Watching snooker is a fascinating thing. For some it could be for fun while for some it’s a matter of rivalry. Maybe your favourite player is up against his rival, and you are cheering every point scored by your player.
But, what if you don’t even know the rules yet?
Maybe you have little idea about the rules of snooker but you’re not entirely sure about.
So, don’t you think now is the time to learn how do you play snooker?
Of course. And for that, you don’t need to go anywhere, because below, you’ll be reading all the small and major rules regarding snooker — including the fouls and their penalties.
Table of Contents
Let’s start with the objective of playing snooker.
If I define it in simple words, the object of the game is to strike the white ball with your cue stick such that it strikes the object ball in turn and causes it to fall in the pocket. With every ball you pocket, you get some points.
It’s played in frames. At the end of the frame, the player with the most points wins the frame. And at the end of the number of frames to be played, the player with the most frames ultimately wins the game.
In what orders do you hit the ball or what’s your object ball in snooker, will be discussed below.
There are a total of 22 balls in snooker. Fifteen of them are red, six of them are color balls (yellow, green, brown, yellow, blue, pink, and black). And there is one white ball, which is also known as the cue ball.
Normal snooker balls are not numbered, but in the USA you might find snooker being played with numbered balls as well.
Now, when you have learnt how many balls are there in Snooker, let’s get started with the rack.
At the start of the frame, red balls are set in triangular fashion, as shown in the illustration. Pink ball goes ahead of them in such a way it’s not touching the red ball in the front.
Looking up the table from the baulk end, on the baulk line, a green ball is placed where the “D” meets the line on the left. The brown ball goes in the middle of the line while the yellow ball where that D meets the line on the right.
The black ball goes on a spot 32.5 cm from the top cushion. If you observe the table, you’ll find it centred from left to right so that the brown, blue, pink, and black balls all sit on an imaginary line bisecting the table.
This racking is known as standard racking and followed in international tournaments. However, in some modifications of snooker, racking can vary. If you are interested in learning those racking, do give our article a read.
Normally, toss decides which player will take the break. The player who wins the toss gets the opportunity to place the ball anywhere on or inside the D and hit one or more red balls on an initial break-off shot.
Or, sometimes, both players simultaneously shoot an object ball from baulk in such a way that it hits the foot rail and the one who manages to bring it closest to the rail gets the break.
Basically, not every shot is supposed to earn you a few points in Snooker. The same is true for the break. If your cue ball hits the red ball in snooker and it goes in the pocket, you get a point and you can continue hitting.
But, luckily, like Pool, there are no specific rules regarding the break. So even if you make a mistake, you avoid any penalty.
In case, the ball doesn’t go in the pocket, your opponent will get a turn.
A lot depends on the break you take on the snooker table about how the game will proceed. In other words, it sets up the tone for the players. If you want to learn how to break in snooker, give our article a read.
Play after the break resumes in the same way. The one having the turn must hit the red ball first, and then the color balls in ascending order (based on their value). For any shot to be legal, it must hit the “on” ball, or the object ball first.
For instance, when you have pocketed the red ball, yet you hit another red ball instead of hitting your object color ball, it’ll still be a foul and the same rule of penalty will be applied.
Let’s have a look at some of the fouls that can occur during the play after the break:
Every foul either costs you four points, or, if the ball in question is of greater points than four, then it can cost you more.
For instance, the ball you sink is of 6 points while you make a foul when you are supposed to hit it, your opponent will get six points.
In short, the number of points a foul can cost you is between 4-7. No less than 4 and no more than seven.
In snooker, you start with the red ball and then move to the colored ones. For instance, you are supposed to pocket the red ball first, and then you can pocket any of the colored balls: yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, black.
But remember, after pocketing the red ball you manage to pocket a color ball as well, for instance, yellow, now before hitting the green ball, you are supposed to pocket another red ball. In other words, pocketing one red ball gives you the privilege to sink one color ball.
One red ball before every color ball. Until or unless, there are no red balls left on the table.
Here are the values of different balls you find on snooker table:
I’m sharing a few common terms you’ll hear a lot while watching snooker. These instances mostly occur during the play, after the break.
Let’s start with the cannon. A common trick used by players to kill two birds with a single stone.
Snooker matches consist of odd numbers of frames, 11, 15, and 17. Each frame ends when all balls on the table are pocketed and the one with the most numbers of points is declared winner of the frame.
However, if a game has reached a situation in which one player has an unbeatable lead, the other player can concede the game — or in other words, forfeit.
And finally, when the fixed number of frames have been completed, the player with most frame wins is declared the winner.
There is no fixed time. You can’t even predict how long a certain game is going to last. First of all, it depends on the number of frames. Secondly, it depends on the skill level of players.
To determine how long can a snooker game last, we must go through various situations that may occur during a game. And also, a few other factors, which we have discussed in a separate article.
Though it’s very rare, the highest break can be made in normal circumstances is 147. In a professional tournament, the first time this break was achieved in World Championships on 21 April, 1997 by none other than Ronnie O’ Sullivan.
Does Scratch on red ball in snooker?
Actually, the term scratched is mostly used in Pool. In Snooker, we call it the “on” ball. You can scratch red if you pocket it when you are not supposed to do so.
Why do snooker players tap the table?
Tapping the table is a common gesture when you are applauding your opponent over a good shot.
Can you shoot backwards in snooker?
No, there is no such instance in which the referee allows you to shoot backward.
How many points do you need to win a frame in snooker?
More than your opponent. At the end of the frame it becomes clear who stands with the lead.
How are snooker points calculated?
Number of points you have earned by sinking a ball or as a result of your opponent’s foul are calculated and a total score is displayed on the screen with every shot.
Snooker is undoubtedly an exciting game. But, you must know how to play it. A lot of people think snooker is just about sinking random balls. However, there’s a proper sequence in which you are supposed to hit the ball. And if you have noticed, it’s not about scoring but making it difficult for your opponent to score, with every shot you take. I’m sure, with the above mentioned snooker rules, you have learnt all about endless possibilities that might occur during this game.