Q & A: Answers

Snooker Cue


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Posted on 29th December 2002 by Sumit Bhargava of Brussels.

I am new to this game and play it with a friend who teaches me most of the rules as we go along. There is one he tells me that is tough to digest and I would like to seek clarification. When potting, assuming the distance between the cue ball and object ball is not more than 6 inches (and not touching), is it a foul if I push the cue through beyond the position that the object ball had occupied?

It would not be a foul by itself, but might increase the chance of you making one.

Pushing the cue through when the two balls are close together greatly increases the chance of striking the cue-ball twice. Especially on a straight shot when the cue-ball may not have enough time to move out of the way before the cue comes through behind it.

Posted on 29th December 2002 by Bill Readdy of Uxbridge.

In a game of doubles, when the game ends up as a draw and the black is then re-spotted, does the game then carry on in the same player order, or can the next team to play change their player order?

The official rules for doubles (or four-handed snooker) are quite clear on this situation.

When the game ends as a draw and the black is re-spotted, whichever team plays the next shot can choose which player actually plays that shot, but play must continue in the same order as it had throughout the frame.

Posted on 21st December 2002 by Eric Day of Birmingham.

During a game it is dicovered that the blue is in a pocket and no-one knows how or when this occurred. What should happen now?

When it was discovered that the blue was not on the table, it would be respotted without penalty and play would continue as normal.

But had the player potted the blue with his previous stroke, and then played the next stroke so quickly that the referee could not replace the blue, then of course that would be a foul and a five point penalty would be given to the opponent.

The players are no longer held responsible if the referee makes a mistake in re-spotting a ball, and this means that the following event could take place.

Imagine towards the end of a frame, all the reds have been potted, and so has the green - but no one has noticed. The player then pots the yellow, followed by brown and then blue. But before he plays the pink, someone realises that the green had been missing from the table, and had not been potted between the yellow and brown.

The green would then be replaced on the table, and the player would continue his break with the green, then pink and finally black.

The colours would then have been potted quite legally in this order:- yellow, brown, blue, green, pink and black.

Posted on 16th November 2002 by Jim Bibby of Birkenhead.

Our rule-book says that, when the cue ball and object ball are close to each other, a player can avoid a push-shot by making the thinnest possible contact with the object ball... but how do you judge "thinnest possible contact"?  I would have thought that the object ball would hardly move, but my regular opponent always claims he is making such contact, yet by hitting the cue ball hard he moves the object ball a foot or more (frequently potting it). How far would a referee allow the object ball to move before calling it a push shot?

This is something that a referee would have to decide when the shot took place. The rules, as you say, state that it wouldn't be considered a push shot if a very fine contact was made. To make the object-ball move a foot or more would seem to be borderline, but again this would vary on the speed of the table as well as the strength the shot was played. It would be a very untidy rule to have a maximum distance the object-ball could travel before it was deemed a push shot, as each shot would have to be measured and then perhaps multiplied by a + or - factor to allow for a fast or slow cloth. The only other option would be to impose a defined angle at which the cue-ball could be played towards the object-ball, and would be difficult to enforce properly during a match.

To settle this argument you might have to approach a qualified referee and ask him to give his verdict, always assuming your regular opponent would agree to this!

Posted on 3rd November 2002 by Clint Christianson of Chicago.

What is the largest size snooker table found in a snooker hall? Last year I played snooker at a hall in Ireland and the table seemed to be well over 12 feet in length and 6 feet in width ....is this possible? My friends argued saying that there is no way a table can be over 12 feet in length. If possible can you also direct me to a web site stating table sizes to confirm or dispute this minor wager?

I'm sure you are mistaken in believing the table you played on exceeded the normal 12 ft by 6ft. I have searched through many books and the web and found nothing on any table measuring more than the standard size. Tables which are in any way unusual are well known and well documented and if any table over 12ft by 6ft existed it would be so unusual it too would be very well known, and proof of it easily found.

What is believed to be the largest billiards table known measured 18ft by 10½, giving it a playing area over 2½ times that of a 12ft table. It's fairly modern, and dates from around 1986.

I found no website confirming this, but it is found and more details are given in, "The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards" (pub. 2002) by Mike Shamos. (Now out of print but copies can occasionally be found on ebay.) I hope this will win you your wager.

Table sizes can be found from most manufacturer's websites, including this one from Anthony and Pykett.

