Snooker tips for beginners: The ultimate starter guide to Snooker

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Snooker is one of the most enjoyable and accessible games out there. It can played by 2 or more people either in teams like doubles for example or against each other. You can also practice on your own of course!

Read on to learn everything you need to know to get started playing Snooker.

How to play Snooker

So to begin with this beginners guide to snooker lets look at the basics of Snooker.

Snooker ball values

Each player uses the white ball (cue ball) to pot the 21 object balls of different values.

There are 15 reds each worth 1 point and 6 coloured balls. Yellow worth 2 points, Green 3 points, Brown 4 points, Blue 5 points, Pink 6 points and the Black ball worth 7 points.

The balls are arranged on the snooker like this.  A nice tip to remember the position of the green, brown and yellow balls is God (green) Bless (brown) You (yellow).

Snooker table layout

The game begins with the first player breaking off which simply means taking the first shot in which you must hit a red ball.

Players take turns to firstly pot a red ball followed by a coloured ball. If they pot a coloured ball it is placed back in its starting spot before the player can attempt to pot the next red. Points are added to their overall score as they pot each ball.

Once all the red balls are off the table, players must pot the coloured balls in a specific order which is Yellow, Green, Brown, Blue, Pink and finally the Black ball.

The player with the highest score wins the frame!

Fouls in Snooker

A foul in Snooker means you have broken a rule and a number of points from 4 to 7 are credited to your opponent depending on the foul.

So the following actions are fouls;

FoulPoints awarded to opponentExample
The cue ball doesn't hit the ball it was supposed to. 4-7 points depending on ball hitYou aim for the black but hit the pink first means 6 points awarded to the other player where as if you hit a red it would be 4.
The cue ball jumps off the table in any way.4 pointsThe cue ball is struck and jumps off the table
The cue ball gets potted4 pointsA Player takes their shot and the white ball goes in the pocket.
Wrong ball is potted4-7 points depending on which ballYou are on a red and The blue ends up in the pocket. Would be 5 points.
The cue ball doesn't touch any ball4 points A player takes their shot but fails to hit anything

Snooker terms

There are numerous terms used when playing Snooker, some of which are obvious and some not! Here’s a explanation of the main ones.

  • Cue ball – the white ball
  • Baulk – top half of the table
  • Baulk line – the line on the table where the yellow, brown and green sit
  • Bolt – the bottom half of the table
  • Break – the total number of points scored at a players turn at the table
  • Century – scoring 100 points on your turn at the table (making a break of 100+)
  • The D – the D shape at the top of the table
  • Frame – each game or round of snooker.  Whoever gets the most points wins the frame.  The player who wins the most frames wins the match.
  • Free ball – means your opponent has fouled and left you unable to hit the ball you need to.  Therefore you can hit any ball.
  • In-off – when the cue ball goes in a pocket
  • Maximum – 147 points
  • Pack – the triangle of reds
  • Re-rack – set up the table for a another frame

 

What equipment do I need to play Snooker?

The only equipment you are going to need to play is a cue and some chalk.  If you are playing in a Snooker club they will almost always supply both when you pay to play. However, these can be of questionable quality and before long your thoughts may turn to getting your own cue.

 

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Other equipment used in Snooker is:

  • The rest – this is used to help you take a shot when the cue ball is too far to reach.  A rest looks like a cue but has a plastic or metal X shape on the end to set the cue on when taking your shot.
  • Cue extension – makes your cue longer
  • Spider – looks like a rest but has a bridge on the end.  It is used to take a shot that is too far away to be bridged by hand.

 

How to play better Snooker

There are a number of factors you will want to consider when playing snooker and the more you improve them the better your overall game will become.  The main things to concentrate on for your game are grip, stance, bridging, cueing and sighting.

How to grip a Snooker cue

How you grip your cue is a very important part of a Snooker players game.  You should try not to grip the cue too tightly or too loosely for that matter.  Your grip should just feel natural.

Shaun Murphy gives a great tip about finding your perfect grip in his video below.  He says just place the cue flat on the table and pick it up and this is your natural grip, simple but brilliant advice!

Stance in Snooker

Your stance is your position when you take your shot.  With your stance you want to maintain a firm base.  If you are right handed you need to ensure that most of your weight is over your left foot and the cue should be going across the tip of your right foot.

Bridging in Snooker

Your bridge hand is the hand you place on the table.  To begin with place your hand flat on the table and spread your fingers apart.  Raise your knuckles up and keeping your fingertips on the table bring your thumb up to the forefinger ensuring that it does’t move when cueing.  This should give a really good base to run the cue through.

Good Cueing action

A good cue action is a vital skill in Snooker and will ensure that you hit the ball straight and accurately.

When you are cueing try to keep your arm very still and when you hit the ball ensure that your elbow which is holding the cue is in direct line with the cue.  Try to avoid sticking your elbow out or tucking it in too tight to your body.

Sighting in Snooker

Finally there is sighting when taking a shot.  When you lower down and prepare to take your shot, you need to switch your glance back and forward between where the cue is going to strike the cue ball and the point on the object you want to hit.

What you are trying to accomplish here is check that the line of your shot is accurate.

One important piece of advice is when you taking the shot, DO NOT look at the cue ball and focus on the object ball only.

Final thoughts

Snooker like Golf or any other sport that requires skill is really rewarding and worth sticking at.  With a bit of practice you can get pretty good and it is a brilliant game to play with friends.

Snooker is a really enjoyable game and you may find yourself completely hooked after a couple of games.

So give a go and stick at it, there is nothing like hitting a decent break or hitting a long shot into a pocket.

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