American Poolplayers Association (APA) – A Closer Look at the World’s Largest Amateur Pool League


The American Poolplayers Association (APA) was founded in 1979 by professional pool players Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart. They envisioned an organization that would cater to the needs of amateur players and promote the sport at the grassroots level. Today, the APA has grown into the largest and most comprehensive amateur pool league in the world, boasting a membership of over 250,000 players across the United States, Canada, and Japan. This article delves into the history, structure, and unique aspects of the APA, highlighting its impact on the world of pool.

History and Founding Principles

Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart, both accomplished pool players, realized the need for a well-organized amateur league that could cater to players of varying skill levels. They founded the APA in 1979, with the primary goal of uniting amateur pool players under one umbrella, providing a competitive yet inclusive platform for them to enjoy the sport.

The APA’s founding principles include equal opportunity, sportsmanship, and camaraderie. These principles have remained at the core of the organization as it has expanded over the years, helping to maintain its integrity and strong community spirit.

League Structure and Formats

The APA operates on a franchise system, with local league operators managing the competitions in their respective areas. This decentralized approach allows for a high level of customization and adaptability to cater to the needs of different regions.

The APA offers a variety of formats to suit players’ preferences, including 8-Ball, 9-Ball, and other specialty formats. The most popular format is the 8-Ball Classic, which follows the standard rules of eight-ball pool. In the 9-Ball Shootout, players compete in the fast-paced nine-ball format, which emphasizes shot-making skills.

One of the distinguishing features of the APA is its unique handicapping system, known as the Equalizer® Handicap System. This system allows players of different skill levels to compete on an even playing field, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance of winning. The handicaps are adjusted periodically based on individual performance, ensuring that the system remains up-to-date and accurate.

National and International Tournaments

The APA holds various national and international tournaments throughout the year, offering players the opportunity to compete at higher levels and test their skills against the best amateur players from around the world.

The APA World Pool Championships, held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the organization’s flagship event. This prestigious competition attracts thousands of players from across the globe and offers significant prize money. The event features team and singles competitions in various formats, including 8-Ball, 9-Ball, and others.

The APA also organizes the Poolplayer Championships, another major event that takes place in Las Vegas. This tournament focuses on individual competition, with players qualifying through their local league performance. The event offers a variety of skill level tiers to ensure that everyone has a fair chance of competing for top honors.

In addition to these events, the APA hosts regional tournaments across the United States, providing players with more opportunities to compete and advance in the sport.

Youth and Junior Programs

Recognizing the importance of nurturing young talent, the APA offers a variety of programs for junior players. The APA Junior Championships, held annually, give young players the opportunity to compete against their peers in a national event. This championship promotes sportsmanship, skill development, and the formation of lasting friendships among the participants.

The APA also collaborates with schools and community centers to introduce pool as an extracurricular activity, providing support in the form of equipment, coaching, and other resources.

Charitable Initiatives and Community Involvement

The APA is deeply committed to giving back to the community and supporting charitable causes. Over the years, the organization and its members have raised millions of dollars for various charities through local and national fundraising events.

One of the APA’s most notable charitable initiatives is the annual “Cue for a Cure” event, which raises funds for the American Cancer Society. This event encourages APA members and their friends and family to participate in a fun-filled day of pool, raffles, and auctions, with all proceeds benefiting the fight against cancer.

Another significant initiative is the APA’s support for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The organization donates pool tables, cues, and other equipment to local clubs, helping to introduce the sport to thousands of children across the country. This partnership aims to promote positive youth development through the game of pool and foster an interest in the sport among a new generation of players.

Inclusion and Diversity

The APA prides itself on being an inclusive organization that welcomes players of all backgrounds, genders, and abilities. The league has implemented policies to ensure that everyone can participate in a friendly and respectful environment, free from discrimination and harassment.

The APA’s commitment to diversity is evident in its membership demographics, which represent a wide range of ages, occupations, and cultural backgrounds. This diversity not only enriches the APA community but also contributes to the growth and development of the sport as a whole.


The American Poolplayers Association has come a long way since its founding in 1979. With its emphasis on inclusivity, sportsmanship, and camaraderie, the APA has managed to create a thriving community of pool enthusiasts that spans the globe. The organization’s commitment to developing the sport at the grassroots level, supporting charitable causes, and promoting inclusion and diversity has made it an essential institution in the world of amateur pool. As the APA continues to grow and evolve, it remains true to its founding principles, ensuring that the game of pool remains accessible and enjoyable for players of all skill levels and backgrounds.

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