Rules of snooker
SECTION 1. EQUIPMENT
Measurements in parenthesis state the metric equivalent to the nearest millimetre
1. The Standard Table
(a) The playing area within the cushion faces shall measure 11 ft 8?in x 5ft 10in (3569mm x 1778mm) with a tolerance
on both dimensions of +/_ ? in (+/_ 13mm).
(b) The height of the table from the floor to the top of the cushion Rail shall be from 2ft9?in to 2ft 10?in (851mm to 876mm).
(c)(i) There shall be pockets at the corners (two at the Spot end known as the top pockets and two at the Baulk end known as the bottom pockets) and one each at the middle of the longer sides (known as the centre pockets). (ii) The pocket openings shall conform to the templates authorised by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). Baulk-line and Baulk
(d) A straight line drawn 29in (737mm) from the face of the bottom cushion and parallel to it is called the Baulk-line, and that line and the intervening space is termed the Baulk.
(e) The "D" is a semi-circle described in Baulk with its centre at the middle of the Baulk-line and with a radius of 11?in (292mm).
(f) Four spots are marked on the centre longitudinal line of the table: (i) the Spot (known as the Black Spot), 12?in (324mm) from a point perpendicularly below the face of the top cushion.
(ii) The Centre Spot (known as the Blue Spot), located midway between the
faces of the top and bottom cushions.
(iii) The Pyramid Spot (known as the Pink Spot), located midway between the Centre Spot and the face of the top cushion.
(iv) The Middle of the Baulk-line (known as the Brown Spot). Two other spots used are located at the corners of the ’D’. Viewed from
the Baulk end, the one on the right is known as the Yellow Spot and the one on the left as the Green Spot.
The balls shall be of an approved composition and shall each have a diameter of 52.5mm with a tolerance of +/- 0.05mm and:
(a) they shall be of equal weight within a tolerance of 3g per set (b) a ball or set of balls may be changed by agreement between the players or on a decision by the referee.
The correct value for the balls are as follows
Black 7 Blue 5
Red 1 Pink 6
Yellow 2 Brown 4
A cue shall be not less than 3ft (914mm) in length and shall show no substantial departure from the traditional and generally accepted shape and form.
Various cue rests, long cues (called butts and half-butts according to length), extensions and adaptors may be used by players faced with difficult positions for cueing. These may form part of the equipment normally found at the table but also include equipment introduced by either player or the referee (see also Section 3 Rule 18). All extensions, adaptors and other devices to aid cueing must be of a design approved by the WPBSA.
SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS
A frame of snooker comprises the period of the play from the first stroke,
with all the balls set as described in Section 3 Rule 2, until the frame is completed by:
(a) concession by any player during his turn,
(b) claim by the striker when only the Black remains and there is more than seven points difference between the scores in his favour, (c) the final pot or foul when only the Black remains, or (d) being awarded by the referee under Section 3 Rule 14(c) or Section 4 Rule 2.
A game is an agreed or stipulated number of frames.
A match is an agreed or stipulated number of games.
(a) The White ball is the cue-ball.
(b) The 15 Reds and the 6 colours are the object balls.
The person about to play or in play is the striker and remains so until the referee has decided he has left the table at the end of his turn. 6. Stroke
(a) A stroke is made when the striker strikes the cue-ball with the tip of the cue.
(b) A stroke is fair when no infringement of Rule is made. (c) A stroke is not completed until all balls have come to rest. (d) A stroke may be made directly or indirectly, thus:
(i) a stroke is direct when the cue-ball strikes an object ball without first striking a cushion
(ii) a stroke is indirect when the cue-ball strikes one or more cushions before striking an object ball.
A pot is when an object ball, after contact with another ball and without any infringement of these Rules, enters a pocket. Causing a ball to be potted is known as potting.
A break is a number of pots in successive strokes made in any one turn by a player during a frame.
(a) The cue-ball is in-hand
(i) before the start of each frame,
(ii) when it has entered a pocket, or
(iii) when it has been forced off the table.
(b) It remains in-hand until
(i) it is played fairly from in-hand, or
(ii) a foul is committed whilst the ball is on the table
(c) The striker is said to be in-hand when the cue-ball is in-hand as above. 10. Ball in Play
(a) The cue-ball is in play when it is not in-hand.