Posted on 11th October 2002 by Matt Corran of Sydney, Australia.

Is there a "rule" you can apply to determine what angle the cue-ball will take after hitting the object ball, or is it just a matter of experience?
The Half-Ball Angle
I suspect there must be some sort of rule, judging by the way that billiards players can make long in-offs with such accuracy.

Apart from the "half-ball" angle it's really just a matter of experience.

The majority of long in-offs played by billiard players would be based on the half-ball angle, and there are three positions on the table where these can be played as a "set piece."

The diagram shows these positions which a billiard-player would be very familiar with.

Each of them gives an in-off as shown by aiming through the centre of the cue-ball to the outside edge of the object-ball.

In each case, if the cue-ball was just slightly away from the positions shown, the player would compensate either by aiming for a thinner or thicker contact, or perhaps a little top, bottom, or side.

Posted on 5th October 2002 by Ian Cartledge of Sydney, Australia.

Would you be able to point me in the right direction on where I can obtain a book or visit a website that will teach me how to make a snooker cue. I have been playing this game for 25 years and am interested in making cues.

This link offers little practical advice but may be of interest www.cuemakers.org.

Posted on 5th October 2002 by Dave Lewis of Wainuiomata, New Zealand.

A player pots the green ball in the bottom corner pocket. When the green is replaced on its spot a full ball snooker occurs with reds remaining on the table. He attempts to come off the bottom cushion with side but makes contact with the green ball. Is this a foul and a miss?

It would be a foul but not necessarily a miss.

The wording of the "Foul & a Miss" rule makes it clear that the referee must consider the difficulty of the stroke and the ability of the player before deciding if the player had made a reasonable attempt to strike the ball "on".

A "Foul & a Miss" would therefore ONLY be called if the referee believed the player could have made a better attempt.

Posted on 22nd September 2002 by Phil Ditum of Woking.

Is there a rule about which part of the cue must strike the cue ball? If the answer is "only the tip may" are you allowed to add more than one tip to a cue?

The rules state that a "legal" stroke is made when the tip of the cue strikes the cue-ball. If any other part of the cue struck the cue-ball then a foul would be called.

But there is no rule saying only one tip is allowed so another could be placed on the butt and then the cue could be used the "wrong way round", maybe to play a simple shot without using the rest.

The cue can be used the wrong way round as such if the butt of the cue is placed away from you on the table, and the cue is then held just down from the tip and pulled towards you to contact the cue-ball. But there is little control and it is far better to use the rest on these occasions.

There is also no rule preventing anyone placing something between the tip and the cue. Some have experimented with a thin piece of rubber between the two to give extra power but the results were unpredictable and could not be controlled.

Added 16th August 2009 by Peter Rook, co-author of
"The Billiards & Snooker Referees' Handbook"

In your second paragraph, you infer that a tip can be fixed to the butt of the cue so that the cue can be reversed, using it like an old mace. This is incorrect as it is a contravention of Section 1 Rule 3, being a "departure from the traditional . . . form" in the manner of Charlie Chambers and Alec Brown's 5-inch cue in 1938. *

Note that before the cue became what it is, there was a 'point and point' optional rule where players agreed to use their maces playing with the 'point' and 'pointing' in the direction of the stroke. This was incorporated into early versions as the rule requiring that all strokes must be made 'with the point of the cue' - i.e. not with the butt. The 'point' was later changed to the better descriptive term 'tip' in later days but the meaning is the same. Playing with the cue reversed is quite legal when the butt end is out on the table and the stroke is drawn towards the striker.

* See November 14th 1938 in the Calendar section.

Posted on 16th August 2002 by Phil Briggs of Welwyn Garden City.

Which player made the first live televised 147 - I repeat LIVE 147?

All I've found on the web regarding "live" 147's relates to one made by Marco Fu during the Regal Masters in October 2000, which had the distinction of being the first to be screened live on the Internet.

This information can be found on several sites including one from the The Guardian newspaper.

If anyone can add to this reply please email and include the source of your information.

Added 19th October 2002 by Kris Wauters:-

According to the calendar on your site the first televised maximum 147 break was on January 11th 1982. Steve Davis compiled the first televised maximum 147 break in a match against John Spencer in the Lada Classic, at Oldham Civic Centre, Lancashire. It was broadcasted live by the BBC, so that answers all requirements of the question asked by Phil Brigs on August 16th. I checked and this is indeed confirmed by the World Association.


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Snooker Cue