Q & A: Answers

Snooker Cue

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Posted on 24th February 2001 by Graham Busolini of Olney, Bucks.

I have heard somewhere that fine sandpaper should be used to roughen the tip so that it holds the chalk and also to mould it to the correct shape. Is this true and are there any other pointers you can give me with reference to keeping the tip in good condition?

No, you should never use sandpaper. Special tools are available for shaping the tip but your best bet is to use a small file. Protect the cue by wrapping paper around the end of the shaft, and then hold in place with sellotape.

There is very little you need do to keep it in good condition.

If you find you're miscueing a little too often, use the edge of the file and push this in to the surface of the tip. Sometimes the chalk can get a little clogged, and this will break it up without causing any damage.

Posted on 14th February 2001 by Graham Ross of Loughborough.

What is the free ball rule when player 1 has fouled and there are reds left on the table.

If all the reds left on the table cannot be hit on both sides, not because player 2 does not have a clear sight of reds unobscured by colours, but because two or more of the reds are either touching each other or close to each other. Is this a free ball or not?

A free ball would not be awarded in the example you give. Imagine right at the start of a frame, player 1 breaks but misses the pack completely and leaves the cue-ball near either middle pocket. With the pack of reds intact, each red prevents a clear shot at the rest, but the player cannot claim a free ball.

The rules state quite clearly that a player cannot be snookered by another ball that is also 'on'.

Posted on 30th January 2001 by Brian Holloway of Brantford, Ont. Canada.

I am trying to find rules to the game of billards. The game that I am refering to is played with 2 white balls and one red. I can't find the rules to this game. Can you please help me find a set of rules, or even point me in a direction.

This sounds like it can only be the game of English Billiards. Visit the World Snooker Association to view the new rules effective from November 2019.

Posted on 21st January 2001 by Paul Lockwood of Southampton.

When setting up the balls for the beginning of a frame how close do the reds go to the pink?

As close as is possible without touching - i.e:- not ½" not ¼" but just the tiniest gap.

Posted on 21st January 2001 by John Zabala of Townsville, Australia.

I have a friend who has an interesting score board and was wondering if anyone could help to explain how it works.

On the left hand side there are sliders which uncover a single star, while on the right hand side, again under a slider which can be moved across there are three stars which can be uncovered. I cannot remember how many rows of these there are, but I would guess at ten. This scoreboard came with the table which was made in Australia in the early part of the 1900's.

Any insight's into how this works with the full sized billiards table would be welcomed.

The scoreboard is for the old game of Pool, (no resemblance to the games of Pool - 8ball or 9ball, that you see today), which was second in popularity to English Billiards for about 100 years until the 'new' game of Snooker became more widely known.

Many variations of Pool were invented, all sharing a basic format, and many variations of these scoreboards were designed for the game, two of which are shown below.

(These images added 15th February 2009)

Scoreboards used for the game of Pool: images supplied by, and reproduced with permission of Brown's Antiques.
Images supplied by, and reproduced with permission of Brown's Antiques

I will describe a short game for four players (though your scoreboard seems to be for ten), to cover the basic rules.

Four players wish to play Pool: Player A is given a red ball as his cue-ball; Player B is given the white as his cue-ball; Player C the yellow and Player D the green.

(The scoreboard should have these colours displayed on each slide to show the order of play though they may not agree with the order shown here.)

At the start of the game each player is given three 'Lives' and so the slides on the righthand side of your scoreboard would be pulled out, one for each player, to show their three 'Lives' intact.

Player A begins, and places his ball - the red - on the 'Spot' (the black spot in snooker). Player B places his ball - the white - in the 'D' and plays at the red. Player C places his ball - the yellow - in the 'D' and plays at the white; and Player D places his ball - the green - in the 'D' and plays at the yellow.

The game continues with each player trying to pot the cue-ball of the player who went before.

A player loses a 'Life' each time his ball is potted, and the slide showing his 'Lives' must be slid back to show the remaining 'Lives' he has left.

When a player has lost all his three 'Lives' he is out of the game, but the first player out has the option to 'Star' which means that he may purchase a new 'Life' by paying into the 'Pool' (or kitty). So the slide on the left of your scoreboard would be slid out to uncover the 'Star' for that player.

Traditionally the stakes were about 3 to 1, so you might put 1 dollar in the kitty to join the game, and then 30 cents for each life lost. To 'Star' the player must pay the same amount as he originally paid to enter the game.

Although a gambling game it is fairly interesting without a stake, but is far more exciting even when played for small amounts.

The full rules to this game now appear within the History section.

Posted on 20th January 2001 by Joe King of Colchester.

Could you give me the rules and details on how to play the American version of pool with spots and stripes?     Could you also tell me how to play 8 ball, 9 ball etc?

Many variations of pool are played with the numbered balls, and all the information you require can be found at the Best Billiard site. Apart from 8 ball and 9 ball several others are included, Straight Pool probably being the most demanding.

Posted on 20th January 2001 by Sue Timothy of Plymouth.

A player snookers an opponent from behind a free ball he has been awarded. What is the penalty?

With one exception the penalty is always the value of the ball 'on'.

Imagine green is the ball 'on', and the striker is awarded a free ball and nominates blue. If that player then snookers his opponent behind the blue, the penalty is four points, and the incoming player would be awarded a free ball.

The one exception is when only pink and black remain on the table, when snookering behind the free ball is a fair stroke.

Your question is very similar to one posed by J. Johal, follow this link to read the reply.

Posted on 18th January 2001 by Paul Lockwood of Southampton.

I have owned a burwat champion cue for many years. It is 50 years old or more. It is 54 inches long, 17oz in weight and with a 9.5mm tip. It has a name plate on the bottom with the reg number. Is it worth anything?

It could be worth up to £250 depending on condition.

The February edition of "The Amateur Billiard Player" (Issue No.16), in which Andy Hunter devoted part of his monthly article 'The Cue Collector' to this particular cue, is now available online as a .pdf document.

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Snooker Cue