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The word snooker was a long-used military term for inexperienced or first-year personnel. The World Snooker Championship has taken place since Joe Davis , a key figure and pioneer in the early growth of the sport, won the championship 15 straight times between and The "modern era" began in after the broadcaster BBC commissioned the snooker television show Pot Black and later began to air the World Championship in Key figures in the game were Ray Reardon in the s, Steve Davis in the s, and Stephen Hendry in the s, each winning six or more World championships.
Since , Ronnie O'Sullivan has won the most world titles, with six. Top professional players now compete regularly around the world and earn millions of pounds on the World Snooker Tour , which features players from across the world.
The origin of snooker dates back to the latter half of the 19th century. The word snooker was a slang term for first-year cadets and inexperienced military personnel, but Chamberlain would often use it for the performance of one of his fellow officers at the table.
Snooker grew in popularity across the Indian colonies and the United Kingdom, but it remained a game mainly for the gentry , and many gentlemen's clubs that had a billiards table would not allow non-members inside to play.
The objective of the game is to score more points than one's opponent by potting object balls in the correct order. At the start of a frame, the balls are positioned as shown in the first image, and the players then take turns hitting shots by striking the cue ball with the tip of the cue , their aim being to pot one of the red balls into a pocket and thereby score a point.
Failure to make contact with the red ball constitutes a foul shot. After that, the player must pot another red ball, then another colour, in sequence.
This process continues until the striker fails to pot the desired ball, at which point the opponent comes to the table to play the next shot.
The game continues in this manner until all the reds are potted and only the six colours are left on the table.
The shots are: yellow first two points , then green three points , brown four points , blue five points , pink six points and black seven points , the balls not being returned to play.
In this situation, called re-spotted black , the black ball is placed on its designated spot and the cue ball is played as ball in hand. The referee then tosses a coin and the winner decides which player goes first.
The frame continues until one of the players pots the black ball or commits a foul. In professional snooker this is a common occurrence. The referee also replaces the colours on the table when necessary and calls out how many points the player has scored during a break.
Points in snooker are gained from potting the correct balls in sequence. The total number of consecutive points excluding fouls that a player amasses during one visit to the table is known as a break.
A player attaining a break of 15, for example, could have reached it by potting a red then a black, then a red then a pink, before failing to pot the next red.
A maximum break in snooker is achieved by potting all reds with blacks then all colours, yielding points; this is often known as a "" or just as a "maximum".
Points may also be scored in a game when a player's opponent fouls. A foul can occur for various reasons, most commonly for failing to hit the correct ball e.
Points gained from a foul vary from a minimum of four to a maximum of seven if the black ball is involved. A foul shot that leaves no valid shot for the opponent can leave them a free ball.
A free ball allows a player to use any other coloured ball in place of the shot they were supposed to play. Doing so with all 15 red balls in play can result in a break exceeding a maximum, with the highest possible being a break , achieved via the opponent leaving a free ball , with the black being potted as the additional colour, and then potting 15 reds and blacks with the colours.
One game , from the balls in their starting position until the last ball is potted, is called a " frame ". A match generally consists of a predetermined number of frames and the player who wins the most frames wins the match.
Most professional matches require a player to win five frames, and are called "best of nine" in reference to the maximum possible number of frames.
Professional snooker players play on the World Snooker Tour. Events on the Tour are only open to players on the Tour and selected amateur players, but most events require qualification.
Players can qualify for the Tour either by being high enough on the world rankings from prior seasons, winning continental championships, or through the Challenge Tour or Q School events.
Reflecting the game's aristocratic origins, the majority of tournaments on the professional circuit require players to wear waistcoats and bow ties.
In recent years the necessity for this has been questioned, and players such as Stephen Maguire have been granted medical exemptions from wearing a bow tie.
The Tour also has an official world rankings scheme, with only players on the Tour receiving a ranking. Ranking points , earned by players through their performances over the previous two seasons, determine the current world rankings.
The elite of professional snooker are generally regarded as the "top" ranking players. The oldest professional snooker tournament is the World Championship,  held annually since except during World War II and between and Winning all three events is a difficult task, and has only been done by 11 players.
With some events having been criticised for matches taking too long,  an alternative series of timed tournaments has been organised by Matchroom Sport chairman Barry Hearn.
The shot-timed Premier League Snooker was established, with seven players invited to compete at regular United Kingdom venues, televised on Sky Sports.
While some success was achieved with this format, it generally did not receive the same amount of press attention or status as the regular ranking tournaments.
In , the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association submitted an unsuccessful bid for snooker to be played at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Several players, such as Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Allen and Steve Davis, have warned that there are too many tournaments during the season, and that players risk burning out.
Some leagues have allowed clubs to refuse to accept women players in tournaments. Accessories used for snooker include chalk for the tip of the cue, rests of various sorts used for playing shots that cannot be played by hand, a triangle to rack the reds, and a scoreboard.
While pool tables are common to many pubs , snooker tends to be played either in private surroundings or in public snooker halls.
