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Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, John Higgins, Graeme Dott, Shaun Murphy and Australia’s Neil Robertson have all raised the World Snooker Championship trophy over the past decade.

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Neil Robertson

They are household names and have done well out of the sport due to the game’s heavy Television broadcast schedule.

It is for this reason the game of Snooker enjoys such a high profile despite Snooker itself not being played at the grassroots level as much as eight or nine ball.

The skills and tactics of Snooker are undeniable and as a general belief if you are good at Snooker you should do okay at any of the other cue sports games.

Like Billiards, not to be mistaken with American Billiards, you can’t hide in a game of Snooker – poor play will be exposed.

Watching two low-skilled players play Snooker is painful, particularly if you’re playing next as it will be a long wait.

That said watching the highly skilled is very awesome and it is why the game is covered extensively on Television.

When staged on a full size table of 12’x6’ or 10’x5’, Snooker is played with 22 balls which is made up of one white cue-ball, ten red balls and one yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black ball.

Ten red balls are used on smaller tables.

The red balls are racked in the triangle and placed behind the spot at the foot of the table.

The coloured balls are placed on the various spots on the table as seen in the diagram below.

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  • BROWN ball placed on CENTRE of string line
  • YELLOW ball placed on spot to the RIGHT
  • GREEN ball placed on spot to the LEFT
  • BLUE ball placed on spot at CENTRE of table
  • PINK ball placed at APEX of pyramid
  • BLACK ball placed HALF WAY between pyramid base & back cushion

The object of the game is simple. Sink a red ball then sink a coloured ball and try and continue this scenario as many times as possible. So in other words, sending a red ball into a pocket allows you to shoot for a coloured ball.

While a red ball is one point the coloured balls have different values which are:

  • BROWN – 4 points
  • YELLOW – 2 points
  • GREEN- 3 points
  • BLUE – 5 points
  • PINK -6 points
  • BLACK – 7 points
Women's world champion Reanne Evans

Women’s world champion Reanne Evans

You can pocket any coloured ball after pocketing a red. If you sink the lowest valued colour ball on the table it is taken out of the game however if it is not the lowest valued coloured ball on the table it is immediately replaced to its original position on the Table. If the spot is occupied the ball is placed on the nearest vacant spot. Once reds balls are pocketed they remain there.

Once all the red balls have been pocketed you must then sink the remaining coloured balls in order from lowest to highest (points).

And to make it a challenge you must nominate which coloured ball you are aiming for during all stages of the game. This means if you accidentally sink a coloured ball that wasn’t nominated it is returned to the table and a penalty applies to the shooter.

Penalties apply to the following if:

  • A player loses four points if they aim for a red ball and misses or if the white cue ball goes into the pocket.
  • A player aims for a coloured ball and misses he loses the value of the ball missed except for the Yellow and Green balls which then carry the minimum penalty which is 4 points.
  • A player hits a different coloured ball than the one aimed at they lose the value of the highest number ball involved. The same penalty applies to pocketing a wrong ball even if the right ball is hit first.
  • If the player “on” Black misses and no other ball is hit – penalty seven points
  • Player “on” Yellow strikes Black and Yellow simultaneously – penalty seven because the highest numerical forfeit applies.
  • When all balls are off the Table the player with the highest score wins.

In consideration of all the rules, the biggest secret of the game lies in the name – SNOOKER. A snooker is when you deprive your opponent of a clear shot or even better a shot that has no alternative but to foul. So if you are playing Snooker – try and snooker your opponent as many times as possible but make sure you do it without detracting from sinking balls and scoring shots.

However if you absolutely snooker your opponent from a foul stroke they can claim a “free ball”- that is choose any colour he chooses to serve as a red ball. However, the coloured ball will count as 1one and must be re-spotted.

It is a fun game but if you and your opponent is new to the game, it is not a bad idea to have a list of the value of each balls on hand and where they are placed on the table.

There is a Billiard and Snooker club in just about every Metropolitan and Regional centre in Australia and their websites are a great reference on which club to join, upcoming tournaments and lessons.

For tables, accessories or even re clothing your Snooker table, Billiard Shop in Townsville, Mackay, Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast, Bundall on the Gold Coast, Slacks Creek and Aspley in Brisbane and Toowoomba have the complete service to make the good times roll.

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