View Full Version : What can be done to stop the sandbagging?

09-05-2002, 04:16 PM
Last night, my 9 ball team played a team we've never played before. In the second match, the opposing team put up a 2 against our 8. This 2 ran 4 balls on two occasions, played decent shape, cut balls down the rails past the side pockets, etc. After the second 4 ball run our 8 just gave up and forfeited the match. We run into this sort of situation all the time. All the people on my team are very competitive and try their best all the time. It's really frustrating to see people goofing off and sandbagging then end up winning the session or going to Vegas. They say the system works unless both teams fail to mark safeties, but how do you really tell if a two is missing on purpose or is just goofing off during the match?

One idea I had was to have a cash award or trip to the national singles tournament for the people who had the highest total points at the end of the session.
Right now, there is no incentive to try at all, except for personal fulfilment. Obviously that's not working. League play could be so much fun if you could expect to get a good game.
I'm interested to see what other ideas people have that would get people to try their best.

09-05-2002, 04:27 PM
The solution is simple: Don't play in handicapped events. /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif

Seriously, that's one reason that I don't play in leagues (there are lots of others). I would rather play in a competition that is open, with everyone on a level playing field. No BS about levels, ratings, etc. Just get up and play.

I do RARELY play in handicapped system in the Vancouver BC area. But it isn't a league. These are occasional big local tournaments (40 to 60 players usually), played on 9-foot tables. No league teams. Just solo 9-ball play. And the ratings are pretty honest, since just about everyone there knows everyone else. If you walk in off the street and no one knows you, you get put in as an "A" player.

But even with those events, I'd rather play just straight-up even. I just play in them because they can be pretty sizable for a local tournament, and I have a lot of friends there.

09-06-2002, 07:23 AM
a really good question that needs to be addressed.. i believe that when a team has been reported sandbagging they should send out a scout and watch this team. and as stated in this thread the scout sees a 3 running a 5 ball run out that is not an easy run out.. he should report back and raise this player accordingly.. they should get a symbol next to their rating that they can never drop below this rating.. i think scouts should attent all session end, tourment play.. this is when most sandbaggers show true play.. if they really wanted to they could set up camcorder and review tapes.. but really in mho they just care about collecting their fees with as little work as possible.. k

09-06-2002, 08:54 AM
The 2 that played your 8 may well have been a sandbagger, but I would be careful about concluding this based on one nights performance. You, me, and everyone else have nights where we shoot way above our usual speed.

There is a 2 that plays in my poolroom, who desperately wants to be a 3 or higher. She can, on occasion, cut impossible balls down the rail (part of the reason she is a 2 is because she doesn't know better than to try those shots!) and can also run out when she is on and getting good rolls. On other nights, she will miss a straight in from 2 feet. And when I was captain of a 9-ball team, we had a player who was pretty awful. He lost, lost, lost... One night, for some reason, he shot lights-out pool and the other team started telling everyone about what a sandbagger he was. (I only wished!) I've actually seen this scenario regularly in APA. And it perpetuates itself, since assuming someone else is sandbagging allows some players to justify doing it themselves.

Another question I would ask: If this 2 was a sandbagger, why did he/she show his/her game that night?

In the local handicapped tourney, if I have a really good night and am running out a lot, my less classy opponents will whine about me being underranked after I beat him/her. But I'm not underranked - I win about half my matches in the long run. I just have good nights and bad nights like everyone else. A couple of weeks ago I played a guy in the tournament who, going by his ranking, should not be able to run more than 4 balls. Well, we got to hill-hill and he broke and ran the rack! But I know the guy and see him practice quite often and he IS lucky to run 4 in a row. He just got going that night and lightning struck for him. I just shook his hand and told him how impressed I was for his break & run out in a hill-hill match. And I meant it!

Again, I'm not saying that you weren't the victim of sandbagging. But, unless I see my opponent start stringing racks together or power-drawing the length of the table, I avoid making this conclusion based on one nights performance.

09-06-2002, 09:24 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>What can be done to stop the sandbagging?<hr></blockquote>

Answer: Not much, but there are some things you can do to help.

