How To Bet On Snooker
Betting on snooker continues to grow in popularity, with an increasing number of high quality snooker tournaments being played across the UK and the world each year. Our detailed guide to how to bet on snooker will show you how to increase your chances of turning a profit betting on snooker.
Betting On Snooker: An Introduction
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that snooker betting is very popular. Aside from the negative publicity surrounding the match fixing scandals that rocked the sport, one of which ended in erstwhile top 16 player Stephen Lee being banned from the sport for 12 years, it is immediately apparent that all the major online bookmakers, including Coral, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and William Hill, all offer several markets on the major tournaments, as does leading betting exchange Betfair.
To the outsider, it would seem that betting opportunities on snooker matches would be few and far between as snooker is essentially a turn-based sport between two individuals. This is far from the truth. A cursory glance at any of the ‘big’ online bookmakers’ snooker odds will illustrate that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to betting on the sport.
There are any number of markets available on high-profile matches alongside snooker outright odds (i.e. eventual tournament winner), such as handicap betting (where one player starts with a nominal head start i.e. +1.5 frames or with a fixed handicap such as -2.5 frames), frame-by-frame betting (bet on the winner of any given frame) and highest break betting.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as with further investigation punters can back events such as whether a 147 will be scored in a tournament, what the total number of points in a single frame will be or even what the first colour potted will be.
- Snooker Tournaments To Bet On
- Betting On Snooker Online
- Best Snooker Betting Strategies
- Snooker Bookmakers
- Snooker Live Streaming
In 2015 World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn announced a number of changes to professional snooker’s schedule and prizes with a view to not just increasing the sport’s world profile but also offering the players greater prize pots. One effect has been to make snooker a more alluring – and regular – prospect for punters to investigate opportunities in betting on the sport.
Hearn revealed plans for a new million-pound bonus purse in a so-called Home Series comprised of tournaments in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The series will start this year with a new ranking event - the European Open - added to a very busy schedule.
Hearn’s five-year plan for snooker also sees all events other than the World Championship become a flat 128-player draw when existing contracts expire. Prize money for the World Championship winner will rise from its current £300,000 to £500,000 for the 2018 tournament, with the event’s total prize fund worth £2m.
Traditionally dominated by Brits, snooker’s worldwide participation is on the up, with tournaments around the globe as well as qualifying schools in Asia, the Americas, Africa, Australasia and Europe. The good news for punters, therefore, is that there are many and varied snooker markets to get involved in.
There are many, many snooker tournaments which are played throughout the year. Value can be had in the early rounds of tournaments, and indeed their qualifiers, where matches can be as short as best of seven. Work on the principle that the shorter the format, the more chance there is of an upset. Conversely, the longer the match, the more likely it is that the more complete player will win.
While a number of tournaments now take place in Asia and mainland Europe, the qualifiers are inevitably in either Sheffield or Doncaster, in England. Matches are usually streamed online (be aware that streams are typically five seconds or so behind, so think twice before placing large in-running bets) and for those of you living in the UK, qualifiers are often free to actually go and watch live.
A good point to be made here is to check on where a player is based and where the match is taking place rather than simply presume that because it’s a qualifier for an Asian event it’s in Asia. Furthermore, a lot of Asian players are now based in the UK, so be careful when trying to ascertain if there’s going to be any ‘home advantage’.
The major tournaments, and those seen as the most prestigious to win, are ‘the big three’ of the Snooker World Championship, which is always held at the Crucible in Sheffield, UK, every year, the Masters, which brings together the best (in other words top ranked) 16 players in the world and the UK Championship.
This trio of snooker tournaments comprise an unofficial ‘triple crown’ which is the ultimate aim of any snooker player to win in the same season and an honour that has only ever gone to a select few including Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry. To date, not even Ronnie O’Sullivan has managed to win all three titles in the same season. Masters Snooker betting odds, therefore, are not necessarily the best guide as to the likely winner as one would reasonably expect the current world number one would triumph.
Before placing any snooker bet you should consider compiling your own snooker betting preview – or at worst check out any advice which might be floating about on the major online bookmakers’ sites. A rudimentary google search will throw up plenty of helpful hints.
Laying can be as profitable as betting in the right circumstances. To lay means that you effectively become the bookmaker and decide which odds you want to offer to potential punters. In a snooker match between O’Sullivan and Trump, for example, you’d make a profit if you laid Trump and the match ended in an O’Sullivan win or a draw (Premier League Snooker is currently the only snooker format that allows for draws, however). If you laid O’Sullivan, but Trump won or it was a draw then you’d win. If you laid the draw (obviously this applies to Premier League Snooker only) and either of the two players won then you’d pick up your winnings.
A popular snooker trading strategy involves backing and laying in-running - a system which only works on betting exchanges such as Betfair. Often, the first player to get in among the balls, in other words, looking to make a decent-sized break, will rapidly contract in price in-running to win that particular frame. At this point, put a small lay in, then prepare for the moment that he misses a pot or runs out of position and his opponent comes in to clear up the rest of the balls and win the frame.
