Handicapped Nine-Ball League
-- Rules and Regulations


  1. Introduction
  2. General
  3. Joining the Ladder
  4. Withdrawing from the Ladder
  5. The Ladder Matches and Ladder Movement
  6. Handicapping
  7. Setting Up Matches
  8. Score Keeping


The Billy Aardd's Club Handicapped Nine-ball League is an ongoing tournament sponsored by Billy Aardd's Club (BAC) and Auxiliary Services.   As a tournament it is subject to BAC Tournament Rules and Regulations.

There are no prizes.   Unlike most pool tournaments, the players are handicapped so that opponents in a match have an equal chance of winning.

The basis for the handicapping in this league comes from a paper on The Argonne Pool League Handicap System (a paper which can be found at SFBA Miscellaneous files ).   Match length is supposed to be about an hour.


  1. BCA 9-ball rules rules are in the magazine rack by the attendant's counter.   They, the BCA - General Rules of Pocket Billiards , and the Tournament Rules and Regulations , will apply except where indicated otherwise.
  2. In each match the number of games for each set will be determined by the handicap system explained below.
  3. Players will lag for choice to break first game.   Succeeding games will be alternating break.
  4. In matters pertaining to the Ladder (argument of fouls, clarification of rules, etc.), the Ladder Director's (LD) decision will be final.
  5. Each player must pay for their share of the table time (based on the current league-rate).

Joining the Ladder

  1. Any Billy Aardd's Club member familiar with the routine for setting the initial skill rating of a player can administer the test shots.   This can also be done at Billy Aardd's Club meetings (1st and 3rd Tuesdays, and 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at 7:00pm in the game room).

    There is a sheet of paper in the "rules rack" that describes the skill rating shots and how the rating is figured.

  2. To join the Ladder you will need to shoot some test shots to establish your skill rating.   If you have played before you can use your previous skill rating unless the LD wants you to test again.   Once you have your skill rating just write Add: on the round sheet followed by your first and last names, phone number, and (if available) email address (preferably a Tech one).

Withdrawing from the Ladder

  1. A player may voluntarily withdraw from the Ladder by writing DROP next to his name on the Round Sheet and signing the request.
  2. A player will be withdrawn from the Ladder by the LD after forfeiting matches in two successive rounds and must sit out at least one round before re-entering.
  3. A player may be removed from the Ladder by the LD for play or conduct detrimental to the fair running of the Ladder.   Re-entry to the ladder is then at the discretion of the LD.   The decision of the LD is final.

The Ladder Matches and Ladder Movement

  1. The Ladder is a list of positions, with each position occupied by a player.   Position 1 is at the top of the Ladder.   The positions are arranged in a series of rungs with two players per rung.   If there is an odd number of players (an Odd Ladder), the player in position 1 is placed alone on the first rung of the Ladder and the second rung consists of positions 2 and 3.   The list of rungs is called the Round Sheet.   The next round is generated as a result of match play in the current round, plus players adding and dropping.
  2. Regular Matches

    1. The two players on a rung have each other as opponents for their required Regular match.   In an Odd Ladder the winner of the second rung may play the player at the top of the Ladder as an additional Regular match (called the Odd match).
    2. The winner of a Regular match will advance in position while the loser will decline in position.   EXAMPLE: The players in positions 6 and 7 are scheduled to play a Regular match. The winner will advance to position 5 while the loser retreats to position 8 (provided no one drops or challenges past either one of them).   The loser of the bottom rung will go to the last position on the Ladder.   The winner of the top rung will go to the highest position on the Ladder.
    3. If it is an Odd Ladder, the player in position 1, the title defender, might play a Regular match against the winner of the Regular match between positions 2 and 3.   If he wins, he will remain in position 1.   If his opponent wins, they will go to position 1, and the title defender will fall to position 2.
  3. Challenge Matches

    1. The right to challenge during a round is awarded to players who played well in the previous round.   Only by winning their Regular match and playing above their usual level can a player obtain challenge positions. Players are not required to issue or accept challenges.   A player can issue only one challenge per round.

    2. A player may issue a challenge at any time during the round, but if they forfeit their Regular match, then that player will not receive the benefits of a successful challenge, even though the statistics and changes in skill ratings will be counted.

    3. A player must have completed ten regular matches before they may earn challenge positions.

    4. (Note: this formulation may change to better fit the format of this ladder.)

      A player will be awarded the option to challenge 1 position for each 10% they are above their average win/loss record, on a game basis, over the previous five rounds.   For example, 1 position for 12% over, 2 positions for 27% over, and so on. You may not challenge for more positions than are above you on the Ladder (the player in position 5 may not challenge for more than 4 positions, etc.).

    5. A player which has the option to challenge is not required to issue a challenge for all the positions earned, but may challenge for a lesser number at their discretion.   For example, a player with three positions may issue a challenge for one, two or three positions.

