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Updated on April 19, 2013

Playing snooker

Snooker is a great game to play and I've been trying to play snooker for many years. I say trying because I just do not have the talent or the ability. However this doesn't stop me from trying every Sunday morning at my local club. After two games I've had enough but some people can go on for hours.

I've had plenty of advice from top class players and the first thing they say is, 'You must get your balance right.'

If you are stable when you take a shot then you will be able to pot with more consistency. The next time you see good players playing, watch where they put their feet. The front leg will be bent and the back leg kept straight. This gives a strong base from which to gain that all important balance. You must also keep your feet in a line. Try to concentrate on the way you stand. Stay down on the shot after you hit the cue ball, until the object ball is sunk.

A good exercise is to start by placing the white on the brown spot and hit it in line down the table across the spots, hitting the far cushion, trying to get it to run back up the table and run across the spots. This exercise is to make sure that you are hitting the ball dead centre. If you reach a good rhythm and are more successful than not, stop when you are getting it right.

At break off

Value of the colours

Anyway for those who don't know, there are fifteen red balls, one yellow, one green, one brown, one blue, one pink and one black. Not forgetting the one white ball which is the cue ball as you hit it with your cue to pot the colours.

A potted red ball counts for one point.

yellow counts 2

green counts 3

brown counts 4

blue counts 5

pink counts 6

black counts 7

At the start of the game the reds are placed in a triangle at the far end of the table, with the point of the triangle facing the black D at the top end. The black is placed on its spot behind the triangle and the pink on its spot in front of the triangle. The blue is placed half way down the table on its spot and the other three colours are placed along the width of the table, their spots being on the straight part of the D. Leaning over the table at the D end, the colours line up green on the left spot, brown on the middle spot and yellow on the right hand spot. The game is started when the first player positions the ball anywhere in the D and aims at the reds at the far end, breaking the pack. The next player then takes his shot.

You must aim to pot a red first before any other colour. Once you have potted a red then you have the pick of the other colours. As you get better at the game you will be able to position your white ball roughly where you want it to be, near to the colour of your choice. So, if you pot a red then, for example, go for the black and pot that as well, you've scored eight points. You can then aim for another red, then another colour and so on. As soon as you miss a pot, your break is over and its your opponent's turn. You then continue to play, potting red, colour, red, colour until all the reds have been potted.

Once the reds are gone the colours are then potted in sequence. First ball is yellow, then green, brown, blue, pink and black.

A snooker is obtained when the white ball is hidden behind another colour, blocking your object ball. You then have to find a way of hitting your object ball without hitting any other ball. You can do this by bouncing the cue ball off the side or top cushions to hit the object ball, or if you are proficient enough, swerving the white around the ball that's blocking your shot. This move takes a lot of practice to get right.

There are a lot of rules to the game of snooker, far too many to go into here but the basic ones will get you started.

If you miscue, that is your cue slides off the white and the white doesn't hit your object ball or the white drops into a pocket, that's a foul shot. Your opponent gets the value of the object ball you were aiming for.

If it was a red, then you lose four points, if it was one of the other colours you lose the value of that colour. The same applies if you miss your object ball completely, and also if you hit your object ball but then the white drops into a pocket. If the latter, then the white is allowed to be placed anywhere in the black coloured D at the top of the table by your opponent, and the shot taken from there. Or, if the player asks you to take the shot again, from the D, he is quite entitled to do so.

I hope you enjoy your game of snooker and who knows, we may see you at the World championship one day, where they play for huge amounts of cash.


You must hit the red
You must hit the red


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    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 6 years ago from South Wales

      Its not an easy game to play, greensleeves and any break is welcome. I'm still trying, sometimes having a splash of inspiration, but I'm still a poor player. I love to watch the professionals on TV and look forward to their competitions. Thanks for the comment.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 6 years ago from Essex, UK

      Thanks for the article scarytaff (belated thanks seeing as it was written last year!). I've always wondered why the game hasn't caught on in America in recent years - given that they play pool, and the money in snooker is so high these days, I'm surprised more American pool players haven't tried to cash in on the snooker success story.

      Not my best sport. My best ever break was 22 which consisted of about 6 balls in a row. My second best break was 13 - pink and black!!

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 7 years ago from South Wales

      Hiya Ianto, sorry about the delay in answering you, been in Portugal for a week, battling the gales. thanks for the comment.

    • iantoPF profile image

      Peter Freeman 7 years ago from Pen-Bre, Cymru/Wales

      My dad raised me on snooker love the game though I haven't played it in years. Still my misspent youth has got me quite a few beers here in America. This country is full of people who think they know how to play pool. :)

      Your Hub brings back happy memories of me and my dad at the British Legion club.