If you are looking to expand your betting activities, you might be thinking about wagering on “Snooker” for the first time.
Snooker is a sport that is popular in the United Kingdom, but in the United States, not many people are familiar with it.
Nevertheless, it has become a mainstream betting market around the world. Sports betting sites that cater to customers in the States do offer snooker betting.
In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know to get started wagering on snooker.
We will define snooker, discuss its relationship to other cue games, briefly go over how it is played, and introduce major snooker events that you should be aware of. We will also go over types of snooker bets and strategies.
You can scroll down past these sections to jump straight into our recommendations for the best online sportsbooks for wagering on snooker.
What is Snooker?
Snooker is a cue sport. And yes, it is a sport, even though some people contest that and claim it is “only a game.”
What makes snooker a sport? Simply put, it requires athleticism in order to win.
The reason that snooker is most popular in the UK is that it was invented by British Army officers in India during the 19th century.
Key Point: Snooker is a cue sport invented by British soldiers.
Is Snooker the Same Thing as Pool or Billiards?
You might be wondering if snooker is just “the British way of referring to pool.” You also might be curious if snooker is identical to billiards.
There are three different sports. All of them are played using a long stick called a “cue.” All of them involve using the cue to propel balls into pockets on a table. But they have different rules and parameters.
If you are in North America, the cue sport you probably have the most familiarity with is pool. In fact, there’s a good chance that the last time you visited a bar, there was a pool table available. You might even have played a round.
Here are some major differences between snooker and pool:
- Snooker tables are massive in comparison to pool tables. They measure 12 feet x 6 feet. Their sheer size is one of the reasons they are less common in bars than pool tables. And that is even true in the UK where snooker is a more popular sport!
- The pockets on snooker tables are narrow in comparison to those on pool tables.
- Snooker involves a different set of balls than pool. You must pocket these in a particular order (more on that below).
- If you have experience with pool, that is great, because it gives you a starting point for learning about snooker. Just keep in mind that snooker is a more challenging sport due to the size of the table and pockets, and that the rules are different.
Key Point: Snooker is a cue sport like pool and billiards, but these are three different sports.
How is Snooker Played?
In a snooker game, there are a series of “frames.” At the start of the game, the number of frames will be set.
The player who wins the majority of the frames wins the game.
Snooker features these 21 balls:
- 15 red balls referred to as the “pack” (each worth 1 point)
- 1 yellow ball (worth 2 points)
- 1 green ball (worth 3 points)
- 1 brown ball (worth 4 points)
- 1 blue ball (worth 5 points)
- 1 pink ball (worth 6 points)
- 1 black ball (worth 7 points)
As with pool, each frame begins with an initial stroke referred to as the break.
This word has multiple meanings in snooker. It can also refer to a winning streak, i.e. “that player is on a break.” Over the course of that break, the total points may be referred to as the “break” as well.
Players take turn using a cue to strike a cue ball, just like with pool. The cue ball is used to hit other balls, with the goal being to pocket them according to the rules.
A legal ball is called “on,” while an illegal ball is called “off.”
Pocketing a ball that is “off” results in a foul. Pocketing a ball that is “on” results in points as per the amounts assigned to each. So, for example, 2 points for the yellow ball or 3 points for the green ball. Balls may also be referenced with their colors alone, so “the yellow” or “the green.”
If a player simply fails to pocket a legal ball, they do not foul, but the next player gets to go.
When attempting to pocket colored balls, players must alternate with pocketing reds. Pocketing two colored balls in a row is illegal.
Each time a new turn starts, the colored balls that were pocketed are re-spotted on the table. But the red balls that have been pocketed stay in the pockets.
If all the red balls go into the pockets, the players need to pocket the colored balls starting with the one that is least valuable, and ending with the one that is most valuable. At this stage, there is no more re-spotting of colored balls. After all the balls are pocketed, that is the end of that frame. The player with the most points at that time wins the frame.
There are situations where a frame might end earlier for mathematical reasons. Sometimes a player achieves sufficient points that there is no way for their opponents to catch up. If so, that player wins the frame and the frame is over.
It is also possible for there to be a tie once all the balls are pocketed in a frame. To break the tie, the black is re-spotted. There is a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss gets to take the first turn.
If a player pockets the black, they win. If a player fouls before that happens, that player loses, and their opponent wins.
