Snooker Rules

    Measurements in parenthesis state the metric equivalent to the nearest millimetre
    1. The Standard Table
    (a) Dimensions
    The playing area within the cushion faces shall measure 11 ft 8½in x 5ft 10in (3569mm x 1778mm) with a tolerance on both dimensions of +/- ½ in (+/- 13mm).
    (b) Height
    The height of the table from the floor to the top of the cushion rail shall be from 2ft 9½in to 2ft 10½in (851mm to 876mm).
    (c) Pocket Openings
    (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 owned and authorised by The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA Ltd).
    (d) Baulk-line and Baulk
    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”
    The “D” is a semi-circle described in Baulk with its centre at the middle of the Baulk-line and with a radius of 11½in (292mm).
    (f) Spots
    Four spots are marked on the centre longitudinal line of the table:
    (i) the Spot (known as the Black Spot), 12¾in (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. 2. Balls (a) The balls shall be of an approved composition and shall each have a diameter of 52.5mm with a tolerance of +/- 0.05mm; (b) they shall be of equal weight and the difference between the heaviest ball and the lightest ball should be no more than 3g; and (c) a ball or set of balls may be changed by agreement between the players or on a decision by the referee. 3. Cue 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. 4. Ancillary 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 Ltd.


    Standard definitions used throughout these Rules are hereinafter italicised.

    1. Frame

    A frame of snooker comprises the period of the play from the start, see Section 3 Rule 3(c), with all the balls set as described in Section 3 Rule 2, each player playing in turn until the frame is completed by:

    (a) concession by any player during his turn;

    (b) claim by the striker when; Black is the only object ball remaining on the table, aggregate points are not relevant, and there is a difference of more than seven points between the scores in his favour;

    (c) the final pot or foul when; Black is the only object ball remaining on the table (see Section 3 Rule 4); or

    (d) being awarded by the referee under Section 3 Rule 14(d) (ii) or Section 4 Rule 2.

    2. Game

    A game is an agreed or stipulated number of frames.

    3. Match A match is an agreed or stipulated number of games.

    4. Balls

    (a) The White ball is the cue-ball.

    (b) The 15 Reds and the 6 colours are the object balls.

    5. Striker and Turn The person about to play or in play is the striker and remains so until the final stroke, or foul, of his turn is complete and the referee is satisfied that he has finally left the table. If a non-striker comes to the table, out of turn, he shall be considered as the striker for any foul he may commit before leaving the table. When the referee is satisfied that the above conditions have been met, the incoming striker‟s turn begins. His turn and his right to play another stroke ends when:

    (a) he fails to score from a stroke; or

    (b) he commits a foul; or

    (c) he requests the opponent to play again after his opponent has committed a foul.

    6. Stroke

    (a) A stroke is made when the striker strikes the cue-ball with the tip of the cue, except whilst addressing the cue-ball (known as feathering)

    (b) A stroke is fair when no infringement of Rule is made.

    (c) A stroke is not completed until:

    (i) all balls have come to rest;

    (ii) the striker has stood up, in readiness for a succeeding stroke, or leaving the table;

    (iii) any equipment being used by the striker has been removed from a hazardous position; and

    (iv) the referee has called any score relevant to the stroke.

    (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.

    (e) Following the final stroke of the opponent‟s turn, if an incoming player plays a stroke/strikes the cue-ball before the balls have come to rest, he shall be penalised as if he were the striker, and his visit to the table shall end. 7. Pot 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. 8. Break A break is a number of pots in successive strokes made in any one turn by a player during a frame. 9. In-hand

    (a) The cue-ball is in-hand:

    (i) before the start of each frame;

    (ii) when it has entered a pocket;

    (iii) when it has been forced off the table; or

    (iv) when the black is spotted in the event of tied scores.

    (b) The cue-ball 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, other than the ball on, which the striker nominates as the ball on when snookered after a foul (see Section 3 Rule 12).

    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, or intentionally moved by hand whilst it is in play except as provided for in Section 3 Rule 14(g).

    15. Penalty Points Penalty points are awarded to an opponent after any foul.

    16. Foul A foul is any infringement of these Rules.

    17. Snookered 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 cueball, 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.

    18. Spot Occupied A spot is said to be occupied if a ball cannot be placed on it without that ball touching another ball.

    19. Push Stroke A push stroke is made when the tip of the cue remains in contact with the cueball:

    (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 cueball 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.

    20. 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.

