It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never picked up a cue or you’re a seasoned professional, there is likely a pool league for you! Now before you go out and sign up to join the first pool team you talk to, let me “show you the ropes” so to speak.
Personally, I feel the greatest thing about playing pool in a league is there isn’t any other competitive avenue in which you will meet and compete with or against such a broad cross section of people. I’ve played pool with attorneys, doctors, firemen (and women), police officers, bus drivers, construction workers, retirees, delivery drivers, office workers, sales people as well as…suffice to say there are too many to list in detail here. I’ve played pool with players of all skill levels from players who can’t hold a cue up to 5 time U.S. Amateur Champion Brian Parks and BCA Hall of Famer, “The Scorpion” Johnny Archer (Thanks for the butt kicking… I mean lesson, Johnny!) all in pool league events.
If you think you don’t play well enough to play pool in a league you’re as wrong as two left feet! In fact, many leagues strongly encourage brand new players to join a team in their league thanks to a handicap system that disallows any group of pool players to “load” their team with high caliber hustlers or pros. If you’re new to pool, the first question to ask about a league is if they use a handicap system (most do, but some do not) and a brief explanation of how it applies to it’s players.
Ask about the history and size of the league. Pool leagues come in all sizes ranging from house (venue specific) league to International organizations that hold their own national and world championships. There are cash leagues that cut out all of the extras and leagues that shower their winning teams and players with trophies, trips and…MONEY!
Formats can range from teams of up to 5-8 players, singles and scotch doubles playing a variety of games from 8 ball, 9 ball, 10 ball, Straight pool, One pocket, Rotation and many more. What’s your game? If you don’t know because you haven’t played pool, I would suggest 8 ball. Easy to learn, tough to master.
Some leagues play at the same location on the same day and time of every week. Others travel to different (mostly local) pool halls, pubs and rec centers. If you haven’t been brought up to speed on this, ask before you join. An informed, educated decision will go a long way toward your happiness as a league player.
Discuss up front all costs you’re expected to incur as a league player (most are minimal, about what you would pay to rent a table for an hour or two at the same location) along with unexpected expenses like when a team mate can’t make it to league some night and your team has to forfeit a match. Annual membership fees are the norm but some start up leagues will waive the first year to entice more players to join.
Even if you played in league(s) before and drifted away from it, take another look. You might make a new friend, student, teacher, husband, wife, etc… You get the idea! Besides, aren’t you tired of beating up on your little brother at the pool table all day, every day?