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The USAPL Pool League Rules

Unless clearly contradicted or amended in the USAPL regulations, the USAPL is played using BCA Pool League rules. The BCA has received widespread praise for having a detailed and clear set of rules that guarantee consistency in enforcement throughout all league competition and tournaments. Complete rules and score keeping can be found by clicking on the links below.

USAPL Rules for Match Play

BCA Rules

How To Keep Score

Boston USA Pool League Bylaws

    (These Bylaws were last updated 10-12-2012)

  1. Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm. We are almost always available by cell phone; MA & NH 617-433-7665, RI 401-484-1197 or contact your Division Representative.
  2. Rules: Each player will receive a Player Handbook and should become familiar with the rules of the USAPL. By participating in the league, each player agrees to abide by the rules set forth in the Player Handbook as well as the Boston USA Pool League Bylaws. Local league bylaws will take precedent over national rules on the local level.
  3. Age Requirements: There is no age requirement to play in the Boston USAPL or National tournaments however; players must abide by local "house rules" that may have a minimum age requirement.
  4. Weekly Fees: Team fees for a 5x5 format division are $50 per week ($40 for 4x4, $30 for 3x3) for all scheduled matches regardless of the number of games played or forfeits, including playoff matches. There is no charge for Byes. Team fees must be current to receive weekly bonus points and to play in Playoffs, Vegas Qualifiers or any other league sponsored event.
  5. Checks: Please make checks payable to Boston USAPL. There will be a $20 charge for all returned checks plus loss of bonus points.
  6. Start Time: Each division will have an official start time. Teams are expected to be present and ready to begin matches at the scheduled time. The forfeit time for a team with no players present is fifteen minutes past the scheduled time. A team may begin a match with only one player present, but the following time limits apply to the arrival of additional players: at 75 minutes past the scheduled start time, the second player must have arrived or the second set is forfeited. At 90 minutes past scheduled start time, all sets for players not present are forfeited. See official rule book on how to score a forfeited set.
  7. Multiple Table Play: As per USAPL rules, two table play may be requested by either team following proper protocol found within the rules of the USAPL providing that an additional table is available for the duration of the match and the "house" will allow for the usage of an additional table.
  8. Bonus Points: 75 bonus points will be awarded each week for teams in a 5x5 format (45 points in a 3x3, 60 points in a 4x4) that have their envelopes postmarked the day after league play and include the correct amount of money and properly completed score sheets. A one day grace period will be given if your score sheet is emailed to and the envelope containing the original score sheet and weekly fees must be post marked within two days of league play.
  9. Byes: It is not possible to schedule every division with an even number of teams. When a division has an odd number of teams, each week one team will have a scheduled bye week. Byes will rotate until each team has had one bye and then the cycle will start again. Because standings are based on "Average Points per Set", no points are awarded for Bye weeks and do not affect the standings in any way.
  10. Roster Changes: Rosters are limited to ten players in a 5x5 format (8 players in 4x4, 6 players in 3x3). Teams are allowed to make changes to their roster during the first five weeks of each session. From the start of the sixth week of a session until four weeks before the session's end, a team may change its roster only for its own survival, and all changes must be approved by league management. Rosters changed after the fifth week of a session can have no more than seven players. No changes to the roster are allowed for any reason during post-season play. When adding a player to a roster, a team must obtain the player's rating from the USAPL office.
  11. Adding Teams: Boston USA Pool League reserves the right to add teams to an existing division with up to 8 weeks remaining in the session. Because team standings are based on "Average Points per Set", new teams can enter a division at any point during the session without an advantage or disadvantage. Average Points per Set is calculated by taking your team's total number of points scored in a match and divide it by the number of sets played. This number is rounded off to the nearest decimal.
  12. Ties: In case of a tie with average points per set at the end of a session the tie-breaker will be how the two teams did head to head.
  13. Jump/Masse Shots: Jump shots and Masse shots are allowed within the rules of the USAPL as long as they are allowed by "house rules". Care should be taken when executing a jump shot or masse shot. The player performing the shot will be responsible for any damage caused by execution of the shot.