You’re then in a nice position to either trade out by backing the player who was looking likely to make a sizable break but failed or simply by letting the lay ride. Even if the player you laid ends up winning the frame with your lay left unprotected, which can of course also happen, you won’t lose much as you laid him when he was hot favourite so your liability won’t have been high. As soon as the first player who ‘gets in’ tries to split the pack with an aggressive shot, this is usually the pivotal moment of the frame as it can either go well or badly.
As with all betting in-running, make sure the footage you’re watching is bang up to date. Even the BBC website is a few seconds behind the live BBC TV coverage, for example.
Stay clear of short format competitions
A number of tournaments have emerged which employ the use of a ‘shot clock’ with a view to speeding up proceedings, such as the Power Snooker Tournament which took place in Manchester in 2011 and the Snooker Shoot Out, which became a fixture at the Blackpool Tower Circus in recent years, but has moved to the Hexagon in Reading for its 2016 incarnation.
While these events are very entertaining and put a speedier spin on snooker, because each match lasts just a single frame they remain strictly in the domain of ‘fun’ betting, rather than becoming part of a serious progressive strategy.
Exploit the misleading handicap
Inevitably, the early rounds of any tournament pit heavy favourites against high-priced outsiders. Upsets in snooker do happen, but even more often the plucky outsider pushes the favourite close only to lose by one or two frames. In situations like this, bettors can pounce on the handicap market where the outsider is effectively given a head start of anything up to 5.5 frames.
Conversely, if you believe the favourite is absolutely streets ahead of his opponent, you might want to consider taking him with a minus handicap. In other words, if you think your man will win by at least four frames, you could place a punt on him on the -3.5 handicap which would mean any win of 10-6 or better would see you in profit – and with much better odds than if you’d simply selected him on the ‘win only’ market.
Back a 147 to be scored at any time
One interesting pre-tournament bet is to back a maximum to be scored at any time, which is worth a look at prices well above even money.
The standard of snooker, as confirmed by players, pundits and fans alike, is at an all-time high at present. Gone are the days when tournaments would only yield a small handful of century breaks. Nowadays, most of the players who have reached the Sheffield stage of the World Championship, for example, will have already fired a maximum break in their career, with an elite few having done so several times. Not only that, virtually every single one of the 32 qualifiers has the mental strength to do so under the unforgiving lights, cameras and expectant up-close-and-personal crowd of the Crucible Theatre.
With the first round being a race to ten (best of 19 frames), the second round and quarter finals a race to 13 (best of 25), the semi-finals a race to 17 (best of 33) and the final a monstrous race to 18 (best of 35) there are more than enough opportunities for 15 reds, 15 blacks and all six colours including the final black to be potted in a single visit to the table.
Build a snooker betting strategy
There are a number of useful snooker sites available for reference and to ignore their existence is folly when it comes to making potentially profitable selections. To give start with, check out the official World Snooker page and CueTracker.net. The former is handy for checking out when tournaments are coming up, which players are set to feature, where the tournaments are scheduled to take place and how the draw is shaping up. The latter, meanwhile, is a total stats-fest and comes in very useful for checking players’ recent form, head-to-head records and snooker results.
Even individual players’ Facebook pages, twitter feeds and websites can give an indication of what kind of form and frame of mind cueists are in at any given time. There won’t be any actual snooker betting tips on them, but they’re certainly worth a look particularly if you fancy becoming a world snooker expert bettor.
Bookmakers often sponsor snooker tournaments (Ladbrokes sponsors the Players Championship and the World Grand Prix for example, while Betfred sponsors the World Championship), but don’t be fooled into thinking that because a certain bookmaker sponsors an event that its snooker betting odds or, specifically, its live snooker betting, are in some way superior to its online rivals. Always compare Ladbrokes’ snooker odds with Paddy Power snooker odds, William Hill snooker odds and Coral snooker betting (to name just four) as like everything else in life, it pays to shop around. Use a site such as bettingexpert to help make your world snooker predictions.
Likewise, just because an online snooker site offers more snooker markets than its competitors, it won’t necessarily offer the best odds across the board.
For more detail, please refer to our bookmaker reviews listing. Detailed reviews for dozens of the industry's top bookmakers.
A low-cost subscription site which gives you a glimpse into the world of the snooker qualifier is WorldSnooker TV. Selected matches from pretty much every UK-based qualifier and the odd overseas tournament are screened here and these give you a good insight into players’
strengths and weaknesses, especially emerging players who you might not have previously seen or heard of.
Several online bookmakers and betting exchanges offer live snooker streaming (typically 5-10 seconds behind ‘real time’, so tread carefully when betting in-running). These include Betfair and Coral. All are of similar quality inasmuch as they are just about big enough to watch without a magnifying glass, but don’t come close to actual TV coverage, or WorldSnooker TV. This site is superior as a snooker live stream for two fundamental reasons – the action can be watched full screen and a full run-down of which qualifiers/tournaments are due to be broadcast is always available. Before committing to a subscription, which ranges from £3.99 per month, however, be sure to check the terms and conditions regarding which countries are permitted to show what as certain restrictions apply depending on where you are accessing the internet from.
If you simply want snooker live scores, visit WorldSnooker Data or your current favourite online bookmaker. Most of the bookmakers offering snooker betting also provide snooker live scores.
The Eurosport snooker live stream is popular with punters too, so there is never a shortage of live snooker on internet while a tournament is in progress.