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On this page we shall be displaying all your questions and answers about snooker. Do you have a question about technique, rules, tactics, or anything else to do with snooker? I have almost forty years' experience playing the game to a reasonable standard, so I will answer your questions as fairly and accurately as possible. The questions and answers will be displayed on this page. (N.B. We are unable to answer questions about past tournament results). Although we had discontinued this page, we rather missed it, so please ask us your questions again by email. We will answer as soon as possible.

Please note (2017) that these pages have not been updated for several years, so there may be some out of date information or Rules on display. The snooker and pool DVDs are no longer on offer, for copyright reasons, but please contact us (press the email button below) for a chat.

We have a great collection of snooker and pool DVDs, some of which are listed here.



If you disagree with my answers, please come back at me too. It will be more fun!

Questions Page 2

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Questions Page 4

mail button us now with your questions! I will reply normally within 24 hours on these pages, and also by e-mail to you.

Question 1:.

Hi! I was playing a frame, we were on the last pink and black and I gave my opponent a free ball. He said 'black' and potted the pink with it. I said it was a foul, but he said he was allowed to do it. Who is right?

Answer: You can pot the ball 'on' with the free ball at any time, so it is a legal shot and the pink stays down. Six points scored. By the way, you can also pot both balls, but only the pink is scored. Black comes up again.

Question 2:

I was considering buying a more costly cue because I believe that a more costly cue supposedly uses a better/different material, which I hope will be smooth on the bridge because I have sweaty palms and in a way it affects my cue action/feathering. Do you think a different cue would give me different results? I've tried using a cloth to wipe after every break and I've even tried washing my hands after every frame but still it doesn't help. Sandpaper would not be good would it? So how does a new cue sound?

Answer: I don't think a new cue is necessarily the answer to your problem. Probably the climate has more to do with it than anything else. Most cues are made of either ash or maple, so the material won't be very different. There are various methods of keeping a cue smooth: talcum powder, a dry/damp cloth (experiment), special sprays, e.g. Cue Glide, or a glove on the bridge hand, but most experts do not recommend sandpaper, although I usually take the varnish off a new cue. See the posts at www.deja.com under 'snooker' about this. However, try a new cue by all means, but ask to play with it first if possible.

Question 3:

a. I refer to your printed magazine Cornwall Snooker Scene: Subscription by e-mail attachment. Are such in full colour with all pictures etc. i.e. exactly the same as the full version except sent by e-mail ? If so, what format is used for the e-mail version ... PDF ? Word98 ? Please advise.

Answer: The magazine can be sent in almost any format: Word, Lotus Wordpro, rtf, etc. And there's no p.& p. charge! Just print it out at home. Note: We have decided after consultation that sending the magazine by e-mail would not be practical or beneficial to magazine sales. Since we have now ceased publication of the printed version, only the first two issues are available, in printed form, by mail - Editor

b. What are the rules for "Snooker Plus" (has two additional colour balls) ?

Answer: Snooker Plus was played a lot by Joe Davis and other old-time professionals, mainly because they had more variety and could score bigger breaks! It was shown occasionally on T.V. in the UK. There are two extra balls - the orange (8 points) and the purple (10 points). Basic rules are the same as for normal snooker, with the order of colours in sequence: yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, black, orange and purple. I append below an extract from Snooker Scene (with acknowledgement to Clive Everton and Mike Young for digging it out):
"Snooker Plus was a desperate measure introduced in 1959 to inject new interest into the professional game in the depths of its darkest depression. Two extra colours, orange, counting eight and spotted midway between blue and pink, and purple, counting ten and spotted midway between blue and brown, were added.
joe davis jpg

Joe Davis (seen in action, left) made a break of 108 the first time this game was unveiled in public. The highest recorded break was 156 by Jack Rea, well short of the maximum, 210. The Composition Billiard Ball Supply Co. saw the innovation as a stimulus for sales. Davis was contracted to them. The public recognised the game for the gimmick it was and it sank without trace."


c. What are the rules of Volunteer Snooker ?