    6. A player which has decided to challenge for X positions may challenge anyone X positions or more above them in the Ladder, except for their Regular match opponent.

    7. The player accepting the challenge will have the handicap slanted in their favor.   The slant increases with the number of positions challenged.

      - - - Needs details of how to slant the spot. - - -

    8. Should the challenger win the match, they will jump up the Ladder in the next round by the number of positions challenged. For example, a player is in position 9 as the result of Regular match play and has won a challenge for 3 positions.   They will move up to position 6 while the players in positions 6, 7, and 8 will move down 1 position each.   Should the challenger lose, nothing will happen.   If the challenging player forfeits during a challenge match then the match is not counted for ladder movement, but the results of the match is counted for handicapping.   A challenge match must be played to completion (this includes the challenged player forfeiting) in order to have any bearing on a possible change in position for the challenging player.

    9. If there should be more than one successful challenge in a round the challenge positions will be awarded in the order of match start time.

    10. Challenge positions will only be earned by Regular match play. If a player forfeits to their opponent during their Regular match, the opponent is declared the winner of the match and may earn challenge positions based upon their performance.

    11. If a player forfeits their Regular match, they may still play their Challenge match, but should they win, they will not be awarded the usual positional advancement in the next round.


Handicaps for the matches are based on a player's skill rating. The skill rating is built up over time from the order, and number, of the player's wins and losses.   The initial skill rating is based on the performance of a series of test shots (contact the LD to arrange a time to get rated).

A player's skill rating will increase with a win and decrease with a loss according to the following table (note that there will be no negative skill ratings).
Skill Rating Adjustment
( + / - )
1 6
2 5
3-5 4
6-10 3
11-16 2
> 16 1

If a player's rating does not seem to represent his skills the player will have his skill rating adjusted if 3/5 of the players agree an adjustment is needed.   The adjustment must be within twenty points of the player's current rating, and approved by a majority of the players. For such an adjustment to take place at least two players must send a written notice to the ladder director (LD).   The LD will then ask for evaluation of the player by the other players (or their representatives) over no more than a three match period.

Each match, of a set, should take no more than about forty-five minutes. Keeping this in mind, matches between players of high skill ratings can have more games in them.   See the following table for the number of games that should be played in a match, based on the player's relative skill levels.


Here is an example of how to determine a match-up and to adjust handicaps.   Player A has a skill rating of 55, and player B has a rating of 40.   The highest rating, 55, means that Chart-8 should be used.   The rating difference of 15 (i.e. 55-40) gives the match length of 4-3. This means that player A must win 4 games to win the match, while player B must win only 3.   Suppose that player A (who has played one time previously) wins the match, while player B (who has played 14 times) loses the match.   Player A's new skill rating will be 60 (i.e. 55 + 5), and player B's new rating will be 39 (i.e. 40 - 1).   If these same two players were to play again, with their new skill ratings, they would again use Chart-8, but this time the rating difference of 21 (i.e. 60-39) would mean that they would play a 5-3 match, which is slightly tougher for Player A.   This shows how the skill ratings for the players adjust after each match until each player has a roughly equal chance of winning the match.

New Handicap Tables

S.R. Chart 6
Chart - 6
( Higher S.R. 0 to 39 )
aprox. 8 minutes per game.
0 - 10 3 - 3
11 - 27 3 - 2
> 27 4 - 2

S.R. Chart 7
Chart - 7
( Higher S.R. 40 to 49 )
aprox. 7 minutes per game.
0 - 6 3 - 3
7 - 16 4 - 3
17 - 27 3 - 2
28 - 39 4 - 2
> 39 5 - 2

S.R. Chart 8
Chart - 8
( Higher S.R. 50 to 59 )
0 - 6 4 - 4
7 - 18 4 - 3
19 - 29 5 - 3
30 - 39 4 - 2
40 - 48 5 - 2
> 48 6 - 2

S.R. Chart 9
Chart - 9
( Higher S.R. 60 to 69 )
aprox. 6 minutes per game.
0 - 5 5 - 5
6 - 12 5 - 4
13 - 18 4 - 3
19 - 28 5 - 3
29 - 38 6 - 3
39 - 48 5 - 2
49 - 56 6 - 2
> 56 7 - 2

S.R. Chart 10
Chart - 10
( Higher S.R. 70 to 79 )
aprox. 6 minutes per game.
0 - 5 5 - 5
6 - 14 5 - 4
15 - 21 6 - 4
22 - 28 5 - 3
29 - 36 6 - 3
37 - 46 7 - 3
47 - 56 6 - 2
57 - 62 7 - 2
> 62 8 - 2

