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What is FargoRate?

FargoRate computes pocket-billiard player ratings called Fargo Ratings that rate amateur and professional players worldwide. Coupling game win/loss data across local leagues, regions, countries, and continents insures players everywhere are rated on the same scale.

A Fargo Rating of 620 means the same thing in Halifax, Nova Scotia as it does in Christchurch, New Zealand as it does in Phoenix, Arizona.


Fargo Ratings are as useful for handicapping a small-town league as they are determining top players by country. To achieve its vision of a new era for pocket billiards in which all players everywhere are connected, FargoRate has created a league management system called FargoRate LMS that is available for use by all leagues.

Brief Overview of FargoRate

Unlike high jumpers, who have height, swimmers, who have time, and javelin throwers, who have distance, pool players –pocket billiard players—have no absolute measure of performance. Skill at pool, like skill at chess, must be based on relative performance—upon who beats whom.

FargoRate rates pool players worldwide on the same scale based on games won and lost against opponents of known rating. We compute the optimum set of ratings—also known as maximum likelihood ratings—as those that best predict the outcome of all of the games amongst all of the players.

Professional players generally have ratings between 700 and 800. A random company holiday party might have many players rated between 50 and 200. Most people who play pool in leagues and tournaments are between these ranges, i.e., between 200 and 700. There is no top and no bottom to the scale.

The rating difference between two players determines the chance each will win a game.

Two players with the same rating, i.e., a 300 and another 300, or a 600 and another 600, have equal chances of winning a game between them. If the two players play multiple games, they will tend to win them in a ratio of 1:1 (one to one).

When two players are 100 points apart, say a 300 versus a 400, the ratio of game wins will be near 1:2, as in 5 games to 10 games, or 50 games to 100 games.

A 200-point gap leads to a game win ratio of 1:4

A 300-point gap leads to a game win ratio of 1:8

A 400-point gap leads to a game win ratio of 1:16

Two players with a 34-point gap, like a 530 and a 564, will win games in a 4:5 ratio. A 50-point gap predicts a 5:7 win ratio.

A new player can establish a rating by performance against an opponent of any rating. For instance, a new player who consistently wins 2 out of 3 games against a 350 is performing like a 450. That is, the two win games in a 2:1 ratio and thus are separated by about 100 points. A group of players who are well coupled to one another, like in a local league, can become coupled to the rest of the world by a few players or even a single player playing outside the group.

Games are added to our dataset every day. And a new rating optimization, coupling everybody together around the globe, is performed every day.

The result is a system that is as useful for rating two-dozen players in a small-town league as it is for rating players in a regional tournament tour as it is for rating world-class completion. And a byproduct is each of these groups knows exactly where it stands relative to the others.

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