Answer: This game was a forerunner of present-day snooker. Thanks again to Mike Young for the research and with acknowledgement to the "Know the Game" Series, these are the basic rules:

Volunteer snooker is a variation of the normal snooker game which is easy to play and appeals to those who have no wish to master the real game. The balls are set out exactly as in snooker but whereas in snooker the player's task is to pot a red and then a colour, and when reds are all potted, the colours in rotation, in volunteer snooker, after potting a red and then a colour the player may take another colour out of its proper order; this colour must be named and is then said to have been "volunteered" by the player. For example, suppose you have potted a red and pink, you may now declare or volunteer any other colour you wish by naming it. This ball would, of course, be the easiest one to pot after the pink. If you fail to pot your volunteered ball you forfeit its value (7 if black, 6 if pink, 5 blue etc.) to your opponent. This risk naturally imparts an extra element of expectancy to the game. If, however, you pot the volunteered ball three times in succession in the same turn it remains off the table until the next stroke. For this next stroke a red or any colour may be chosen and it is "free." That is there is no penalty if you fail to pot it. You may not "volunteer" a ball until you have lawfully potted a red in each visit or turn at the table. If a player who lawfully pockets the last red ball pockets any pool ball by his next stroke, the latter ball is respotted. A red ball is always free, that is you may play on it. If the reds are all off the table then the next ball to be played is the ball which is on.

Question 4:

I was wondering if you can handicap snooker?

Answer: You can certainly handicap snooker players, but you have to have a good idea of each player's standard before you start. It is usual to handicap the best player as scratch (no start) and, depending on the worst player's standard, you can go up to +45 or even higher. It has been known for some players to receive as much as +60, but it may be difficult to give this sort of start in one frame. We handicap in our local league between -21 and +45, so the weakest player would get 66 points from the best! If you can be more specific about your question, (i.e. what sort of competition you want to handicap) I may be able to help further.

Question 5:

When playing the last red, the shooter pockets the red and the cue ball. Does the next player have to play the yellow or does he/she get a free ball?

Answer: When the last red is potted, it stays down, of course, and because the cue-ball has gone in-off it is a foul stroke, four points away, and the yellow is then played from hand. A free ball would only come into effect if the next player were then unable to see the yellow full-ball from hand, in which case he/she could play any other colour as a free ball (two points) followed by the yellow if the free ball is potted.

Question 6:

Hi snookermag! My name is Keith Stehl and I have a small pool room in Ottawa,Il. with two snooker tables 5x10's. My customers would like to have a snooker league but we don't know how to handicap it. I had sent you some e-mail and to hear from you was great to find out that snooker can be handicapped. I was woundering if you could give me a breakdown on how to set up handicaps and how many games do you play in each set of players? Thank you for your help my frends will glad to hear about a league. Keith

Answer: You did not tell me how many players you have for your League, and this is needed if you want to play purely on a League basis, in order to fixture the matches. You can play as a League or a Ladder, a Ladder would allow new players to enter too, whereas a League would be limited to those registering at the beginning. You would need to know the standard of each player you handicapped, otherwise someone would 'get in too easy' and walk away with it! It's a bit complicated! Let me know more details and I'll give you some help on setting it up - I'll even provide the fixtures if you give me the names - we like to help at Cornwall Snooker Scene! We shall be producing a magazine page on fixturing and leagues shortly.

Question 7:

I am looking to find the rules of snooker. If you could email them to me I would really appreciate it. Thanks. Jamie

Answer: Unfortunately the rules of snooker are copyright, but you can probably find them on various websites, including WWW snooker. Address: www.stud.ifi.uio.no/-hermunda/Snooker/ Other snooker sites can be found at: http://home1.gte.net/mavlon/index.htm Have a look at some of these sites! The Official Rules (unless they've gone up recently) cost £5 sterling from: WPBSA, 27, Oakfield Road, BRISTOL BS8 2AT United Kingdom. Sorry I haven't got time to reproduce all the Rules for you, but will be glad to answer individual questions about the rules.

