American Poolplayers Association
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The American Poolplayers Association (APA) was founded in 1981 by professional pool players Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart, although with roots dating back to the National Pool League (NPL), founded in 1979. The APA conducts a system of franchised-based local amateur leagues of pool (pocket billiards) competition, including both eight-ball and nine-ball, with a unified APA ruleset. The organization, which has international affiliates in Canada, Japan, and China, hosts regional tournaments the winners of which qualify for APA tournaments played in Las Vegas, Nevada twice annually. In the spring, the APA hosts the APA Poolplayers Championships (formerly known as the National Singles Championships) which features individual and doubles competition. In August, the APA hosts the APA World Pool Championships which feature Team (5-8 members), Doubles and Master's (3-player non-handicapped) competition. The organization is recognized as the world's largest pool league with a membership of nearly 250,000 players. In 2010, the APA National Team Championships (known today as the APA World Pool Championships) were recognized by Guinness Records as the World's Largest Pool Tournament. In addition, the APA conducts the U.S. Amateur Championship, intended for highest skilled players, that's open to APA and non-APA members.
The APA employs a handicapping system called "the Equalizer" that allows players of all ability to compete on an unequal basis. Males are given the right to be higher than females. For instance, males can only be as low as a two in nine-ball and a three in eight-ball, whereas a female can be as low as a one in nine-ball and a two in eight-ball. This means the lowest shooting ability a man can ever reach is still better than a females’ lowest shooting ability. These systems are explained below for both nine-ball and eight-ball. The normal APA team consist of 5 -format competitions (similar to matches in the USA Pool League, and very different from the format used by the BCA Pool League and VNEA). However, APA organizers at the local level often set up non-team tournaments, play, and other formats, and the annual championships feature both individual and team play.
In APA nine-ball, two players compete until one person reaches a score determined by their respective skill level. The scoring is recorded by awarding a single point for potting the balls numbered 1 through 8 and two points for the 9 ball. For example, if Player A breaks and makes two balls on the break (not including the 9 ball), that player would have 2 points for the rack and continue shooting. If the player "runs the table" (makes all the balls without missing), they score 10 points for the rack (the maximum) as they would have scored 8 points for the balls 1 through 8 and then 2 for the 9 ball.
The match ends when a player reaches the number required for their respective skill level. The table below lists the number of balls needed for a player of each skill level to win their match.
Note: APA nine-ball is not a traditional style that is typically played by billiard enthusiasts. Even though it does follow traditional rotation characteristics, it resembles more of a straight pool (14.1) tradition by opponents racing to a specific number of balls pocketed.
|Skill Level||Points needed to win match|
The lowest skill level in APA nine-ball for a female is "1", the lowest skill level for a male is “2” while the highest skill level for both males and females is a "9".
Using the table above, you can see that if Player A is rated a "2" and plays Player B who is rated a "6", then Player A wins if he scores 19 points before Player B scores 46 points. Conversely, for Player B to win the match, he must score 46 points before Player A scores 19 points.
As APA nine-ball is based on points and not games won (for example BCA League nine-ball is based on games won, where the winner of each game is the player potting the 9 ball), a match can end before all the balls of a given rack have been potted. Using the previous Player A (Skill Level 2) vs. Player B (Skill Level 6) example, let's say that the Player B is breaking a new rack leading 44–16. In this case, Player A needs 3 points to win and Player B needs 2 points to win. The match ends when either player earns the needed points to win regardless of the number of balls remaining on the table.
In APA eight-ball, two players compete until one person wins the number of games determined by their respective skill level. The following table illustrates the number of games needed to be won by each skill level depending on the skill level of their opponent.
The lowest skill level in APA eight-ball for a female is a level "2" and for a males it is a ‘3’ while the highest for both males and females is a level "7".
As an example of how to read the table, if Player A is a "2" and Player B is a "6", the scorer first locates the row for skill level "2", then moving across finds the column for skill level "6". The intersection provides for a 2–6 race; meaning the match ends when either Player A wins 2 games or Player B wins 6 games.
The APA has (as of May 2015) three international affiliates or branches, the Canadian Poolplayers Association (CPA), and the Japanese Poolplayers Association (JPA). Members of all non-US associations are eligible to compete in the annual APA championships.
APA is also a major sponsor of the WPBA Tour, the most-televised pool competitions in North America, and thus a major venue for APA advertising.