Southside APA Pool League

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read below for the most frequently asked questions from Southside APA members (including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Southampton County, Smithfield, Franklin, and surrounding areas). See what other past, present & future pool players are asking us, and get the answers you need! 

What is this Pool League all about?

The purpose of playing in the Southside APA pool league is to get out and have a great time. You’ll meet all sorts of great people and have fun! This is a great way to network and play pool at the same time! You can expect excellent sportsmanship from both your own teammates and your opponents.  

What is the APA?

The American Poolplayer’s Association (APA) is the largest amateur pool league in the world with over 270,000 members. It was founded in 1979 by pro players and Billiard Hall of Famers Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart who recognized the need for an organized recreational league system.

I play pool every now and then, but I’m not an advanced player. Can I still play? Do I have a chance to win?

Yes! One of the best things about the APA is the fact that Everyone Can Play and Anyone Can Win! The league operates using the Equalizer Handicap System (much like golf or bowling leagues use a handicap system). This means that all players – even beginners – can compete and win. This is what makes league play so much fun! Many of the best pool players in the Southside of Hampton Roads play in the APA, right along with beginners and intermediate players!

What kind of people play in this pool league?

People from all different backgrounds play in the Southside APA. Our members include military, clerks, secretaries, lawyers, chiropractors, carpenters, business owners, doctors, waitresses, truck drivers, bank tellers, school teachers, and much more!  Since league play takes place in restaurants, bars and pool halls, players must be at least 18 years of age. We have players of all different age groups, ranging from 18 to 85. Both men and women play in the APA; about 33% of our players are women. Some teams are all men; some teams are all women; most teams consist of both men and women. 

Where does league play take place? 

We have league play all over Hampton Roads. Some divisions are travel and others are in-house and do not travel. Each team has a home location. This is where your team will play most often. You rotate play between your own home location and other teams’ home locations each week. Click on "Location Finder" at the top of this page for more information.

My team is interested in playing in a restaurant/bar/pool hall that currently does not have APA league play. Is this okay?

Most likely! There is no fee to any location for Southside APA league play, so most host locations are more than happy to have weekly league play. Contact us with your preferred location and we can work with that restaurant/bar/pool hall to see if league play is a possibility. We’re always open to adding new host locations!

When does the league start?

We have sessions running all year long! There are 3 sessions – summer (June-September), fall (September-January) and spring (January-May). Contact us to get exact start dates for the next session. Also, keep in mind that we can add teams to sessions anytime within the first 4 weeks of a session, so it’s never too late to get started. If there are a minimum of 6 teams interested, we can start a new division any time.

What days and times does league play take place?

League play takes place almost every day of the week. Most current divisions begin at 7pm during the week and 5pm on Sunday.  Click on "Schedules" in the left margin to see exact days and times for each division. We are not limited, earlier hours on weekends or even weekdays are possible for people who are retired or work night shifts. We can run divisions at any time as long as the host locations are willing.

Does Southside APA have different nights for men and women?

The majority of APA play is coed. This allows couples to spend a fun night out together and gives singles the opportunity to meet new people. APA’s Equalizer® handicapping system ensures that all players, regardless of their playing ability, can be competitive. Alternate formats, such as ladies only or Masters divisions are available as well… so if you’re interested in something like that, please let us know.

What if my schedule doesn't allow me to get there on time or stay all night?

Do you work late or have to get up early? Need to get the babysitter home at a certain time? Usually these things can be worked out through good communication with the team captain. The format is such that you play all of your games at once in a single match against a single opponent (race of the match depends on the skill levels of the opponents). It's often possible for you to play the first match and go home early or play a later match once you're able to get to the host location. Again, the key to situations like this is good communication! It's a team effort, everything goes better if all members of the team are working together.

How many people are on a team?

Five people play on a given league night but there can be up to eight people on a standard 8 or 9-Ball roster so it’s a good idea to have at least six or seven people on a team to make sure you can cover people traveling, sick, or whatever. Obviously a full roster of eight will give maximum flexibility. In the Ladies format, 3 people play with up to five people on a roster. In the Masters format, 3 people play with up to four people on a roster.

