How Many Balls Are on a Snooker Table: Explained

Discover the fascinating world of snooker: unravel the table's intricacies, decode ball significance, and explore strategic gameplay.

How Many Balls Are on a Snooker Table: Explained
Louis Hobbs

Written by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Wade McElwain

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-03-07

7 minutes read

The Anatomy of a Snooker Table

For those stepping into the world of snooker, the intricacies of the game can appear daunting at first glance. From the diverse array of balls to the detailed rules governing their movement, there's much to absorb. However, beneath the surface complexities lies a captivating blend of strategy, finesse, and precision that draws enthusiasts from all walks of life. 


One question that often arises among newcomers is the simple yet fundamental query: How many balls are on a snooker table?

Number of Balls on a Snooker Table & Points System

A standard snooker table setup comprises a total of 22 balls, each with its unique role and significance:


White Ball (Cue Ball): This ball serves as the player's primary tool, used to strike, and pot other balls strategically.


Red Balls: In a traditional setup, there are 15 red balls, each valued at one point. These red balls are the focal points during the initial stages of a frame, offering players the opportunity to accumulate points.


Coloured Balls: Alongside the red balls, there are six coloured balls on the table, each carrying a distinct point value:


Yellow: 2 Points

Green: 3 Points

Brown: 4 Points

Blue: 5 Points

Pink: 6 Points

Black: 7 Points



Image credit: WST

Cracking the Code: The Significance of Every Ball

Understanding the role of each ball is paramount to strategic gameplay within the confines of a snooker match. Here's a breakdown of their significance:


Red Balls: At the outset of a frame, players aim to pot red balls to accumulate points. Once a red ball is successfully potted, it remains off the table for the duration of the frame.


Coloured Balls: Following the potting of a red ball, players must then select and pot a coloured ball of their choice. The selection of coloured balls is strategic, with players weighing factors such as point value and ball position to maximize scoring opportunities. After potting a coloured ball, it is returned to the table until all red balls have been potted.


End Game: As the game progresses and red balls diminish, players shift their focus to potting the remaining-coloured balls. The objective is to pot the coloured balls in ascending order of their point values: yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, and finally, black.

The Officiating Bodies of the Snooker

As the authoritative body overseeing professional snooker and English billiards, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) holds a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of these sports. With its mandate to devise and disseminate the official rules of both disciplines, the WPBSA ensures uniformity and integrity across all levels of play. Beyond rulemaking, the association spearheads global development initiatives, fostering the growth of snooker and billiards from grassroots to professional echelons. 


Upholding standards of conduct is also paramount, as the WPBSA enforces regulations and administers disciplinary actions against any infractions, thereby safeguarding the integrity of the games. Moreover, in its relentless pursuit of fair play, the WPBSA remains vigilant against corruption, diligently investigating any instances of betting irregularities. 


Additionally, as the primary professional snooker tour, the World Snooker Tour (WST) serves as the cornerstone of competitive play, showcasing the pinnacle of talent and skill within the sport. With approximately 128 players vying for supremacy across a circuit of up to 28 tournaments each season, the WST provides a platform for athletes to demonstrate their mastery of the game on a global stage. Central to the success and integrity of these competitions is the strict adherence to a standardised set of rules and regulations set forth by the WPBSA. 


Serving as the officiating body for professional snooker, the WPBSA's rules govern every facet of play within the WST, ensuring fairness, consistency, and the preservation of the sport's rich heritage. By upholding these regulations, the WST not only maintains the integrity of competition but also fosters an environment where players can excel, and spectators can revel in the drama and excitement of world-class snooker.



Image credit: WST

Mastering the Final Countdown

By comprehending the composition and dynamics of a snooker table, players can refine their strategies and elevate their gameplay to new heights. Whether you're an aspiring enthusiast or a seasoned professional, the allure of snooker lies in its blend of precision, strategy, and sheer mastery.


In conclusion, while the sight of a snooker table may initially seem overwhelming, a deeper understanding reveals a game of unparalleled depth and nuance. With the World Snooker Tour (WST) as the standard-bearer of professional excellence, the rules and point systems outlined herein serve as the foundation for players to embark on their journey into the captivating world of snooker.


How many balls on a snooker table including the white?


A standard snooker table setup comprises a total of 22 balls. 21 balls which are considered in-play, with one white cue ball. 


How many red balls are on a snooker table?


In a traditional setup, there are 15 red balls, each valued at one point.

Louis Hobbs

Louis Hobbs

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.

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