Question 8:

What are the exact rules concerning the specifications of a snooker/pool cue?

Answer: Thanks for the question about cues. I don't cover pool, but the rules on snooker cues, as far as I am aware, are that a cue must be a minimum length of 3ft (approx 90 cm), and there is no maximum length. I gather the 3ft minimum was introduced when someone tried to use a cue about the size of a pencil to play a shot from inside the pack of reds! I will try to find out who this player was.

Question 9 Date: 26/10/99 17:46:30 GMT Daylight Time From: barwick@computers54.fsnet.co.uk (Geoff Payne)

To: snookermag@aol.com Hi I have been stumped by this question, on UK TV how many 147 breaks have there been and who made them? could you point me to a Snooker trivea site that may have the answer. You have a great web site and should be proud. Regards Winston White.


Answer: Hi, Winston! Thanks for the nice comment about the website. It's a pity that nothing came of the magazine! The question of 147 breaks came up in a recent exchange on the Onelist 147 list, which I subscribe to (you can join the list from my Internet page on this site if you like). Apparently (at 26/10/99) there are now 49 recognised maximum breaks (including John Higgins's latest in the Grand Prix 2004championship), and you should be able to find a list on: www.snookernet.com or write to Janie Watkins at:The Global Snooker Centre for more information. Hope this helps!

Footnote: John Higgins made (2001) his first competitive 147 at the Nations Cup, but his team, Scotland, failed to reach the Final, where England (Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Lee, John Parrott and Jimmy White) beat Wales 6-4.

Question 10 (from: bwhalley@home.com (BRIAN WHALLEY)

To: snookermag@aol.com: If I am snookered, say on the blue ball, and I hit the blue ball but I leave my opponent either completely snookered or partially (ie he can't see both sides of the ball) can he make me shoot again?

Answer: Dear Brian, Thank you for your question. The fact that you say that you hit the blue ball means that you have played a fair shot (i.e. no foul). Therefore unless you have made some other foul during the shot, e.g. going in-off (scratching), your snooker is quite legitimate and your opponent must play from the position left. The only time a free ball may be claimed is after a foul shot, when your opponent cannot see the whole of the ball 'on'.

Question 11 (from: bwhalley@home.com (BRIAN WHALLEY)

To: Snookermag@aol.com What happens if I miss the blue and therefore commit a foul - if my opponent cannot see both sides of the blue ball can he make me shoot again? Is that what you mean by a free ball?

Answer: If the ball 'on' is the blue and you do not strike it, with the result that your opponent cannot see the whole of the blue, there are two alternatives: (1) He can make you go again - you must hit the blue (2) He can claim a 'free ball', which means he can take pink or black instead of the blue. If he pots the 'free ball', he scores five points. He cannot snooker you behind the 'free ball', as this is also a foul - penalty five points. By the way, he can also pot the blue with the free ball and score five points. This is legitimate, as is potting both the free ball and the blue - score five points. If the blue is potted by the free ball, it stays in the pocket. The free ball would be re-spotted. Hope that makes it clearer.

Question 12 From: nicholas.costa@kcl.ac.uk (Nick Costa)

To: snookermag@aol.com Hi I have been a snooker player for quite a while, I wonder if you could clear up a couple of rules I am unsure about. 1) Do amateur players ever use the "miss" rule or is it solely for professionals? 2) A free ball as I understand it is when you are unable to hit both *extreme edges* of the object ball, is this true even if it as a cushion - not a ball - in the way. Being angled in the jaw of a pocket is an obvious case for a free ball but what if the cue ball and object ball are tight on the same cushion (which means you can only hit the edge on one side...) Thanks -- Nick C, Herts

