Snooker may be viewed as slow paced, but the game has produced some of the most memorable moments in UK British sport over the years. From Dennis Taylor’s nail-biting black ball World Championship win over Steve Davis, to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s record breaking 147 in just 5 minutes and 8 seconds, snooker has been capable of capturing the nation’s imagination.
The snooker season normally begins in June and runs through to April’s World Championship which signals the end of the campaign. Most tournaments take place on home soil but there are also events across Europe and further afield, especially in China, where the game is hugely popular.
Latest Snooker Betting Offers & Promotions
Opt-in and bet £5 on any sport and you can gain entry into a prize draw to win tickets to the WST BetVictor Shootout snooker tournament in Swansea on Friday 8th or Saturday 9th December. Bets must be at odds of at least evens (2.0) and placed by 23:59 on Monday 4th December to qualify.
Please note: Most snooker promotions will be available during the major tournaments.
How To Bet On Snooker
The format of snooker matches along with widespread coverage of tournaments means that there is a whole host of betting markets available. We’ll look through the most popular of these below.
Match Winner Betting
Snooker is not dissimilar to many other sports, in the sense that it sees two competitors go up against one another for the win. As a result, one of the most obvious things that you can bet on is the outcome of the match itself. Unlike in sports such as football, where you can bet on the event ending in a draw, snooker matches will always have a winner because of the way that they are structured. As a result, you can look at the match in question and make a decision about whether you think it will be one player or the other who will emerge victorious at the end of the match.
The good news with a sport like snooker is that there are matches taking place most of the year. Players go up against one another on a regular basis, so there is plenty of information to be found on how they’d got on in the past. You can look at the head-to-heads that the players in the match that you’re betting on have enjoyed previously, as well as their own individual records. The latter is useful if they haven’t faced each other before, given that it tells you how they tend to play in general as individuals. Doing your research is important if you wish to stand a chance of winning your wager.
In snooker, the players are looking to win as many frames as they can. It is common for tournaments to ask the players to win a certain number of frames against their opposition in order to progress to the next round. The quarter-finals might be the best of 25 frames, for example, which means that the first player to win 13 frames will progress. Bookmakers will use this information to present you with numerous different markets that you can look to bet on, such as the number of frames that there will be in a match. This will often be an Over/Under market.
You can dig deeper if you wish to, especially in the world of In-Play betting, and place a wager on who will win the frame that is being played or who will win the next frame. You can even bet on the likes of the Odd/Even market for the total number of frames that will be played during the match. Different bookies will have different markets, but if you can think of something to do with the frames that you’d like to bet on then the chances are high that you’ll be able to. This becomes even more the case when it is the big competitions that you’re betting on.
Snooker is just like a lot of sports, insomuch as there will usually be one player that is thought of as being better than the other. Whilst this isn’t always the case, it does happen often enough for bookmakers to offer you the same sort of handicap betting that they would if you were betting on football or rugby. You can choose whether you want to bet on the better player to win in spite of a handicap given to them, or place a wager on the ‘lesser’ player to win if you give them a slight advantage. It will often come in the form of -1.5 or +1.5 frames for said player.
In other words, if you’re betting on the ‘better’ player then their score will be treated by the bookie as though it has had 1.5 frames taken off it at the end of the match. If it is a best of 25 frames match, a 13-12 win would mean that your bet will be a loser as their score would effectively be 11.5-12. Similarly, a bet on the ‘lesser’ player would mean that they would have 1.5 frames added to their score, so a match that saw them lose 13-12 would mean that your bet won, given the score would be treated as 13-13.5 by the bookies, allowing you to win your wager.
There are some big competitions that are played in the world of snooker, so when they come around you will have a chance to place a bet on the overall winner, amongst other things. Whether you want to stick a wager on the person that will be crowned champion at the end or you fancy looking at who will make it to the final, there is a good chance you’ll be able to place such a bet with most bookmakers. Again, research is key here. The competitions have been taking place for years, so there is no shortage of information about who has done well in the past.
If the person that you want to bet on hasn’t played in it before, perhaps because they’re relatively young but you have faith in their ability, say, then you can use your research to see what sort of player tends to do well in the snooker competition in question and how your selection tends to do when playing in big competitions. What you’re betting on is who will win the competition as a whole, so you will want to have a look at the likes of how the draw works and whether your selection is likely to avoid any of the big hitters until they get to the final, amongst other things.