As with golf, it is possible to call a foul on yourself in snooker. You will notice that players frequently do this and take pride in being accountable. They also are unlikely to celebrate lucky flukes, and may even apologize for them to their opponents.
Key Point: Snooker’s gameplay involves alternating pocketing red and colored balls. Like pool, it is played with a cue and a cue-ball.
What Makes Snooker a Compelling Game to Bet On?
Here are a few reasons to bet on snooker:
- As previously mentioned, snooker players tend to call fouls on themselves.
- Snooker involves elaborate and fascinating physics.
- From a strategic angle, snooker has a lot to offer.
- You might discover a new hobby.
Why is this a good thing? Well, think about other sports you wager on where you see a lot of inaccurate and unfair calls. Who corrects the referee when they miss a foul? Usually no one. But snooker players tend to own up. So, you are less likely to be “robbed” of a win by a referee mistake.
In order to understand the action at a snooker table, you have to cultivate some understanding of physics.
That does not mean that you need to start learning complicated equations. But you need to understand how striking the cue-ball in different ways along different trajectories can lead to specific outcomes.
Snooker shots can sometimes be quite complex! A player may hit the cue-ball with the intention of it striking multiple surfaces before the cue-ball comes to rest in its final position.
When making a shot, they need to think about the spin they want to put on the ball, the angle of travel they need, the speed, and more.
As a solo sport, snooker involves doing one’s best to pocket balls in the right order—but it also involves putting a lot of thought into how one can prevent one’s opponent from doing the same thing.
Indeed, snooker is almost like chess in the sense that each player is trying to not only progress toward their goals, but set up scenarios that trap their opponents.
Indeed, that is what a “snooker” is. To “snooker” one’s opponent is to put one’s opponent in a situation where there is no clear path to striking an “on” ball without hitting an illegal ball.
It is fascinating to watch how these scenarios play out, and to try and think multiple turns ahead, imagining all the possibilities and the contingency plans that players could use to meet them.
You probably will not have a chance to play snooker yourself. As just mentioned, snooker tables are pretty inconvenient, and you’ll not likely encounter one in person.
But watching snooker and betting on it could spark an interest in pool. You might find yourself more interested in the pool table at your local bar, and might decide to give it a try. You could find that you love it, and that it gives you some additional perspective on snooker as well.
Key Point: Snooker is a fascinating sport to bet on. It involves physics, athletic ability and strategy. Snooker players are usually honest even when referees make mistakes. Plus, snooker is closely related to pool, which you can play.
Important Snooker Events
Now that we have talked about why you might want to wager on snooker online, let’s talk about some of the snooker events you may want to bet on.
The Triple Crown Series
The best-known snooker events in the world are the three events in the Triple Crown Series. These are:
- The World Snooker Championship
- The UK Championship
- The Masters
Let’s talk a little bit about each of these big events.
The World Snooker Championship
If you are going to bet on just one snooker event each year, chances are good you will wager on the World Snooker Championship. No other snooker event is more famous. This event draws together the greatest snooker champions to compete for huge prizes.
How long has the World Snooker Championship been running? Quite a while. In fact, the first ever World Snooker Championship took place in 1927. It had a single winner fifteen times in a row after its inception, snooker legend Joe Davis.
The event was not held consistently each year until 1969. It moved around a lot as well until 1977, after which it took place each year at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. From the 80s onward, the format’s tournament has been pretty steady.
The World Snooker Championship lasts 17 days each year. May Day is always the final day of the tournament, and 32 players take part in the event.
The UK Championship
The next Triple Crown event you may want to wager on is the UK Championship. It has been around since 1977, and originally was a British-only competition, as the name implies, called the “United Kingdom Professional Snooker Championship.”
Now, even though it is called the “UK Championship,” this event is international, allowing entrants from all countries.
Finally, we have the Masters, an event that started in 1975. It is the second oldest snooker tournament in the world. Ten players were invited to the first event, with the number increasing to 16 over subsequent years.
These are not the only major snooker events that you can wager on, but they give you a good starting point.
Indeed, along with major ranked tournaments, we suggest watching and wagering on qualifying events too.
Key Point: Wagering on the Triple Crown Series of snooker tournaments is a great introduction to snooker betting.
Types of Snooker Bets
Now that you know some of the types of snooker events you can wager on, let’s go over some of the types of snooker bets you can place.
Match bet: Who will win a snooker match? If you think you know the answer, you can make a match bet. Most of the snooker wagers I see sportsbooks offering are match bets or futures bets.
