It's Cool to play pool...Or, well, snooker, since there are differences between the game of snooker and pool; however, we shan't go into them here; instead, we'll be talking about how snooker is definitely an excellent live sport on TV and why people should tune in to watch it!
How People Came to Hit Balls with Sticks
Snooker owes its origins to billiards, a similar game that has been around since the 16th century. At first, the game was almost exclusively played by nobility, but in the 19th century, it found immense popularity amongst the British military in India.
However, billiards was only playable by 2 persons, which prompted the development of multiplayer versions of the game. Thus, snooker's predecessors, life pool and pyramid pool, were born, Then in 1875, Sir Neville Chamberlain decided to combine the rules of these 2 games, giving us the earliest version of snooker.
The name of the game comes from soldierly slang: 'snooker' was a term describing inexperienced troops and first-time cadets. Chamberlain would taunt bad players at the game by calling them 'real snookers', mocking their inexperience, and earning the game its name.
Rules of the Game
The first rules of snooker were created in 1882, sometime after Chamberlain's merging of the 2 games. The game contains 22 coloured balls (including the white cue ball; although, sometimes less balls are used) which must be pocketed in a certain order using the cue and cue ball.
There are a number other balls on the table, each with different values: there are 15 red balls (but 6 or 10 may be used), each worth 1 point; a yellow ball of 2 points; a green ball of 3 points; a brown ball of 4 points; a blue ball of 5 points; a pink ball of 6 points; and a black ball of 7 points.
The order of which balls must be pocketed, called the ball 'on' for the shot, depends on the shot: on the initial shot players must try to pocket a red ball; after pocketing a red ball, players nominate which colour they will try to pocket next. When that colour is pocketed, it is returned to the table.
If a player fails to pocket anything, their opponent will play instead. As long as there are red balls, the balls 'on' will always switch between reds and the other colours; otherwise, when all the reds are gone, the colours must be pocketed according to their value, from lowest to highest.
There are myriads of tournaments to choose from, but we will restrict ourselves to mention only the most important: the most significant of them all is the World Snooker Championship which has been going on since 1927 and has a prize pool of over 1 million pounds!
Next in line is the UK Championship which was first held in 1977 and offers a prize of £850,000! Last, but not least is The Masters, which invites the world's 16 best players for a chance to win the £600,000 prize money! These tournaments surely make snooker an exciting live sport on TV!
The Players that Pocket them All
It's rather difficult to choose between so many magnificent players, but here are our choices: first up, there's Mark Selby; known as The Jester from Leicester, Selby is currently the world's topmost snooker player, especially since he won the UK Championship and the World Championship twice each!
Next is Stephen Hendry, who holds the record as having been the youngest world champion at 21 in 1990 and for having won the most amount of ranking tournaments, an amazing 36! Hendry won the World Championship 7 times, The Masters 6 times and the UK Championship 5 times!
Lastly, we have the one and only Ronnie O'Sullivan, or The Rocket as he is sometimes known; O'Sullivan holds the record for having been the youngest player to ever win The Masters at 19, which he has won 7 times, and has won the UK Championship 7 times and the World Championship 5 times!
Best TV Moments
There are many glorious moments to name, but since we can only choose a few, here are our choices: it's impossible not to mention O'Sullivan's record-breaking performance in the 1997 World Championship, where O'Sullivan completed the fastest maximum break, or 147, in history!
A 147 is the maximum amount of points a player can achieve in a single round. O'Sullivan managed to perform this remarkable feat in an impressive 5 minutes and 20 seconds, spending about 9 seconds per shot! That is absolutely phenomenal!
Finally, we'd like to mention Stuart Bingham's underdog performance in the 2015 World Championship. Bingham managed to defeat a number of other top players, including O'Sullivan, and won against former champion Stuart Murphy on a longshot to win the tournament!
Cue the Conclusion
Puns aside, it's impossible not to see why snooker is one of the most well-loved and popular sports on TV today! With so many extraordinary players and championships with unbelievable prizes, which make for some cutthroat competition, snooker is definitely a thrilling sport on TV!