A popular indoor game of skill (popular in Britain anyway) played with cues on a billiards table, which is similar to a pool table but considerably larger (standard dimensions are 12 ft x 6 ft).

The different coloured balls consist of:

  • 15 red (each worth 1 point)
  • 1 each of:
  • A white "cue ball"

The object is to use the cue ball to send all the coloured balls into the pockets of the table ("pot" the balls). A player must first pot a red ball, after which he may pot any of the other colours, after which he must then pot another red. This continues until the player either misses a pot or commits a foul, at which point play moves to the other player.

After potting a coloured ball it is returned to the table and placed on its "home" spot, but red balls remain in the pocket. After potting all the red balls the player must then try to pot all the coloured balls, in ascending points order, starting with yellow and ending with black.

A continuous sequence of potting balls and scoring points is known as a "break" -- the maximum possible break is 147 ({red + black} x 15 followed by each of the other balls).

The game of snooker was invented by British army officers serving in India in 1875 and is actually far easier to understand than the above description might indicate! It is one of the biggest televised sports in the UK and championship matches can attract prize money of over £250,000. Not bad for knocking a few balls around a table.

In fact, it is possible to attain a break of 155 in snooker. Here's how.

Before any of the balls is potted, one of the players commits a foul and leaves the other player snookered. This player then exercises the right to choose a free ball, which he pots for one point. Then he pots the black for seven points. At this point he has run up a break of 8 and still has 15 reds on the table. He then pots 15 reds and 15 blacks (15*(1+7) = 120) and all the colours (2+3+4+5+6+7=27) to conclude his break of 155.

By the way, a break of 155 has never (to my knowledge) been done before in professional snooker, primarily because it is highly unlikely that a player would commit a foul near the start of the game that leaves his opponent snookered, especially as the full complement of reds is on the table, and professional players would be skillful enough not to foul so badly so early in the frame.

In the game of snooker, you 'snooker' the other player when you leave em unable to take a direct shot without striking a ball out of the required order.

Snooker is also a slang term; 'to snooker' someone is to fool, trap, or trick them. It often suggests a financial swindle.

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