Joe Waldron
Last Revised January 26, 2008


This tournament format was designed for players who have a table at home and would like to have people over for a friendly tournament. It is a handicapped system that allows less experienced people to play against experienced players and have a chance to win. The round robin format allows everyone to play without having to sit and watch for long periods of time.

Handicaps from pre-existing leagues can be used or one can use the system shown in the text to establish a player’s handicap.

The tournament format allows for four, through eight players with an expected tournament length as shown in the table that follows.

These time estimates are based on an optional seven minute per game shot clock that is used like a chess clock. Each player has seven minutes to spend as needed. When their turn is over the player presses the button that starts the opposing player’s timer. When a total of seven minutes has expired the player loses the game. A seven minute clock gives each player about one minute per shot. The shot clock is needed to make sure the tournament is completed in a reasonable time period. It has been found that a normal game requires about five minutes per player when players pay attention. The additional two minutes allows for some safety play at the end of a match if the time is used appropriately. With preliminary start up and shut down about one hour should be added to the tournament times shown. Players may want to arrive 30 minutes before the tournament start time to practice and get the preliminary matters completed such as establishing handicaps and assigning player numbers (see below).

Handicapping Games

Table One presents suggestions for assigning handicaps.

Hc Typical skills
8 Gets out with one turn at the table unless there are impossible shots. Safety play is exceptional.
7 Gets out often with one turn and plays excellent position. Usually does not leave a shot for the other player.
6 Gets out often, plays good position most of the time and usually has good position
5 Usually requires two turns at the table, plays good position and often leaves the other player safe
4 Usually needs two or more turns at the table. Plays position fairly well but does not often leave the other player safe due to missed shots.
3 Can cut a ball reasonably well, usually requires three turns at the table. Gets desired position less than half the time.
2 Can usually make length of table shots and sometimes makes difficult cut shots. Positional skills and safety play need work
1 Can make cut shots less than three feet. Other shots are inconsistent. Often not sure what strategy to use when playing.

Table One. Suggested handicap assignments

A player’s handicap is revised for the next tournament as follows:

Statistics are kept for the last 12 games. When a player loses 8 of 12 games (75%) the handicap is dropped by one level. When a player wins 8 of 12 games the handicap is revised up one level. Two consecutive tournament wins and the player’s handicap is revised up on level.

When playing 8-Ball the lower handicapped player has to make fewer balls before pocketing the 8-Ball. The lower handicapped player may (at the player’s discretion) remove any or all of the player’s own balls from the table when it helps the player make a shot. All balls removed stay off the table. It is usually not advisable to remove balls unless it provides a distinct advantage.

Required Number of Balls to Win a Game

To determine how many balls the lower handicapped players must pocket before shooting the 8-Ball subtract the lower handicap from the higher handicap. This is the lower handicapped player’s ball advantage. The lower handicapped player has to make 7 minus the ball advantage before playing the 8-Ball.

For example a 6 plays a 4. There is a two ball advantage for the lower handicap (6-4 = 2). The lower handicapped player must make 7 minus the ball advantage of two (7-2=5) or five balls and can then play the 8-Ball. The higher handicap must always make all seven balls before playing the 8-Ball

When the four handicap has made the required five balls, in this example, the four handicapped player may elect to shoot another of the assigned balls before shooting the 8-Ball if this helps to arrive a better position on the 8-Ball.

Game Assignment

Players are assigned a player number with the use of a deck of cards numbered one through the highest player number. Cards are shuffled, cut, and each player receives a card that assigns their position in the match.

Table Two shows the player assignment for each game. The first person assigns breaks the rack.

Player line up

Game Hr # Players Four   Five   Six     Seven
1   1 vs 2 1 vs 2 1 vs 2 1 vs 2
2   3 vs 4 3 vs 4 3 vs 4 3 vs 4
3   1 vs 3 5 vs 1 5 vs 6 5 vs 6
4   2 vs 4 2 vs 3 2 vs 3 7 vs 1
5   2 vs 3 4 vs 5 4 vs 5 2 v 3
6   4 vs 1 1 vs 3 6 vs 1 4 v 5
7   1 vs 2 5 vs 2 2 vs 4 6 v 7
8 1 3 vs 4 4 vs 1 3 vs 5 1 v 3
9   3 vs 1 3 vs 5 6 vs 2 2 v 4
10   4 vs 2 2 vs 4 4 vs 1 5 v 7
11   2 vs 3 1 vs 2 2 vs 5 6 v 1
12   4 vs 1 3 vs 4 6 vs 3 1 v 4
13   1 vs 2 5 vs 1 5 vs 1 2 v 5
14   3 vs 4 2 vs 3 6 vs 4 3 v 6
15   3 vs 1 4 vs 5 1 vs 3 4 v 7
16 2 4 vs 2 1 vs 3   6 v 2
17   2 vs 3 5 vs 2   3 v 5
18   4 vs 1 4 vs 1   7 v 2
19     3 vs 5   4 v 6
20     2 vs 4   5 v 1
21 2.5       7 v 3
Games per player   9 8 5 6

Bold type is end of set for one round
Hr estimated at 10 min per game.

Table Two. Player assignment to games.

House Rules

  1. Player should be present in the room before their game.
  2. Handicap = Higher – Lower = Lower handicap’s ball advantage
    1. Example 5-3 = 2. Lower has two ball advantage.
    2. Lower handicap has to make 7- ball advantage
  3. First player on assignment sheet breaks.
  4. 8 on the break is not a win (it spots).
  5. Pocketing a ball on the break leaves table open.
  6. Call all shots (especially non-obvious shots).
  7. Lower handicap can remove one or more of their balls at beginning of inning.
  8. Winner of the last game racks for the next game
  9. Unless there is a volunteer time keeper, the winner of last game is the time keeper / referee for the next game. Clock is changed when player misses the shot and begins to walk away or when the opponent approaches the table (which ever comes first).
  10. Except as stated here APA 8-Ball rules are used.
  11. If clock expires on player’s turn, player loses.

Winning the Match

  1. The match winner is the person with the highest number of wins.
  2. In case of a tie, there is a sudden death handicapped game.
  3. The break is made by the higher handicapped player.
  4. If there is a three way tie, the highest hc plays next highest hc.
  5. Winner of this game plays lowest hc for match win.
  6. If two players have the same hc, decide who breaks by a coin toss.

Payout for $10.00 entry fee

Players total 1st 2nd 3rd  
4 $40 25 10 5  
5 $50 30 15 5  
6 $60 35 20 5  
7 $70 40 25 5  

Tournament Score Sheet Date —-/—-/—-

Player’s Name HC Player # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Total Wins
  1     xxx            
  2       xxx          
  3         xxx        
  4           xxx      
  5             xxx    
  6               xxx  
  7                 xxx

Enter W= Win or L = Loss in row for lower handicapped player.

If two rounds are played enter first round W or L at top of cell. Enter second round at the bottom of the cell

Player’s total wins is the number of “L” in the player’s vertical column + the total number of “W” in the player’s row.