Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I've never heard of that... Snooker

Snooker is hugely popular in the UK, but I'd never even heard of this particular billiards game before arriving here.

All over town, there are Snooker Clubs, but I've never once seen a Pool Hall.  Ross tells me that he used to play it frequently and that his dad used to play with guys that went on to become big shots.  It's considered a working man's sport and there's a saying that "You either have an education or you play Snooker". Despite those roots, professional players still abide by strict dress code which includes a waistcoatvest and bow tie and it is considered a gentlemen's game.  

I'm not sure why it's so popular in England, but most evenings you can find televised Snooker matches on one channel or another.  The sport has produced several compelling "rock star"-status players who become beloved by the entire country.  One of the greatest moments in Snooker occurred in 1985.  The culmination of incredibly tense World Championship Match, with an underdog coming from behind to win after it looked like he had no shot resulted in a record post-midnight audience for British TV and a record audience for BBC2.  The match was voted the 9th greatest sporting event of all time in 2002.  It's hard to imagine a billiard game ever attaining that sort of status in America!  

They've tried a few things to bring Snooker to American audiences, including something called Power Snooker, but for some reason it has never taken off State-side.  Maybe American men aren't confident enough to play a game with such a silly sounding name?  :)

Have you ever played Snooker?


  1. They do play it some over here. I've heard of it and I've seen it in several movies. It's supposed to be quite a bit harder than billiards. I've never understood why it's not more popular here. I think the table is a bit bigger...maybe it's just because no one wants to have both tables.

  2. I've heard of it, but haven't ever played it.

  3. Then again you American types don't play billiards as we know it, billiards here (which is rarely played now) was a very strategic game involving just 3 balls on the large table. If I remember correctly, there was one game on early television that had the balls jammed in a corner of the table for several hours, moving no more than an inch every time.

    Talking of early TV, there is a famous snooker commentator quote from "Whispering" Ted Lowe "For those of you watching in black and white the green ball is the one behind the blue".