I’d like to address the issue of sandbagging as it relates to skill levels. Some of you have asked exactly how I determine skill levels to try to learn my “formula”. I don’t have a “formula”. I rely on a variety of metrics. Obviously, scoresheets help me and I put a high degree of importance on winning matches. But it doesn’t stop there. Someone might have gone 7-0 in their last 7 matches, but if they are playing opponents who have not been winning, I will certainly take that into consideration. There are also some HUGE RED FLAGS that come up that indicate to me that there is a high probability that someone might be sandbagging. If someone has been a strong “5” in their last 50 matches, but has suddenly lost their last 8 matches to weak players by a large margin, yet their team is still doing very well…..yes that is a HUGE RED FLAG. If a team has an amazing propensity to have everyone on their team never get more than 2 matches above .500, that is also a HUGE RED FLAG. If someone is statistically a “weak 4” in regular session play, but is statistically a strong 6 in tournament play, that is a HUGE RED FLAG. If someone is statistically a weak 4 in regular session play, yet the team has the confidence to throw that person first in a “play-in” match….guess what? You guessed it. HUGE RED FLAG. If a “3” had a match a month ago in which he literally did not have any misses or defenses in his match and won 2-0, yet had 183 turns in his match last night…..guess what? DING DING DING! RED FLAG. IF someone plays both 8 ball and 9 ball, yes they have their own skill level on paper for each. And while there are differences in both games, there are also many similarities between the two games. Therefore, I do consider a person’s numbers in both leagues when determining skill level. I’d be crazy not to. Anytime that I suspect that someone might be sandbagging, I ask myself if there is a motive for that person to be trying to lose. The obvious answer is “yes, they are losing to be handicapped lower than they should be”. If someone who has statistically been a 5 throughout much of his “career” has been losing lately on a team that is right on the cusp of making the playoffs…..it is probable that they are not purposely losing. What would the motivation be? “My team really really really needs me to win so that we can make the playoffs, but I’m going to go ahead and lose my next 6 matches to control my handicap” Uh yeah….not likely. So while you may think I’m an idiot, I’m not. I’m pretty good with numbers and probabilities and am pretty observant. You might slip under the radar from time to time, but I’ll catch up. I’m quite confident in my ability to determine skill levels and believe that I have the best system in place as compared to the other large handicap leagues in the area. My advice is to go out and try to win every match, you’ll have a lot more fun.