Frame bet: Don’t know who is going to win a match, but feel confident that you know who will win a frame? Place a frame wager. An alternate style of frame bet is a prop bet where you guess how many frames in a match will be won by a player.
Handicap bet: When sportsbooks add or remove points to level the playing field, you have a handicap wager.
Outright bet: This is like a match bet. You are wagering who will win an event.
Second place bet: As the name describes, this is a bet on the second place winner.
Futures bet: If you have a guess who will win a match that is going to take place months from now, you can make a futures wager.
Live bet: Also known as an “in-play” bet, this is a wager you can make when an event is in progress.
Accumulator bet: Parlays and teasers are examples of accumulator bets. When you place this type of wager, you combine multiple selections and must win all of them to win the wager. Accumulator bets are very risky, but the rewards can be great.
Proposition bet: A wide array of proposition bets may be possible for snooker. They also are called “prop” bets. A “prop” bet is a wager on anything that does not have to do with the outcome of an event. Sometimes you can be strategic with snooker props. Other times they are purely based on chance.
Key Point: There are many types of bets you can place on snooker, as with other sports.
Strategies for Wagering on Snooker
How can you wager effectively on snooker? You will need to find or create strategies that can help you make consistent profitable predictions. Regardless of your exact approach, here are a few general recommendations to get you started:
- Learn as much as you are able to about major players who you might be betting on.
- Keep up with recent matches to find out whether a player is on form or not.
- The psychological side of things is important in snooker, as with any other sport.
- Shop the odds.
Find out what their preferred strategies are, what types of shots they excel at, and situations they are good at creating or escaping. Likewise, pay attention to their weaknesses. All of this information will help you to imagine how a match might unfold between any two players, and can also be very valuable if you are wagering in-play.
Also check their schedules. If a player is playing a lot of matches back to back, that is going to result in fatigue. You might assume that fatigue would not be as big a deal in a cue sport as a field sport, but it can be game-changing. Be alert for injuries as well. The precision involved in snooker is considerable. Something as minor as a strained wrist could be a big deal. Injured players in snooker may attempt to compete, just as athletes in other sports might. They might even try to hide their injuries.
Try and get a feel for a player’s mental state going into a match, and as the match progresses. Emotional factors can have a major impact on outcomes.
This is critical advice when wagering on any sporting event. The first odds you run into may not be the best, and in some cases, there may be no value in the odds even if you can make an accurate prediction. Make sure that the odds are such that the reward will be worth the risk.
Key Point: As with wagering on other sports, when you bet on snooker, you need to shop the odds. Research the players, watch matches, and pay attention to strategies, mental game and physical form.
Play More Pool
I would be shocked if your local bar has a snooker table, but I’d also be surprised if there is not at least one bar in your area that has a pool table you can use.
Playing pool can teach you a lot about playing snooker, even though there are differences between the two sports.
You can learn a lot about the physics of snooker by learning how to put spin on a cue-ball while playing pool, how to angle a shot, and so forth.
That real-world knowledge will help you to identify skill, evaluate form, and make predictions about future performance from the players you are watching.
Key Point: Pool may not be identical to snooker, but the games have so much in common that you will learn applicable knowledge for betting on snooker by playing more pool.
Some Key Snooker Terms to Know
There is not room in this article for a full glossary for snooker, but I do want to define at least some of the major terminology for you so that you have an easier time understanding what you read and hear about snooker matches.
- Angels of incidence and reflection
Let’s say that a snooker player strikes the cue-ball, and it then makes contact with an object-ball or cushion before continuing along a new path. The “angle of incidence” is the angle between the object ball and the cue-ball where it originated. The “angle of reflection” is the angle between the object-ball or cushion struck, and the cue-ball’s next destination.
Balls do not always travel in straight lines. Sometimes they travel along curved paths. A well-executed massé shot makes this possible.
- Ball Contacts
The manner in which a cue-ball strikes an object-ball is the type of “ball contact” that has occurred. Different types of ball contacts include full ball, half ball, quarter ball, and three-quarter ball.
The “break” is the opening stroke in a frame. It can also refer to a player who is on a roll (i.e. “on a break”). Additionally, that player’s points during their “break” likewise are their “break.”
When one stroke hits more than one object-ball, that is a “cannon” shot, or a “carom.”
The “cue” is the stick that one strikes the cue-ball with.
