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Game of Snooker, Rules, Data

Game at Start (To Break)

Photo by Maciej Jaros (commons: Nux, wiki-pl: Nux)

The Game

Snooker is a cue sport played by turns on a baize covered table with pockets
Aim of the Game
To pocket the balls legally according to the rules and to score a greater number of points than the opponent
Balls are not numbered. The colour, the value.
The 22 snooker balls: 15 object balls solid red (called reds), 6 object balls (called colors) the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black and a cue ball (white). See picture 'Table at start'.

Point Values

Pottered ball points. If you pot the white ball is fault

Opening break rules

The game of Snooker begins with cue ball in hand in the Half Circle (so the starting player can place the cue ball anywhere inside the Half Circle)


Full size table
12 ft × 6 ft (3.7 m × 1.8 m)
Measured from the floor to the top of the cushion rail, and the height 34'' (96.5 cm)
Play altern­ative "red on", "­color on" until no red ball. Then color balls ordered by point value (less to more).
See "­Off­icial Rules of the Games of Snooker and English Billia­rds­". The World Profes­sional Billiards & Snooker Associ­ation Limited. November 2014


Shot or action against the rules
Cue Ball Fouls
Failing to hit any other ball / First hitting a ball "­not­-on­"
Potting a ball "­not­-on­" or the white (in-off)
Cue Fouls
Hitting a ball other than the white / Making a ball land off the table
Touching the cue ball with anything other than the tip of the cue (except while "in hand" )
Shot Fouls
Playing a "push or jump shot"
Playing a shot with both feet off the ground
When a foul is made during a shot, the player's turn is ended and he will receive no points for the foul shot.
The other player will receive penalty points.
It is sometimes errone­ously believed that if two balls are potted in one shot it is a foul. Not so "red on"
When multiple fouls are made in one shot, only the most highly valued foul is counted. Penalty points are therefore at least 4 points and at most 7.

Penalty Points

Penalty points equal to the value of the ball "­on", or the value of any of the "­fou­l" balls, or 4 points, whichever is highest. At least 4, at most 7.
When multiple fouls are made in one shot, only the most highly valued foul is counted.


Break Shot
The players take turns
Turn begins Red On
The white cue ball can be placed anywhere inside the D
Red On
If red ball is potted
Colour On
If ball is not potted or faul
Advers­ary's turn begin Red On
Colour On
If ball is potted
While reds on table Red On
If ball is not potted or faul
Advers­ary's turn begin Red On
No reds left
Do the sequence
if ball is potted
Pot next colour ball in ascending order: yellow(2), green(3), brown(4), blue(5), pink(6), black(7)

Free Ball

A free ball is a player­-no­minated substitute for the ball on when the player is snookered by a foul
Because the snooker produced by a foul is not considered legitimate adversary has the right to play any ball
If the offending player was asked to play the shot again, then the free ball is void, having to resolve the self-i­nfl­icted snooker
Free ball is always a colour ball
Free ball is often confuse to initiate.
Remember this: If you are snookered by a fault then any colour ball is red a turn. No reds on table, free ball any colour.

Maximum break

The highest break that can be made under normal circum­stances is 147 and rarely occurs in a match play
How? Pot all 15 reds combined with the black then pot the six remaining colours. Not Easy!
The fastest maximum break in a tournament was achieved during the World Champi­onships on April 21, 1997, by Ronnie O'Sullivan against Mick Price in 5 minutes and 20 seconds!!!

Author: Jorge Juan

Version 1.1 August 2018

Table at Start

Initial position. Table at Start


Cue Ball
White ball (Hit Ball)
Any red in color, there are 15 at the start of the game
One of the six: yellow, green, brown, blue, pink or black balls
Put a ball into a pocket
Something against the rules
Snookered Snooker-In
To be unable to roll the cueball in a straight line and hit the ball chosen
Ball ON (designed)
The ball you intend to hit with the cueball
Ball in hand
Player can place the cue ball anywhere inside the Half Circle
To break
Initial position of the frame, Ball in hand
Individual game
Win the frame
Scoring more points than the opponent
Win the match
You have achieved the best-of score from a pre-de­ter­mined number of frames
Last frame. You win the frame, you win the match
100 points scored in a row (not easy, tone up)
Holes in each of the four corners and in the middle of each of the long side cushions
Push Shot
A shot where the cue ball is in simult­aneous contact with the cue tip and another ball
Jump shot
A shot where the cue ball leaves the bed of the table and jumps over a ball before first hitting another ball
Chiefly British. Combin­ation Shot
Combin­ation Shot
Any shot in which the cue ball contacts an object ball, which in turn hits one or more additional object balls (which in turn may hit yet further object balls) to send the last-hit object ball to an intended place, usually a pocket
The only ball that you may hit with the cue is the white ball
In a Match to the best of 5 frames: The winner is the first to reach to 3 frames (more than the half)
If both players won 2 frames (2:2), 5th frame is named 'decider'
The number of frames is always odd so as to prevent a tie.

Points left on the table?

How many points left on the table? Look. Colour balls = 27 points.
Red combined with a Black ball = 8 points.
One point is for the Red, Seven for the Black.
If there is still 3 Reds on table How many points are on ? Easy! Lets do numbers!,
27 points (colours balls) plus 3 x 8 (reds combined with black)
That is 27+(3x­8)=­27+­24=51 points
MAX available: If player do not combines using black ball get less points.

Greatest Players, Wall of Fame

Steve Davies
Ronnie O'Sullivan
Stephen Hendry
Mark Williams
Alex Higgins
Joe Davis
Jimmy White
John Higgins
Mark Selby
Judd Trump
Ray Reardon
Shaun Murphy
Joe Davis
Dennis Taylor

Where to see?

Eurosport / Eurosport Player / BBC Snooker (UK)
Beware! Seeing snooker is tremen­dously addictive if you are smart or curious. You are strongly advised..!

A little of history

Snooker originated in India in the latter half of the 19th century. A popular sport played by members of the British Army stationed in India and gained its own identity in 1884 when officer Sir Neville Chambe­rlain devised a set of rules.

The word "­sno­oke­r" was a long used military term used to describe inexpe­rienced or first year personnel. The game grew in popularity in England, later around the World.

A major advance occurred in 1969, when David Attenb­orough commis­sioned the snooker tournament Pot Black to demons­trate the potential of colour televi­sion, with the green table and multi-­col­oured balls being ideal for showing off the advantages of colour broadc­asting.

The TV series became a ratings success and was for a time the second most popular show on BBC Two. Interest in the game increased and the 1978 World Snooker Champi­onship was the first to be fully televised.

The game quickly became a mainstream game in the UK, Ireland and much of the Common­wealth and has enjoyed much success since the late 1970s, with most of the ranking tourna­ments being televised.


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