View Full Version : APA - Winning Strategy or Sandbagging?

03-11-2008, 12:26 PM
When does the strategy to win in the APA within the confines of the rules regarding skill levels become sandbagging?

For teams to win in the APA the players have to sometimes shoot at a level above their ranking. If that same player shoots below his skill level (which everyone does at times) when does it become sandbagging. The APA equalizer uses the best 10 of the last 20 matches to determine the current skill level of a player so if you think about that, a player has to play below his level a LOT to have any real effect on his skill level. If he does that a LOT, how can he be much of an asset for the team? Another thing is that a player can go down NO MORE than 1 skill level from his highest obtained level.

Everyone, I believe, agrees that the APA favors the lower skill level players and by way of the infamous "23 Rule" it forces teams to constantly prospect for new players. It also encourages the higher level players to form new teams and become mentors, coaches, amateur instructors and teachers for the lesser skilled players. As the lesser skilled players learn and become better their skill level rises and the cycle continues.

03-11-2008, 12:52 PM
The APA handicap system is a little more complicated than the 'best 10 of the last 20' matches. But that is really besides the point.

Sandbagging is just another form of cheating. If the handicap system/scoring sheets were enforced correctly, sanbagging would not be an issue.

There are two types of Sanbaggers. One that does it on purpose. The other is the player that everyone thinks he/she is sandbagging, but is just improving their game and has slumps. Either player will be adjusted according to the handicap system. But both are stigmatized as 'sandbaggers'.

Is there a way to manipulate the handicap system leagally to keep player's handicaps down? I don't think most pool players are that smart and the ones that are that smart would know that in VEGAS, if you play way above your skill level in just a few matches, you could be 'bumped up' or DQ'd.

03-11-2008, 12:54 PM
To me, sandbagging is when you purposely do not play your best. We all have off days in which we do not play at our skill level. That is not sandbagging. Losing a game on purpose, running up innings, or playing unnecessary safeties when you could run out, are all sandbagging imo.

03-11-2008, 01:01 PM
One more thing.....you state that APA favors the less skilled player. I do agree that of all handicapped leagues, APA most evenly levels the playing field for a less skilled player. However, the higher skilled player still has the advantage. If you look at league statistics you will see that the higher skilled players do beat the lower skilled players on a more consitent basis.
You guys are surely right about the 23 points and what it requires a team to do. We have a problem obtaining and keeping level 3's, which we really need.

03-12-2008, 12:05 AM
"However, the higher skilled player still has the advantage."

When the real $$$ tourments begin, the oppts for making this case, a sandbag low player will rattle all except for the other best sand bagger, when playing their real game. I am learning too, first one of these leagues I've played in, but why not make yourself a beginning advantage. Cash is cash..sid

03-12-2008, 02:18 PM
The question is:

If players on a team intentionally hold down their individual handicaps so they can complete with other teams on what they consider a level playing field while staying within the "23 rule" is that really sandbagging or just using the system in a winning strategy.

I know what sandbagging is but do any of us really know what sandbagging is not? Does the APA force teams to consider sandbagging to bolster their odds of winning?

03-13-2008, 10:22 AM
"Cash is cash"
I guess that is true. And for some players that may be their incentive. It isn't mine. For one, I'm likely not good enough, and secondly, my regular job provides me with enough. I play pool for the fun and enjoyment of the game and the comraderie with fellow players. Am I willing to play for money? Yes, provided it isn't too much money as I'm likely to lose it, and provided I want to play my opponent. I'm willing to pay some to lose to a better player, but I'm just not greedy enough to be hustled.
That's my personal take on the issue, but I don't judge others who view it otherwise. After all, itt takes 2 people for a money match and many times the one who gets "burned" is usually the greediest of the 2.

03-13-2008, 11:48 AM
Well said SKennedy!

03-13-2008, 07:16 PM
I stand behind my phrase, cash is cash. Does that simply mean I'll let my team plunder on my idealogy? No. yet if the match is "set" either for a win or loss, then it is my opinion that my game can be a lot more daring, without the need to miss anything on purpose. Many of the satellite tournaments following the APA or TAP season makes the atmosphere for common sense for keeping the handicap at it's most controllable level, especially since it is apparent that many strong players are there PREDOMINENTLY to USE it without regard for their team. IMO, you really do not get a real payback in these types of league systems, except for the tourneys and the drinking and socializing aspects. Basically I personally try to find middle ground for my team, AND myself. To each their own, this will most likely be my last handicap'd league anyways. It is merely too much work and my life is busy enough in other venues...sid

03-14-2008, 09:20 AM
I understand. League play isn't for everyone. But in general, I do think it is very good for the sport as a whole.