Simplified rules for beginners
Only one player may visit the table at a time. A break is the number of points scored by a player in one single visit to the table. A player's turn and break end when he fails to pot a ball, when he does something against the rules of the game, which is called a foul , or when a frame has ended. The ball or balls that can be hit first by the white are called the ball s "on" for that particular stroke.
The ball s "on" differ from shot to shot: If a red is not potted, any red ball remains the ball "on" for the opponent's first shot. Only a ball or balls "on" may be potted legally by a player; potting a ball not "on" constitutes a foul. If the cue ball comes to rest in direct contact with a ball that is on or could be on, the referee shall declare a "touching ball.
If the object ball moves, it is considered a "push shot" and a foul shall be called. No penalty is incurred for playing away if 1 the ball is on; 2 the ball could be on and the striker nominates such ball; or 3 the ball could be on and the striker nominates, and first hits, another ball that could be on.
If the cue ball is touching another ball which could not be on e. Where the cue ball is simultaneously touching several balls that are on or could be on, the referee shall indicate that each and every one of them is a touching ball; the striker must therefore play away from all of them. The striker scores no points for balls potted as the result of a foul. Depending on the situation, these balls will either remain off the table; be returned to their original spots; or be replaced in the positions they occupied before the foul shot, along with any other balls that were moved during the shot.
For details on such situations, see Fouls below. Each frame of snooker generally consists of two phases. The first phase lasts as long as any red balls remain on the table. During this phase, all red balls are "on" for the beginning of a player's turn; the player must therefore first hit and attempt to pot one or more of them.
Each legally potted red ball awards one point and remains off the table until the end of the frame. The rules of the game indicate that the player must state the desired colour to the referee, although it is usually clear which ball the player is attempting to pot, making a formal nomination unnecessary.
Potting the nominated colour awards further points two through seven, in the same order as the preceding paragraph. The referee then removes the colour from the pocket and replaces it on the table in its original spot. If that spot is covered by another ball, the ball is placed on the highest available spot. If all spots are occupied, it is placed as close to its own spot as possible in a direct line between that spot and the top cushion, without touching another ball. If there is no room this side of the spot, it will be placed as close to the spot as possible in a straight line towards the bottom cushion, without touching another ball.
Because only one of the colours can be "on" at any given time, it is a foul to first hit multiple colours at the same time, or pot more than one colour unless a free ball has been awarded, see below.
If a player fails to pot a ball "on", whether a red or a nominated colour, the other player will come into play and the balls "on" are always the reds, as long as there are still reds on the table.
The alternation between red balls and colours ends when all reds have been potted and a colour is potted after the last red, or a failed attempt to do so is made. All six colours have then to be potted in ascending order of their value yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, black. Each becomes the ball "on" in that order. During this phase, the colours are not replaced on the table after being legally potted, however, any colour potted as the result of a foul is re-spotted.
After all six colours have been potted, the player with the higher score wins the frame but see below for end-of-frame scenarios. When a player commits a foul and the cue ball remains on the table, the opponent may either play from the resulting position or, if he considers it to be disadvantageous, request that the offender play again.
If the cue ball is potted or leaves the table, the opponent receives it "in-hand," allowing him to place it anywhere within the "D" for his next shot. It is sometimes erroneously believed that potting two or more balls in one shot is an automatic foul. This is only true if one of the potted balls is not "on" e. When the reds are "on", two or more of them may be legally potted in the same shot and are worth one point each; however, the player may only nominate and attempt to pot one colour on his next shot.
If a free ball has been granted see below , multiple balls may be legally potted in one shot. Should a cue ball be touched with the tip while "in-hand", i. When a player commits a foul, the opponent receives penalty points equal to the value of the ball "on", the highest value of all balls involved in the foul, or 4 points, whichever is greatest.
When multiple fouls are made in one shot, only the most highly valued foul is counted. Penalty points are therefore at least 4 points and at most 7. Not hitting the ball "on" first is the most common foul.
A common defensive tactic is to play a shot that leaves the opponent unable to hit a ball "on" directly. This is most commonly called "snookering" one's opponent, or alternatively "laying a snooker" or putting the other player "in a snooker".
Because players receive points for fouls by their opponents, repeatedly snookering one's opponent is a possible way of winning a frame when potting all the balls on the table would be insufficient to ensure a win. A free ball is a player-nominated substitute for the ball "on" when a player becomes snookered as the result of a foul committed by the opponent.
Once the free ball shot is taken legally, the game continues normally; however, if the player who committed the foul is asked to play again, a free ball is not granted. For example, as illustrated in the provided picture, if the ball on is the final red, but is snookered by the black due to a foul, the player will be able to name the blue as the free ball. He could then pot the blue as if it were a red for one point. The blue will then be respotted, a nominated colour ball will be on, and normal play will resume.
Note that, as a natural corollary of the rules, the free ball is always a colour ball. If the ball on is a red, then by definition it cannot be snookered via another red, as it merely provides an alternative clean shot with another ball on.
If the ball on is a red, and is snookered by a colour after a foul, then logically the red is either the final one or all reds are snookered by a colour ball, meaning the free ball has to be a colour.
If the ball on is a colour ball that is snookered by a red, a previous red must have been successfully potted; the snooker therefore must be self-inflicted and cannot have occurred as the result of a foul.
If the ball on is a colour that is snookered by another colour after a foul, all reds must have been already potted; thus the free ball still has to be a colour ball. Interesting situations could occur if somehow both the free ball and the real ball on are potted.
If a colour was the ball on all reds were potted , and both the free ball and the actual ball on are potted, only the ball on is scored. The free ball is respotted while the actual ball on will stay off the table.
This is the only time when attempting to pot a colour that two balls can be potted without a foul occurring, because technically speaking both of the potted balls are on. If the ball on is red and both the free ball and a real red are potted, then each ball potted is scored as a red for a total of two points.
The colour free ball is then re-spotted and the red remains off the table. By the same logic, a player may hit the free ball into a real red in order to pot the latter a plant. Going back to the picture above, the player could nominate the black as the free ball and use it to plant the real red.
If the player potted both balls in one shot, two points would be awarded and the black would be re-spotted. Not potting the free ball incurs no penalty, so the striker may play a snooker using the free ball, gratis.
However, if said snooker is achieved by having the free ball obstructing the ball on, then the strike is a foul and a penalty of the value of the ball on is awarded to the opponent.
The reason is that the free ball was to be treated as the ball on, and one cannot snooker a ball on by another ball on following the same logic that a red cannot snooker another red when red is on.
The only exception to this is when there are only two balls remaining on the table, namely pink and black. If the opposition somehow fouled trying to pot pink, and illegitimately snookered the striker with the black, then it is fair for the striker to snooker the opposition "back" with the free black ball. The World Championship comes to a conclusion this weekend at the Crucible so it seems a fitting moment to take a look at the history of how snooker has been covered on TV.
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