S.R. Chart 11
Chart - 11
( Higher S.R. 80 to 89 )
aprox. 5 minutes per game.
0 - 4 5 - 5
5 - 9 6 - 5
10 - 14 5 - 4
15 - 22 6 - 4
23 - 29 7 - 4
30 - 36 6 - 3
37 - 42 7 - 3
43 - 52 8 - 3
53 - 62 7 - 2
63 - 68 8 - 2
> 68 9 - 2

S.R. Chart 12
Chart - 12
( Higher S.R. 90 to 99 )
aprox. 5 minutes per game.
0 - 4 6 - 6
5 - 11 6 - 5
12 - 17 7 - 5
18 - 22 6 - 4
23 - 28 7 - 4
29 - 35 8 - 4
36 - 42 7 - 3
43 - 48 8 - 3
49 - 58 9 - 3
59 - 68 8 - 2
69 - 73 9 - 2
> 73 10 - 2

S.R. Chart 13
Chart - 13
( Higher S.R. ≥ 100 )
0 - 3 6 - 6
4 - 7 7 - 6
8 - 11 6 - 5
12 - 18 7 - 5
19 - 23 8 - 5
24 - 28 7 - 4
29 - 34 8 - 4
35 - 41 9 - 4
42 - 48 8 - 3
49 - 53 9 - 3
54 - 63 10 - 3
64 - 73 9 - 2
74 - 77 10 - 2
> 77 11 - 2

Skill Assessment

A set of shots are used to establish a player's skill rating. The player should try his best when shooting these shots.   Up to ten minutes will be allowed for people to warm up before starting in on the rating shots.   As the shots are diagrammed for a right handed player they may be mirrored for left handed players.   The player will need to arrange a time with the LD to get rated.   The rating shots and method is that used by the Argonne 8-ball League.

Setting Up Matches

  1. Since this is intended to be a "Noon Time" league it is preferred that matches be scheduled between noon and 1:30pm.   (There will be a discount on table time for matches during this period.)

  2. The players themselves are responsible for scheduling their matches before the deadline shown at the top of the Round Sheet.   The players are also responsible for the score keeping duties.   It is recommended that a third person keep score as this reduces score keeping errors and lets the players focus on playing the match.

  3. The center area of the second white board, on the south wall of the, game room is the official area for scheduling of matches. The left wing of that white board is for trying to contact opponents in order to schedule matches.

  4. Should no attempt be made by either player of a Regular Match to set up a match time, the player on the left side of the rung shall forfeit the match.

  5. If one player in a Regular match tries to set up a match time and the opponent does not reply, the opponent will forfeit the match.

  6. If both players try but are unable to set up a match time, the LD may forfeit the match to one of the players by random selection (e.g. a coin-toss).

  7. If email is used to set up a match time the LD should be copied on all mailings about the match.

  8. If an opponent is more than 15-minutes late for a match, the present player may claim a forfeit or try to reschedule at his discretion.

  9. Should any player prove exceptionally difficult in setting up a match, the LD may forfeit that player's match at his discretion.

Score Keeping

  1. A written record, in ink, is required for each match.

  2. After a match, write the score of the match beside the player's names on the Round Sheet

  3. All score keepers have been granted the power of referee for the purposes of match play.   They have the authority to call fouls, assess conduct penalties and insure the fairness of a match. While Ladder players are usually good about calling their fouls, the score keeper should be alert for their occurrence, and call them if the player does not, for whatever reason.

    1. The score keeper may assess a referee penalty by declaring a game, of a set, forfeit if he feels that some action by a player is counter to the rules of conduct during a match. This may be a physical action, verbal abuse, interference or an unsportsmanlike act which goes contrary to fair play. The referee penalty may occur at any time, and can be charged to a player even if he/she is not presently in an inning at the table.

    2. If at any time a score keeper feels that a more severe penalty is warranted, he has the authority to call a forfeit of the set against the offending player.

    3. A player has the right to question a call by a score keeper except where there has been a clear violation of the rules (see Section 1.1 for Straight rules). If a player wishes to argue a call during a match, he must inform the score keeper of his intention, so that match play may cease while the call is reviewed.   If for some reason the spirit of the call is still in question, the player arguing it may play the remainder of the match under protest, and upon completion of the match, bring the matter to the attention of the LD, who may then choose a fair course of action.

    4. No calls may be argued after a match is completed (except for matches under protest).

  4. Score Keepers should be on constant guard for errors.   If a score keeper should find an error during a match, he should halt match play until the error can be corrected, as best he can.   If the error is not caught until after the match, the score keeper should make a note of it so that the LD can correct it. Score keeping errors discovered after the match is over will be corrected by the LD, as best as he can.

Billy Aardd's Club, billiard
Last updated: Monday, 23-Sep-2013 12:52:09 MDT
URL: http://www.nmt.edu/~billiard/public_html/ladder/ladderregs.html