Snooker is a popular game, involving two players, a snooker table, cues, and coloured balls. Even if you’ve never played snooker, you are probably familiar with it as a sport. Or, you may have played pool or billiards, which are similar games often used interchangeably - although they have many differences in regards to equipment and rules.
If you want to learn to play snooker like a master, start by heeding these 5 tips and tricks.
Get your stance in-check - It’s crucial to address the ball square on. If you’re a right-hander, straighten your right leg and bend your left knee so that you can drop your shoulder and get down low on your cue to get close to the shot and ensure maximum accuracy.
Grip your cue correctly - Your grip should be relaxed enough so that there is not unwanted power behind the shot, but not too loose or you will lose control of the shot altogether.
Perfect your bridge - In order to achieve a good shot, your bridge must be a solid foundation, but loose enough for the cue to move smoothly. An open bridge is the most popular for playing different types of shots - either with bent or straight fingers.
Pause at the front and back of your stroke - It’s important to pause at the front and back of your stroke - once before pulling the cue backward, and again before playing the shot. This allows you to properly assess whether or not you are in the correct position before you follow through, and optimise your chances of potting the ball.
Isolate your body - When you move your cue to take a shot, your cue arm is the only part of your body that should move. Everything else - your bridge, your hips, your feet, and your head - should stay completely still, or you risk ruining your shot.
What is the difference between pool and billiards and snooker?
So, you know how to play snooker, but what about how to play billiards? And where does pool fit into the equation?
Snooker, billiards, and pools are often confused. They fall into the same class of cue sports, but they are three different sports each with different rules.
The pool is played on a small table (6ft x 3ft). Common variations are 8 ball pool and 9 ball pool. In 9 ball pool, there are just 9 balls on the table numbered 1-9, and players must take it in turns to pot the balls in number order, and the person who pots the 9 balls is the winner.
Snooker is played on a large table (12ft x 6ft) meaning that it is considerably harder than playing pool. In Snooker, there are 22 balls - one white cue ball, 15 red balls, one yellow ball, one green ball, one brown ball, one blue ball, one pink ball, and one black ball. Different coloured balls are worth different points (e.g. red = 1 point and black = 7 points), and each colour has a designated position on the table.
Players must first pot a red ball before they can pot a coloured ball. Once the red balls have been potted a player must then pot the coloured balls in order of points (ascending). The player with the highest points wins.
It should also be noted that snooker has a higher profile than pool and billiards, and attracts international audiences and prize money.
If you’re wondering how to play billiards, you first need to know how it differs from pool and snooker. The most popular type of billiards is English billiards. It can be played on either a 7-foot or 8-foot table (similar to a pool table, but also known as a bar table).
Where billiards differs greatly to snooker or pool is that it is only played with 3 balls - yellow, red and white. The yellow and white balls act as striker balls and the red ball is the object ball.
Opponents must each use a different coloured cue ball to pot the object ball and score as many points as possible. The player who reaches the pre-agreed total of points first wins the game. Billiards is also often timed.
If you want to know where to play snooker in Sydney, DOOLEY’s snooker club in Western Sydney is the place for you. At DOOLEY’s you can utilise professional resources to perfect your skills and increase your motivation. So, grab your cue (and your notebook) and get practicing!