One answer you did receive is to mark "safties". It doesn't matter if you know conclusively that it was an intended safety or not. Simply because the player doesn't verbally indicate his/her intention to play a safety, you, as the scorekeeper for your team, should look at the different variables:

<ul type="square"> Is it a very difficult shot? One with little or no chance to go? I have played a "safety" (more accurately known as a "defensive shot") many times without indicating so (not in league competition, though), knowing the shot had a "snowball's chance in hell" of going in but focusing more on where I leave whitey than the actual shot. If this is the case, mark it a defensive shot.
If the low S/L player is attempting something that Mosconi might struggle with making, and fails to call a defensive shot, MARK IT AS ONE.
In the APA, it is not mandatory that your score sheet match that of the opposing team. This is why there are two sheets instead of one! I watched a friend play his APA season recently and without fail, every night, at the conclusion of each set, the two Captains would concur on the score sheets, paying attention to the number of innings and defensive shots, ensuring they matched identically, even if there were originally some disparities. I am certain this is the reason my buddy wasn't raised from a 6 to a 7, even though, on most nights, he completely slaughtered his foe.
The APA provides a form for voicing "Sportsmanship" issues. If you think a player is "laying down", report him/her! The APA (in Arizona, at least) meet to discuss issues regarding player's skill levels and other issues that if ignored, could cause loss of teams and subsequent revenue for the League Operator. Use these resources.
Lastly, if your L.O. is more interested in the cash going into his pocket than the promotion of the game, report your feelings to APA Headquarters. If there are others that feel the same, draw up a petition, have other teams sign it and forward this to the APA along with your specific complaint.
There are avenues to pursue to beat the sandbaggers. Do it with your skills first, complaints in written form (to the L.O.) second and letters to the APA last. Whining, sniveling and appearing to be a "disgruntled loser" will NEVER resolve the problem.


Ken (hates handicapped leagues but will play in one for the table time.)

09-06-2002, 09:37 AM
As long as there are handicapped games that require rating players, there will be sandbaggers. It has always been a problem in bowling, but at least there are scores expressed in numbers, and some measures are available. You must do what you can, including taking a negative attitude toward the sandbaggers. Let them know that you are aware of what they are doing, and that you think less of them for it. It won't work for all, of course, but probably nothing will.

If you are going to play in such a league, play your best and have some fun. Don't try to emulate anyone for whom you have no respect. They're like the weeds in your yard. Don't plow up the lawn just to kill them. They'll come back before the grass anyway. Don't be nice to them.

09-06-2002, 10:22 AM
Good points Ross. I agree that people have good nights. People should be ranked according to their best showings. If someone runs 4 balls in 2 different games, that's their ability.
By the way, it was a good time for him to shoot strong. Playing agianst an 8, a strong showing relates to more match points.

09-06-2002, 10:27 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: =k=:</font><hr> but really in mho they just care about collecting their fees with as little work as possible.. k <hr></blockquote>

That could possibly be the root of the problem.

09-06-2002, 10:39 AM
i got on a apa team last night.i will play my best pool.if i am playing against a good four or a 5,which is what a sandbagging four is,i will play safe more.

it doesnt matter to me. i want to get better and play my best pool. winning or losing is a nonissue to me.


09-06-2002, 10:43 AM
Thanks Ken, that was the sort of response I was seeking. I guess we've been contributing to the problem with our score keeping. I've only marked obvious defensive shots. For example, when somebody sends the OB down table and sticks the CB up against another ball (or attempts to).

09-06-2002, 10:59 AM
I applaud your attitude, Bluewolf. I've always been a very competitive person and I definately like winning. Losing doesn't bother me when someone performs better than me. In fact I try to play against better players as often as I can. I've learned more about pool from getting my butt kicked than I have from any book or video.
What does bother me is when someone uses the system in order to cheat. The thought has crossed my mind to lay down a little when playing someone who is ranked well below their capabilities. Then they miss a shot and I get to the table and can't make myself lay down. Every single time I get to the table I want to run out or leave a good safety.
Damn my competitive nature!