(b) Object balls are in play from the start of the frame until pocketed or forced off the table.
(c) Colours become in play again when re-spotted.
11. Ball On
Any ball which may be lawfully struck by the first impact of the cue-ball, or any ball which may not be so struck but which may be potted, is said to be on.
12. Nominated Ball
(a) A nominated ball is the object ball which the striker declares, or indicates to the satisfaction of the referee, he undertakes to hit with the first impact of the cue-ball.
(b) If requested by the referee, the striker must declare which ball he is on.
13. Free Ball
A free ball is a ball which the striker nominates as the ball on when snookered after a foul (see Section 3 Rule 10).
14. Forced Off the Table
A ball is forced off the table if it comes to rest other than on the bed of the table or in a pocket, or if it is picked up by the striker, whilst it is in play except as provided for in Section 3 Rule 14(h). 15. Foul
A foul is any infringement of these Rules.
The cue-ball is said to be snookered when a direct stroke in a straight line to every ball on is wholly or partially obstructed by a ball or balls not on. If one or more balls on can be struck at both extreme edges free of obstruction by any ball not on, the cue-ball is not snookered.
(a) If in-hand, the cue-ball is snookered if it is obstructed as described above from all possible positions on or within the lines of the "D". (b) If the cue-ball is so obstructed from hitting a ball on by more than one ball not on
(i) the ball nearest to the cue-ball is considered to be the effective snookering ball, and
(ii) should more than one obstructing ball be equidistant from the cue-ball, all such balls will be considered to be effective snookering balls.
(c) When Red is the ball on, if the cue-ball is obstructed from hitting different Reds by different balls not on, there is no effective snookering ball.
(d) The striker is said to be snookered when the cue-ball is snookered as above
(e) The cue-ball cannot be snookered by a cushion. If the curved face of a cushion obstructs the cue-ball and is closer to the cue-ball than any obstructing ball not on, the cue-ball is not snookered.
17. Spot Occupied
A spot is said to be occupied if a ball cannot be placed on it without that ball touching another ball.
18. Push Stroke
A push stroke is made when the tip of the cue remains in contact with the cue-ball
(a) after the cue-ball has commenced its forward motion, or (b) as the cue-ball makes contact with an object ball except, where the cue-ball and an object ball are almost touching, it shall not be deemed a push stroke if the cue-ball hits a very fine edge of the object ball. 19. Jump Shot
A jump shot is made when the cue-ball passes over any part of an object ball, whether touching it in the process or not, except:
(a) when the cue-ball first strikes one object ball and then jumps over another ball,
(b) when the cue-ball jumps and strikes an object ball, but does not land on the far side of that ball,
(c) when, after striking an object ball lawfully, the cue-ball jumps over that ball after hitting a cushion or another ball.
A miss is when the cue-ball fails to first contact a ball on and the referee considers that the striker has not made a good enough attempt to hit a ball on.
SECTION 3. THE GAME
Snooker may be played by two or more players, either independently or as sides. The game can be summarised as follows:
(a) Each player uses the same White cue-ball and there are twenty-one object balls - fifteen Reds each valued 1, and six colours: Yellow valued 2, Green 3, Brown 4, Blue 5, Pink 6 and Black 7.
(b) Scoring strokes in a player’s turn are made by potting Reds and colours alternately until all the Reds are off the table and then the colours in the ascending order of their value.
(c) Points awarded for scoring strokes are added to the score of the striker.
(d) Penalty points from fouls are added to the opponent’s score.
(e) A tactic employed at any time during a frame is to leave the cue-ball behind a ball not on such that it is snookered for the next player. If a player or side is more points behind than are available from the balls left on the table, then the laying of snookers in the hope of gaining points from fouls becomes most important.
(f) The winner of a frame is the player or side
(i) making the highest score,
(ii) to whom the frame is conceded, or
(iii) to whom it is awarded under Section 3 Rule 14(c) or Section 4 Rule 2.
(g) The winner of a game is the player or side
(i) winning most, or the required number of frames
(ii) making the greatest total where aggregate points are relevant, or (iii) to whom the game is awarded under Section 4 Rule 2.
