Snooker is a British-origin cue sport played with 16 balls on a regulation pool table. It is played in matches, with the aim of scoring the most points per frame. It is a professional sport with several tournaments held each year, including the world championship match. The sport has had famous players, including Jimmy White and Paul Hunter. The World Championship was sponsored by Embassy until 2005, and is now sponsored by Cassava Enterprises. The future of the World Championship venue is uncertain.
Snooker is a game of billiards, or cue sport, which, like most forms of billiards, is of British origin. Snooker is a slightly more modern take on 16th century billiards and is played with 16 balls: a cue ball, 22 red balls and 15 colored balls with different point ratings. A regulation pool table measures 6 feet (6 meters) by 1.86 feet (12 meters) and has four corner and two side pockets. Points are scored by hitting the cue ball with the result of successfully pocketing the other object balls in one of the six pockets according to the rules of the game. The game is played in matches, which consist of a predetermined number of frames. The object is to score the most points per frame to win the most frames in the match.
Although snooker is played recreationally, it is also a professional sport with several tournaments held each year and the elite world championship match held at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield, England. Professional snooker has a governing body that sets the rules and regulation for the game. After a brief lull in the sport’s popularity during the mid-1960s, the World Snooker Association was founded in 1968. Today, snooker is a popular and respected sport with professional rankings held and followed by many fans.
From its inception in 1977 until 2005, the World Championship was sponsored by the Embassy. However, as of 2006, a new sponsor has taken over due to regulations prohibiting a tobacco company from sponsoring sporting events. Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd. sponsored the 2006 World Championship under its flagship online casino site 888.com.
Some very famous pool players have graced the sport throughout its history, with Jimmy White being one of the best known names in the sport. From the late 1990s until 2003, a young player named Paul Hunter brought popularity to the sport of billiards among a younger generation of fans and players. Hunter was a talented player, but sadly passed away in October of 2006 from a rare form of cancer.
There are annual World Pool Championships. There is some doubt that the Crucible will be the continuous venue for the World Championships in subsequent years. As snooker continues to be a popular and growing professional sport, this and other pool games continue to be a popular recreational pastime as well.