Whether you like to admit or not, snooker is dying. This is particularly true for Asian countries. Gone are the days when you will see young kids spending hours in a neighbourhood centre playing snooker. In Malaysia, it is now considered a minor sport that is slowly dying along with billiards. The Sports Ministry’s recent budget cuts amid the economic crisis caused snooker players to look for other means to support their love for the sport. The Malaysian Snooker and Billiards Federation (MSBF) admitted that they no longer have funds to keep their athletes from playing competitively.
The Popularity of Snooker
Snooker was previously among the most popular games in the world, especially when it received wide acclaim in China and India. Today, however, most of the best players come from Britain. This is evident in the Snooker World Championship where most of the participants are UK players.
The game developed from billiards, another cue sport. Snooker came along during the 19th century, with the first official snooker tournament held in 1916 and first World Championship in 1927. The sport’s popularity climaxed during the 1970s and 1980s where almost all kids in the neighbourhood know how to play the sport.
How to Play Snooker
Playing snooker has one objective: use the white cue ball to cause the other balls to fall in the pot following the correct sequence. The goal is to get more points than the opponent to win a frame. The frame is the individual game unit used in snooker.
Players and Equipment
The game has two players playing against each other. The balls used during play must follow regulations. The table is rectangular with a measurement of 12 feet by 6 feet and must be less than 3 feet in height. The tables are often made from wood with a slot top covered with green baize. It also has six pockets where the balls must go as they are potted. The pockets are located in each of the four corners and two in the cushions.
The baulk end or the end where the game starts has a line across the table width, about 29 inches from the baulk cushion. At the middle of this line is the D, an 11.5 inch-radius semi-circle with the baulk line as the diameter.
The balls, made from phenolic resin must be about 2.7 inches in diameter. A game uses 15 red balls and one black, blue, pink, brown, yellow, green, and a white cue ball. The coloured balls go to their respective spots. The green, brown, and yellow must go from left to right on the baulk like across the semi-circle. The blue goes in the middle and the pink at the midway between the top cushion whereas the black must be at the centre, about 12 ¾ inches off the top cushion. The 15 red balls go in a triangle together with the red ball at the point right at the back of the pink ball.
The players must use a cue to strike the white cue ball. The cue must not be less than 3 feet in length and must not be deformed in any way.
How to Score in Snooker
If a player pots a red ball, he scores one point and must nominate a colour for the next shot. The black ball has seven points, pink has six, blue has five, brown has four, green has three, and yellow two. After each potting a coloured ball (other than the red), the player must choose to pot a red ball before potting another coloured ball. Note that the coloured balls are respotted but not the red balls. The process will go on until there are no more red balls remaining. The six colours are potted in ascending points order and must be finished off with the black ball.
A player’s turn proceeds until he misses a pot or he commits a foul. The game allows a maximum standard break (run of pots) of 147. Should a player commit a foul while playing, the opponent will automatically get four points. The exception here is when the foul occurred whilst the player is attempting to play any of the blue, black, or pink or hit higher value balls first. The awarded point to the opponent is equal to the value of the ball hit.
How to Win in Snooker
As mentioned previously, the player who has more points wins the frame. If the player is leading with more points than what is remaining on the table, the opponent will “need snookers.” This condition will result in balls placed on the table so the player will not directly hit the next legal ball. Through the snookers, the opponent hopes the other player will commit a foul and he will receive four points as a result.
Should the player believe that there is no way for him to win in that particular frame, even with the use of snookers, they often concede the frame. This instance is common when a player would need four or more snookers added to the balls on the table.
Each snooker game is commonly played ins a best-of series. The range widely varies but often they follow best of three to best of 35 such as in the modern World Championship finals.
What are the Rules of Playing Snooker?
- The players must take turns to break or start the frame. The first one is decided through a coin toss. The break is done by placing the cue ball on the D mark. The cue ball must hit a red ball.
- A frame is possible to restart if the players agree that the balls are placed in a position that could result in a stalemate.
- A foul or push shot is called when the cue’s tip touches the cue ball as it touches the target ball. Note that the cue ball is only playable with one clean strike of the cue.
- A referee may call a missed shot if the player fails to strike a legal ball and is deemed not to make a serious attempt to hit the correct ball. The opponent will receive the foul points depending on the ball in question. The opponent may also choose to make the player replay the shot.
- Note that all balls must be in place or stationary before a player can hit or play the next shot.
- It is mandatory for the cue ball to hit the legal ball first. If it is red, any red is valid. Failing to do so may result in a foul. Not hitting any ball or a non-nominated ball also results in a foul.
- It is also a foul when a player touches the ball with any part of their body or with any ball other than the cue ball.
- It is also a foul when the ball is hit off the table. Reds are irreplaceable but coloured balls must be respotted.
- A referee may call “touching ball” if the cue ball is touching another ball. A player must play away from that ball. It is automatically a foul if the ball moves. If it is a nominated ball, the player can play away and it may be called as already contact with the ball.
- If the spot in which a coloured ball would be respotted is covered by a different ball, the coloured ball must be on the next highest available spot. Should all the spots be unavailable, the coloured ball must be as close to its original spot as possible. It should not be touching any other ball.
- When one player fouls and the opponent cannot hit the next legal ball, there is a declaration of a free ball. This will result in the player hitting any other ball of their choice that they must nominate. This will receive a score and act as the next legal ball. For instance, the player may nominate a black as a red. If this is potted, the next ball becomes a coloured ball.
- A player must have one foot on the ground whilst playing a shot.
- Pocketing the cue ball is a foul. The same goes for a jump shot or when the ball leaves the table and clears another ball.
Betting on Snooker
Betting on snooker is relatively easy nowadays as there are a host of snooker tournaments throughout the year. The tournaments with the most value are those in the early rounds and qualifiers since matches are often short.
Many of the tournaments take place in Europe and Asia but the best qualifiers are often in England. If you are living in Malaysia, it is best to place bets with an online bookie like GDBet333. These matches are often streamed online and the most profitable bets are those in major tournaments like the Snooker World Championship, the Masters, and the UK Championships. These major tournaments often feature top-brass players around the world so it always attracts a huge betting crowd.