  14. On-Line LeagueSys: Weekly results, team standings, MVP standings, schedules, score sheets and more will be available to view on line 24/7. The link to LeagueSys can be found on our website at
  15. Postponing a Match: If a team asks to postpone a match for whatever reason, the team asking must inform their opponent at least 24 hours in advance. The match must be made-up within 2 weeks from the originally scheduled date or the team that requested the postponement will receive a score equal to its lowest weekly total and the other team will receive a weekly score equal to their highest weekly total.
  16. Inclement Weather: During bad weather (snow, sleet, etc), the away teams should inform the home teams of a possible delay. Matches will be rescheduled and must be made up within 2 weeks. Severe weather conditions or travel advisory warnings are good enough reason for rescheduling team matches. Please contact the league office with the time and date of the rescheduled match.
  17. Sandbagging: Individual players or teams caught sandbagging or falsifying score sheets may be subject to removal from the league.
  18. Disputes/Protests: Disputes should try to be resolved by the two players and the captains. If the dispute cannot be settled between the two players, you may contact you Division Rep during league play. If the dispute can still not be settled, complete your score sheet the best you can, write a brief description on your score sheet and call the league office during regular business hours and we will work out the dispute. We strongly urge that players solve their own disputes in the spirit of Good Sportsmanship. Any player or team will have the right to appeal before a committee of neutral league members if such a committee has been formed. The league manager may form and govern an appeals committee made up of team captains and/or division reps to vote on any appeal made by any player or team. If a committee member is on the roster of the team filing an appeal, this committee member will not be allowed to vote or sit in on the proceedings.
  19. Gentleman's Call Shot: Applies to 8-Ball only, you only need to call the pocket (No need to call "kisses or rails") for shots that are not "Obvious." Because it is a "GENTLEMAN'S" call shot game, if a shot is straight in or obvious, you don't need to call the pocket, even on the 8-ball. The game will be won the way it should be, with skill, not on a "Not marking your pocket" technicality. There is no requirement to call any shots in 9-Ball.
  20. Duplicate Player Policy (Ghost Rule): The USAPL has a "Duplicate Player" policy that allows a player to play twice in one match for his/her own team. Only one player per team may play twice. If a team is short a player and needs one of their players to play twice, they must notify the opposing team at the designated start time of the match. The opposing team will then choose which player on the "Short" team will play twice. This player will only receive credit for the first set played and only the first set played will be considered as "Posted". Any additional sets played will be considered "Non-Posted". Additionally, this duplicate player will receive MVP points for only the first "Posted" set played however; the team will get credit for all the points scored in both sets played by the duplicate player. The Duplicate Player Policy will not be allowed for any post season play or higher level tournaments.
  21. Players on More Than 1 Roster: League players may choose to play in multiple divisions or play on more than one team within a single division during a single session of play. When playing in multiple divisions, the "Player" will earn MVP points for each set played within each respective division and handicap ratings will be calculated based on all sets played regardless of division. When playing on more than one team within a single division, the "Player" must declare one team to be their "Original" team. Only sets played for the "Original" team will be "Posted". Additionally, each team roster must include the "Player", no rosters may exceed the maximum number of allowed players and rosters may not be changed after the start of week 6. Players will only earn MVP points for "Posted" sets played for their "Original" team however; any additional team will earn points for any sets played by the "Player". If more than one of the "Player's" teams within a single division reaches the playoffs or any post session tournament, the "Player" must choose to remain active on only one roster prior to the first match.
  22. Player Eligibility for regular session playoffs, finals & Vegas qualifier: During a session, players must have played a minimum of 4 sets for session playoffs and 5 sets for session finals or the Vegas qualifier for the team that qualified. Both "Posted" and "Non-Posted" sets will be counted. Members of a team who are ineligible cannot play in the post-season, but they can be used as forfeits for team rating purposes.
  23. Player Eligibility for local Boston USAPL tournaments: Players must have played 6 "Posted" matches on any team in any session and currently be on an active roster.
  24. Player Eligibility for national USAPL tournaments: Any league player with 8 weeks of "Posted" league play within a single session or 14 weeks of "Posted" league play within the calendar year (June 1st - May 31st) is eligible to play in the USAPL National Championships held in Las Vegas each year regardless of league performance.
