How does the APA Equalizer handicapping system work?

See the following official description from APA that doesn’t include much detail:

APA Equalizer Handicap System

For an unofficial description that provides more details, see the quote from “jayman” below.

An alternative and transparent system that is very easy to implement is the simplified APA league handicapping system.

Here’s a video that provide instructions on how to keep score during APA 8-ball matches:

8-Ball Scorekeeping with the APA 3-Point Scoring System

How do APA ratings differ or compare to the A-D system?

Actual levels of ability corresponding to different player ratings can vary significantly among different leagues and different regions. There is no direct correlation between an APA rating and actual level of play. The ratings are relative only to other players in the league. However, in a competitive league with a wide range of abilities, the APA ratings will generally correlate with traditional A-D player ratings along the lines summarized in the BU Rating Comparison table below:

BU rating comparison

from jayman (in AZB post):

The handicap system is based on “(innings-safeties)/win”. In other words, how many times can I let you shoot (on average) before I need to worry about you winning the game? Obviously, the better you shoot, the lower your innings per game will be, and the higher your skill level. Non-performance shots and safeties (they are different) do not count toward your inning total for that match. Your average is based on only your best scores. The bad scores don’t count at all. Only your last 20 scores count. Old scores are dropped. If you don’t have 20 score in yet (like new players), then your average is based on the best scores: 
1 score: That’s your average.
2 scores: Average the 2.
3 scores: Average the best 2 scores.
4 scores: Average the best 2 scores.
5 scores: Average the best 3 scores.
6 scores: Average the best 3 scores.
7 scores: Average the best 4 scores.
8 scores: Average the best 4 scores.
9 scores: Average the best 5 scores.
10 scores: Average the best 5 scores.
11 scores: Average the best 6 scores.
12 scores: Average the best 6 scores.
13 scores: Average the best 7 scores.
14 scores: Average the best 7 scores.
15 scores: Average the best 8 scores.
16 scores: Average the best 8 scores.
17 scores: Average the best 9 scores.
18 scores: Average the best 9 scores.
19 scores: Average the best 10 scores.
20 scores: Average the best 10 scores.

After that, only the base 10 of your last 20 score count. Old scores are dropped off as new ones are added.
The scores are averaged and will fall into one of these skill levels:

RANGE SKILL LEVEL
0.00 – 2.00 7
2.01 – 3.00 6
3.01 – 4.00 5
4.01 – 5.00 4
5.01 – 7.00 3
7.01 – 10.00 2

Note that the Bud Light systems does not allow any scores or averages greater than 10 innings per game.

The place where the system gets sneaky is the ‘applied scoring’. This is most likely the part that your league operator doesn’t want to tell you. Then again he may not know it very well, as it is a little complicated. Basically what the applied score is is a means to help prevent sandbagging. The way it works is this:

Say you’re a six afraid of going up to a seven.

You know that the cut-off for being a seven is 2.00 innings per win or less.

You play good enough to win, but pad your innings to make sure that your score for that match is over 2.00 innings per win.

Your league operator inputs a score for you of say: 5 games in 15 innings (3.00 innings per win). The APA system will give you an ‘applied score’ base on your winning percentage instead of that 3.00 score you worked so hard to get.

These applied scores are used for every match you win in which you shot more innings than your skill level indicates. A side effect of the applied score system is that it is next to impossible to drop a skill level while maintaining a winning percentage above 50%.

Here are the applied scores for the various skill level/winning percentage combinations:

S/L WIN APPLIED S/L WIN APPLIED
% SCORE % SCORE
7 100 1.1 6 100 2.1
7 90 1.1 6 90 2.1
7 80 1.2 6 80 2.2
7 70 1.3 6 70 2.3
7 60 1.4 6 60 2.4
7 50 1.5 6 50 2.5
7 40 1.6 6 40 2.6
7 30 1.7 6 30 2.6
7 20 1.8 6 20 2.8
7 10 1.9 6 10 2.9
5 100 3.1 4 100 4.1
5 90 3.1 4 90 4.1
5 80 3.2 4 80 4.2
5 70 3.3 4 70 4.3
5 60 3.4 4 60 4.4
5 50 3.5 4 50 4.5
5 40 3.6 4 40 4.6
5 30 3.6 4 30 4.6
5 20 3.8 4 20 4.8
5 10 3.9 4 10 4.9
3 100 5.1 2 ALL 7.0
3 90 5.1
3 80 5.2
3 70 5.3
3 60 5.4
3 50 5.5
3 40 5.6
3 30 5.6
3 20 5.8
3 10 5.9

The score being added counts toward the winning percentage. For example, I’m a seven with a 90% winning percentage. Last night I beat a six in our super-30 league 7 to 4 in 16 inning with 2 safeties. Since the safeties don’t count, my league operator will enter into his computer that I won my 7 games in 14 innings instead of 16. The APA software will compte innings per win and come up with a score of 2.00. Then the software notices that I have a 90% winning percentage, and that my applied score is 1.1. That 1.1 score is what will get stored in my records. It wouldn’t matter if I had taken 200 innings to beat the guy – I still would have gotten tha applied score of 1.1, because I WON AND SHOT WORSE THAN MY WINING PERCENTAGE INDICATES I SHOULD.

Applied scores are only used for WINS, so if I had lost my match, say 6 to 6 in 16 innings with 2 safeties, then I would get a 2.33 score in my records. That’s (16 innings minus 2 safeties) divided by 6 wins.

Also notice that the applied score for all 2s is 7.0, and that 7.0 is actually a 3 skill level. What this does is prevent anybody from being a 2 with a winning percentage. Any time a 2 gets a winning percentage they are automatically bumped up to a 3, since at that time their best scores will be better than 7.01.

The system is fairly complicated, but it’s designed pretty well. It’s actually the fairest system I’ve come across. It’s possible to sandbag in Bud Light, but it’s possible to sandbag in any handicap system.

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