(h) The winner of a match is the player or side winning most games or, aggregate points are relevant, with the greatest total.
2. Position of Balls
(a) At the start of each frame the cue-ball is in-hand and the object balls are positioned on the table as follows:
(i) the Reds in the form of a tightly-packed equilateral triangle, with the Red at the apex standing on the centre line of the table, above the Pyramid Spot such that it will be as close to the Pink as possible without touching it, and the base of the triangle nearest to, and parallel with, the top cushion.
(ii) Yellow on the right-hand corner of the "D"
(iii) Green on the left-hand corner of the "D"
(iv) Brown on the Middle of the Baulk-line,
(v) Blue on the Centre Spot,
(vi) Pink on the Pyramid Spot, and
(vii) Black on the Spot.
(b) After a frame has started, a ball in play may only be cleaned by the referee upon reasonable request by the striker and
(i) the position of the ball, if not spotted, shall be marked by a suitable device prior to the ball being lifted for cleaning,
(ii) the device used to mark the position of a ball being cleaned shall be regarded as and acquire the value of the ball until such time as the ball has been cleaned and replaced. If any player other than the striker should touch or disturb the device, he shall be penalised as if he were the striker, without affecting the order of play. The referee shall return the device or ball being cleaned to its position, if necessary, to his satisfaction, even if it was picked up.
3. Mode of Play
The players shall determine the order of play by lot or in any mutually agreed manner.
(a) The order of play thus determined must remain unaltered throughout the frame, except a player may be asked by the next player to play again after any foul.
(b) The player or side to strike first must alternate for each frame during a game.
(c) The first player plays from in-hand, the frame commencing when the cue-ball has been placed on the table and contacted by the tip of the cue, either
(i) as a stroke is made, or
(ii) while addressing the cue-ball.
(d) For a stroke to be fair, none of the infringements described below in Rule 12, Penalties, must occur.
(e) For the first stroke of each turn, until all Reds are off the table, Red or a free ball nominated as a Red is the ball on, and the value or each Red and any free ball nominated as a Red, potted in the same stroke, is scored.
(f) (i) If a Red, or a free ball nominated as a Red, is potted, the same player plays the next stroke and the next ball on is a colour of the striker’s choice which, if potted, is scored and the colour is then
(ii) The break is continued by potting Reds and colours alternately until all the Reds are off the table and, where applicable, a colour has been played at following the potting of the last Red.
(iii) The colours then become on in the ascending order of their value as per Section 3 Rule 1(a) and when next potted remain off the table, except as provided for in Rule 4 below, and the striker plays the next stroke at the next colour on.
(g) Reds are not replaced on the table once pocketed or forced off the table regardless of the fact that a player may thus benefit from a foul. Exceptions to this concept are provided for in Section 3 Rules 2(b)(ii), 9, 14(f), 14(h) and 15.
(h) If the striker fails to score or commits a foul, his turn ends and the next player plays from where the cue-ball comes to rest, or from in-hand if the cue-ball is off the table.
4. End of Frame, Game or Match
(a) When only the Black is left, the first score or foul ends the frame excepting only if the following conditions both apply:
(i) the scores are then equal, and
(ii) aggregate scores are not relevant.
(b) When both conditions in (a) above apply
(i) the Black is spotted,
(ii) the players draw lots for choice of playing
(iii) the next player plays from in-hand, and
(iv) the next score or foul ends the frame.
(c) When aggregate scores determine the winner of a game or match, and the aggregate scores are equal at the end of the last frame, the players in that frame shall follow the procedure for a re-spotted Black set out in (b) above.
5. Playing from In-hand
To play from in-hand, the cue-ball must be struck from a position on or within the lines of the "D", but it may be played in any direction. (a) The referee will state, if asked, whether the cue-ball is properly placed (that is, not outside the lines of the "D").
(b) If the tip of the cue should touch the cue-ball while positioning it, and the referee is satisfied that the striker was not attempting to play a stroke, then the cue-ball is not in play.
6. Hitting Two Balls Simultaneously
Two balls, other than two Reds or a free ball and a ball on, must not be struck simultaneously by the first impact of the cue-ball. 7. Spotting Colours
Any colour pocketed or forced off the table shall be spotted before the next stroke is made, until finally potted under Section 3 Rule 3(f). (a) A player shall not be held responsible for any mistake by the referee in failing to spot correctly any ball.
