Central PA's Pool Leagues

As is the case with any pool league with “handicaps”, there are always going to be some grumblings of some handicaps. In fact, if anyone ever told me that everyone in the league thinks that everyone is properly handicapped, I’d tell them they were lying. PACS relies on a sophisticated algorithm (which I will put up against any other algorithm that determines handicaps for accuracy). These are some of the more common fallacies that players use in their assessment of handicaps and why they differ from the official PACS handicaps.

1. They are looking only at a players standings for the current session on a given team. For example, lets assume a player is a “5.5” and is 6-0 in matches and 30-12 in games for his Monday team ” Mollys Hatchet”. The only information that gives you is that he has won his last 6 matches on that team. It does not tell you what they have done in their last 20 matches (which is usually what really determines a players handicap in conjunction with postseason matches), the level of their competition during those 6 matches, or what they have done in postseason matches (when it counts the most). It does not tell you what that player is doing on his other team(s) where he might be 2-5 in matches with a 10-23 game record. It also does not tell you if that player might have just moved up to a 5.5 within the last few weeks.

2. “Short-termism”. Anyone who has played in league for even a short amount of time has seen a player on THEIR OWN team play much better than normal. Maybe its a “3.0” who made a couple banks in their match and put together some nice shots en route to beating a “5.0” by a score of 2-1. When its a player on their own team that they are familiar with and know the persons pattern of consistency, not much is said. However, when its a player on another team, they just assume the person isn’t properly ranked or is “sandbagging”. Everyone of all skill levels has good and bad days in comparison to their paper handicap.

3. A player might have a particular skill that is much better than most players of their handicap. Just because a “5.0” can jump and bank pretty well does not mean they should be a “6.0”. They might have deficiencies in other areas that are below that of most “6.0”s. Perhaps they never play safe or take very risky shots instead of “2 way shots”. Perhaps their mental game is weak and they give up as soon as they think they are outmatched by a player who “isn’t handicapped correctly”.

This is obviously only a partial listing. Probably shocking to some players, but I have never been more confident in the algorithm or in players handicaps than I am now. Could there be a player or two who is progressing very quickly before his paper handicap has a chance to “catch up”? Certainly. Are there a handful of people trying to “work the system”? Probably. Might there be one or two who are getting away with it? Possibly. The main thing to keep in mind is that it’s in my best interests to be as fair as possible to the league and that starts with having a good way to handicap players. Make no mistake, if I wasn’t the person entering all of the statistics and seeing what the algorithm is telling me, I’d also think some players weren’t properly rated. Rather than just assume I’m off my rocker, don’t hesitate to ask as to why a person is rated as they are. You may be surprised to find that I’m more than willing to answer with their statistics that will make you realize that maybe I do know what I’m doing after all. 🙂

Happy shooting, hit ’em straight!!

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