Running a Tournament, Part 2

A Practical Example of How it’s Done Right

In January, we talked about how to run a tournament.  I’d like to share with you an experience where they did almost everything right.  This happened in Vegas, so I hope I’m not breaking any rules by sharing this!

I recently had the pleasure of participating in the American CueSports National Championships at the Tropicana in Las Vegas.  It was my first time playing in this format, which is very similar to the BCA.

When I found out that there were approximately 500 people participating, I thought there was no way it would compare to the BCAPL tournaments I have attended in the past, boasting almost 10 times that number.  I imagined a tiny room, frazzled tournament directors trying to keep up with table assignments, poorly maintained tables, and in general just mass confusion and chaos.

I couldn’t have been more wrong!

The conference rooms that were used were huge, and they had about 120 tables available. All of them were Valley tables, were very well maintained, and were open for practice at any time, as long as you weren’t next to a live match. The walk from my room to the table took no more than 5 minutes.  A short elevator trip to the casino floor, a walk down the corridor and down a flight of escalators, and I was there.  Anyone who has played in the BCAPL at the Rio (or the Riv before they moved) knows how rough it can be to get to the event from their room: Aurora ran to our room to get my chalk once, and it took her 20 minutes round-trip!

As I mentioned in the January article, time management is very important in running a good tournament.  The ACS Nationals really impressed me in this respect.

I played two events – Men’s 9-ball Singles (121 participants), and Advanced Scotch Doubles (24 teams) with my partner, Shawn Modelo.  She also played in the Women’s Senior 8-ball Singles 50+ (20 players).

First of all, there were plenty of tables for each round, so you didn’t have to wait for a table to be available in order to play your match.  Because they supplied plenty of tables, they were able to schedule every match ahead of time.  If I had made it to the finals, I would have known where and when I was playing before the first round even started.  This earned points from me immediately.  As a person with certain dietary needs, it’s nice to know when I have time to grab a meal, or whether I have time to take a short nap in my room.

The matches were tracked live through compusport (, and there were plenty of monitors around the venue to check on match results and schedules. This was also available through the web, so people at home could see as well, and players could access it via their smartphones.  They even had an app that could notify you of wins/losses, when your match was about to start, and any last-minute changes to the schedule. I’m a tech geek, and this was another huge bonus point from me.

And this wasn’t the best part!

The score sheet itself was printed and placed in a slot corresponding to your table assignment.  When your match was up, you grabbed the sheet, met your opponent at the table, and played your match.  There was a QR code under each person’s name.  The winner of the match would take the score sheet to the tournament desk and scan the code under their name.

The computer screen would immediately congratulate you, and display the information about your next match (time, table, and if available, your opponent).  My phone would buzz about 2 seconds later, notifying me with this same information.  My family back home also got notified that I won, and who I was playing next. Cool stuff!

All systems are prone to glitches.  $#!& happens, right?  Somehow, ACS managed to pull this off without any hiccups (at least, for the time I was there).  There were times when I was scheduled to play a Scotch Doubles match at the same time as a 9-ball match, and they handled the conflict very well.  My opponent had to wait a bit, unfortunately, but it still went very smoothly.

American CueSports, you have my respect and admiration.  You truly “get it,” and know how to run a tournament very well.  I can only hope that other associations can learn from you, and do as well.

I managed a 5/6th win in 9-ball, and Shawn and I took 5/6th in Scotch Doubles as well. I will be playing in the BCAPL tournament in July: Scotch Doubles with Shawn Modelo again, and Men’s Team Open 8-ball.  I am very interested to see how their tournament is run this year.

And I’m definitely packing my walking shoes!

Do you have any suggestions for future articles? Drop me a line at You can also find me hanging out at various pool rooms in the East San Francisco Bay Area. Be sure to say hello if you see me!

Posted in ACS, Article, Table Talk, The Break / Rackem / Stroke Magazines, Tournaments