The game can also be played on smaller tables using fewer red balls. Smaller tables can come in a variety of styles, such as fold-away or dining-table convertible.
A traditional snooker scoreboard resembles an abacus and records the score for each frame in units and twenties and the frame scores.
They are typically attached to a wall by the snooker table. A simple scoring bead is also sometimes used, called a "scoring string", or "scoring wire".
Snooker players typically move one or several beads with their cue. The playing surface is The felt is usually a form of fully wool green baize , with a directional nap running from the baulk end of the table towards the end with the black ball spot.
The nap will affect the direction of the cue ball depending on which direction the cue ball is shot and also on whether left or right side spin is placed on the ball.
Even if the cue ball is hit in exactly the same way, the nap will cause a different effect depending on whether the ball is hit down table towards the black ball spot or up table towards the baulk line.
The cloth on a snooker table is not vacuumed, as this can destroy the nap. The cloth is brushed in a straight line from the baulk end to the far end with multiple brush strokes that are straight in direction i.
Some table men will also then drag a dampened cloth wrapped around a short piece of board like a two by four , or straight back of a brush to collect any remaining fine dust and help lay the nap down.
The table is then ironed. Some other cloths include a small percentage of nylon. In the professional era that began with Joe Davis in the s and continues until the present day, a relatively small number of players have succeeded at the top level.
After Davis retired from World Championship play, the next dominant force was his younger brother Fred Davis, who had lost the final to Joe.
After the abandonment of the World Championship in , with the final boycotted by British professionals, the World Professional Match-play Championship became the unofficial world championship.
John Pulman was the most successful player of the s, when the world championship was contested on a challenge basis.
Ray Reardon became the dominant force in the s, winning six titles , — and , with John Spencer winning three.
Steve Davis ' first world title in made him only the 11th world champion since , including the winner of the boycotted title, Horace Lindrum.
Davis, for example, won more ranking tournaments than the rest of the top 64 players put together by By retaining his title in , O'Sullivan became the first player to successfully defend the World Championship since Hendry in Mark Selby would also do this in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see Snooker disambiguation. Three-time world champion Mark Selby playing a practice game. Main article: History of snooker.
Main article: Rules of snooker. Play media. See also: List of snooker tournaments and Snooker organisations. See also: Comparison of cue sports and Glossary of cue sports terms.
See also: List of snooker players by number of ranking titles and List of snooker players with over century breaks. See also: Snooker variants.
BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 8 August Retrieved 16 September Macmillan Dictionary. Walking around the snooker table will help you get a better perspective and make sure you aren't missing any easy balls.
Be sure to use your dominant eye when trying to line up potential shots. Pick your target and aim. A completely straight shot in which the cup, target ball, and cue ball are all lined up is easy to aim for.
To aim for indirect angles, imagine a straight line going from the cup and through your target ball. Aim your cue ball for the spot on the opposite side of the cup that the line goes through the target ball.
Striking the target ball at that angle will direct it to the cup. Visualize potting the ball. After you have found your target, visualize the entire process before attempting it.
Imagine your cue striking the cue ball, the cue ball striking the target ball, and the target ball falling into the cup.
Allowing your mind to see success first will help your body follow through. Part 2 of Find your stance.
Position yourself behind the cue ball. If you are a right-handed player, your right foot should be behind you, directly opposite where the cue stick is aiming at the cue ball.
Your left foot will be in front of you and at a comfortable angle that helps you to maintain balance. Position your aiming hand. Your front hand will create a "bridge" and provide your cue stick with balance as you drive through the shot.
There are multiple ways to form a "bridge", and you will want to experiment until you find the one that works for you. The "closed bridge" involves letting the cue rest on your middle finger and wrapping your index finger around it to form a closed loop that the cue slides through.
Relax your shooting hand. It is important to have a firm but relaxed grip. After you are leaning against the table and your aiming hand is inches away from the cue ball, the forearm of your shooting hand should be at about a 90 degree angle from your cue.
Part 3 of Commit to the shot. Now that you are positioned, you are ready to make the shot. Be sure to firmly drive the cue through the shot, as opposed to simply tapping the cue ball with your cue.
You can practice lining up your shot and starting your shooting motion if you'd like, just like a golfer lining up his putt.
If you do practice the shooting motion, be sure not to touch the cue ball! Hold your position and follow through.
It is important to hold your position and keep your balance in the seconds after the shot. Failing to follow through will make it difficult for your body to remember the motion if you succeed - and correct the motion if you fail.
Keep your feet firmly planted until the target ball is in the snooker hole. If you aren't able to keep your balance, reevaluate your stance and shooting motion.
Don't get discouraged. Snooker is only mastered with practice and patience. Keep honing your skills. Having someone there who can point out what you do wrong will speed the learning process.
At first, you should probably keep it close for better striking. As you learn more and become better, you can get it farther away to build more striking power.
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Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Snooker is played on the same table and with the same size balls used for English billiards.
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