United States Professional Poolplayers Association
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The United States Professional Poolplayers Association (UPA) is the governing body for the sport of men's professional pool (pocket billiards) in the United States, as well as the organizer of a major national amateur league, and a variety of pro and amateur tournaments. The organization, now based in Manhattan, was founded in January 2002 in Arizona by professional players,> to replace several competing and dysfunctional men's professional pool organizations which had suffered years of problems such as inability to pay out winnings or to keep a stable schedule of competitions. UPA was formerly named the United States Pool Players Association (a name some of their materials still use, sometimes with the spelling "Poolplayers", and rarely with a possessive apostrophe), and has also frequently been unofficially referred to as USPPA or USPA, especially in reference to its professional side versus its amateur UPA League operations. The organization's motto is "Evolve Your Game" (formerly "The Evolution of Pool"). The UPA Tour series of pro tournaments cover multiple pool disciplines, including eight-ball, nine-ball, ten-ball, and straight pool; the amateur UPA National Championships are team eight- and nine-ball events. The organization also offers instructional programs, and event promotion/production for pool tournaments and trade shows.
On the professional side, the Billiard Congress of America (BCA, the more general governing body for cue sports in North America, primarily focused on maintaining rule sets and records), which is the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) US-national affiliate, officially recognizes the UPA as the men's pro pool competition association for the United States, making it the present counterpart of the Women's Professional Billiards Association (WPBA). On the amateur side, UPA is one of a half-dozen or so major national (and unisex) leagues.
In the 2000s, UPA launched an amateur league program named the UPA League (originally the League of Champions); UPA describes it as "a pool league designed by professionals for the serious player." While it is mostly team-based, UPA also offers singles competition, and is not gender-or age-divided, which is an unusual lack of categorization. Most distinguishing of all is that league members can use their singles match records in the league to leverage their way into formal professional play as ranked UPA Touring Professional Program (UPA Tour) members, qualified to compete in pro-only events. For example, a record of 20 UPA League singles matches within the year, and payment of the UPA Tour membership fee, qualifies a player to compete in the Vegas Championships.
Like most leagues, it operates on a local franchise licensing (for-profit) basis. Because the league uses a handicapping system (as found in most amateur leagues) that in UPA's case ranges from beginner to expert, professional players are actually eligible to play in the UPA League (with the maximum-skill-level handicap); this permissiveness is highly unusual in an amateur league in any sport. As in most leagues, membership is annually renewed, and active players also pay nightly dues on the nights they play (a portion of which goes into prize funds).
The league has an annual national amateur championship, held in Las Vegas, Nevada (where most other large US-based leagues do the same; a single events vendor/promoter warehouses thousands of Diamond and Valley-Dynamo "" tables rented out by all of these events each year). The UPA National Championships are a week-long set of tournament brackets in various divisions, most of them team-based play but also featuring singles mini-tournaments. Various marketing materials also use the names UPA Nationals and UPA Las Vegas Nationals. The seventh annual UPA Nationals will be held June 22–28, 2020, at Binion's Casino, and offers a combined nine-ball and eight-ball prize fund of US$40,000 in the team competitions, which (depending on devision) may pay out all the way down to 16th place. The dress code of the UPA Nationals is stricter than most amateur events, in that it requires matching team shirts.
The UPA Tour (in long form, the UPA Touring Professional Program) is a professional tournament series and player ranking system with an annual membership fee. Some events have more open registrations, especially when co-organized with other bodies, and all of them are open to certain qualifying UPA League players with 20 or more singles matches played in the current year. As of February 2020,[update] the recent and upcoming listed UPA Tour events are:
- International 9-Ball Open, October 28 – November 2, 2019; Norfolk, Virginia
- Las Vegas 10-Ball Open, March 11–14, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada (also referred to by the promotional name Diamond Las Vegas 10-Ball Open, and co-organized with CueSports International)
- U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, April 13–18, 2020; Las Vegas (co-organized with Matchroom Sport)
- Vegas Championships, June 23–25, 2020; Las Vegas (a nine-ball tournament using the smaller tables most amateur players are familiar with); UPA Tour members only; prize fund: $20,000
The UPA also offers pool instruction by professionals via UPA Pool School events, held primarily in Las Vegas. The organization has also sometimes provided pool-related event promotion and production, including for tournaments and vendor exhibitions.
- https://upatour.com – replace this with a more specific page reference.
- "The UPA". UPATour.com. United States Professional Poolplayers Association. 2019. Archived from the original on January 31, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
- "Vegas Bar Box Championships". UPATour.com. United States Professional Poolplayers Association. April 3, 2019. Archived from the original on January 31, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
- Brown, Darrin (July 5, 2011). "UPA Pool Leagues Represent Business Opportunity in Tough Economy". UPATour.com. United States Professional Poolplayers Association. Archived from the original on January 31, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2020. This is a press release (primary source), not a news story.
- "Membership FAQ". UPATour.com. United States Professional Poolplayers Association. 2019. Archived from the original on January 31, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
- "UPA Nationals 2020". UPATour.com. United States Professional Poolplayers Association. January 2020. Archived from the original on January 30, 2020. Retrieved January 30, 2020. Originally announced/posted March 14, 2019.
- "Touring Pro Event Schedule". UPATour.com. United States Poolplayers Association. January 2020. Archived from the original on January 31, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
- UPA official website
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