As mentioned, the most points that a snooker player can achieve when playing is 147. That happens if they pot each red and follow it up with a black for a total of 119 points, then adding the remaining 28 points onto their score by potting each of the colours. It was first achieved by Joe Davis in an exhibition match in 1955, whilst Steve Davis was the first person to manage it in a competition, which happened at the Classic in January of 1982. It is an achievement that has become more common over the years, with just eight occurring in the 1980s, 26 in the 1990s, 35 in the 2000s and 86 in the 2010s.
You can, of course, place a bet on whether you think a maximum break will be achieved during a tournament as well as place a wager on the player that you think will do it. In the 1990s, some competitions offered a prize of £147,000 to any player that managed to achieve a maximum break, but the reward dropped down the more common it became for players to achieve it. It is not uncommon for a maximum break to be recorded, which is why some people like to bet on it, but it is rare enough to mean that you’ll sometimes get good odds on it from certain bookies.
What You Need To Know
Arguably the most confusing thing about snooker is the way that the scoring works. If you don’t know much about the sport then this is where your bets might come unstuck, given that you could be watch a match play out and see one player pot more balls than the other, only for them to be the one that ends up losing the match. It can be especially confusing for those that know how pool works, finding themselves wondering why the player that potted the black didn’t win. The pockets on a snooker table are smaller than a pool table, too, giving the game a different feel.
Snooker is played with 15 red balls, which are worth one point each. You need to pot a red ball before you can pot a coloured ball, with the coloured balls then being potted in order once all of the red balls have been potted. Here is a look at each of the balls and their point value:
With a total of 147 points available for the player that plays the frame perfectly, you can see how things can change quickly and one player can be potting the most balls but not actually win the frame. Potting ten reds and following it with a yellow each time would give you 30 points, for example, whilst potting the remaining five reds and potting a black each time would see you rack up 40 points. Even once all of the reds have been potted, there are still 28 points on the table to be claimed for the player that successfully pots all of the colour balls in the correct order.
Another point that can add some confusion to proceedings is the fact that fouls will count differently depending on what has happened. If you were to aim for a red, say, and completely miss it, with the cue ball bouncing around the table without hitting another ball, you’d see your opposite number receive four points as a result. If it hit the yellow, green or brown ball then they’d still concede four points to their opposite number, whilst if it hit one of the other balls then they would give away the number of points associated with that ball, so seven for the black, for example.
A player can, if they are behind in the points and there aren’t enough points left on the table for them to win on account of them potting all of the balls, keep playing in the hope that they can get enough fouls to get them back in front, this is known as safety play. Generally speaking, though, once one of the players is more points ahead of the other than there are points available on the table, they will be declared the winner and the frame will be ended. Your aim is to score as many points as possible in each frame and to win more frames than your opponent until you have won the overall match.
The Big Snooker Tournaments
As you can imagine, there are a number of snooker championships that take place throughout the year. Some of them are seen as being more noteworthy than others, with the most interesting ones being those that the bookmakers will cover in the most detailed fashion. Here is a look at the key tournaments that are played during the year:
World Snooker Championship
When it comes to snooker, there is no event more prestigious or important than the World Snooker Championship. It is professional snooker’s longest-running tournament, having first taken place in 1927. Back then, it was known as the Professional Snooker Championship and was the first of its kind, although the English Amateur Championship had been taking place since 1916. Ten professional players entered the competition, with some of the leading billiards players being amongst the group. Matches were played over 15 frames, with the semi-final being 23 and the final 31.
The snooker wasn’t the main attraction at the time, instead being played alongside a billiards competition that lasted for a fortnight. One frame of snooker was played between each billiards session. It is fair to say that the sport developed in the years that followed, with the 1935 Championship being called the World Professional Snooker Championship, whilst the matches were played consecutively at the same venue. In terms of the modern era of the sport, that is generally considered to have begun in 1969, which was when the championship returned to being a knockout tournament.
When it comes to the modern era of snooker and the World Snooker Championship, it truly began in 1977 when it took place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield for the first time. It featured 16 competitors, half of whom were seeded and the other half who went up against them as qualifiers. John Spencer won, only to be defeated in the first round as defending champion the following year. There have been numerous ‘eras’ of the World Snooker Championship, which is when specific players have dominated. The first came between 1981 and 1989, when Steve Davis won six times.