(b) If a colour is spotted in error after being potted in ascending order as per Section 3 Rule 3(f)(iii), it shall be removed from the table without penalty when the error is discovered and play shall continue. (c) If a stroke is made with a ball or balls not correctly spotted, they
will be considered to be correctly spotted for subsequent strokes. Any colour incorrectly missing from the table will be spotted:
(i) without penalty when discovered if missing due to previous oversight, (ii) subject to penalty if the striker player before the referee was able to effect the spotting.
(d) If a colour has to be spotted and its own spot is occupied, it shall be placed on the highest value spot available.
(e) If there is more than one colour to be spotted and their own spots are occupied, the highest value ball shall take precedence in order of spotting.
(f) If all spots are occupied, the colour shall be placed as near its own spot as possible, between that spot and the nearest part of the top cushion. (g) In the case of Pink and Black, if all spots are occupied and there is no available space between the relevant spot and the nearest part of the top cushion, the colour shall be placed as near to its own spot as possible on the centre line of the table below the spot.
(h) In all cases, the colour when spotted must not be touching another ball.
(i) A colour, to be properly spotted, must be placed by hand on the spot designated in these Rules.
8. Touching Ball
(a) If the cue-ball comes to rest touching another ball or balls that are, or could be, on, the referee shall state TOUCHING BALL and indicate which ball or balls on the cue-ball is touching.
(b) When a touching ball has been called, the striker must play the cue-ball away from that ball without moving it or it is a push stroke. (c) Providing the striker does not cause the object ball to move, there shall be no penalty if:
(i) the ball is on,
(ii) the ball could be on and the striker declares he is on it, or (ii) the ball could be on and the striker declares, and first hits, another ball that could be on.
(d) If the cue-ball comes to rest touching or nearly touching a ball that is not on, the referee, if asked whether it is touching, will answer YES or NO. The striker must play away without disturbing it as above but must first hit a ball that is on.
(e) When the cue-ball is touching both a ball on and a ball not on, the referee shall only indicate the ball on as touching. If the striker should ask the referee whether the cue-ball is also touching the ball not on, he is entitled to be told.
(f) If the referee is satisfied that any movement of a touching ball at the moment of striking was not caused by the striker, he will not call a foul.
(g) If a stationary object ball, not touching the cue-ball when examined by the referee, is later seen to be in contact with the cue-ball before a stroke has been made, the balls shall be repositioned by the referee to his satisfaction.
9. Ball on Edge of Pocket
(a) If a ball falls into a pocket without being hit by another ball, and being no part of any stroke in progress, it shall be replaced and any points scored shall count.
(b) If it would have been hit by any ball involved in a stroke: (i) with no infringement of these Rules, all balls will be replaced and the same stroke played again, or a different stroke may be played at his discretion, by the same striker.
(ii) if a foul is committed, the striker incurs the penalty prescribed, all balls will be replaced and the next player has the usual options after a foul.
(c) If a ball balances momentarily on the edge of a pocket and then falls in, it shall count as in the pocket and not be replaced.
10. Snookered After a Foul
After a foul, if the cue-ball is snookered, the referee shall state FREE BALL (see Section 2, Rule 16).
(a) If the player next in turn elects to play the next stroke, (i) he may nominate any ball as the ball on, and
(ii) any nominated ball shall be regarded as, and acquire the value of, the ball on except that, if potted, is shall then be spotted. (b) It is a foul if the cue-ball should
(i) fail to hit the nominated ball first, or first simultaneously with the ball on, or
(ii) be snookered on all Reds, or the ball on, by the free ball thus nominated, except when the Pink and Black are the only object balls remaining on the table.
(c) If the free ball is potted, it is spotted and the value of the ball on is scored.
(d) If a ball on is potted, after the cue-ball struck the nominated ball first, or simultaneously with a ball on, the ball on is scored and remains off the table.
(e) If both the nominated ball and a ball on are potted, only the ball on is scored unless it was a Red, when each ball potted is scored. The free ball is then spotted and the ball on remains off the table. (f) If the offender is asked to play again, the free ball call becomes void.