 4 years of running the league I had to kick two people out...and it wasn't for sandbagging! LOL

Lastly, because it is a league that CATERS to beginners, male and female, it encourages potential poolplayers of any ability to come out and play. That obviously appeals to a lot of people, as the APA is larger than all the other national leagues combined. Is it the best league out there? Who knows...seems that way for lots of people, or they wouldn't keep coming back. APA has it's detractors (many of them will chime in any time APA is mentioned) but overall there are many more times the people that like it, than don't. In 3 decades it has spawned 6-10 other nationally affiliated leagues (BCA, VNEA, TAP, ACS, etc), all of which have their own annual national championships...many in Vegas, but other places too. As a professional instructor I'm in favor of any and all league play, whether it is organized locally or nationally.

I will end with the fact that I could list many things I think the APA could do to improve...but that list would be reasonably long as well. LOL

Edit: Not trying to hijack this NBL thread, just trying to answer the question about the APA.

Scott Lee ~ former APA Rookie League Operator of the Year
2019 PBIA Instructor of the Year
Director, SPF National Pool School Tour
 
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JMiller1975

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Not to nitpick but your numbers are a little off. You're forgetting that 64 Pros are supposed to put up 1K each to get in the 128 player field. Also 600.00 is gone to the venue and TD. That comes out of the 4800. Or in the Texas event it came out of 1650 because there were only 15 entries.
Ed is basing everything on the expectation that there will be 64 qualifiers with 32 players each which I think is wildly optimistic.
Also expecting 64 pros to put up (basically 2K) 4 times a year is unrealistic IMO. He says they can get sponsors to defray expenses.
Well I'm sure people will line up to get a piece of Shaw or SVB but it might be a different story for Shuff or Lombardo.
One thing I wonder about (concerning the 3 qualifiers that did happen) is that in 2 of them the winner got money but the winner got nothing in the Calif. tournament. My opinion is that seeing as they get a 1K entry plus travel and lodging expenses the rest of any extra money should be going to 2nd thru 8th. Nevertheless it should be consistent. Either all 1st place finishers get money or none do. I'd think it should be a league policy one way or the other.
As far as the extra added money goes, where that's supposed to come from is not too clear. My thought when I 1st heard about this was that Ed was working with the room owners and TD's to find some creative ways to raise some money.
Possibly small satellite tourneys to get in the 150 qualifier, raffles, etc.
Well anyway, as I said in the original thread, I admire Ed for trying something and hope it works out.
Your numbers are a little off as well. 15 entries @ $150 each is $2250. There's only $1,650 left after the $600 gets paid to the TD and the venue. Although, I was told by Ed that the TD's in both the Texas location and the California location gave up their pay to be given back to the players. I believe he said the venues did as well, but I could be mistaken. Either way, the ENTIRETY of the prize pool in the Texas location should be given back to the players if no "prize package" ($1,000 entry, $1,500 for hotel, airfare, etc.) was paid. I couldn't tell by the payouts what exactly they all got.

Anyway, there are many ways to run the numbers, but I always come up with the same result no matter which way I do it.
This was the clearest for me:

32 players @ $150 each is $4,800 (Total for each location)

Subtract $2,500 for the winner ($1,000 entry, $1,500 for hotel, airfare, etc.) and that leaves $2,300

Take off another $600 ($300 each for the TD and pool room) and that leaves $1,700

The final prize pool is supposed to be $200,000 with $64,000 of that coming by way of 64 pros paying the $1,000 entry fee.

$200,000 - $64,000 = $136,000 (This is the total amount that is needed to come out of the 64 qualifiers)

$136,000 divided by 64 = $2,125 (needed from each qualifier)

Since $1,000 of the qualifier has already been allocated for the final, an extra $1125 needs to come out of the remaining $1700 that was left over

This would leave $575 to pay out the top 8. It's not much, but it's better than what was given out.

You're all right though, it doesn't seem sustainable.