  25. Player Eligibility for national BCAPL tournaments: Any league player with 8 weeks of "Posted" league play within a single session and 14 weeks of "Posted" league play within the calendar year (June 1st - May 31st) is eligible to play in the BCA National Championships held in Las Vegas each year regardless of league performance.
  26. Higher Tournament Eligibility: Any team that qualifies for a higher level tournament must remain active in the Boston USAPL to remain eligible to play in the tournament.
  27. Dropouts: Teams that dropout during the course of a season can create problems within the league. It can have an uneven or unfair effect on the division standings, and it can reduce the prize money for the other teams if their fees are not paid. Although no one can be forced to play, a team that has started a season is responsible for the full season's fees. The captain of a drop out team will not be allowed to play on future league teams until all owed fees are paid. Team members other than captains are responsible for 20 per cent of total fees owed before being allowed to rejoin the league with another team. If a replacement team is not found, league management will do everything possible minimize any unfair effects of a dropout team on the remaining teams in a league. Possible methods include: "wiping out" some or all of past matches; awarding average points; converting played matches to byes; awarding the maximum points scored against the drop-out to all teams; any other equitable method. The particular methods used are at the discretion of league management, and may be any one or a combination of these.
  28. Coaching/Time-Outs: Players up to a player rating of 59 may receive 2 time-outs per game. Players with a rating of 60 or higher may receive 1 time-out per game. Questions regarding the rules of the game are not to be considered a time-out. Either the player or coach may call for a time-out. Time-outs should last no longer than 1 minute. Coaches may place the cue-ball if the time-out occurs during a ball-in-hand situation. Coaches may not mark the table or playing surface in any manner. Coaches must leave the playing area before the shot takes place. Repeatedly asking the player if they want a time-out and none is taken may be seen as taking advantage of the rules and considered poor sportsmanship. Any other player on the team of the player using the time out may act as the coach as long as they are not simultaneously playing in another match. A different coach may be used for each time out.
  29. Playoff Structure: At the end of each session, the top 3 teams plus a Wild Card team will advance to the session playoffs. The Wild Card team will be drawn from the remaining teams with each team receiving one entry ballot for each session played since inception. The 1st place team will play the Wild Card team and the 2nd place team will play the 3rd place team. The winners will then play each other in the Divisional Finals and a Session Winner will be determined. The higher placed team will always have home table advantage. The winning team from each session along with a Wild Card team will advance to the Vegas Qualifier held following the end of the fall session. If a team qualifies in more than one session, the team that finished 2nd will also advance. The Wild Card team for the Vegas Qualifier will be drawn from all teams that qualified for the Session Finals but did not win. Each team will receive one entry ballot for each time they made it to the finals and one Wild Card team will be chosen. The format for the Vegas Qualifier will be the same as for the session playoffs with the winning team advancing to the National Tournament. The Boston USAPL reserves the right to alter this format for divisions and teams that start mid-year or have average less than 8 teams per session.
  30. National Tournament Prize: For teams and players that qualify for the National Tournament through a Boston USAPL league or event, travel and lodging will be paid for by the Boston USAPL to all members of the team that are eligible to play in the National event however, compensation will only be given to those players that actually attend the National event.
  31. National Rules: National rules always supersede local bylaws at higher level tournaments.
  32. Sportsmanship: Having fun is the main objective of the vast majority of amateur players that join a social pool league. Good sportsmanship can go a long way towards achieving this goal. Winning with class, losing with grace, shaking your opponent's hand, and congratulating the victorious team on their good play at the end of a match, all play a large part in this process. Unfortunately, sometimes in the heat of competition, the message of good sportsmanship and having fun gets lost. The USA Pool League will not tolerate any unsportsmanlike conduct. In addition to the BCAPL rules regarding sportsmanship, specific attention and extra scrutiny will be paid to: failure to comply with league rules, displays of anger, rating manipulation (sandbagging) and illegal coaching to avoid having to take a time out.