About the APA

The American Poolplayers Association - known as APA Pool Leagues - is the world’s largest amateur pool league with more than 275,000 members competing in 8-Ball and 9-Ball Leagues, as well as numerous other specialized formats such as no-handicap Masters, 8 and 9 ball Doubles, Ladies 8 ball, Juniors, and our extremely popular National Singles Program!
These formats and programs are currently in three country's around the globe... the United States, Canada, Japan - with more countries slated to begin in the future.

 APA Executive Staff

Co-Founders – Larry Hubbart and Terry Bell

In 1979, after several years on the professional circuit and with numerous titles under his belt, Terry “Texas Terry” Bell developed an idea for a centrally controlled nationwide amateur pool organization. He realized how popular billiards was becoming and knew that no organized system for recreational league play existed. So, amid much skepticism among professional players, Bell joined forces with Larry “The Iceman” Hubbart, who was also competing on the professional circuit. Together they founded the American Poolplayers Association, Inc. (APA) in 1981 to act as the sanctioning body of the League. Previously known as the American Pool League, Busch Pool League, Bud Light Pool League and the Camel Pool League, the APA now sanctions and oversees the APA 8-Ball League and APA 9-Ball League in the United States, the Canadian Poolplayers Association in Canada and the Japanese Poolplayers Association in Japan.

Based on their knowledge of the game, Bell and Hubbart developed a unique handicap system, The Equalizer®, to level the playing field in the League. The Equalizer® utilizes a formula that measures a scoring ability by counting the number of turns it takes a player to win a game. The result is a handicap that determines the number of games a player must win to capture a match. After the handicap system was developed, the APA was formed as the sanctioning body of the League. In October 2010, Bell and Hubbart were inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service!


History of the American Poolplayers Association (APA)

The American Poolplayers Association (APA) was founded by professional poolplayers and Billiard Hall of Famers Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart in 1979 as the National Pool League, which became the American Poolplayers Association in 1981. The two realized the popularity of the sport, but knew, that different from other sports, there was no existing recreational league system.

Today, the APA, also known as the Canadian Poolplayers Association in Canada and the Japanese Poolplayers Association in Japan, has grown to nearly 275,000 members and boasts more members than all other “national” leagues combined. The League is administered locally by a network of Franchise Operators, called League Operators, and is conducted weekly in a variety of both 8-Ball and 9-Ball team formats. There are nearly 300 APA Leagues throughout the U.S., Canada and Japan.

APA League teams have the opportunity to advance to the APA World Pool Championships each summer in Las Vegas. In 2010, Guinness World Records recognized this event as the World’s Largest Pool tournament. In addition, the APA also hosts a second tournament, the APA Poolplayer Championships, in Las Vegas each spring. APA pays out a combined $2 Million annually at these tournaments.

The APA also conducts the U.S. Amateur Championship, the pool world’s most prestigious amateur tournament, which is the only competition open to APA members and nonmembers alike. The tournament began in 1994 and has grown significantly over the years, as players across North America battle for a spot in this coveted event.

APA also runs the APA Junior Championships each summer. This tournament gives children ages 7-18 the opportunity to compete for prizes and trophies in their skill level bracket. It’s a great opportunity to introduce kids to the game of pool!

The APA is has also been recognized as one of the top small business and home-based franchise opportunities in the world. In 2010, Forbes magazine ranked the APA as the #2 “Top 20 Franchises to Start.” APA is ranked a “Hall of Fame” franchise with the Franchise Business Review for having been named a Top 200 franchise for 10+ years. Click here to view more APA franchise honors.

One of the keys to the success of the American Poolplayers Association is The Equalizer®, the unique handicapping and scoring system that makes it possible for players of different playing abilities — especially novices and beginners — to compete on an equal basis, much like they do in golf and bowling. The Equalizer® uses a formula that measures a player’s ability. The result is a handicap of how many games a player must win to capture a match in 8-Ball or the number of points a player must earn to win a match in the 9-Ball format.

The Equalizer® system lets players of any skill level compete against each other evenly.

With The Equalizer®, it’s feasible for a beginner to have a nearly equal chance in a match against a more highly skilled player. The Equalizer® aids the lesser skilled player by dictating mathematically that he/she needs to win fewer games or points than his opponent to win the match. (In golf and bowling, you give or get strokes or pins.)

Everyone Can Play – Anyone Can Win!®The Equalizer® is only available in the APA.

In an APA League, you give or get games in the 8-Ball format and you give or get points in the 9-Ball format. How many games or points you give or get is determined by comparing your skill level to your opponent’s skill level. A higher skilled player must give games or points to a lower-skilled player, thus evening the match.

How Handicaps Are Determined

Your Local League Office calculates and reports skill levels to the teams on a regular basis. Your skill level determines how many points you have to earn to win your match. Each ball pocketed is worth one point, while the 9-ball is worth two points. Skill levels are maintained, calculated and updated by the Local League office. The process includes a number of factors including the application of specific mathematical formulas to the data on the weekly scoresheets, win/loss records, Higher Level Tournament performance, qualitative judgment by Handicap Advisory Committees, and other considerations. You are asked to refrain from attempting to keep your own records as it is generally a disruptive practice. The APA appreciates your cooperation with this policy.

How to Get Started

New players do not have a skill level established, so all new players will start as a skill level 3. A League Operator is authorized to assign special skill levels and lowest attainables to new players who are known to be highly skilled players or to players who have previously established a skill level in another format. As a result of your first match, a skill level is established and reported for you. It is against the rules for a player who has an established skill level to attempt to reestablish his skill level at a later time. For example, you can’t quit for awhile and then rejoin the League or transfer to another League area as a nonrated player. You are obligated to disclose the fact that you are a former or current member in another League area with an established skill level.

Once Skill Levels Are Established

Now you can look at how your skill level and the skill levels of the other players interact to create the highly competitive atmosphere that has made this League so successful. Remember you are going to give or get points in 9-Ball. During regular weekly League play, simply refer to the “Points Required to Win” chart shown on the scoresheets for your convenience.

Click here for more information about the history of the APA.