So, you’ve caught the snooker bug, and this intriguing sport—which is a mix of skill, tradition, and large, silent rooms—has drawn you in.
You now find yourself glued to the TV whenever games are broadcast, and you’re hoping to visit the local snooker bar to play a few frames. Since you’re still finding your feet, here are some hints and tips to help you get to grips with snooker more quickly.
The 22 Balls…
If you are familiar with “pool”, the cousin of snooker, many elements of the game will feel familiar. However, one of the biggest differences is that the majority of the balls on a snooker table are red, whilst there are also 6 coloured balls that are strategically placed around the table. Each is worth a different number of points:
- Red – 1
- Yellow – 2
- Green – 3
- Brown – 4
- Blue – 5
- Pink – 6
- Black – 7
The rules require players to take turns hitting the balls into the pockets by knocking the white ball with their cue. If a player successfully pots a red ball, they get another turn, in which they must pot a colour (any apart from red). If they succeed with this, the coloured ball is returned to the table, and they must pot another red. If they miss or foul at any time, their opponent gets a turn in hitting the balls. Once all red balls are potted, the players must attempt to pot each of the coloured balls in their ascending points order (yellow first, black last).
If a player were to pot all the red balls and the black each time, followed by each of the coloured balls, without missing a shot, they would achieve a “maximum break” which is 147 points. However, 147 is technically not the maximum number of points available, as a player could be awarded additional points if a foul is committed by their opponent.
Fans can take a wager on the games…
Like most sports, many companies allow fans to place bets on major snooker games through high street bookmakers, betting websites, and betting apps. Competition amongst these companies is strong, so savvy consumers can benefit from promotional offers (like free bets) when they first sign up to a service.
Fouling in snooker…
There are several reasons a player may commit a foul. These are:
- The white ball hits a ball other than the one intended
- The white ball leaves the table
- The white ball is accidentally potted
- The wrong ball is potted
- The white ball doesn’t hit any of the other balls on the table
Concentration and focus…
You may have noticed that snooker games on TV are played in front of an audience that remains almost completely silent, apart from the occasional gasp and round of applause. This is a tradition in snooker that dates back many years; it helps the players maintain the high levels of concentration required to hit the balls accurately.
How to hold a snooker cue…
Holding the cue correctly is one of the most important elements of success at snooker. You should grip it firmly, but not too tightly or loosely. It should feel natural, just like you would hold anything else. Your feet should be placed so that your stance provides a firm base for you to take the shot, with your weight distributed to the opposite side of your dominant hand. When holding the cue and taking your shot, your elbow should be directly in line with the cue itself.
Now you’re ready to go…
With snooker, as with most things in life, it is easy to get a solid grasp of the basics. However, mastering the sport takes many years of practice and dedication. Don’t let this put you off, though; snooker is fun and a great way to spend time with friends and relax.
Chris Gaynor is a writer with 10 years’ experience writing for the web.
He loves snooker, CSI and loves cycling off tiramisu!