The Clock is Ticking
There’s a new game in town. Snooker Shoot-Out. It’s snooker but not as you know it.
Snooker Shoot-Out is based on snooker but with a few variations. Each game lasts a maximum of ten minutes which is why younger players are raving over it. Traditional snooker was perceived as a slow game for old men by many young people. The game was not only slow paced but lasted too long. Pool was seen as a more attractive option. No longer. Snooker Shoot-Out is a quick fire fast paced game that anyone can play.
There is little doubt that snooker is the most skilful multi-ball game played on a table but younger people prefer a short fast game that pool offers. Snooker shoot-out mixes snooker with some rule changes that produce a quicker sharper game that is proving very popular.
So, what’s different about it?
It’s one frame only. Each game can last a maximum of ten minutes, whoever has the higher score after that time is the winner.
There is a time limit to play your shot. No time to sit down between shots, you need to on your feet all the time. In the first five minutes players have 15 seconds to play a shot. In the second 5 minutes player shave 10 seconds to play a shot. If you fail to play your shot in time you give a 5-point penalty to your opponent, who then carries on from wherever the white ball is.
Each shot must hit a cushion or pot a ball. Failure to do this incurs a 5-point penalty.
The clock is ticking all the time and starts from the second the balls from the previous shot stop rolling.
Fouls produce the usual penalty points but if you pocket the cue ball, the white ball is ball in hand which allows your opponent to place the ball anywhere they wish for their next shot.
No coin toss to decide who plays first. It’s a Lag-Start. Both players place a white ball on the baulk line and hit towards the top cushion with the aim of finishing as close to the baulk cushion as possible but not touching it. Rebounds off the bottom baulk cushion are allowed. Closest to the cushion chooses whether to break off or not.
In tournament events audiences, traditionally silent and respectful during play, are encouraged to shout and cheer (or jeer). In some ways it’s like a Pro–darts contest (without the beer bellies).
Tactical play can happen in the final minute or so if scores are close. You may take slightly longer to play your shot to run down the clock. Safety play is still important but getting points on the board quickly is a priority. Some tournament finals have variations such as best of three or five frames. You could do this too.
Like Chinese 8-Ball this variation on the traditional game of snooker retains all the skills of the old game but makes it more attractive to a wider variety of players. As with Chinese 8-Ball many top professionals have embraced the game which now has several televised tournaments and is proving a popular addition to the game’s appeal.
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) have adopted the game which is now an approved Ranking Tournament where players can gain points that influence their world ranking.
Although shoot-out snooker has been around in some form since 1990, the first World Ranking Tournament was held in 2017 in the UK. The event is sponsored by Coral. Winner and current Snooker Shoot-Out World Champion is Anthony McGill. Audiences are rising. Sponsorship and Prize Money are increasing. The future looks bright for Snooker’s latest innovation.
Here’s the Face Book page. https://www.facebook.com/WorldSnooker1/
The 2018 World Championship is in February. Go have a look. With over 20 former top 50 snooker professionals playing it could be quite an event.
Snooker was once described as ‘chess with balls’. Snooker Shoot-out is speed-chess with balls.
The game has a real buzz. Quick-fire play is the tone. No hanging around. No slow play. Quick thinking, quick movement. It’s almost athletic. It won’t get your pulse racing but it will certainly get your adrenaline going. Try it out.
Tick tock tick tock……….
The clock is ticking. Is yours?