09-06-2002, 11:46 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: DragonSlayer:</font><hr> Good points Ross. I agree that people have good nights. People should be ranked according to their best showings. If someone runs 4 balls in 2 different games, that's their ability.
I still think one match is too little data to base a fair rating on. Has your 8 never had nights where he has played like a 9? If the APA raised the ranking of the player on my team I mentioned previously (who was losing regularly, then had one great night) on the basis of his one good showing, he would never win a match. The APA system recognizes this and, I believe, uses the average of the best 10 showings in the last 20 matches to determine skill rankings.

09-06-2002, 01:04 PM
Probably nothing! It seems to be a built-in integral part of the APA League Play. You can join the gang or refuse to associate with people of no integrity.
When someone is a SANDBAGGER, they have joined ranks with Attorneys, Used Car Salesmen, Dopers, Theives &amp; the U. S. Government. Seems to me, they are a hard bunch to beat

09-10-2002, 10:38 PM
U can`t stop it because it is NOT against the law.It is here to stay and u better learn to appreciate the ART of hustling.I am a big supporter of the beautiful art of hustling.cheers

09-11-2002, 02:09 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Vagabond:</font><hr> I am a big supporter of the beautiful art of hustling.

Ask yourself " When was the last time I was nice to another human being?"<hr></blockquote>

the last time you tried to hustle another human being?BS

09-11-2002, 07:14 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Anonymous:</font><hr> &lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote: Vagabond:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr&gt; I am a big supporter of the beautiful art of hustling.

Ask yourself " When was the last time I was nice to another human being?"&lt;hr&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;

the last time you tried to hustle another human being?BS

it is true that there is nothing you can do to make a player play at their maximum ability.it is a matter of playing your best pool with pride or just goofing off.

but real sandbaggin i do not like.it is obvious to everyone when somebody is doing this.


09-11-2002, 07:46 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: bluewolf:</font><hr> &lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote: it is true that there is nothing you can do to make a player play at their maximum ability.it is a matter of playing your best pool with pride or just goofing off.

but real sandbaggin i do not like.it is obvious to everyone when somebody is doing this.

bw <hr></blockquote>

Granted I've only been playing in the APA just under 2 yrs. But from what I've seen nothing will ever stop the sandbaggers from doing their thing. Some are very obvious, others cover it well. My first session in the APA, the captain tried to get me to sandbag. First night out shut my opponent out, raising me to a 6 for my second week. He was pissed. We soon reached an understanding that I would always play to the best of my ability.
Now I have my own team, one of all women, most all of us were either asked, or told it was required to sandbag to remain on a team at one time or another. I've told them all, I would never ask them to dump a game or a match, always play to your best ability.
Granted we finished last session a little top heavy with handicaps of 7-6-6-5-4-4-4-2 and still made it into the finals of play offs.
Sure I could have them lay back a bit, keep handicaps down, do better in play offs. But I'd rather have the win on the merits of our true skill, not thru skills of deception.
Anyhow, just my 2 cents worth after taxes.

Fred Agnir
09-11-2002, 08:03 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: DragonSlayer:</font><hr> Last night, my 9 ball team played a team we've never played before. <hr></blockquote>
Another thing about perceived sandbagging is that different regions are simply stronger than other regions. And the handicap really gets scaled based on the local talent.

The best player in one area might be rated an SL-7 but could be only a 50/50 SL-6 in an adjacent town. So, he (the SL-7) may play against an SL-6 in a state tourney, get drilled, and cry "sandbagger." It's often not sandbagging, but a disparity in local skill level comparison. If the best player is relatively weak, then his local area players' handicap will be relatively too high when comparing against stronger regions. That is to say that your APA (and other) handicap largely depends on how well your opponent hits back.

To beat it to death, even in small Massachusetts, an SL-6 in say, Hamden County compared to an SL-6 in Boston represents a true sway of I'd say 2 or 3 levels. The SL-6 in Boston might be an SL-7 everywhere else in the state. The SL-6 from Hamden might be an SL-4 in Boston.


