Unlike sports such as Football or Rugby which are often played at a frantic pace, snooker is a sport which requires a lot of patience, in regards to both the players themselves and the spectators. It’s a sport which is played at a very slow tempo but one that oozes sophistication. The amount of accuracy and precision required to play at the very top is incredible and for a sport which looks fairly easy on the eye, it’s a damn sight harder to play.

Snooker is a bit like tennis. It goes on all around the world but those in the UK only really get gripped with the sport once a year when it’s shown live on BBC2 when The World Championships come to the Crucible in Sheffield. Fortunately for us, we get to host the biggest event of them all although the sport itself is starting to lose it’s followers. This was clearly evident when those organising the World Championships struggled to find a sponsor for last years Championship. Luckily for them and for us, BetFred intervened and provided a handsome prize pot for the players.

Basic gist of things

Snooker is played on a rectangular snooker table, typically 6 feet by 12 feet in size with six pockets, one at each corner and one in the middle of each long side. At one end of the table (the baulk end) is the so-called baulk line, which is 29 inches from the baulk cushion (the short cushion at the baulk end). A semicircle of radius 11½ inches, called the D, is drawn behind this line, centred on the middle of the line. The cushion on the other side of the table is known as the top cushion.

The objective of the game is to strike the white cue ball with a cue(a long stick to the untrained eye) in the direction of other object balls and to pot these object balls in one of the six pockets. This must be done according to the rules of the game. By potting object balls points can be scored. The player who scores most points wins the frame, and the player who wins most frames wins the match.

Tournaments

There are plenty of tournaments about, however, there are only a select few which really matter. There are currently eight ranking tournaments which allow you to boost your current amount rank points. These eight tournaments are the ones everyone wants to win as not only do they come with a hat full of ranking points but also a nice wedge of cash as a reward.

However, although there are only eight tournaments which count towards your rank. There are plenty of other competitions out there. As long as there’s a tournament with a cash reward, you’ll often find the big boys.

Ranked Tournaments:

Northern Ireland Trophy
Shanghai Masters
Grand Prix
UK Championship
Bahrain Championships
Welsh Open
China Open
World Snooker Championship

Although a handful of those tournaments are held in the UK, it’s good for the sport to see tournaments hosted by country’s from other continents. For the sport to grow as a whole, it need to reach those all across the globe. It’s also clear to see why snooker is so popular in Asia what with all the live tournaments they broadcast.

Asian Support

Although the popularity of the sport has hit somewhat of a flat spot recently, it has reached the heights of the bigger sports in the past. Snooker in the 1980’s was very popular and the final between two of the world finest ever snooker players in Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor seen 18.5 Million viewers tune in to watch the clash. It could possibly be a case of unlocking another potentially enthralling final which recaptures the sport in all it’s glory.

You will still find plenty of packed out snooker rooms in your local town as snooker is a very enjoyable sport but one area of the world where the sport has really taken off is in Asia. The continent has gone snooker crazy. More and more players are emerging in the top 100 and it won’t be long before they dominate the rankings.

World Rankings:

1 – Ronnie O’Sullivan
2 – Stephen Maguire
3 – Shaun Murphy
4 – John Higgins
5- Ali Carter
6 – Ryan Day
7 – Mark Selby
8 – Marco Fu
9 – Neil Robertson
10 – Stephen Hendry
11 – Mark Allen
12 – Joe Perry
13 – Ding Junhui
14 – Peter Ebdon
15 – Mark Williams
16 – Mark King

There are some familiar faces still around in the rankings, none more so then seven time world champion Stephen Hendry. The Scotsman is now 40 but is still competing against the very best and still attains a top ten ranking. It’s also good to see fellow Scot John Higgins still thereabouts. He still has six years on Hendry and his world title this year at the Crucible was a statement that there still life in the current world number 4.

A personal highlight is the fact that we have an Englishmen sat at the very top of the perch. Ronnie O’Sullivan has often been accused of lacking in confidence and it really does shock you when you see just three world titles to his name although he does have a prolific final record of Won 3 Lost 0.

World Snooker Championship

This is the title every player wants. Unfortunately for them, only one gets the honour each year and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to win one. The proof for this is in the winners list. It’s very rare that a player wins this tournament on just the one occasion. The WSC has always been won by the very best and this is evident in the small list of champions. Since the tournament was first held back in 1927, there have been just 17 different winners of the prestigious trophy. It’s a tournament which has been dominated by a select few and none more so then arguably the greatest ever snooker player in Stephen Hendry. The Scot has won no less than seven world titles and the signs are that his record of seven will not be broken for some time.

BBC favourite Steve Davis follows closely behind with six titles while Ray Reardon has an identical amount with six World Championship wins.

As far as a foreigner winning the tournament, there has been just the one. Cliff Thorbun is the only player to have ever won the title as an overseas player. The Canada born legend only won the prestigious event once but he did finish runner up on two other occasions.

Most WSC Titles:

Stephen Hendry – 7
Steve Davis – 6
Ray Reardon – 6
John Spencer – 3
John Higgins – 3
Ronnie O’Sullivan – 3

Betting

Most bookies and exchanges will feature many snooker markets whenever the major events take to the stage. The World Championship tends to attract the most attention with the punters although The Grand Prix is also very popular with the punters.

Like most tournaments, a lot of market support will come in for the outright markets. However, most firms will have in-play markets for most matches shown live on TV with a wide array of markets for you to choose from.

Betting Advice

Form – Analyse the form of the player. Just like any other sport, confidence is huge. If a player has won his last couple of matches or comes into a tournament with another tournament victory behind him then he will be buoyed by his recent success and should be at the top of his game.

Head-to-head – Take a look at the players head-to-head records when they come up against each other. Some players tend to play their best snooker when they face the very best while some can lose concentration against some of the lesser known players and this fact can often show up in their head-to-head records.

Age – As players become old they start to lose their concentration and co-ordination. This plays a part in snooker as it’s evident when you watch some of the former greats like Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis who are still competing to this very day. When they were in their peak, they were winning tournaments right, left and centre. Now they can sometimes struggle against inferior opposition and this is because they now lack consistency in their game due to their ever-growing age.

Snooker Markets:

Tournament outright
Tournament’s highest Break
Match Betting
Frame-by-frame betting
Handicap betting
Highest Break of the match
First ball potted

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