Also, $1500 seems pretty high for round trip tickets and 3 nights in a hotel. Any extra savings from those purchases would,
I guess, go into Ed's pockets. That's not meant to be a dig. Just an observation.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
When anyONE starts a NEW business they know going in. It's either gonna work, or not work. It's just as important to create a way out as it was a way in. It feels tho, w/o a response from Ed by now, his lack of actions are a ''tell''. Hope he can do it, but I'm not very optimistic at this point.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
As a former APA L.O. I would be happy to give you my opinion of why it is the largest (by 3x) and most successful amateur pool league in the world. First and foremost, it was never intended to be, and is still not a money league. While APA L.O.'s are allowed to have payback divisions (I did), the huge majority of teams just play for fun, competition, and a possible trip to Vegas, where, if you get there, you made money! The APA is the only league that pays last place.

Second, the handicap system, when allowed to work properly, and with competent scoring by both teams, is a reasonably effective way for players of different abilities to play each other without the better player always winning...which is the opposite idea of the other leagues. They're all about get a ringer/sandbag team together, and dominate locally...and getting your (and your competitor's) money back at the end of the session.

In the APA those monies are paid out too, in the form of prize money during playoffs and other tournaments that the L.O. runs in their area. Some L.O.'s pay out mid-six figure amounts of prize money. It doesn't all go in their pockets...or to the national corporation. Yes there is a 20% slice to APA Corporate. A VERY well organized, hard working L.O. MIGHT clear a maximum of another 20% for themselves. People seem to think that organized leagues run themselves, because of computers, but there is a tremendous amount of legwork needed to be an effective L.O., especially one that is looking out for their players, and constantly looking for new ways to improve and grow their leagues!

Third, the coaching aspect of APA league play allows for the beginner to learn while they play...instead of having to make a mistake, have your teammate tell you what you should have done, and then waiting for that shot to come up again...stalling the learning process. It was the most important factor for me, in deciding to purchase an APA franchise. I've said this before many times, and it is the absolute truth...there was no sandbagging in my league. I didn't allow it. People call BS, but it's true. I had 800 players. Every one on every team had to sign an affadavit every year. Get caught sandbagging and either you're out, or you're a permanent 7, and you just won't get to play as much. It worked...in 4 years of running the league I had to kick two people out...and it wasn't for sandbagging! LOL

Lastly, because it is a league that CATERS to beginners, male and female, it encourages potential poolplayers of any ability to come out and play. That obviously appeals to a lot of people, as the APA is larger than all the other national leagues combined. Is it the best league out there? Who knows...seems that way for lots of people, or they wouldn't keep coming back. APA has it's detractors (many of them will chime in any time APA is mentioned) but overall there are many more times the people that like it, than don't. In 3 decades it has spawned 6-10 other nationally affiliated leagues (BCA, VNEA, TAP, ACS, etc), all of which have their own annual national championships...many in Vegas, but other places too. As a professional instructor I'm in favor of any and all league play, whether it is organized locally or nationally.

I will end with the fact that I could list many things I think the APA could do to improve...but that list would be reasonably long as well. LOL

Edit: Not trying to hijack this NBL thread, just trying to answer the question about the APA.

Scott Lee ~ former APA Rookie League Operator of the Year
2019 PBIA Instructor of the Year
Director, SPF National Pool School Tour
Scott I think it's also important to tell the other forum members about your years of working with the APA and teaching. I too would find it difficult in your position to be negative, and you've worked with them for ever. Me after my divorce I walked away from this scene more and more as the decades piled on. My thinking was created by Ron Wollery who started/created and developed the APA system yrs ago in Colorado Springs, a time when BCA had more league/teams than any other in the USA. All we saw/felt then was, the percentages of dollars returned to the players didn't compare to the BCA league system is all. I'm sure/maybe that in this new century matters are quite different. Hope your well bm
 

logical

apart of their 'semi public'
Silver Member
I think if it was worded exactly how it actually works it might be kinda sorta not exactly completely legal in some areas. That doesn't mean it is not confusing, it is...but it also doesn't mean it is unfair or a scam. It is pool, not Jeopardy Tournament of Champions.
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
pool or not, if you take too much out of the early prize pool there isnt enough incentive for a player that wants to play but knows he wont really win in the end.
 

KissedOut

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think if it was worded exactly how it actually works it might be kinda sorta not exactly completely legal in some areas. That doesn't mean it is not confusing, it is...but it also doesn't mean it is unfair or a scam. It is pool, not Jeopardy Tournament of Champions.

When is a scam not a scam?

When it occurs in the context of pool.
 
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