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Definition: Compensation given to the less skilled players in a match, that theoretically provide all with equal odds of winning. Players compete against their own typical standards. The one who plays better than average, should defeat those who have a “bad day”.

For example, on average, Bill defeats Joe by a score of 5 games to 2 in a “race to 5” games (best-of-nine game series), so Bill accepts a three-game handicap. Joe starts their next match with three victories to his credit and need only win his usual two games (achieve his average margin) before Bill can reach his average by beating him five times. (Bill needs to win five out of seven games, not five of nine games).

Nearly every pool game imaginable can be adequately handicapped, allowing the top pros in the world to square off against a rank amateur with some sense of fairness.

It is vital for players to examine and question the handicap system of any league they are considering, avoiding frustration from too simple or too difficult competition standards.
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