Q & A: Answers

Snooker Cue

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Posted on 11th October 2000 by Jason Choules of Northolt.

Is their a way of lining up a shot along the rail; object ball about an inch off the cushion and about 2 feet away from the pocket with about a 30° angle?

I average from 30 to 50 breaks but I just can't find that angle. I can improve my game much more if I can achieve this. Thanks.

The 'Cut' Shot. Your breaks suggest there is little wrong with your aim or cue-action, so you'll need to study these shots to overcome the problem.

Set the shot up, but begin by playing it as a straight pot, then gradually move the cue-ball further out till you reach positions 4 & 5.

I'm sure you'll have no problems at the straight pot, but it will make you more aware of the line the red must take, which is to the jaw of the pocket as shown in the diagram. Keep this in mind as you move the cue-ball down the line and you should be successful.

The brown 'blob' at the right of the baulk-line intends to show the players head as he takes the shot from position 4. From this angle it is so easy to aim for the back of the pocket, and this is why so many of these pots are missed. The player aims for the back of the pocket and so the red hits somewhere around the X.

Watch your opponents or those playing around you, and you will see most of these pots being missed by striking the near cushion through this bad aiming. The more aware of this you become, the less likely you will be to commit the same mistake.

Also, take a look at the advice given below to Alan Tam.

Posted on 20th September 2000 by Alan Tam of Toronto, Canada.

Each time when I see a chance to pot I bend down to aim, and its fairly simple for me with straight and small angled shots. However, when I take shots that require more cut, I begin to feel that I am guessing as to where I should aim. I can approximately map out the point of aim area and strike the ball there, but in the end, its still approximation, so it doesn't go in all the time. What I would like to know is how I can improve on this and what to look for when I play.

Read the advice given on aiming and potting in the tuition section, and pay particular importance to the following areas - they are the two most important aspects of potting that you will ever learn.

1: Find your line of aim before you get down on the shot - you will find the angle easier to determine from an upright position.

2: Keep your eyes fixed on the spot where you have aimed the centre of the cue-ball - and do not look away until it has struck the object-ball. You must become aware of how accurately you are striking the object-ball.

These two basic rules will improve the consistency of your potting.

The quickest way for you to improve is to simply practice these pots. If you can practice alone, set up a shot, not too difficult, and apply the rules given above. Play the same shot repeatedly until you are potting the ball 6 or 7 times out of ten, and then move the balls to another area of the table. Set up a similar shot, a little more difficult, and repeat the excercise.

This is the quickest way to improve and will teach you more in 30 minutes than you will learn in several months of less disciplined practice.

Posted on 16th September 2000 by Dan Jennings of Wiltshire.

I remember a match not too long back where an investigation found that the match had been rigged as part of a betting scam. I think it was between Jimmy White and Peter Francisco and although Jimmy was cleared of any wrongdoing, Peter Francisco was punished in some way. Can you please tell me if I have this correct and furthermore which tournament this was, which year and what happened to Francisco?

Yes, you are correct. The tournament was the 1995 Embassy World Championship and Jimmy White was completely cleared of any involvement. Peter Francisco received a five year ban, and has recently returned to professional play.

Posted on 13th September 2000 by Leon Wilcox of Perth, Australia.

I am a collector of old billiard cues and would like to know if a reference book or website is available for antique cues. I frequently come across cues which have been made with different techniques and design and would like to know if literature exists on the evolutionary process involved in manufacturing.

(In particular, I recently bought a machine spliced ebony butt with English ash shaft, probably an old rack cue which had the shaft running through the butt about 2cm in circumference thick, unlike many modern cues which have a solid butt.)

These two websites should help you. The Cue Collector Contains information and articles about antique English billiards and snooker cues. Old Cues.co.uk Is dedicated to antique cue collecting.

Posted on 13th September 2000 by Dan Jennings of Wiltshire.

I came across something for the first time not so long ago which I probably will never see again. A player potted a red and by some outrageous chance ended up in the middle of the reds with a loose red coming around the angles and then trapping the cue ball in the pack. With no possible route to a colour, what happens?

Luckily this doesn't happen too often! Nevertheless the rule covering this situation is quite straightforward.

It is important to realise that the striker has no choice, he can only play a foul stroke. The stroke must be played however with enough strength that had there been no intervening balls then he could have struck the ball on. The referee will of course state that a 'foul' has been made, but will not call a 'miss.'

In this particular example, the player must take care. He must play the cue ball out of the pack and (hopefully) in the general direction of the nominated colour.

If he were to nominate blue, pink or black, (assuming they were on or near their spots), he may be able to escape the reds without leaving too many opportunities for his opponent. This would obviously make him liable for a 5, 6 or 7 point penalty, but if he chose yellow, green or brown, to gain a lower penalty, he may dislodge many more reds in the attempt.

Posted on 13th September 2000 by J. Johal.

When all the reds have been potted and you are snookered with the points difference of around 15 and you miss the yellow but you snooker your opponent would this be a free ball, and if so can you snooker your opponent behind the ball you nominate as the free ball?

In this situation if you miss the yellow and snooker your opponent then he would be awarded a free ball. If he then chose to snooker you behind the ball he nominated as his free ball, then that too would be a foul stroke.

The rules only allow you to snooker behind the free ball when only the pink and black remain on the table.

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Snooker Cue