NAPA — North American Poolshooters Association
I’ve been playing in the NAPA (North American Poolshooters Association) pool league, individual play, not team play, this last 15-week session. Overall I’m happy with this league, as I believe it has a more precise ranking system than the APA, and a better computer model, with difficult match-ups against players of varying skill levels. Here is the breakdown of the Ranking system: NAPA CLASSES: Grandmaster Class – Skill level of 110 and higher Master Class – Skill level of 90-109 Class A – Skill level of 70-89 Class B – Skill level of 50-69 Class C – Skill level of 30-49 Class D – Skill level of 10-29 Class E – Skill level of 9 and under
Furthermore, NAPA ranks players in their local regions and nationally, pays cash each session to players based on how they place, is the fastest growing league in North America, and has no annual fees — to highlight just a few reasons to sign up. APA provides no national ranking, has yearly fees of $20, not as precise a ranking system, and limited in scope.
The races for matches are calculated based on the difference in points between skill levels. For example: I just had a 9-2 race last night, and lost 2-3. That’s tough to beat when a lower ranked player gets hot and runs out 7 balls and the eight on one rack, and makes it to the eight, and plays a length of table bankshot cross-corner to win in another rack, but I digress. Suffice it to say, it makes for great matches, and a more balanced system where sandbagging is very difficult.
Also, your rank changes slightly every time you play. For instance, before playing the past week, I was ranked a 97 (Master Class), and now I’m ranked a 96. I began as an 85 based off what I told the league operator of my APA rank, and experience in the game for eight ball specifically. Most APA skill level 7 (sl7) players begin at an 80 rank in NAPA. Other ranks are placed at varying number values for their respective ranks in the APA, for any APA players that may want to try out NAPA as well.
Really, APA is a good league I believe. I am not suggesting that it’s bad, but I just really like the attention to detail on the stats, the local ranking, national ranking, “weekly scratch,” where there is a detailed breakdown of AP or “Actual Points” vs the standings, which may contain “bye” points, which unfortunately can sometimes change the outcome. It is unfortunate if a tough player you beat and/or lost to, gets “bye” points for a player that had to drop out due to work related conflicts with the league schedule. No system is perfect, however, so in an ideal situation where no one has to drop out of a session. In the aforementioned case, the league is ideal. In many cases players may not drop out, because then they may lose their investment in an opportunity to win more money at the end of the session, depending upon how they place.
Our session just played has concluded this go around, and one match that decides whether I end up 3rd or 4th, and a tough place to be, considering I played a great session for the most part, beat the first place finisher, but lost to the second place finisher, ended up ranked #1 in my local region, and #370 nationally, which is great for me out of 60,227 players and growing.
Sign up in a local league, get paid for placing high up and/or first place, no annual fees, no sandbagging, call your pocket, choice after the break (even if you make two solids, you can elect stripes), and other perks to the league. They also have something called “lagger’s choice,” where the winner of the lag has the option to break first or choose the game: fast eightball, eight-ball, nineball, and/or tenball. Then, based off performance, the player’s rank changes slightly in each of the games, with respect to that player’s performance in each pocket billiards specialty.
All around, a great league to be a part of, and one that really appears to support the player. They also host local, state, and national tournaments that have cash payouts for players interested in that level of commitment to their pool game. I have not tried the tournaments myself, but hopefully I will this coming Sunday, as we are having a tournament/banquet for the end of the pool league this session, to receive payouts for the standings, play the game we poolshooters love, and hopefully get a good chunk of change back if we’ve placed well. Get that cash in NAPA! I love it!
Author: Patrick Sampey Editor: Chris Freeman