    21. Miss 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.


    1. Description 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(d)(ii) 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, where 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) the six colours on the spots designated in Section 1, Rule 1(f).

    (b) If an error in setting up the table is made, Section 3 Rule 7 (c) shall apply, the frame starting as in Section 3 Rule 3(c).

    (c) 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, the Referee shall call PENALTY and the offender 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.


    1. Conduct

    (a) In the event of:

    (i) a Player taking an abnormal amount of time over a stroke or the selection of a stroke; or

    (ii) any conduct by a Player which in the opinion of the referee is wilfully or persistently unfair; or

    (iii) any other conduct by a Player which otherwise amounts to ungentlemanly conduct; or

    (iv) refusing to continue a frame; the referee shall either:

    (v) warn the Player that in the event of any such further conduct the frame will be awarded to his opponent; or

    (vi) award the frame to his opponent; or

    (vii) in the event that the conduct is sufficiently serious, award the game to his opponent.

    (b) If a referee has warned the Player under (v) above, in the event of any further conduct as referred to above, the referee must either:

    (i) award the frame to his opponent; or

    (ii) in the event that the further conduct is sufficiently serious, award the game to his opponent.

    (c) If a referee has awarded a frame to a Player‟s opponent pursuant to the above provisions, in the event of any further conduct as referred to above by the Player concerned, the referee must award the game to the Player‟s opponent.

    (d) Any decision by a referee to award a frame and/or the game to a Player‟s opponent shall be final and shall not be subject to any appeal.

    2. Penalty

    (a) If a frame is forfeited under this Section, the offender shall:

    (i) lose the frame; and

    (ii) forfeit all points scored and the non-offender shall receive a number of points equivalent to the value of the balls remaining on the table, with each Red counting as eight points and any colour incorrectly off the table being counted as if spotted.

    (b) If a game is forfeited under this Section, the offender shall:

    (i) lose the frame in progress as in (a); and

    (ii) additionally lose the required number of un-played frames to complete the game where frames are relevant; or

    (iii) additionally lose the remaining frames, each valued at 147 points, where aggregate points apply.

    3. Non-striker

    The non-striker shall, when the striker is playing, avoid standing or moving in the line of sight of the striker. He shall sit or stand at a reasonable distance from the table and avoid making any movement or action that may interrupt the concentration of the striker.

    4. Absence

    In the case of his absence from the room, the non-striker may appoint a deputy to watch his interest and claim a foul if necessary. Such appointment must be made known to the referee prior to departure.

    5. Conceding

    (a) A player may only concede when he is the striker. The opponent has the right to accept or refuse the concession, which becomes null and void if the opponent chooses to play on.

    (b) When aggregate scores apply and a frame is conceded, the value of any balls remaining on the table is added to the score of the other side. In such case, Reds shall count as eight points each and any colour incorrectly off the table shall be counted as if spotted.

    (c) A player shall not concede a frame in any match unless snookers are required. Any breach of this rule shall be regarded as ungentlemanly conduct or misconduct by the player concerned.


    1. The Referee

    (a) The referee shall:

    (i) be the sole judge of fair and unfair play;

    (ii) be free to make a decision in the interests of fair play for any situation not covered adequately by these Rules;

    (iii) be responsible for the proper conduct of the game under these Rules;

    (iv) intervene if he sees any infringement of these Rules;

    (v) tell a player the colour of a ball if requested; and

    (vi) clean any ball upon reasonable request by a player.

    (b) The referee shall not:

    (i) answer any question not authorised in these Rules;

    (ii) give any indication that a player is about to make a foul stroke;

    (iii) give any advice or opinion on points affecting play; nor

    (iv) answer any question regarding the difference in scores.

    (c) If the referee has failed to notice any incident, he may at his discretion take the evidence of the marker or other officials or spectators best placed for the observation or may view a camera/video recording of the incident to assist his decision.

    2. The Marker

    The marker shall keep the score on the scoreboard and assist the referee in carrying out his duties. He shall also act as recorder if necessary.

    3. The Recorder

    The recorder shall maintain a record of each stroke played, showing fouls where appropriate and how many points are scored by each player or side as required. He shall also make note of break totals.

    4. Assistance by Officials

    (a) At the striker‟s request, the referee or marker shall move and hold in position any lighting apparatus that interferes with the action of the striker in making a stroke.

    (b) It is permissible for the referee or marker to give necessary assistance to players with disabilities according to their circumstances.