The next era belonged to Stephen Hendry, who dominated snooker between 1990 and 1999. When he defeated Jimmy White in 1990’s final, Hendry became the youngest ever world champion of snooker. Over the remainder of the decade, Hendry won the tournament no fewer than seven times in total, whilst also being the losing finalist in 1997. He also lost in the final in 2002, which was the last time that he made it that far in the competition. Even so, he’d cemented his place as one of the sport’s greatest ever players, only for someone else to come along and usurp him.
Talk of snooker and one name in particular will be mentioned by those in the know: Ronnie O’Sullivan. ‘The Rocket,’ as he is known, won the World Snooker Championship for the first time in 2001. Whilst he didn’t win it again for three years, he soon became the sport’s dominant figure and by the end of 2022 he had equalled Hendry’s total of seven wins in the tournament. Whilst none of them could get close to the 15 wins of Joe Davis, they did manage to enjoy such success when the competition was significantly more difficult to win than during Davis’ career.
Although significantly younger than the World Snooker Championship, adding to the sense that it isn’t quite as prestigious, there is no doubting the fact that the UK Championship remains one of the sport’s most important competitions to win. It began life in 1977 at the Tower Circus in Blackpool, being played under the moniker of the United Kingdom Professional Snooker Championship. It was, as the name suggests, only open to British players or those with a British passport, with Patsy Fagan defeating Doug Mountjoy 12-9 in the final, taking home the £2,000 prize.
In 1984, the competition was granted ranking status and all professionals were allowed to take part in it, irrespective of where they were from. In the years since, it carried more ranking points than any other tournament, with the only exception being the World Championship, until it was eventually surpassed by the International Championship and the China Open. Part of the reason why the competition has earned its status in the sport is thanks to the memorable finals that have taken place over the years. It has helped propel it into the public conscience.
In 1981, for example, Steve Davis and Terry Griffith went up against one another in the first of four more finals that would dominate snooker for the next few months, only ending when both players were defeated in the first round of the Snooker World Championship in 1982. The following year, Davis took a 7-0 lead over Alex Higgins, only to end up losing 16-15 in a thrilling final. In 2005, Davis returned to the final for the first time in years, playing in a final that featured the widest age gap between participants when he was 48 and his opponent, Ding Junhui, was just 18.
As with the World Snooker Championship, the names on the leaders board are those that snooker fans have come to know and love. Ronnie O’Sullivan won it seven times between 1993 and 2018, also being a losing finalist in 2016. Steve Davis, meanwhile, won it six times across his career, which was one more win than Stephen Hendry managed. The popularity of the competition has seen it enjoy numerous different sponsors, including the likes of Royal Liver Assurance, Liverpool Victoria and numerous different betting firms, keen to be associated with one of snooker’s biggest competitions.
There are three competitions that make up the Triple Crown of snooker, with the Masters joining the World Snooker Championship and the UK Championship as the third. It is the sport’s second-longest running tournament, having been held every year since 1975. You can tell that the Masters is considered to be one of the sport’s most important competitions on account of the fact that it is so prestigious even though it doesn’t have any ranking points associated with it. It began life as an invitational event for just ten players, with the competition being for the top 16 players in the world since 1984.
There are 11 players that have won the competition more than once, with few people being surprised to see named like Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis on the list. As is the case with many tournaments in the sport of snooker, O’Sullivan was its youngest winner when he won it in 1995, aged just 19 years and 69 days. Between the competition’s launch and the 2022 iteration of it, just three maximum breaks were achieved. The actual format of the tournament has been largely unchanged since it began in 1984, apart from a period when wild cards joined the top 16 players.
Its role in the Triple Crown of snooker has been in place since the UK Championship first took place in 1977. Only three players have won the three Triple Crown events in the same season, with Ronnie O’Sullivan noticeable for his absence. Steve Davis managed it in the 1987-1988 season, whilst Stephen Hendry achieved it in both 1989-1990 and 1995-1996, being the only place to have done it twice. The other player to have pulled it off is Mark Williams, who managed it in 2002-2003. Players who have won all three tournaments during their career are said to have achieved a ‘career Triple Crown’.