Q & A: Answers

Snooker Cue

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Posted on 26th October 2003 by Dave Williams of Halifax, West Yorkshire.

Consider the following: The blue ball is spotted with the white in a straight line to it and to the middle pocket. The striker attempts to play a soft screw but unintentionally miscues. The white leaves the bed of the table, hits the blue on the near side (closest to the striker) but then continues over the blue.

Is this a foul as the white did not strike the blue on the opposite side and hence did not pass over the object ball before striking it?

This would be a foul stroke. The rule that covers this clearly states that it would be a jump shot whether it hit the blue or not. No reference is made to the near side or far side, so if the object-ball is struck and the cue-ball then passes over it, then a "Jump Shot" has been made.

So in your example if the cue-ball had NOT passed over the blue, it would not have been a foul. As it did, it was a foul, and five penalty points would have been awarded to the opponent.

Follow this link to the World Snooker Association's website to read the Official rule covering the "Jump Shot".

Posted on 19th October 2003 by Chris Godfrey of Preston, Lancashire.

I've been playing snooker for a few years and have recently noticed that after playing a few frames my index figure and thumb (I play left handed) start to hurt and small bits of skin start to peal away.

Is there any way I can stop this, any suggestions are welcome.

You told me you play left-handed but forgot to mention which hand you're having problems with, after all this could apply to either your bridge or cue-hand.

I'm guessing it's your cue-hand. If so, you are probably holding the cue either too tightly (I tend to do this myself if I havn't played for a while and always end up with a blister on my thumb), or you're holding the cue too softly, and friction from the cue rubbing against your thumb and finger is causing the damage to your skin.

Ideally your grip should be firm (but not too tight) and your wrist kept loose so the cue will flow through as you play the shot - easier said than done!

One solution I've come across is to roughen the butt of the cue just where you hold it. This makes it very easy to get a good grip without holding it tightly.

Unless your careful though this can ruin the look of the cue. One player I knew wrapped a rubber type of tape (usually used on bicycle handlebars) around the butt of his cue and it worked wonders for his game.

Posted on 17th May 2003 by Eric Day of Birmingham.

Recently a friend asked me what were the rules about the white ball leaving the table surface as he said that he was able to jump the ball to get out of a snooker.

I seem to recollect that the ball must not be more than six inches high but I must admit that such a move would be hazardous to the table and surely would be discouraged I should think?

The rules state it would be a foul even if the cue-ball only jumped a quarter of an inch or so. Even this would allow the tiniest outside edge of the cue-ball to pass the outside edge of any object-ball that prevented a direct stroke being played.

Jumping a Ball A very old trick shot involved placing the cue-ball between two others, so they were in a straight line and touching each other. The trick involved pulling the cue-ball back a few inches without disturbing the other two, and then playing the cue-ball through the gap without moving either ball.

Jumping a Ball But it's impossible - unless you raise the back of the cue slightly and strike down on the cue-ball. This downward blow, even at a slight angle, will cause the cue-ball to jump very slightly. Not enough to be seen but enough to clear the edges of the two object-balls.

If you played a similar shot in a match, it would be a foul. Follow this link and scroll down to Rule 19 to read the official ruling from the WSA.

Posted on 19th April 2003 by Craig Hooks of Texas.

I am in search of snooker table balls placement measurements. I have been to countless sites but no layouts. I have recently purchased a 5x10 Macon Table and had it recovered with Simonis. I do not have dimensions however on ball placements. Could you guide me?

The markings for snooker can be worked out quite easily.

The Brown, Blue, Pink and Black spots are all on the central line of the table between the centres of the top and bottom cushions. The baulk-line should be drawn at a distance of 1/5 of the playing length (ie: inside the cushions) away from the baulk cushion.

The 'D' is a semi-circle with a diameter of 1/3 of the width of the playing area (so a radius of 1/6). The Yellow and Green Spots are placed at each end of the 'D', the Brown spot is placed at the centre of the 'D' on the baulk line.

The blue spot of course is exactly halfway between the two middle pockets. The pink spot is at the exact centre of the top half of the table. The black spot is at a distance equal to 1/11 of the playing length away from the top cushion.

Follow this link for a more detailed reply to a similar question.

Posted on 12th April 2003 by Michael Egan, of Nenagh, Co. Tipperary.

A player inadvertently picked up the cue ball by mistake - he thought the ball had entered a pocket - and placed it in the "D".   What penalty did he incur?

The penalty would be the value of the ball "on" - so if any reds remained it would be a penalty of 4 points; or, if no reds were left it would be the value of the colour that was "on". So if only the blue, pink and black were left, the penalty would be 5 points as blue would be the ball "on".

The next player would be "in-hand", so would place the cue-ball anywhere within the "D".

Posted on 9th March 2003 by Elroy Fernandes of Brighton.

I have an ash snooker cue but do not like the varnish on it - it is very sticky even after cleaning which makes it difficult to cue smoothly. Please can you tell me how to remove the varnish from the cue without ruining the ash wood.

Many players suffer the problem of a sticky cue and removing the varnish will help enormously - but it will still need to be cleaned, though less frequently.

The best way to remove the varnish would be to use a chemical stripper that you can buy from any DIY shop. Choose one that clearly states it will not harm wood and follow the instructions carefully. When the varnish has softened you'll need to scrape it off. Use something fairly soft, cardboard or an old toothbrush would be ideal, but don't use a metal scraper as it may cut into the cue.

I also strongly advise that you practice first on an old cue, if you have one.

Posted on 9th March 2003 by Elroy Fernandes of Brighton.

During a recent televised snooker game the progress of the game was disrupted by two balls near the corner pocket. The game was then re-racked for the second time. The TV commentator suggested that what should have been done was, to remove the obstructing ball if both players agreed and continue the match. Is this possible?

The rules don't allow for this at present though it could well be something the World Snooker Association could consider for the professional game.

Posted on 8th February 2003 by Glenn Watterson of Sydney, Australia.

If either player needs a snooker can you call foul and a miss?

If the referee believed the player missed deliberately, then a "Foul and a Miss" would be called, regardless of the score.

Posted on 26th January 2003 by Alan Patient of London.

In the American game of pool, what is the number of the black ball?

All the most common versions of American Pool can be played with the standard set of numbered balls. They are numbered from 1 to 15, and the first 8 are of a solid colour, the remaining seven are white with a coloured stripe.

The colouring system and ball values are as follows:-

 Yellow: 1 Ball (solid) and  9 Ball (stripe)
 Blue: 2 Ball (solid) and 10 Ball (stripe)
 Red: 3 Ball (solid) and 11 Ball (stripe)
 Brown: 4 Ball (solid) and 12 Ball (stripe)
 Orange: 5 Ball (solid) and 13 Ball (stripe)
 Green: 6 Ball (solid) and 14 Ball (stripe)
 Maroon: 7 Ball (solid) and 15 Ball (stripe)
 Black: 8 Ball (solid)

I'm reliably informed that the 4-ball is coloured pink in television broadcast for greater clarity.

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Snooker Cue