Snooker is probably the only game that is played in a waistcoat and a bow-tie, as it was often played after formal dinners in large country houses. For the non-initiated it may seem a complicated game as so many balls of different colors are bouncing all over the green baize. However, the strategies of playing the game are fairly simple, and this is an attempt to discover the nuances of beating your opponent.

The Tactics

Very basically there are two main strategies of playing snooker. The first is potting balls to build up your score and to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The second is to play defensively when you are looking to protect your score and not give any advantage to your opponent.

Building Up Your Score

To build up your score you must pot balls, and this is done when you make breaks during the game. Breaks do not mean having lunch or resting. The term break is when you pot balls in a certain order and start to accumulate points for different colors.

When one player is at the table potting balls it gives no opportunity for the opponent to do the same thing. Only when the break is finished, and a ball is missed then the other person takes their turn. Breaks can be as little as 3 or a maximum of 147.

Free flowing potting is the major draw to spectators as it is a really skillful part of the game. Potting a ball and bring the white ball back to a position where you can pot the next ball is truly an art. Good breaks almost look simple, as it is the positional play before the pot that has lined the shot up.

Safety Play

When a player has amassed some points on the scoreboard it is now his job to protect them and not give the opportunity to the opponent to make his own break. It is now that a very important tactic comes into play which is safety.

Safety play is leaving the white or cue ball in a position that leaves very little opportunity for the next player to make a pot. Sometimes this is done by snookering the opponent by placing the cue ball behind another color that must not be touched or a foul will be incurred.

Another way of making it difficult for your opponent to score is to leave the cue ball right up to one of the cushions on the table. When a player does this it is very hard for the opponent to properly strike the cue ball, and if they do manage to, often they have no control where the cue ball ends up.

These shots are really difficult because the player cannot use their bridging hand to make the shot, and a proper bridging position allows for control of the cue ball and to land it in an exact position ready for the next pot.

Now that you have the basics there is no reason why you cannot go out and make your own big break!