Answer: Hi, Nick! Thanks for your questions. As regards Question 1, in my own League in Cornwall, the miss rule is used by most clubs in Division 1, where the standard of play is high, but it is variously interpreted, some players giving a miss while others may not give a miss in the same circumstances. In lower divisions, the rule is rarely used, and this is true of even the highest division in some local leagues. It is up to the Leagues themselves to give guidance on this issue if they wish to do so: my own league leaves it to the discretion of clubs and players. I feel sure there are some amateur leagues where the rule is never used. It depends very much on the ability of the players concerned. Qu.2 You cannot theoretically be 'snookered' by a cushion, therefore no free ball is given: a) when you are angled b) when, for instance, both balls are touching the same cushion. You are deemed to be able to hit the whole ball if you are prevented from doing so only by a cushion. The rule about 'angled ball' has now been changed. Previously you could play from hand (the D) if you were angled after a foul. Now the only recourse you have is to make your opponent play again. Hope this helps. Graham
Footnote: The Mining League has this year (1999) implemented a full miss rule in Division 1, and a limited miss rule in Divisions 2 and 3 - in Division 3 a miss should be called if any part of a ball on is clearly visible, or in Division 2 as above and if a player misses a ball on by an unreasonable margin when snookered. The latter is open to interpretation!

Further note to the above: Because of the misuse and misunderstanding of the miss rule, the Mining League decided in 2002 that a miss may only be called when the object ball is fully visible and is not contacted.

Question 13 From: kai.parviainen@oreline.net (Kai Parviainen) To: snookermag@aol.com
Hello, finally I found a page that takes people's questions seriously and gives really good answers,thanks. In my town there is no snooker table,there use to be but they replaced it with pooltables(??!!). I heard that the table was for sale and i´m thinking a little of maybe buying it but i have no clue of how much i should pay for it.I think the table is in good condition and i´ve heard some guy talking about a price of approximatly £ 1100-1300. Is that a reasonable price, i think all equippment is included.Ok thanks Kai ,Örebro Sweden

Answer: Hi, Kai! There is no hard and fast rule about how much to pay for a second-hand table. This depends upon condition and your own budget. It might be an idea to look at the table and make enquiries on the price of a new table to your local dealer. I think in Britain tables are around £3000-£4000, so in view of that you might consider a table for £1100-£1300 to be a good buy. Keep an eye on your local newspapers to see if any others are offered, but it doesn't often happen that a full-sized table comes up for sale. Join the 147 Club or alt.sport.snooker (see my Internet page) to get some advice there. It's worth it!

Question 14: From: creyna@lullitec.com.pe (Carlos Reyna) Reply-to: creyna@lullitec.com.pe To: snookermag@aol.com
Hi! I am from Lima, Peru and belong to a Club where we have 5 snooker tables in a very good shape since in last September we had the first South American Snooker Tournament at our Club. Four countries took part in the event: Argentine, Bolivia, Brasil and Peru. The first 7 places where gathered by the brasilians. Although we have seen at the TV, snooker games where they ask to play again after a foul, we never did that in our club, perhaps due to very old written rules we have. I wander when this option of playing again was introduced. During the south american event, a lot of problems arose concerning this "playing again" specially among the brasilian players when they were playing each other. In one ocassion, being snookered, and after the third trial to hit the object ball, the white ball just failed by one mm or less and the affected player didn´t want to play again adducing that the fair try was well covered. The game was stopped and then the Snooker Commission established a maximum of four tries in despite of how close the white ball passed from the object ball. Also brasilians claimed that after a foul, there was a free ball if at least three diameters of object ball were not seen. Some times I wander if this rule is really aginst the beauty of the game. Waiting for your kind reply. Carlos

Answer: Hi, Carlos, Before I answer your question, can you explain what you mean by 'playing again'? Do you mean the 'miss' rule, when the balls are replaced in their original position, or do you mean playing again from where the balls finish, as you can request after any foul stroke? In professional snooker when a 'miss' is called, the opponent has four options: 1) Play the next shot himself 2) Have the balls replaced as they were before the last stroke 3) Ask the player to play from where the balls finished 4) Take a free ball if one has been awarded. Can you say whether you mean 'play again' as in No 2) or No 3)? In situation No 2), if the player is not snookered, he loses the frame after three 'misses' are awarded. He must, however, be warned of this before playing his third attempt.

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