The following chart shows standard One Pocket handicaps listed in order of degree of adjustment, starting from ‘even’ and going to the extreme. They are broken down into three columns based on how the count works:
- Natural Handicaps – These scores all add up to ‘16’, so that without any ball-spotting adjustments, every game naturally offers the possibility of coming down to the ultimate end game of a duel over the last ball on the table for the game.
- Long Count Handicaps – These scores all add up to more than ‘16’, thus requiring the player that goes to the long count to spot the first ball or balls they score to bring their required count back down to a natural count. Otherwise all the balls could be down without either player having scored enough balls to win! The disadvantage of long count handicaps is that they will take longer to play, of course. As a reminder in keeping score, a coin can be placed on the rail top for each extra ball to be spotted. In the event that the player going to the long count runs all the balls off the table before all of their extra handicap balls have been spotted, all of the remaining handicap balls are to be spotted all at once, and they continue their inning.
- Short Count Handicaps – These scores add up to less than ‘16’, which means that in the end game, if both players need only one ball, there will actually be more than one ball left on the table. These short count handicaps do help to speed up game times, however.
The break can also figure into handicapping, either by giving one player all of the breaks instead of alternating the break, or by just giving one player the first break in a race when subsequent breaks are still alternated. The break appears to be worth approximately 1-1/2 balls for professional players on tournament equipment, for roughly a 60-40 advantage – a big handicap, especially if the balls are breaking well!
Alternating Handicaps on Alternate Breaks
In cases where only a very slight handicap adjustment is desired, this can be done by adjusting the handicap slightly depending on which player is breaking, i.e.; playing even on the weaker player’s break, but giving up a one ball handicap on the stronger player’s break. This has the effect of cutting the adjustment increment in half, which allows for very tuning indeed.
One Pocket Handicap Chart