How to Play Snooker

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Snooker is a billiards game played on a large table measuring 12 feet by 6 feet with a pocket in each corner and two pockets located halfway between the end pockets on the long portion of the table. Snooker was invented in the 1870s and the first World Snooker Championships were held in 1927.

Things You'll Need

  • One pink ball
  • One yellow ball
  • At least one extra long pool cue stick
  • One brown ball
  • Snooker table
  • 15 red balls
  • Opponent or a partner and 2 opponents (partners alternate turns playing)
  • One green ball
  • At least two pool cue sticks
  • One white ball used as the cue ball (ball struck by the cue stick that collides with other balls to send them into the pockets)
  • One blue ball
  • Chalk for the tips of the cue sticks
  • At least one long bridge cue stick (to extend your reach with the pool cue to make shots on this large table)
  • One black ball

Play Snooker

  1. Determine who will play first by selecting one ball for each player to hit with the cue stick, sending the ball longways to the opposite end of the table (called a lag). The player with the ball closest to the opposite rail plays first.

  2. Use the ball 'rack' (plastic or wooden form) to set the 15 red balls to create a triangle at the end of the table opposite the 'D Zone' (a straight line 29 inches from the end of the table and curved line intersecting the straight in two places creates the D Zone) with the forward most single ball approximately 29 inches from the end of the table. The widest portion of the triangle should face the opposite end of the table from the D Zone.

  3. Place the pink ball up against the red ball closest to the D Zone.

  4. Set the black ball equidistant between the sides of the table with the red balls between the black ball and the pink ball. The black ball should be in a direct line from the pink ball, blue ball and brown ball when the table is ready for play.

  5. Put the blue ball in the very center of the table.

  6. Stand at the end of the table opposite the red balls, facing the D Zone. Place the yellow ball where the straight line (Baulk line) and curved line intersect on your right. Place the green ball where these lines intersect on the left. Place the brown ball on the Baulk line directly between the yellow and green balls.

  7. Start the game. The player who won the lag may place the cue ball anywhere in the D Zone to hit the first shot of the game. Hit the cue ball into the red balls. If the cue ball hits a colored ball before striking the red balls or misses the red balls, the other player can take a turn or require the initial player to try again.

  8. 'Pot' (hit a ball into a pocket) a red ball at the beginning of each turn. Failure to pot a ball allows your opponent to take his turn and hitting a colored ball first ends your turn as well plus adds the point value of the colored ball hit to your opponent's score.

  9. Pot any colored ball after pocketing a red ball. Failure to pot a colored ball ends your turn. Hitting a red ball again ends your turn and incurs a penalty of seven points added to your opponent's total.

  10. Replace a colored ball to its original position after pocketing the ball. Note that red balls do not return to the table and when all of the red balls are pocketed, colored balls are no longer returned to the table.

  11. Continue hitting balls into pockets while alternating between red balls and colored balls. When you hit the wrong color ball (access penalty points) or fail to pot a ball, your turn ends.

  12. Total the points at the end of your turn. Each player records the points for her opponent. Snooker usually has a scoring system showing individual points and groups of points with a slider to indicate the points. You can write scores down if the sliding system is not available.

  13. Alternate turns between the players until all of the red balls are pocketed.

  14. Pot the remaining balls in ascending order (yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black). Leave the colored balls in the pockets. Failure to hit the appropriate ball adds points to your opponent's score in the amount of the value of the ball missed and ends your turn.

  15. Win the game by having the most points after all of the balls have been potted. In case of a tie, set the black ball on the table in its original position and play it to break the tie.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remember the point values of the colored balls: red (one), yellow (two), green (three), brown (four), blue (five), pink (six), black (seven).
  • Try to increase your score by sinking higher point colored balls after pocketing a red ball on your turn.
  • Jumping balls is not allowed.


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