Thursday, April 15, 2021

Fargo Thoughts from The Cueist

So I want to take a min to talk about Fargo ratings since it's all the rage right now. So many people are on either side of the Fargo debate. You can walk into a pool room and bring up Fargo ratings, and you'll hear the typical "oh, it's great! I have 15,000 games robustness, and it helps me gauge where I am against the better players." Or the TD's that use it as a tool for handicapping tournaments more accurately.

But on the other hand, you'll also hear the "oh, Fargo is a load of crap! It's so easy to dump and lower my Fargo." Or the, "I hate any kind of handicapping system. I remember back in the days when everyone played even, and you had to improve in order to place higher in the tournaments."

Then you have pool players like me that can see both arguments, and have seen it both help and hinder pool players of different skill levels.

We have monthly tournaments here in my area that are handicapped based on Fargo ratings. Now these tourneys are great! They consistently have 80+ players, and there's been all kinds of players from beginners to pros play the events. Even though you hear the top level players moan and complain about the handicaps month in and month out, the top players still seem to find a way to win and place high in these events. The handicap system ranges from 4-13, and it's rare that anyone below an 8 places in the top 3, let alone wins it. Funny how that works, right?!

From my humble point of view, the handicap system that these tourneys use is pretty close to accurate. The difference is truly in using Fargo ratings that are established for all of the players. And personally, I think the higher level players are just so used to running through different tourneys without any tough matches until the later stages of the events. Hence the moaning and complaining about someone rated too low when there's an upset, which is rare even when it's handicapped.

And that's not taking anything away from players w/ a lower Fargo rating. However, the difference comes down to consistency. On any given day, a lower level player could play perfect and easily beat a higher level player with very little mistakes. Then on their next match, the lower level player might lose, and struggle badly. But nobody ever remembers the times that the lower players perform to their level. Everyone always remembers when the lower players play over their head and play great. This especially happens with players in the mid-level range, such as the weekend warriors like myself. We could play perfect on day 1 of an event. Then come day 2, we can't make a straight in ball! Trust me, I struggle with this every month. LOL.

So back to Fargo.....personally, I believe Fargo is a great tool for handicapping tournaments, leagues, etc. However, there are still some downfalls, as with any handicapping system. So is it perfect? Umm, no! But I believe that the math involved to create the Fargo numbers is far more accurate than subjective opinions. And that's a good thing! You're able to run tourneys that men/women can compete in, as opposed to having 2 separate events for men/women. You're able to fill up tourneys that may not be full due to an unfair handicap system.

For the players that are only concerned about making money, this means more money in the tourney pool. More people in the establishment that is hosting the event. And for the weekend warrior, that means more competition. It's a win, win!

Let's hear your thoughts on Fargo, and how it's going in your area.