There’s a new 9-ball league forming in California. It’s the California Pool Players Tour, a series of high quality 9-ball tournaments held in Northern and Southern California. The inaugural event will be held at the California Billiard Club next weekend. The tournament will start on Saturday morning and probably last until late Sunday. Here’s the really nice thing about this tournament series: players are rated and grouped into brackets based on their skill, but there’s no handicap. The format is a race to 7, double elimination. Players are divided into 2 brackets, one for Pros and A players and one for B and C players. Both brackets play simultaneously until the top 25% of each bracket is determined. Those finalists advance to a combined bracket for the cash payout round.
One of the benefits of this structure is that it allows less skilled players to play against similarly skilled players (i.e. no one gets blown out of the competition), and at least half of the players who cash out are from the lower skilled bracket. The highly skilled players play against other similarly skilled players, and must earn their way to the playoff brackets…no easy draws. This forces the highly skilled players to immediately bring out their best game. This motivates the lesser skilled players to improve, have a chance to make it to the money bracket, and have a chance to play against highly skilled players, from which they can grow and learn.
All around, I think this is a great format, and is one of the improvements that I think will help promote the game here in California. No more whining about sandbaggers and no more blaming the equipment. It’s time to shut up and shoot some pool! Unless I get hit by a truck, fall off a bridge, or get shot during a botched bank robbery attempt (huh?), I will be competing. Whoo hooo!! How do I think I will I do? Ahhhhh…who cares? I just look forward to playing and learning from some of the great players who I know will show up. More on this later.