American Poolplayers AssociationAPA 9-Ball Format

Official Team Manual (pdf)
Equalizer® Handicap System
A Typical League Night
 
The following is a brief summary of the APA 9-Ball rules and format.  For more comprehensive information click on the links above.
 
  • HANDICAP SYSTEM - Any Skill Level can compete on an equal playing field with The Equalizer® Handicap System.  The 9-Ball handicap system has Skill Levels ranging from 1 thru 9, 1 being the lowest Skill Level, and 9 being the highest.  Players earn a point for each ball they sink and 2 points for the 9-Ball.  The chart below shows how many points each Skill Level must earn in order to win their match. For example, if a person with an average Skill Level of 4 has to play an above average player with a Skill Level of 8, the 4 has to earn 31 points, while the 8 has to earn 65 points to claim victory.  Learn How Your Handicap is Calculated.

    Players Skill
    Level

    Points Required
    to Win

     1

     14

     2

     19

     3

     25

     4

     31

     5

     38

     6

     46

     7

     55

     8

     65

     9

     75



  • 23-RULE -  Ideally, a Team Captain should invite players of all Skill Levels to be on their team.  The 23-Rule prevents anyone from stacking their team with all 8's and 9's. A team cannot play five players in one night whose Skill Levels add to a total exceeding 23.  Exercise caution when forming your 9-Ball team, only 2 senior Skill Level players may play per night. Senior Skill Level players are considered to be S/L 6, 7, 8, and 9. (Keep in mind that any Skill Level has an equal chance of winning with the handicapped system.)

  • NO ROLL OUTS - Typical Pro events allow players the option to "roll-out" (or push) after the break, however the option to "roll-out" can only serve to give higher level players an advantage.  Therefore, in the spirit of leveling the playing field for all Skill Levels, "roll-outs" are  not allowed during APA 9-Ball League Play.  Higher Skill Level players must play their best game to win.

  • NO 3-FOULS - Typical Pro events allow players the option to use a "3-Foul" strategy to win a game (when a player hooks their opponent 3 TIMES IN A ROW forcing their opponent to foul each time), however the option to employ a "3-Foul" strategy can only serve to give higher level players an advantage.  Therefore, in the spirit of leveling the playing field for all Skill Levels, "3-Fouls" are  not allowed during APA 9-Ball League Play.  Higher Skill Level players must play their best game to win.

  • BALL IN HAND - Any foul results in ball in hand for the opponent EVEN IF A SCRATCH ON THE BREAK OCCURS.  When a player scratches on the break, his/her opponent receives ball in hand ANYWHERE ON THE TABLE.

  • RAIL AFTER CONTACT - A player must either pocket a ball or hit a rail after contact with the object ball.  ANY BALL (including the cue ball, or one of the opponents balls) must hit a rail after legal contact with the object ball is made.  If a ball DOES NOT hit a rail AFTER contact with the object ball, it is considered a ball in hand foul for the opponent.

  • 9-BALL IS NOT A "CALL POCKET" GAME - The APA 9-Ball format is played just like the pro's play 9-Ball on TV.  As long as the player does not foul during their shot, and pockets a ball (even if it does not go in the intended pocket), he/she must continue shooting.  IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO MARK YOUR POCKET WHEN SHOOTING THE 9-BALL.

 
 
How To Play 9-Ball
 
If you've watched the pros play on TV, chances are they were playing 9-Ball.

The game of 9-Ball is a game where position and strategy mean everything.  It is considered a fast paced game developed for Television format.

In 9-Ball, the balls are racked in a diamond, with the one ball at the front apex. The 9-ball goes in the center.  Placement of the rest of the balls do not matter.  The balls are broken by striking the 1-ball, and attempting to pocket a ball.  The lowest numbered ball on the table must be struck first in order for the shot to be legal, and from there a ball must be pocketed or driven to a rail.

The object of the game is simple: Run the balls out and pocket the nine ball, or shoot a combo that legally pockets the nine ball.  Do this before your opponent and you win the game.
 
 
League Play
 
APA "Amateur" 9-Ball is played like Professional 9-Ball...but scored like Straight Pool.

In APA 9-Ball all balls have a point value.  The balls numbered 1-8 are worth one point each... the 9-ball is worth two. This makes each rack worth a total of 10 points.  Players compete not to win games but rather to score the most points from each rack.

Under The Equalizer® Handicap System in 9-Ball, players are assigned a certain number of points (balls) to make (see chart above). A lower ranked player, would need to pocket fewer balls than a more skilled opponent. Because every ball counts, the more skilled player cannot simply win by pocketing the 9-ball, they must be aware of all the balls on the table and make every shot count.

APA 9-Ball leagues use a wider range of Skill Levels.  Players are ranked from S/L-1 to S/L-9. This wider range allows for greater accuracy when determining a player's ability, and creates a more competitive environment where all players have an equal chance of winning.

Five matches are played in one night and 20 points are "up for grabs" per match for a total of 100 points in a night.  The players in each match compete to earn as many of those 20 points as possible. Even in a loss, a player may earns points for their team. The more balls a player makes, the more of the 20 points they earn. This keeps the match competitive.

The team in each division with the most points at the end of the session will be declared the Division Champions, will be awarded trophies, a $300 pay-out, and will advance to the $2000 BIG MONEY Tri-Cup event (held 3 times per year at the end of each session).  Teams that finish in  2nd , 3rd, and 4th place in a division will participate with a Wild Card team in Play-Offs at the end of each session.  The team that wins the Play-Offs will be declared the Play-Off Winners and be awarded trophies, a $200 pay-out, and entry in the BIG MONEY Tri-Cup event.
 
Teams that win their 1st round at the BIG MONEY Tri-Cup event will advance to the Vegas or Bust City Championship for the chance to win a PAID trip (hotel and travel) to Las Vegas, NV!  In Vegas, approximately 10,000 poolplayers from all over North America compete to win their share of nearly $1.5 million in cash!  Its the World's largest pool tournament and the ultimate experience for the amateur poolplayer!
 
For more information obout the The APA 9-Ball rules and format, click on the links below.
 
Official Team Manual (pdf)
Equalizer® Handicap System
A Typical League Night