Wednesday, May 03, 2006


English television has been full of snooker, a form of billiards, for weeks. I have tried in vain to understand this game. There are red balls and balls of various other colors. There is a man in white gloves who carefully replaces the other colored balls if you hit any of them into the pockets. If you hit in the red balls, they stay off.

A highlite came when one of the players hit the cue ball which bounced around the sides of the table and returned to its starting point without hitting anything. The audience gasped! This is apparently a major faux pas, worse than scratching.

I have no frame of reference, but the newspapers have all said it was the most boring final ever.


Paul said...

Many years ago I was in the billiard supply business. Our sales partner in the UK was one of the big snooker table makers, which is how I learned to play - badly! It's actually a very strategic game: each red ball is worth one point, while each colored ball has a specific value ranging from two (yellow) through seven (black). The goal is to score the most number of points against your opponent. One sinks a colored ball (which gets replaced on the table at its designated spot), then a red ball (which stays in the pocket), then another (or the same) colored ball, then a red, etc. Once all 15 of the red balls are gone from the table, each of the colored balls are "potted" in order - fewest points to greatest - until the table is empty. The same player keeps shooting until a miss occurs, as in regular pool. The maximum possible score, achieved by running the table and fairly similar in achievement to a "300" game in bowling, is 147 points. That's scored by sinking the black ball (seven points) every time a colored ball is the target, rather than shooting at one of the lesser values, until all the reds are gone. Naturally there are TONS of other rules too arcane to discuss here, but it wouldn't be "sport" without them. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

stieper said...

I have to say that Paul's description of the game is superb! I could not have written it better myself (probably also because of my poor english!)

But I do not agree that the final was boring! When Peter Ebdon was down 6 frames or more, he suddenly managed to win 4-5 frames in a row, putting pressure on Graheme Dott. Eventually Ebdon made a mistake, leading Dott to the win (his first title ever - a good one to pick!).

But i recon you have to be interested in snooker to feel the exitement :D