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Carlo's Table

Divvying up league loot

and other forms of insanity

Only a masochistic fool agrees to be a League Team Captain.

Period. You have just read one of Carlo’s Irrefutable Laws of Pool Physics and Human Psychology.

The title bestowed upon the illustrious leader of a pool team is Captain.

Captain of the Ship.  Captain of the Night.  The Captain who will direct us into battle utilizing clever tactics to marshal resources to defeat the superior opponent.  The Captain is the brain of the organization.  El Capitan.  Uh huh.  Unh unh.

My teammates devised a particularly devious way of electing a Captain.  Whoever is NOT at the team meeting is liable to be elected Captain.  Now doesn’t that sound like a scientific method of election?  No politicking.  No back slapping.  No "Soft" money as campaign contributions.  Just slam, bam and you are their LEADER!  Your heart fills with pride and your eyes water as you feel the respect these fellows have bestowed upon your countenance.

The task of the Captain include:

  1. Doing the paperwork at the start.
  2. Letting everyone know where to be.
  3. Letting everyone know what to wear.
  4. Letting everyone know what it will cost.
  5. Deciding who will play and who will sit out.
  6. Doing the paperwork at the matches.
  7. Doing the paperwork for tournaments.
  8. Doing the paperwork at the end.
  9. Slicing up the payout.
  10. Listening to complaints about how you did 1-9 wrong for the remainder of your life.  Threats follow.

If number 5 doesn’t get you killed or impeached somewhere during the season, number 9 will hang you out to dry.

If you are a high-win team, your players will actually get back more than what the put in, besides playing for free all season. 

If they put in $100 and get back $150, that is a simple Return-On-Investment of 50%.  Compounded and including time values, it comes out about 100% or 200% annualized.  Your 401K should do so good.

If you are a low-win team, you put in $100 and maybe get back $60.  Most teams at the bottom think "Wow, I played all season for only $40 bucks!  I normally drank that much before the match even started!  Hey, now I got $60 so I’ll get the first round!"  Happy campers.  All monies divided equally.

But after a few seasons the pool players’ evil minds takes over.  Didn't you know all pool players have evil, untrusting minds?

Different formulas for funds division burst forth as players start to look for FAIR ways to INCREASE their individual cut.

What do I mean?  Shall we divide funds by:

  1. Dividing equally among all players –or-
  2. Prorate to each player by weeks played –or-
  3. Prorate to each player by games played. –or-
  4. Prorate to each player by games won.

Are individual winnings, such as high average and other such number to be shared? 

Now this last one is seldom a question, most of us understand that INDIVIDUAL winnings are just that.  But options 1 through 4 above are fraught with peril!

Now you have to list what you paid each player and every player is going to scan the list to see who got paid what.  Being naturally competitive the players have to come with reasons why they did not get as MUCH as Bubba or did not get MORE than Bubba.

Maitre d':  Would you care to see the Whine List?

  1. If it was divided equally then it was not fair because I played more than Bubba yet Bubba got part of my money!
  2. If it was prorated by number of weeks attended then it was not fair because I played more games than Bubba yet Bubba got part of my money!
  3. If it was prorated by number of games played then it was not fair because I WON more than Bubba yet Bubba got part of my money!
  4. If it was prorated by number of games won then it was not fair because I played more TOUGH TEAMS than Bubba yet Bubba got part of my money!

Now each and every one of the arguments is sort-of understandable.

It is just that we are not dividing up the tax revenue of the United States.  We are not negotiating the military budget for the World’s remaining Super Power.  We are not squabbling over vast sums.

I have built spreadsheets that calculate the number 6 ways from Sunday.  I have documented and re-documented all calculations and options.  The total dollar swing after a whole season was under $10.  I printed the whole mess, prepared a mass mailing, and deluged my teammates with pages of calculations.

At the last moment, I added a page of comments, meant to be funny yet still carry a pointed message.  Now I don’t know if it was read by the teammates (great teammates, I must add) and viewed as humorous, almost humorous, not funny or hateful and spiteful.  Nevertheless it had the effect of putting the matter to rest.

Whew.  I was glad of that!  I must have spent 6 hours jacking around with the numbers to get them accurate, well presented, accurate, and most of all, accurate. 

I added $10 worth of materials and postage.  I printed, and re-printed and printed yet again.  Graphs, charts, percentages, return-on-investment, and on and on I went.

I felt like the bankers trying to reorganize international debt in 300 languages and 24 time zones. I wonder if I could have charged transaction fees, like an ATM? 

I was elected CAPTAIN, not BANKER!  Where was the respect, the admiration that was so due me for being not only the Captain, but I was


So everybody got their printouts, read them to whatever extent that their time and brains allowed, and formulated their opinions about my efforts and me.  They mulled over their responses.

Their consensus comment was "How do we know if these numbers are right?"  If I had been armed that evening there would be a lot fewer league players left on this planet.

Over the next decade most everyone saw the humor in the matter and realized that we had spent an average of $50 in beverages while conducting the debate over what turned out to be a mere pittance of a $10 swing.  Then someone said, "That was fun! Let’s do that again next year!  Carlo’s buying."


What do you guys think I am, a BANK!?!?

Ok, Ok, Ok, no big deal.  The incoming Captain will have the problem, not me.  I’ll counsel him about the problem.  No, no, I won’t, at least not until he has been elected and is part way through the season.  I wouldn’t want to scare him off and get stuck with the job again!


I missed the meeting and I became Captain for the following year.

So I hereby propose the following optional solution for the problems of how to divvy up funds at the end of the season.

  1. Blow all the loot on a team party and everybody gets crushed on bad vodka. Save some of the money for legal fees. Have a team decoy who doesn’t drink but leaves the party staggering, dropping his keys and falling down. The authorities will trail him as he leads them away from the party and the real partiers.
  2. Cut cards and the winner gets it all. If you draw the joker, you get all the bucks and an extra ten-spot from each. Shuffle REAL well.
  3. Have a team tournament but play with such bad equipment and under such miserable conditions that the playing field is level and even your team Hammer doesn’t have an advantage.
  4. Donate the money to a worthy charity such as to the retirement fund for wayward pool column writers.
  5. Send the money to me and I’ll write up you team as the "Team of the 2000s!" With color pics!
  6. Take the money to Las Vegas, put it all on a high-odds long shot and kiss it goodbye.  If you win then you’ll REALLY have something to battle over not just plus or minus ten bucks.
  7. Draw straws, the winner gets a fun filled exciting evening with semi-retired Las Vegas stripper FiFi La BoomBoom. Save a few buck for penicillin shots.
  8. Or you can do as so many, many Captains have done to their pool playing buddies, just keep it and move out of town and find a new team of pool novices to fleece.

I vote for the party idea. Send me an invitation and I’ll put it on my social calendar, which I’ll buy just as soon as I receive the invitation.


Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it.  Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.

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