American Poolplayers Association

I won my match two weeks ago and my handicap went up, but when I lost
last week it didn’t go down. How can that happen?”
“I lost last week and my handicap is higher this week – what’s going

These questions are some of the most common that the American
Poolplayers Association and Local League Operators hear from the APA members
from around the country. Although the process of calculating your handicap is explained
in your APA Team Manual, we have addressed some of the effects of routine
weekly handicap calculation below. Your handicap is based on your performance
in each match you play. Your score is calculated from the information recorded
on your weekly scoresheet. When that score is averaged in with your previous
scores, some surprising effects can occur.
Here are some possibilities:
• You could shoot a very good score but not increase your skill level.
• Losing a match, which usually results in a poor score, probably won’t
lower your skill level because handicaps are calculated by counting your best scores first.
• In a very close match where each player plays very well, it is
possible for you to lose the match but still receive a good score for the week. This score, if it is among your
best, could possibly raise your handicap even though you lost.
Now that you understand what can affect your handicap, you might be
wondering if this is the best method to use. Remember, The Equalizer® scoring
and handicap system was developed over a period of years by a committee of
professionals with extensive league and tournament experience. Consider the
• Using several good scores when calculating your handicap lends
stability. The alternative would result in your handicap constantly changing, which would cause problems with
the “23-Rule”. An unstable handicap is technically inaccurate; when you consider that your
handicap is a reflection of your true ability.
• Using your best scores eliminates the matches where playing
conditions were bad, you weren’t feeling well or you just had a bad night. Only the matches where you play your
best should determine your handicap. Other sports’ handicap systems leave out scores for the same
purpose, and all effective handicap systems attempt to stabilize handicap ratings at or near a
player’s true ability.
The Equalizer® scoring and handicap system works perfectly when players
concentrate on the game and let the system take care of itself. In fact, BOTH
players in a given match must break the rules before the system will fail. One
player must deliberately miss shots resulting in more turns (innings), and his
opponent must fail to mark the deliberate misses on the scoresheet as defensive
shots. If you mark deliberate misses as “defensive shots”, they don’t count.
For more information about defensive shots, consult your Team Manual or ask
your APA Team Captain, Division Representative or League Operator for more
As you can see, The Equalizer® scoring and handicap system really does
work! It effectively equalizes the difference in player abilities, which creates a more exciting and
competitive match. However, it is dependent on a player’s willingness to follow
the system. There has never been an 8-Ball or 9-Ball team handicap system as
accurate as ours. All that’s required is a positive team spirit in order to
achieve its full potential. The rest is up to you!