- Cue Ball
The white ball that the striker hits with the cue is called the “cue-ball.” One does not strike object-balls directly, but rather uses the cue-ball to hit them.
The bumpers on all four sides of the table are called “cushions.”
A ball that is “dead” might be “frozen,” or it could be a worn ball. Which meaning is applicable depends on the context of the reference. Cushions also can be “dead” in the sense of being worn. Striking a ball that is “frozen” with another results in a “dead combination” if the touching ball goes into the pocket. If it is the ball that the cue-ball hit that goes into the pocket, it is instead known as a “dead kiss.”
Sometimes back-spin is referred to as “draw.”
This is what we sometimes call side-spin. Note that you will not hear this term as often when you are listening to British commentators as you will when listening to American commentators.
If a stroke is not illegal, it is a “fair” stroke.
This seems to refer to anything from a fine shot (see below) to a double hit to address. You will need to determine the meaning based on context.
Sometimes the object-ball and cue-ball just barely touch when they meet. When that happens, it is a “fine” contact or a “fine” shot.
- Forcing an angle or a stroke
Forcing an angle or a stroke: When players have to make awkward shots, they may need to “force an angle” or “force a stroke” to execute a legal shot.
An illegal shot in snooker is a foul.
As mentioned previously, matches feature multiple frames.
- Free Ball
A snooker achieved with a foul results in a free ball for the player who was snookered.
When balls are sitting in direct contact with either a cushion or another ball, we call them “frozen.” You may be familiar with this term from playing pool. Actually, you probably will not hear it often in snooker commentary unless the commentator is American. Otherwise, terms like “tight” or “dead” are more common.
This is another word for a frame.
- In Hand
If the cue-ball is in the baulk’s D section on the table, it is “in-hand.” It is legal for it to contact an object-ball in or outside of the baulk in snooker (in billiards, this is different).
A player commits an “in-off” foul if the cue-ball follows the object-ball into a pocket.
When a player’s turn is complete, the configuration in which he has left the balls is referred to as his “leave.”
- Losing Hazard
If the cue-ball goes into the pocket after a carom, it is a foul known as a “losing hazard.” One may also simply call this a “loser.”
- Massé shot
As mentioned before, it is possible to make the cue-ball curve. One may do this by striking downward on it in a “massé shot.”
- Match Ball
Depending on context, the match ball is either the hardest one left to pocket, or the one that will make the player who pots it a winner.
- Maximum Break
Also called a “147,” the maximum break is what happens when a player manages to pot all the reds, the colors and the black.
When the cue ball doesn’t strike an object ball, it is a “miss.” If a player misses three times in a frame, he forfeits that frame.
The fibers of the table cloth have a direction to them, kind of like fur on a pet. This is called the “nap,” and it has an impact on how the ball rolls since there is more friction going against the nap than in its direction.
- Nominated ball
The ball that a player is planning to strike is the “nominated” one.
- Pot or Pocket
These are both ways to refer to sinking a ball into a pocket.
What happens if players keep trading safeties back and forth? Eventually, they might decide to “re-rack” and start the frame over from scratch.
- Re-Spotted Black
What if there is a tie in a snooker frame? When that happens, the black is put back in its original spot, and a coin is tossed. Whoever wins the coin toss goes first, and whoever pots the black first wins (a foul could also end the frame and determine a winner).
- Roll Up
Tapping the cue-ball gently may cause it to roll up to one or more object-balls, setting up a snooker.
- Running Side
This is another phrase for left-hand or right-hand spin.
If you leave an opponent with a layout of balls that is “safe,” it is not safe for him — it is safe for you. He will not have an easy shot to score. If you take a shot specifically to create a “safe” position, it is called a “safety shot.
Back-spin that results in reversal of the cue-ball’s path is “screw.”
Multi-day matches take place in daily “sessions.”
It is possible to strike a cue ball in such a manner that a rotation called “spin” is applied to it. There are various types of spin: back-spin, top-spin, and so forth, all of which have different effects on how the ball travels.
The layout of the balls on the table can be called the “shape.” It might also be called the “position.”
What is a “snooker” in snooker? It is when one player sets up a position for another player that prevents them from directly striking a legal ball.
A “spot” is a designated location for each colored ball. It also is the action of placing a ball in its spot, i.e. “spotting.”
- Three-Foul Rule
Fouling three times from one position results in a player’s loss of an entire frame. The only exception is if they are in a snooker.