09-11-2002, 08:21 AM

09-11-2002, 08:23 AM
Howdy Anonymous,
There is a difference between the targets-suspecting VS un suspecting.In the sub culture of pool it is common knowledge that the players do not show their full speed/or moves.They do not have to display all their arsenal.This is a strategy like any other sport/game.In Volley Ball the offensive player focusses his eye sight into the left side of the opponent`s court and hits the ball into the right side of the court.Yes it is very deceptive.Is it illegal? I can give several examples especially in Football and olympic style wrestling.No law reqires u to bring your full potential to the table.By the way when some one want to gamble with me did that person not want to rob me(it is easy to rob a c player and I am a ``c`` player)??? In manhattan,Ny u find on the sidewalks some poor guys making a living by playing game called ``Monte``( am I crrect with the name?)Lots of passers by stop and play the game.Many think that the guy is cheating the innocent public.By particpating in that game are n`t the socalled innocent public trying to rob that poor kid? If u like blame game blame both parties.
If some one figures out that u are hustling - that means u are not practicing the art very well.A true artist should never be suspected.For now I shall ignore u getting personal.cheers

09-11-2002, 08:59 AM
Sandbagging means a player is not playing best they can. Sandbagging is cheating. That 2 you described was probably playing the best he/she could. How could you call her a cheater? Do you have proof? If so then you didn't include that in your post. While she may be under-rated that doesn't mean she is a cheater. Shame on your player for being a quitter. He should have finished the match then wrote her up. When you see players missing on purpose for the sake of running up innings then you are looking at a sandbagger. When you see a player playing over their head then that means that they are really playing the best they can and could be under-rated. That is not necessarily their fault. You were only looking at a snapshot of that player and skill level assessment is derived from their total tracked league history. It's all about consistancy. I am sure your player has had great days himself and wouldn't appreciate his opponent quitting in the middle of his match and being labeled as a sandbagger.

Fred Agnir
09-11-2002, 09:13 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: whitewolf:</font><hr> I hear what you are saying Fred and think it may be true to some extent, however you haven't described 'WHY' this is. Isn't the APA handicapping system supposed to be managed by a computer?<hr></blockquote>
The handicapping formula only bases the handicap on numbers from the matches, winnin percentages, strength of oponent, and table size.

This is a real world scenario and not just made up fluff:

A player who has a hard time running racks always comes up short. If he's playing any decent player, he will lose. The more he loses, the more his innings/win ratio (the major component of the APA 8-ball system) goes up. End result: SL-4.

Take the same player and move him into a weak region. He plays exactly the same, always coming up short on the runouts. But, always playing weaker players, they don't get out on him and he gets back to the table and wins more than he normally should. His innings/win ratio goes down. End result: SL-6.

This is a real world example, unfortunately, of someone that was on my team. He was about a 50/50 proposition as an SL-4 in my area. He moved to a weak area, was in the top 3 for winning percentage there, and got moved up by the APA formula to an SL-6 simply because there was nobody hitting back at him to drive his innings/win ratio up.


Fred Agnir
09-11-2002, 09:17 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: whitewolf:</font><hr>
Let me give you an example of the 'WHY': In Frederick Md, they play on tight 9 footers, and their handicapps differ widely with the Magic Cue players who play on 8 footers. When you go to the APA regionals, they are supposed to adjust (bump the 9 foot players up a level), but this is pure BS in my opinion. I have never seen it happen.
I don't think this is true. I think that you check off the table size on each score sheet each week and the formula takes care of the handicap based on that particular weeks performance on that particular table. It has to be a week-to-week thing.

Many teams play on a 9' table at home, but not away. You can't simply adjust their entire handicap at the regionals based on the 9' table if they don't exclusively play on a 9' table.

09-11-2002, 09:40 AM

Fred Agnir
09-11-2002, 11:25 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: whitewolf:</font><hr>Wow Fred. I can't believe that after all of these years I have never seen the size of the table box on the scoresheet, at least on the APA's. <hr></blockquote>
Well... it's been 2 years since I've been on an APA team. The check boxes for the table sizes were always very clearly visible. So, either they did away with that, or they were specific to our area. Or they're still there, and you're blind ;-)

On the other hand, here's one from a Maryland APA website:

<a target="_blank" href=http://www.apapool.com/pdf/8ball.pdf>http://www.apapool.com/pdf/8ball.pdf</a>


09-11-2002, 11:36 AM
Yep, still there - right below the team captain's signature blocks at bottom.

Walt in VA