Rank no. 123 – American Poolplayers Association – US
Products & Services: Recreational billiard league
Number of Locations: 313
Total Investment: $16.71K – 19.88K
Began Franchising: 1982
In 1979, professional billiard players Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart pursued a novel idea-why not create an organized league system for amateur pool players? Dubbed the American Poolplayers Association (APA), their brainchild now operates franchise leagues across the United States and Canada (where the organization is known as the Canadian Poolplayers Association). Members participate in annual 8- and 9-ball championships, pay a yearly membership fee to the APA and pay a weekly fee to the League Operator (franchisee) each time they play. League Operators host team games each week; winners go on to compete in division and national tournaments.
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 andnine-ball, with a unified APA ruleset. The organization, which has affiliates in Canada and Japan, hosts regional tournaments the winners of which qualify for the annual APA international tournament played in Las Vegas, Nevada. The organization claims to be the world’s largest pool league, and cites an individual membership roster of approximately 265,000 players.
The APA employs a handicapping system called “the Equalizer" that allows players of all ability to compete on an equal basis. These systems are explained below for both nine-ball and eight-ball. The normal APA team matches consist of 5 race-format one-on-one competitions (similar to matches in the USA Pool League, and very different from the round-robin format used by the BCA Pool League and VNEA). However, APA organizers at the local level often set up non-team tournaments, doubles 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.
|Skill Level||Points needed to win match|
The lowest skill level in APA nine-ball is a “1″ while the highest skill level 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 is a level “2″ while the highest 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 November 2009) two international affiliates or branches, the Canadian Poolplayers Association (CPA), and the Japanese Poolplayers Association (JPA). Members of both non-US associations may win a spot 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.