“Throw” on a ball is a change in direction that results from friction on contact with another ball or cushion.
When you are listening to commentators abroad talking about snooker, they may use the term “tight” instead of “frozen.”
- Winning Hazard
Putting a legal ball in a pocket is called a “winning hazard” sometimes.
There are many more snooker terms to learn, but you should be able to dive in knowing these basic terms and have a pretty good grasp for what you are watching or reading about.
Key Point: Snooker has a lot of terminology associated with it. Now you know some of the basic terms, but you will still have plenty more to look up.
Top Sites for Betting on Snooker
We have now talked in-depth about snooker terms, strategies, bet types, events and more. Ready to start betting on this exciting cue sport? Below are the sites we recommend for snooker wagering.
If there is one name most people know in the US-facing sports betting market online, it is Bovada. Not surprisingly, Bovada offers snooker betting.
When you sign up to wager on snooker at Bovada, you can grab their $250 sports welcome bonus. If you want an even bigger bonus to wager on snooker, you can deposit bitcoin and receive a $750 bonus. On Bovada, you an also earn rewards points as you bet.
At the time of this writing, I am seeing spread bets on an upcoming snooker event that is scheduled for this month. I also am seeing some futures bets for an event that will take place in January of next year.
BetOnline.ag has been in operation for over a decade, making it another of the biggest names in sports betting. Many customers start betting here because of the low minimum bet amount ($1) and the fast and flexible banking options.
What types of promotions can you use for snooker at BetOnline? For starters, you can grab the 50% welcome bonus that gives you up to $1,000 in free plays. As you continue betting on BetOnline, you can claim the 25% sports reload bonus. And if you deposit with a cryptocurrency, you can get a 100% bonus on your first crypto deposit.
Like Bovada, BetOnline is offering action on a couple of upcoming matches. Along with these money line bets, there are also futures wagers for major competitions scheduled for next year.
Another of our recommended sports betting sites for snooker is MyBookie. This site has impressed us with their consistent reliability, particularly when it comes to timely payments.
When you join MyBookie, you can get a 50% sign-up bonus. As an existing customer, you can then claim a 25% sports reload bonus up to $500.
As of the time of this writing, MyBookie does not seem to be offering any snooker action, but they do have a snooker section in their sportsbook. So, we assume that this is a one-off, and there usually is something there to bet on.
Sportsbetting.ag is owned by the same folks who run BetOnline. As you might expect, this makes the site pretty similar. Naturally, that means that like BetOnline, Sportsbetting offers action on snooker.
In fact, the wagers available at Sportsbetting at this time look to be the same as those at BetOnline. There are money line and futures bets.
When you join Sportsbetting, you can get a 50% welcome bonus up to $1,000. 25% reload bonuses up to $250 in free plays are available to returning customers betting on snooker and other sports.
Intertops has been around for more than two decades, making it one of the most well-established and trusted sports betting sites out there. We have always had a great experience with them, and love their promotions, transparency, and excellent customer support. When you sign up to wager on Intertops, you can qualify for a $200 bonus.
At the time of this writing, I am seeing a number of different match bets available for snooker at Intertops.
If you want to bet on snooker with bitcoin, one of your best options is to head over to Cloudbet. You can get started with a deposit of just 0.001 BTC, and have the chance to claim a welcome bonus on your first deposit as high as 5 BTC. That is an insane amount of bonus cash to burn!
This site has one of the better-organized snooker betting sections, making it easy to find the bets you are looking for. You can navigate through tabs to view in-play wagers, bets on matches running today, bets on matches running tomorrow, competitions, highlights and outrights.
In fact, most betting sites do not appear to offer in-play action yet on snooker, so it is awesome to see one which does.
Our Top Recommended Site for Snooker Betting Right Now: Cloudbet
Having compared sportsbooks where you can wager on snooker right now, our current pick for the best snooker betting site is Cloudbet.
Cloudbet is offering in-play action, and this is an area where a lot of other sites still need to catch up.
This site also does a nice job with navigation, making it easy to find the wagers you are looking for.
Throw in the massive welcome bonus, and you have yet another reason to make betting on Cloudbet a priority.
Bet on Snooker Now
Snooker is a popular sport in the UK, but it is one which a lot of American bettors may overlook.
But now you know enough about snooker basics to get started watching games, and you know where you can bet on snooker and enjoy competitive odds and bonuses.
Click on any of the links in this article to start betting on snooker online!
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