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An Introduction To The Rules Of Snooker

The rules of snooker are easy to learn. The game is played on a table that resembles a typical billiards table; it's rectangular with 6 similarly-spaced pockets along the edge. The balls used are roughly the same size as those used in billiards. However, that's where the similarities end. In this article, we'll give you an overview of the game. You'll learn about the overall objective of snooker, the rules of gameplay, how fouls are treated and finally, how to win a frame.

The Objective

Snooker is comprised of a cue ball and object balls. The objective of the game is to pot the object balls according to the rules of gameplay (described below). When the object balls are potted, points may be awarded. Whoever has the greatest number of points after all of the object balls have been successfully potted wins the frame.

Setting Of The Balls

The object balls used in a frame include 15 red balls and 6 colored balls (yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black). These balls are placed in particular positions at the beginning of each frame. The pink ball is positioned on the "Pyramid Spot." The 15 red balls form a triangle with the top red ball positioned as close behind the pink ball as possible without making contact. The black ball is placed directly behind (i.e. at the bottom) of the triangle.

A line intersects the snooker table at 29 inches from one of the table's short ends. This line is called the "baulk line." A half-circle is drawn at the midpoint of the baulk line and resembles a "D." The green ball is placed on the left intersection of the "D" and baulk line while the yellow ball is placed on the right. The brown ball is placed at the midpoint of the baulk line (between the green and yellow balls). Finally, the blue ball is placed directly between the two side pockets.

Playing The Game

The frame begins with the "break-off" before which the cue ball can be placed at any position within the "D." After the break-off, players take turns potting balls with each turn ending when the active player attempts, but fails, to pot a ball. As long as there are red balls on the table, a player's turn begins with a red ball "on." That is, the player is required to pot a red ball. If done successfully, he can attempt to pot a colored ball. The player must alternate between red and colored balls during his turn.

Fouls, Free Balls And Misses

Players' shots must make first contact with whichever ball is "on." If they fail to do so, a foul is called. Other reasons a foul may be called include potting a ball that is not "on," potting the cue ball, causing a ball to land off the table and touching a ball with anything other than the cue. If a foul results in the opposing player being "snookered" (or, unable to hit the hit a ball "on"), that player can choose any other ball as "on." If a player fails to hit a ball "on" and the referee believes the offending player did not try hard enough, a miss can be called. This allows the incoming striker to choose to either play the balls as they lay or have them replaced for his opponent to take the shot over.

Winning The Frame And Match

Each of the red balls is worth 1 point. The colored balls are worth different points (yellow-2, green-3, brown-4, blue-5, pink-6, black-7). The player who has the most points when the frame ends is considered the winner. A match is comprised of an odd number of frames. The player who has won the greatest number of frames is declared the winner of the match.

These rules may seem complicated if you've never played snooker. However, once you participate in a snooker game, you'll find the rules are easy to learn and remember. You now know the rules of the game. All that remains is to participate.