Q: How are the handicap ratings determined?
A: Handicap System Updated Information-July 2009:
The handicap system is based on data entered from score sheets provided by the teams. Each player's rating is determined by a series of averages from the performance scores they produced during their match. The more matches played, the more scores there are to mathematically calculate an average or handicap rating. Each player's Handicap is determined by their last 21 scores entered in POOLNET.
To increase fairness, the best and worst score is eliminated and therefore the numerical rating is based on 19 scores. Remember that the system doesn't see what you see in the way a player holds their cue, English, kick shoots, cuts etc. It only has numerical data to mathematically create a handicap. With this new system that is a mathematically based system, averages and handicaps can change from week to week because each time a new score is entered an old score is dropped off, providing the player has 21 scores in the data base. If not, the new score is added to that 21 match total. This means that your handicap calculation can have a completely different set of numbers each time you play. Since one drops off when one is added the group that makes up the 19 changes each week and is therefore different from the week before.
In addition, if the one that dropped off is one of the previous lowest or highest scores, then that now needs to be replaced with a new highest or lowest score and that means the group of 19 changes even more dramatically. Furthermore, if you play someone who shoots "lights out" & doesn't go up the next week, it could be that score is now the players highest score, replacing his previous high score & is thus dropped out of the mix. This is why players can lose and go up/win and go down.
There are several things we want you to understand about how this works. #1) A player can go up after losing or go down after winning. Here is an example: Player A is a high 5, but on the border of being a 6. This player has been on a winning streak and won 7 matches in a row but is still a 5 - however his average has been moving him closer to a 6. He then loses his next two matches and goes up to a 6. Since this player has 21 matches in the system each time he plays one drops off and is no longer part of the data used in the calculation of his handicap. If the two matches that dropped off were weak 4 speed scores and the two losses were high 5 & low 6 speed scores then that would push the average up, even though he lost because there is a new set of data being used to calculate his average. Mathematically this system makes perfect sense, but it is difficult for players to accept.
2) Just because a player loses, doesn't mean they played bad and just because a player wins doesn't mean they played good, so just because this guy went up after losing doesn't mean his opponent should also go up, in fact he could have gone down mathematically.