Over a series of upcoming features, we’re going to talk you through the rules and background of a few spin-off club and pub sports. Some of them you’ll know and love already, others you might not be so familiar with. The idea? To give you a few more options when you come in and pick up a cue or handful of arrows. The original formats of snooker, pool and darts are all still the classics, but these quirky ideas help mix it up and keep things fun over a few drinks.
We’ll start off with a variation on snooker. Long seen as the boring and long-winded pursuit of the posh and tuxedo’d, snooker took a while to capture the public imagination. But once we all saw the skill, technique and strategy involved, the UK became a nation hooked. The long-form version, with its frames and safety game is still the go-to, but for excitement and competition against pals? We’d suggest you give Power Snooker a go. Here’s what it’s all about:
The Twenty20 of Snooker?
Alright, we’ll admit it – Power Snooker wasn’t exactly a roaring success professionally. The powers that be tried to make it into a whizz bang wallop version of the game we know and love. The idea? It was to become the Twenty20 of snooker. Jazzed up like the darts, fans would whoop and holler and dolly birds would parade about the place a bit. It was mildly embarrassing, to be frank. But while watching Power Snooker never excited the public, actually playing it is a whole different pocket of balls…
The governing bodies of snooker really pushed this ‘new’ form of the sport a few years back in an almost desperate bid to rebrand and repackage the sport. It didn’t go down very well (to put it mildly). Snooker boss Barry Hearn went full throttle on it, but it only saw two years of tournaments. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with Power Snooker. In fact, it’s a lot of fun – especially for club players and amateurs. It just didn’t work on TV.
The Set Up
Most of you out there will be more than familiar with the format of a snooker table before the break. For those of you a little unsure about what goes where, the picture on the right will fill you in. Black at the back, blue in the middle and pink between them. For the baulk colours, it’s green, brown, yellow from left to right (GBY: ‘God Bless You’ – that’s how we always remember).
Now you’ll have spotted that there are less reds than normal and they’re configured differently. You’ll only want nine reds, instead of the usual fifteen. And the triangle’s out. We’re racking them up in a diamond shape. You’ll have no template to shape the balls up in, so you’ll have to do it freehand. Just try and keep them nice and tight.
First off – the winner is the player with the highest number of points. It’s not decided by frames here. You score points in the normal way (pot a red, then a colour, then repeat…). You’re not aiming for a set number of points, though. It’s whoever is leading by the half hour mark. Should you pot all balls within thirty minutes – just stop the clock, re-rack and go again. Ties are decided Davis/Taylor-style: with a re-spotted black.
You’ve got twenty seconds per shot. Take longer and you lose twenty points and your turn (or your opponent can make you stay on). Foul and your opponent gets ‘ball in hand’, meaning they can place the cue ball anywhere on the table, as in American 9 ball pool.
So long as two reds hit a cushion, the player breaking off stays on the table. As in normal snooker, though, once they miss – their break is over.
In the pro form, there’s a ‘Power Ball’ in the middle of the diamond which counts for double, but as you won’t have the special striped red ball, you’re going to have to ignore that rule. One rule you can still observe however, is the ‘Power Zone’ one. Any ball potted when the white is in the ‘Power Zone’ (anywhere behind the baulk line) counts for double – red or colour.
See For Yourself
So there’s a little background on Power Snooker and the rules. Now watch the pros and see what you make of it… Here are the masters at work:
It’s snooker, but boiled down and quicker. What’s not to love about that? So why not pick up a cue and have a go at your nearest Rileys?