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Old 07-24-2017, 04:39 PM   #1
youtalkfunny
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League play with handicaps: is there any strategy involved in deciding who plays whom?

I once again find myself in a league where every match starts like this:

TEAM CAPTAIN A: We're putting up Alan.

TEAM CAPTAIN B: (tanks for ten minutes, deciding which player from his stable should play Alan).

This drives me crazy. It appears to me that since there's a handicap, it really doesn't matter who plays whom....and if it does matter, then it should be a simple enough rule of thumb to move this process along.

Now *maybe*, with the interesting way the APA scores their matches, we can hack this system, but I doubt it. I'll post their scoring rules here, in case it gives you guys some ideas:

Win a shutout race = mark the score sheet 3-0 win for your team
Win almost any other race = score sheet 2-0
Win a hill-hill race = score sheet 2-1

Essentially, 3 points for a shut-out, 1 point for a hill-hill, 2 pts for any other win.

If Alan is their worst player, and we put up our best player, sure, we've got a great chance at the shutout--but then they can counter that by doing the same thing to us...

...so maybe we should save our best for their worst, and seize any chance to put our worst against another of their lesser players?

Also, these races are very short, so hill-hill might come up more than you would think. As an example, I played a girl last week and essentially spotted her two games in a race to four. I won four out of five racks, but that's hill-hill.

After typing all that....I still don't think any of this matters in the slightest. If it does, please tell me, to make these tank-jobs by the captains less unbearable.
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:44 PM   #2
llDayo
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Re: League play with handicaps: is there any strategy involved in deciding who plays whom?

As a co-captain of an APA team for several years that has made it to Vegas on two different occasions I can say for certainty that it can make a difference. For starters, we always throw first when given the opportunity. This allows us to dictate the last two matchups of the night and we can then determine whether we want to throw off or not based on how the other three matches went.

One of the things you should always try to be aware of when playing another team is what their skill levels are and which of those have shown up for the night so you can try to get matchups you want throughout the night. While it may seem to the other team like a good idea at the time to throw a level 2 player against a 5+ to start the night you're essentially giving the other team a head start.

This strategy might work later in the night when you know where you stand scorewise compared to the other team. If you have a good lead you can afford to throw off in the fourth matchup to get a strong matchup in the fifth for a near guaranteed win. However, if you're trying to catch up in the standings for points then getting as close to equal in skill level as possible and relying on your shooters to pull through may be the best option.

While the skill levels are set to try to bring the players to a more even ground a 2 will rarely get a game against a 5+ unless the their opponent makes a major mistake (8-ball break and scratch or early 8). But it will also allow you to have a stronger lineup throughout the rest of the night by staying below the 23 point maximum while rendering one of their stronger players against your weakest. Now you could shoot 6 6 5 4 and hopefully get most of your remaining shooters against weaker opponents.

Keep in mind that to do this you have to have some general knowledge of how different skill levels are expected to shoot and in the case of teams you've played before you may know that a certain player is weaker at their skill level then they should be. This can alter your strategy a bit and may make you want to throw a strong 3 against a weak 4 knowing the opponent has to win an extra game without having a significant advantage in actual skill.

Try throwing first any time you can for awhile and as the matches proceed see if you can figure out a way that could squeeze a few more points out for the night with favorable matchups. After a session I think you'd start to notice a difference.
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Old 07-25-2017, 05:34 PM   #3
youtalkfunny
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Re: League play with handicaps: is there any strategy involved in deciding who plays whom?

Wow, thanks for taking the time to type all that!

Yeah, I don't know anybody in this league, not even my own teammates, so I'm left to leave all that to my captain....but you did relieve me of the feeling that none of this matters.

Now we just gotta get these guys to realize that this isn't Rubik's Cube, and none of these decisions should take more than 10 seconds.

(Just found a thread on this topic on AZ billiards, where other considerations were considered far more important: if a guy gets drunk all night, put him up early; if you keep throwing your low-rated players to the lions, they're not going to have any fun losing every week, and they'll stop coming; etc.)
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Old 07-26-2017, 12:15 PM   #4
llDayo
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Re: League play with handicaps: is there any strategy involved in deciding who plays whom?

Yeah, we've actually considered those issues as well. There's a guy on our team that has, shall we say, a preference to a certain beer at any time during the day. We try to get him in early if we know he's already been drinking. Another example might be wanting to get a teammate to play who hasn't had as many matches as the rest. This can also affect your decision on what matchups you might expect for the night because the other team may have a player who needs matches** which means there's a good chance they'll be shooting no matter what.

Some of the decisions can actually take more than 10 seconds (kind of rare). It can really depend on the situation. My captain and I normally have 1 or 2 conversations about who to throw next or what matchups to go for based on how things are progressing and your original plans can end up getting disrupted by a sweep. But if the decision consistently goes for too long you may want to speak to your captain so he can inform the other team to hurry up. Since you're new you don't want to get a bed rep going with the other teams in your league. Your captain may already know the other team pretty well and would have an established rapport.


**To qualify for playoffs/regional tournaments you have to normally have a minimum of 6 matches played in a session.
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Old 07-26-2017, 05:21 PM   #5
youtalkfunny
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Re: League play with handicaps: is there any strategy involved in deciding who plays whom?

TTurns out I was wrong about all this "tanking".

Last night, I asked my captain to put me up first, as I had another engagement later. Ten minutes after the match was supposed to start, I asked him if I'd be up first. He turned to the other team's captain and said, "Oh yeah, we're putting YTF."

Five minutes after that, their captain announced, "Well, I guess I'm playing him," as none of his teammates had arrived yet.

These guys aren't tanking--they're just in no rush to start on time! Cancel the thread.
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Old 07-27-2017, 12:19 PM   #6
llDayo
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Re: League play with handicaps: is there any strategy involved in deciding who plays whom?

I believe the rule is that you have until 15 minutes after when the match is supposed to start to have someone available to shoot or a forfeit happens. It almost sounds like the other team's captain was waiting for more teammates to show up before making a decision.
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