Discover the unspoken rules of snooker etiquette. Learn the dos and don’ts of the game and gain insights into how to conduct yourself like a true snooker freak.
Like any game, snooker comes with both spoken and unspoken rules. There are certain expectations that people have of their opponents, including not fouling, not persistently miscounting the frames, and not banging the balls around the table.
Following good snooker etiquette can increase your likelihood of getting invited back for another game. It can also eliminate that distracting little voice in the back of your head that wonders “Am I doing this right?” in the middle of a game.
If you want to be a better snooker player, here are just a few customs to know.
Stay Out of Your Opponent’s Sight Line
Never get in someone’s way when they’re down on the shot. In fact, it’s good etiquette to stay entirely out of sight while they’re moving around the table, checking angles, calculating possibilities, and lining up their next move.
Just like you wouldn’t want someone obstructing your own view, it’s common courtesy to offer your opponents the same freedom of vision and movement.
Respect the Playing Field
This is similar to the above, but if you’re playing in a clubhouse where the tables are in close proximity to each other, you’ll want to respect the playing fields for all ongoing games.
This might mean staying out of your neighbor’s sight lines or taking turns with them to move through the gaps between tables. Additionally, under no circumstances should you ever lean on another player’s table while their game is still in progress.
Keep the Table Clear
You’re probably aware that it’s a big no-no to put drinks or phones on the playing surface of the table. However, some folks don’t realize that it’s bad manners to put anything on the table, including snooker paraphernalia like cues, chalk, and extensions.
Since they’re part of the game, these objects might not even register to you as out of place, but they are. The playing area should be kept entirely clear of obstructions.
Ask for Clarification
Do you remember that scene in Pretty Woman playing on fuboTV when Julie Roberts is judged by the snobby shopkeepers? If you’ve ever felt other snooker players side-eyeing you like that, it’s okay to ask why.
There’s no shame in admitting that you’re a beginner who isn’t familiar with every single snooker custom. The others might even start giving you pointers and other game tips.
Lower Your Volume
This applies more to clubhouses than places like bars, but if you want to avoid getting shunned by your fellow players, don’t be the loudmouth in the room.
Don’t whoop with joy when you land a shot or yell across the table with trash talk. It’s also considered good manners to silence your phone while you play; this will keep ringtones from interrupting you and your opponent.
You won’t find this printed in any official snooker guide, but it’s something that players often do, especially in the pros. If a shot is a fluke, they’ll acknowledge it in some way.
It could be as simple as a shrug, raised hand, or brief comment. You don’t have to make a spectacle of it. Just acknowledge the obvious truth to keep things civil between you and your opponent.
Respect Your Opponent
Last but certainly not least, be a good sport. Shake your opponent’s hand before and after the game. Don’t argue about conceding frames and re-spot balls when your opponent is on the table. If the other player expresses a preference for something, such as knowing what break they’re on, do your part to help out.
These small, everyday examples of good sportsmanship will improve your integrity as a player while also increasing the odds of you finding regular, long-time opponents.
The best snooker games are fair and evenly-matched ones where everyone is following the rules. These include both written and unwritten rules, so make sure that you’ve done your homework before hitting the snooker table.