Snooker Basics

Snooker basics, a revised and complete article.

Snooker is a game of strategy and expertise where in every shot, the player tries to pot a colored object ball with a white colored cue-ball using a cue-stick as the striking force generating device. If you have ever played a game of snooker, you must have realized that there’s so much to it, and once you start it, you won’t be able to stop playing it.

There have been lots of times when me and some friends have played snooker for many hours continuously. Its like we are researching something, and of course have nothing else to do. We enter the snooker parlor in the day and come out at evening or sometimes even at night.

This game is not about playing a few powerful shots and trying to impress everybody with just a couple of shots, though even the best hustlers sometimes just do that, but at the highest levels, it is about making points and not letting your opponent get out of his seat, except when you have left him snookered or left the cue-ball tight on the cushions. Well, this would be the ideal case and then you would be able to defeat everybody, but I think you get the point ๐Ÿ˜‰

You can score a maximum of 147 points in the game in a single run. If you start with a free ball, then you can score 155 points in the break.

The basic rules.

You have to pot a red ball (worth 1 point) at the start of every shot, followed by any colored ball of your choice from yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black ( these 6 balls are worth 2 – 7 points starting from yellow – 2, till black – 7.) Then another red, and another color. Whenever you miss, it is your opponent’s turn, and he does the same. This process is repeated throughout the game, until there are no reds left on the table. When this situation arises, you have to pot the colors in order from yellow till black for a total of 27 points.  Every shot you play will involve you shooting a red ball first, unless your opponent fouled in the previous shot and you are left with a snooker or cannot see the ball-on, or in this case red from both sides properly. In that case you can select a free-ball.

Every potted red remains inside the pocket, where-as every colored ball is replaced after a successful pot. This goes on, until all the fifteen reds are inside the pockets. Then you have to start potting the other colored balls (lowest to highest valued) starting from yellow (worth 2 points), then green, brown, blue, pink and finally black (worth 7 points)

So a successful 147 ( the highest score achievable without the initial free ball ) would include potting

15 reds and 15 blacks, then all the colors, so that is [(1+7)x(15) + (2+3+4+5+6+7)] = 147.

The basics ->


  • V-shaped bridge – This bridge 
  • Curly bridge
  • Rail-Bridge (Tight situation, everyone fears it)
  • Over the ball bridge
  • Pocket bridge

This is such a game where even someone who makes a score of just 20 in almost every turn can defeat ANYBODY, if his safeties are extremely good, and he is careful all the time.

Likewise, a player, who even makes big breaks in every game may easily lose to an opponent if his safeties are not good, or if he stumbles a few times at the crucial moment.

Let me tell you that I can give you tips on how to play snooker, if you are a beginner, intermediate, an advanced, or maybe even an expert level player. I can say that I am an advanced level player and yet to reach the expert and master levels. I usually make 30-35, with OK safeties (I have made 70-80 at times and sometimes my safeties are great as well), but enough about me, let us continue.

Snooker is a beautiful game which utilizes 22 balls; 15 reds, 6 different colored balls, and one white ball.

The 6 colored balls are colored yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black; in ascending order of value.

Yellow is worth 2 points, green 3 and so on. Each red ball is worth 1 point. The aim of the game is to accumulate the maximum number of points till the end of the game.

The player must pot a red on every odd numbered shot of every turn. On every even numbered turn, he must pot one of the six available colors. A turn ends when the player misses a ball.


Yellow – 2 points

Green – 3 points

Brown – 4 points

Blue – 5 points

Pink – 6 points

Black – 7 points

Course of the game:

1.Snooker break off

The first shot of every snooker game is the break shot, and it is played from the D either from between the brown and yellow to come to the baulk end after bouncing off the right side cushion, or from between the brown and green to come to the baulk end after bouncing off the left side cushion. For starters, play it keeping the cue-ball around halfway between yellow and brown, with a little bit of right hand english and try and come 2 or 3 cushions behind the yellow or brown.

For more details on this basic and few advanced break-offs click here.

2. Snooker breaks or runs

A run is the no of points you score in one turn. When you never miss, you score the most points possible (147) and  there are a some legendary players who have made this score in an innings, which is the highest score achievable. Among these legends are Ronnie O’ Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams and age old legends such as Cliff Thorburn, Terry Griffiths, and Steve Davis. If the free ball rule is on, you can very well make a maximum break of 155. I don’t think it has been made in an international meeting, which they can count, maybe in a hustler’s convention or at some street snooker showdown by a shark?, i mean it can be made, you just need the right setup presented to a great player, and the probability is pretty good for that.

3. Safeties

If you think that potting a ball is risky, you can play a safety and come behind the baulk colours if there is no loose red in the baulk. You can also do all other types of safeties such as potting a red from near the black in one of the long baulk pockets, and staying behind all the reds and even good position for black. This is known as an attacking safety, that is, you play for the pot, but safe as well, so even if you miss, your opponent has no easy shot.

You can check out the some safety shots explained here.

4. Snooker

A snooker situation arises when you or your opponent is left with no choice but to play the ball on either by hitting a cushion first or by playing a masse shot. Different situations will be discussed later on, in this blog, so keep checking ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Free ball

When your opponent fouls and your ball on cannot be hit half ball on both sides directly, then you can nominate a free ball. If you pot the free ball, you will be given points according to the ball-on. However, you are not allowed to snooker behind the free ball. More lessons to follow on how to play snooker.

6. Potting the colours

After no reds remain on the table, you have to start potting the colors in increasing order of value starting from yellow all the way to black, totalling to 27 points. Check the list near the top of this article to know more.

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