Last Updated: Sep 25 2008 11:42AM


Most Leagues have Play Offs at the end of their League Schedule in which all or the majority of the Prize Funds get awarded. The League needs to select a Play Off approach that:
  • spreads the Prize Funds as much as possible. Something to everyone is the best.
  • the Format is perceived as being fair.
  • everyone actually has some kind of chance to win more than the minimum.

  • Very common is the requirement that ALL Players on a Team must be ORIGINAL Team Members. No picking up of Players from other Teams, unless the League Executive has pre-approved under very special circumstances and even that is not recommended.
  • Very common is the requirement that all Players must have played at least some specified minimum number of games with the Team during the League Schedule.

Handicapped or Not?
  • The use of Handicaps in Play Offs is generally recommended. It's all about leveling the Playing Field to give the lesser skilled Teams a fighting chance. If a Team Trip to a CCS Championship is a Prize, Teams may ask "Don't you want to send the best Team". Answer-"Not necessarily". IT'S WHAT'S BEST FOR THE OVERALL LEAGUE THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT. If giving everyone a fighting chance is what's needed to keep the League intact and to keep Teams coming back, there's nothing to discuss. This can't be emphasized enough, as the fastest way to kill a League is to play without Handicaps and give everything to the Top. Teams will know long before the Play Offs that they have NO chance and although you might be able to talk them into finishing, they won't be back.

Play Off Groups
  • Leagues with 4 to 10 Teams usually play in a single Play Off Group.
  • Larger Leagues will often split into two Play Off Groups – a Top Half and a Bottom Half.
  • This split is simply done on Final Team Standings. The key is that there is a pre-determined split of the Prize Funds between the two, decided by Captain Meeting vote. The split can be equal or slightly favouring the Top Half but the Top Prize in each should be the same. What's often done is the Top Half plays without Handicaps and the Bottom Half plays with Handicaps.
  • Now you have the best of both worlds. In the Top Half, the better Teams only play the better Teams and the most deserving Team wins the Top Prize. In the Bottom Half, the focus is not on the 'best' Team winning at all. It's about any Team either winning or finishing higher than they otherwise would have.
  • And the best part is that every Team can be looked straight in the eye at the start and be told that they have as good a chance of winning the same Top Prize as the very 'best' Team does. This not only encourages Teams to join, it gives them every reason to finish and to be back again. In the end everyone wins as the larger the League, the more Prize Funds there are.

Play Off Format
  • The two main formats are 'Round Robin' and 'Double Elimination'

    Round Robin
    • This is generally used for smaller Play Off Groups of 6 or less as the number of Matches required increases exponentially. It simply means that all Teams play each other a single Match. The Schedules shown in the 'How To Make A League Schedule' section can be used to set up your 'Round Robin'.
    • It is recommended that the 'Round Robin' be combined with additional play such as 3rd plays 2nd and the winner plays 1st to determine the final finish. The reason is that this avoids any concern that may arise from perceptions of 'dumping' for whatever reason in the last round or two of the Round Robin.

    Double Elimination
    • As the name implies, a Team must lose twice before they are out.
    • The main issue is how the Draw is to be done. Although it can be done randomly, it is very common to use 'seeding' based on Final Team Standings. 'Seeding' in this fashion means that if all Teams play to 'form', the two Teams highest in the Final Team Standings would not meet each other until the Finals. The Tournament Chart examples provided (4, 8, and 16) have already been 'seeded'. The Top Team goes into the #1 spot, etc. This also means that if there is to be a 'bye', the top 'seeded' Team gets it.

Match Format
  • Most Leagues use the same Match Format they use during their League Play. For the Play Offs only, some Leagues may switch to the 5 Player – 25 Game Rotating Match Format that is used in all CCS and ACS Championships. For 5 Player Teams, a rotating Match Format, where all the Players play each other once, is often seen as the fairest when all the Prizes are on the line.

  • The Referee will make judgement calls on shots, provide interpretation of all Game Rules and otherwise maintain good order on the Tournament Floor. Matches are not continuously presided over by the Referee(s); they must be called over to the Match first when their services are required.
  • The CCS, in partnership with the ACS – American CueSports Alliance, offers the most highly regarded Referee Program in Billiards in North America. Contact the CCS National Office for more information. To progress beyond Local Referee Certification, Referee Clinics are held at all CCS and ACS National Championships.
  • In the absence of a pre-appointed Referee(s), Players may ask someone else (who they both agree on), to observe and make a Ruling on a shot. The Play Off Director then becomes the Head Referee, whose decision is final on everything.

Play Off Prize Fund Payouts
  • The above makes reference to the splitting of Prize Fund Payouts when there is to be more than one Play Off Group and also the recommendation of having the same Top Prize for each.
  • Within a Play Off Group, it is a good idea to spread the Payouts as broadly as possible. Some Leagues provide a minimum Payout to all the Teams and then go up from there. The purpose is to give all the Teams another reason to finish and to return for the next Session.
  • At the very least, a good rule of thumb is to pay out at least the Top 25 to 30%. Here's an example when you have 12 to 16 Teams: 1st – 40% 2nd – 30% 3rd – 20% 4th – 10%.
  • Whatever the Play Off Groups and the Prize Fund Payouts are to be, they should have been completely decided by Captain Meeting vote and appear on the Play Off Tournament Charts. No late changes or surprises.

When and Where
  • The most common arrangement is to hold the Play Offs on a weekend in a single Location. Another way is to arrange for the Play Off Matches to be played on the same night as normal League Play. The weekend gets it done quicker whereas the doing it on League Night may be more convenient to the Teams.
  • For In House Leagues, the Play Offs would be held at the Host Location. For larger Traveling Leagues, if a single Host Location can't be found that has enough Tables, they may rent an Event Site and rent Tables from a local Vending Company or Hi Country Promotions in Colorado. An alternative is to arrange 'Traveling' Play Offs using the same Locations that host the Teams during League Play.

Singles Play Offs
  • This is separate and additional to the Team Play Offs. Some Leagues will also arrange a Singles Tournament, either during the League Schedule or after, that is restricted to only the registered Players in the League.
  • Although the focus of the League is Team Play, Players also like to see how they stack up in individual competition.
  • The Prizes may come from either a pre-determined allocation from the general Prize Fund or from Entry Fees. Both work and having the Tournament adds interest for your League Members.

Chart Examples

4 Chart8 Chart16 Chart

For additional information, see General League Play and Play Off Policies.

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