Snooker is one of the oldest and most prestigious sports in the UK but many newcomers to the game can get confused with the rules and scoring system.
Thats why we’re here to take you through the basics of snooker, so you will know how to bet on snooker with confidence!
Snooker is an amazing sport once you get to know how it’s played. There are some of sport’s most vibrant and interesting characters in the game of snooker, which is played all over the world.
Originating from the UK, snooker has enjoyed a modern-day resurgence in China and the Far East. The United Kingdom may well still be the homeland of snooker but this sport is growing fast.
This handy guide will give you the basics you need to watch and bet on snooker — and even play a frame or two for yourself! We’ll take you through the rules, the scoring system and the most popular betting markets available at Unibet’s sportsbook.
How Snooker Works - Basic Rules
Snooker is a two-player sport when the aim is to pot balls into pockets on a table. The table has a green baize surface and players hit the white ball (known as the cue ball) with their snooker cues. The aim is to knock the coloured balls into the pockets using your cue ball.
Each colour ball on the table represents a numerical value. The player who earns the most points during one round wins the ‘frame’. A snooker match will consist of a set number of frames, depending on the tournament. Some matches could be best-of-five frames, while the World Snooker Championship final is best-of-35 frames.
Players take it in turns to take a shot with their cue. If they pot a ball, they get another turn. If they miss, then their opponent comes to the table.
As previously stated, each ball has a numerical value depending on its colour. Those values are as follows…
Snooker ball numbers
- Red - 1
- Yellow - 2
- Green - 3
- Brown - 4
- Blue - 5
- Pink - 6
- Black - 7
There are 15 reds at the start of a snooker match, with just one ball each of the other colours. A player must pot a red before then can go for a colour. If they then pot a colour, they go back to a red. This alternates until the player wins or misses a pot, at which point the opponent comes to the table and starts on red again.
What are breaks in snooker?
A break is when a player spends a period of time potting reds and colours alternatively, mounting a high score. For example, a break of 26 could involve a player potting red - black - red - black - red - blue - red - yellow. You can bet on players achieving century breaks, whereby they score a streak that goes over 100.
What are snookers?
This is when a player doesn’t think they can pot a ball, and so tries to make things complicated for their opponent. A player may decide to ‘snooker’ their opponent by sending the cue ball behind the yellow, for example. The opponent then has to navigate their way around the table to hit a red. If they miss a red and hit a colour, it’s a foul, and the first player earns either four points (or more if the ball hits a blue, pink or black). If the cue ball goes in the pocket, that is also a foul and the opponent earns four points as well as command of the table.
Betting on Snooker
Snooker betting is a fun way to get accustomed to the sport and follow new players. The most popular snooker bet type is the match bet. This is when you simply bet on the player you think will win. Snooker differs from football or hockey in that there are no draws. If the scores are even when the last black ball goes in the pocket, then the two players face off over one last black. So you will either bet on one player to win (1) or the other player to win (2).
Snooker handicap betting is also popular, as this is a way of evening out the odds when there is a clear favourite to win. For example, if David Gilbert was playing Marco Fu, the former may be the heavy favourite to win. But if you bet on Gilbert to win with a -3.5 frame disadvantage, you win your bet (at more favourable odds) if Gilbert wins by four frames or more.
The over/under betting in snooker is also a favoured bet when players think the match will be close. If, for example, the match is a best-of-11 contest, then you could bet on there being under 8.5 frames being played. You win your bet if the match is finished before a ninth frame is required.
Snooker combination betting
There are plenty of snooker players who are worth betting on in big tournaments. And generally, because snooker is such a personal sport, the favourites are likely to win. Unlike tennis or badminton, where you have to match your strength, skill and agility against one other person, snooker is far more or a mental game.
It means players can make mistakes that cost them frames and even matches, without the opponent really doing anything. Yet at the top of the game the best players rarely make mistakes, meaning there are fewer upsets in snooker than other sports.
Therefore, some betting fans choose to use combination betting to boost their odds on backing favourites. For example, you might look at the first round of the Masters and see a list of favourites facing non-ranked players. Their odds to win will be unattractive — maybe around 1.10 or 1.20. Therefore, you can use a snooker combination bet to lump your favourites together. If you think four players will all win their matches, you could boost your odds to better than evens. Of course, you need all four players to win the bet, so that’s the risk you take in order to chase bigger odds!
Biggest snooker tournaments
The World Snooker Championship is the biggest competition in the sport and runs between April and May each year. There is a £500,000 winner’s share of the prize fund, with only 32 players across the globe reaching the First Round. The tournament stages long matches, with best-of-19 frames first First Round matches. This means matches last over several sessions, with fluctuations in form and temperament all part of the entertainment.
The UK Championship is another acclaimed competition with a much-coveted prize pot of £850,000. Established in 1977, this competition takes place between November and December each year.
The China Open is growing in significance as snooker’s popularity in the country increases. Beijing offers a £1m prize pot for the tournament, with the world’s best players heading to the capital to compete.
Possibly the most prestigious non-ranking tournament is the Masters. This is one of the trophies every snooker player wants to win at least once in their careers. The Masters started in 1975 and has a £600,000 prize fund. It is a non-ranking tournament but the standard is that the top 16 players in the world are invited to compete in London. The Masters takes place every January.
Snooker live stream and betting
Here at Unibet we’re dedicated to bringing you the latest snooker scores and results. And that’s why we offer snooker live stream services for most of the big tournaments, alongside our in-play betting markets.
You won’t miss any of the action by watching and betting on snooker, as you can track the live scores during frames to make sure you’re backing the right player! Live streaming also gives you the chance to make faster decisions on what to bet on and when.