What makes up a good team?

People who get along well and have FUN together make up the best teams! Friends, family, co-workers, etc. With the APA you don’t have to be a ‘good pool player’ to contribute to the team! Teams should also consist of players with differing levels of pool playing ability. Since APA is a handicapped league, players at different ability levels can be competitive and there will in fact be times when it may be advantageous to play a beginner instead of a more advanced player. APA’s Equalizer Handicap System and skill level cap prevents teams from consisting of only higher-level players… so be sure to have a mix of better players and beginners on your team so you can have multiple options for meeting the skill level cap.

Skill level cap? Please explain.

Tired of being in leagues where a "stacked" team wins year after year after year? The APA skill level cap prevents this from happening, ensuring that teams are more balanced and competitive throughout the league. The skill level cap is 23, meaning the total of skill levels you play on a given night must be 23 or less. Remember five people play each night so, for example, all five players cannot be SL 5 players because 5+5+5+5+5=25 which is greater than 23. You could play three SL 5’s and two SL 4’s, however: 5+5+5+4+4=23 or two SL 6’s, two SL 4’s, and a SL 3: 6+6+4+4+3=23. The SL total of your participating players can add up to anything less than 23l, you just can’t go over 23. Keep in mind that skill levels of team members will change over time, and they’ll generally go up since players improve over time. Make sure you have flexibility and room for improvement built into your roster!

What formats are available?

We offer 8-Ball Divisions, 9-Ball Divisions, Double Jeopardy Divisions (both 8 & 9-Ball in the same night), Ladies 8-Ball Once a month, Scotch Doubles & Masters (no handicap, uses both 8 & 9-Ball). Masters currently has two divisions with one playing once a month and the other playing weekly. With enough interest we will start a Juniors division.

What are the rules for 8-Ball and 9-Ball in the APA?

The rules are simple to learn. Remember, more than anything, this league is about getting out and having a good time. With that said, of course, there are rules for both 8-Ball and 9-Ball. These rules are followed by all APA players throughout the nation and outlined in the Official Team Manual.  

What kinds of prizes are teams and individuals playing for?

Throughout the session, teams compete for division championship and playoff titles. Through weekly league play and tournament opportunities, teams and individual players win trophies, patches, cue sticks, plaques, apparel, bragging rights, and much more! Southside APA pays out well over $80,000 in cash prizes every year, in addition to thousands of dollars in prizes, apparel, cue sticks, and more. Teams and individuals that qualify for regional and national tournaments play for big money! The  in North America.  Every year thousands of APA members visit and compete in these tournaments.American Poolplayers Association runs the largest and most exciting amateur tournaments The APA awards over $1.5 Million in guaranteed prize money every year during National Tournaments in Las Vegas!

Is there a membership fee?

Yes. Players pay an annual membership fee of $25.00. This membership fee allows you to play in all APA formats throughout the year. As a member, you are entitled to various discountsWhen you take advantage of these discounts, the membership fee will pay for itself! 

Do I get a discount on my membership for joining during the Fall session?

Yes. After paying your $25 for the current league year, your membership will be prorated for the following league year. When you sign back up in January, your dues will only be $15.

How much do I pay for weekly league play?

Playing in Southside APA is one of the most affordable forms of entertainment available! Your league fees will cost you less than going to a movie or just about anything else you can find to entertain yourself! Your entire team pays $35 per week for Open 8-Ball & Open 9-Ball and $30 per team for Masters & Ladies.

How do I get started?

There are two ways you can get started. The most popular way to get started is to form your own team. Teams consist of 5-8 players. Consider inviting friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to be on your team. Players of all skill levels are welcome – beginners included! If you don’t know enough people to form your own team, we can also place you on an already existing team. Contact us at 757-479-2774 or via e-mail at

Can I sign up online?

Yes! You can sign up here or contact us  via phone (757-479-2774) or e-mail (