Friday, 27 March 2015

G.T.A News: Pool Room Owners Band Together With Unified Handicap System

By: Erik "Big Red" Hjorleifson

 Handicapping competitive tournaments has been an increasing trend in the past 5 or so years. There has inevitably been some scrutiny as to how handicaps should be assigned and monitored.  Currently in the  Greater Toronto Area (G.T.A) pool scene there are about 4 different tours that are in operation and as they do not all operate under the same umbrella. It has become evident that some players are playing under different handicaps in the different tours, even though it is the same group of players that generally participate in all of them.

 At this point there has not been a system developed to properly monitor the raising and lowering of handicaps. Currently all adjustments are made on an arbitrary basis and even at that, there is not a consistent group of arbitrators. Needless to say something has to be done to improve the ambiguity of the situation.

With this in mind the Unified Handicap System (UHS) has recently been formulated. Spearheaded by Frank Kakouros proprietor of Petrinas Billiards in Ajax, Ontario in association with John White co-owner of The Corner Bank in Toronto, Ontario and Marco Lu of Le Spot billiards is also among the initial participating rooms.  Several tournament directors and interest parties are also working actively with the founding rooms to facilitate this venture.

The handicap of any player is adjusted based on their win or loss and their degree of experience in the game.

The formula take into account wins and losses and strength of loss.  Losing on the hill is not as integral as getting beat 7-0.

The formula also takes into account a players experience.  A seasoned veteran would not be moved up or down dramatically where as a rookie player could be.

Players will have a ranking between 1 and 11

The newly opened Corner Bank has integrated the U.H.S handicaps into their weekly league. Petrina’s has used this system for over 15 years and has been happy to share it in hopes of increasing play. By all accounts it has been very well received by all players participating in these tournaments, the goal in the future is to incorporate the system for 9 foot events as well. Along with a new way to properly assign handicaps, tournaments associated with the U.H.S system will also feature full transparency of monies collected/added money and how it is allocated, something that most of the current tours do not offer, a dedicated website with comprehensive results and stats has also been put in place.

The overall goal of the U.H.S is to be an ambassador for billiards and to raise the overall participation level of competitive tournaments. The initial focus of the system will be on the G.T.A but we encourage all of readers from across Canada and across the world to take a look and all tournament directors are welcome to contact the U.H.S site,  Also any player wishing to register can do so at the same address, we are looking forward to the evolution of this new venture.