Snooker is enjoying a renaissance at the moment with Barry Hearn in charge, but there has always been a lot of money to be earned right at the top of the game with many of the top players earning seven-figure sums over the years. So how can you become a professional snooker player yourself?
Well the first thing I will say is that in my opinion you need to be born with a certain amount of natural ability to begin with. I know lots of people who have been playing snooker for many years, but still can't seem to get any better, with their highest break still languishing in the 30s or 40s. Other players, however, are able to pick up a cue for the first time and start playing pretty well straight away.
I think this was the case with the likes of Judd Trump and Ronnie O'Sullivan because they were both extremely gifted players at very young ages. O'Sullivan famously made his first century break at the age of 10 and his first maximum break when he was 15.
This leads me on to my next point which is that if you are serious about becoming a professional snooker player you really need to start playing at a very early age. Furthermore you ideally need to start playing on a full size snooker table as soon as possible as well, because as long as you have some degree of natural ability you should start improving at a rapid rate.
I first started playing on a 6 foot table at home up until I was about 18 and was a decent enough player, but it was only when I started playing regularly on full size tables from the age of 18 onwards that I started to really improve my game. Unfortunately by then it was far too late to realize my dream of becoming a professional player, but I always wonder how good I may have become had I started playing on full size tables from a young age.
So the point it that if you have a child who has some natural ability and wants to turn pro one day, you really should nurture them from a very young age. The more they play on a full length table, the more they will develop as a player.
Plus if they join their local snooker club, they will be able to play in leagues and compete against other decent players, which should help their game even further and increase the chances of them becoming a professional snooker player. Not many make it of course, but those that do can make a very good living out of the game.