Snooker (pronounced UK: SNOO-kər, US: SNUUK-ər) is a cue sport played on a rectangular billiards table covered with a green cloth called baize, with six pockets, one at each corner and one in the middle of each long side. First played by British Army officers stationed in India in the second half of the 19th century, the game is played with twenty-two balls, comprising a white cue ball, fifteen red balls, and six other balls—a yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, and black—collectively called the colours. Using a cue stick, the individual players or teams take turns to strike the cue ball to pot other balls in a predefined sequence, accumulating points for each successful pot and for each time the opposing player or team commits a foul. An individual frame of snooker is won by the player who has scored the most points. A snooker match ends when a player reaches a predetermined number of frames.
In 1875, army officer Neville Chamberlain, stationed in Ootacamund, Madras, and Jabalpur, devised a set of rules that combined black pool and pyramids. The word snooker was a well-established derogatory term used to describe inexperienced or first-year military personnel. In the early 20th century, snooker was predominantly played in the United Kingdom where it was considered a "gentleman's sport" until the early 1960s, before growing in popularity as a national pastime and eventually spreading overseas. The standard rules of the game were first established in 1919 when the Billiards Association and Control Club was formed. As a professional sport, snooker is now governed by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.
The World Snooker Championship first took place in 1927. Joe Davis, a key figure and pioneer in the early growth of the sport, won fifteen successive world championships between 1927 and 1946. The "modern era" of snooker began in 1969 after the broadcaster BBC commissioned the television series Pot Black, later airing daily coverage of the World Championship, which was first televised in 1978. Key figures in the game were Ray Reardon in the 1970s, Steve Davis in the 1980s, and Stephen Hendry in the 1990s, each winning the World Championship at least six times. Since 2000, Ronnie O'Sullivan has won the most world titles.
Top professional players compete in regular tournaments around the world, earning millions of pounds on the World Snooker Tour, a circuit of international events featuring competitors of many different nationalities. The World Championship, the UK Championship, and the Masters together make up the Triple Crown Series, considered by many players to be the most highly valued titles. Although the main professional tour is open to women, female players also compete on a separate women's tour organised by World Women's Snooker. Competitive snooker is also available to non-professional players, including seniors and people with disabilities. The popularity of snooker has led to the creation of many variations based on the standard game, but using different rules or equipment, including six-red snooker, the short-lived "snooker plus", and the more recent Snooker Shoot Out version.

View More On
Top Bottom