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The APA Equalizer Handicap System
The Equalizer Handicap System is what sets the APA apart from the competition. The uniqueness of the Equalizer Handicap System is that it brings out the best in both the novice player and the expert player, should they meet in a match.
The Equalizer Handicap System aids the novice player by dictating mathematically that he or she needs to win fewer games, or earn less points, than their more highly-skilled opponent, in order to win a match. Similarly, in golf and bowling, you give or get strokes or pins, also utilizing a handicap system.
How Skill Levels Are Determined
Your League Office calculates and reports player Skill Levels on a weekly basis. Your Skill Level determines how many games you have to play, or how many points you have to earn, in order to win your match.
Skill Levels are maintained, calculated and updated by the League Office. The process includes a number of factors, including the application of specific mathematical formulas to the data on the weekly scoresheets, win/loss records, Higher Level Tournament performance, qualitative judgment by Handicap Advisory Committees, and other considerations.
In an APA League, you give or get games or points. How many games or points you give or get is determined by comparing your Skill Level to the Skill Level of your opponent. Higher Skill Level players give lower Skill Level players a number of games or points, thus leveling the playing feild. Read on for more details!
New Players & The Equalizer Handicap System
New players do not have an established Skill Level, so a standard starting method has been devised. Statistics show that 69% of male players are SL4 or higher while 52% of females are SL3 or below. Men will play their first match as a SL4 and women will play their first match as a SL3. The League Operator is authorized to assign specific Skill Levels, and possibly a lowest attainable Skill Lvel, to new players who are known highly-skilled players, or to players who have previously established Skill Levels in another format.
As a result of your first match, a skill level is established and reported for you. It is against the rules for a player who has an established skill level to attempt to reestablish their skill level at a later time. In other words, you cannot quit APA for a while and then rejoin the League or transfer to another League area as a non-rated player. You are obligated to disclose the fact that you are a former member or a current member in another League area and already have an established Skill Level.
How the Equalizer Handicap System Works in 8-Ball
In 8-Ball you are required to win a certain number of games. During regular weekly play, simply refer to the "GAMES MUST WIN" chart shown to the right. This chart is also printed on the scoresheets for your convenience.
To read the chart, find your Skill Level along the left side of the chart. Then find your opponent's Skill Level along the top of the chart. Now track to the right from your Skill Level and down from your opponent's Skill Level until the two tracks meet. In that block, the first number is the number you race to, and the second is the number your opponent races to. The two numbers involved should have the same differential as your Skill Levels do. For example, a SL6 playing a SL4 tracks to the block with 5/3 (circled) in it. The SL6 races to 5 games while the SL4 races to 3 games. Five-to-3 is a differential of 2, just as 6-to-4 is a differential of 2.
How the Equalizer Handicap System Works in 9-Ball
In 9-Ball, you are required to score a certain number of points. During regular weekly play simply refer to the "POINTS REQUIRED TO WIN" chart shown to the right. This chart is also printed on the scoresheets for your convenience.
To read the chart, find your Skill Level along the left column. Then find your “Points Required to Win” in the right column. To determine how many points your opponent needs to win, follow the same procedure as above, using his/her Skill Level.
Every rack in APA 9-Ball is worth 10 points. Each ball in the rack counts as 1 point except the 9-Ball, which is worth 2 points. Once you have determined how many points are needed for you and your opponent, you race to pocket the balls and reach your required total. Because the higher-ranked and more skilled players must make more balls, the playing field is leveled.
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