How to Bet on Snooker
What You Need to Know
- If you're new to betting on snooker, try betting on the outcome of a single match at a major championships to get you started.
- As well as simple match and tournament winner bets, a massive range of markets are usually available. In fact, if you can think of it, you can probably bet on it in snooker.
- Betting online will offer you the greatest range of options and give you the chance to bet as a match unfolds bookmaker offers can be found on our list of top UK Betting Sites.
- If you are serious about making a profit, be sure to do your research and know a player's form before putting any money down.
- Remember that many players will save their best form for the biggest events. So, while you may be able to bet on a huge number of tournaments, be wary of putting much money on them
- Cashing out can be a good way of either cutting your losses if things aren't going to plan or making a little profit and avoiding any stress and upset. Most online bookies will give you the chance to cash out on a bet.
- Remember you should only ever bet what you can afford to lose and be aware that sports betting can become addictive.
- If you are unsure of the Rules of Snooker then have a read of our guide before you carry on here.
Betting on Snooker
Snooker is a pretty simple affair: 15 red balls, 6 colours, 2 players and only 1 winner, with no chance of a game ending in a draw.
But still, like most other sports, betting on snooker can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it. As well as the chance to put your money on the player you think will win, most bookmakers will offer you a huge range of other betting markets. So, before you put down any money, check out this guide to betting on the game.
Where to Bet
The best way of betting on the snooker is to sign up for online betting. You will easily be able to find a good selection of firms offering a wide range of betting markets, not just on the biggest tournaments, but also on smaller events right around the world. Plus, online betting usually gives you the chance to bet in-play, giving you more options and more chances to win. Check out our guide to the Top 10 Sports Betting Sites and take advantage of some fantastic introductory promotions to start betting today.
If you don't want to bet online, then most high street bookmakers will also offer a good selection of snooker betting markets, especially for major events. Here you should also be able to watch the action unfold on television screens, though your in-play betting options will be nowhere near as varied as they would be if you went online.
An Overview of the Biggest Snooker Tournaments
The professional snooker calendar is busy and varied, with tournaments taking place nearly every week of the year. However, while new formats may come and go (including a Premier League, Seniors' World Championships, Championship League), the biggest and most prolific events remain:
- The Snooker World Championships
- The Snooker Masters
- The UK Snooker Championships
- The World Open (formerly the Snooker Grand Prix)
These are the events where you should focus your attention when betting on the sport. Yes, there may be plenty of other competitions taking place, but these can often be promotional events in which some players just aren't interested (and if the players don't care, they may not perform as you might usually expect). Players will always save their best form for the major events, making these more predictable and best for betting.
Note that, while weather and playing surface may not be a factor in snooker as they are in other sports, the different tournaments do differ in the number of frames in each match. In smaller events, players may play a maximum of 9 frames, while in major events such as the World Championships, they play through a maximum of 35 frames. Remember, the longer the game, the less likely there is to be an upset.
Working out the Odds
1) Fractional Odds
On UK-based sports betting sites, the default setting for displaying the odds of a snooker match will be as fractions. Odds displayed this way show you how much you will win on a bet compared to how much you put on. The first number of the fraction indicates how much you will win if you place the amount of money shown in the second number of the fraction.
So, if the odds for Player A beating Player B are 4/1, this means if you bet £1, you will receive £4 in winnings (and you will get your original stake back on top of this).
This works on a ratio basis. So, if you place £10 at odds of 4/1, you will receive £40 in winnings. Or, if you place £7 at odds of 4/1, your winnings will be £28, plus your initial stake.
Sometimes you will see that the second number of the fraction is larger than the first. This is an 'odds on' bet and signifies that the bookies believe that the chances of a particular prediction coming true are greater than 50/50. The principle remains the same, however: the first number of the fraction indicates how much you will win if you place the amount of money shown in the second number of the fraction
For example, if you put £2 down on odds of 1/2, your winnings will be £1. And again, this works on a ratio basis. So, if you put down £60 at the same odds, you will win £30, plus your initial stake.
2) Decimal Odds
Given most people are used to seeing odds displayed as fractions, getting your head around decimal odds may seem daunting. But, don't worry! This system is equally straightforward once you've got the hang of it.
The way it works is that you just need to multiply your stake by the decimal shown and this is how much you will receive in winnings, including your returned stake.
So, if you put £1 down on odds of 3.00, you will win £3.00, including your initial stake, if your prediction comes true. And again, this works on a ratio basis. So, if you put down £15 at the same odds of 3.00, you will win £45, including your original stake.
A Further Note About Odds
You should always bet using the system you're most comfortable with. So, if you find fractional odds easier to understand, make sure you switch to these. Or, if you prefer betting using decimal odds, or even the American system, either ask your bookmaker for a conversion or just switch the formatting on the website you're using.
Different Types of Bet
Like with nearly every other sport, betting on snooker can be as easy or as complex as you like. Thanks to in-play betting, you can put money on nearly every conceivable outcome, from the winner of a match right through to the colour of the next ball to be potted. Here are some of the most popular betting markets for snooker:
1) 'Match Winner'
This is easily the most common type of bet placed on a snooker match. Here, as the name suggests, you simply bet on the likely winner of a single match, regardless of the final margin of victory.
Say, for example, Sam Baird and Anthony Hamilton were playing against each other at the Players Championship. If you wanted to bet on the match, you would be given the odds for each player, and making the bet would be very straightforward.
Below is a screenshot from bet365 for just this scenario. Here, we can see that Hamilton is the favourite at 2/5 while Baird is at 7/4 to win the match. So, if you were to put £10 on Hamilton and he did win, you would finish with £14, including your original stake. If, however, you put £10 on Baird and he won the match, you would win £27.50, including your original stake.
For a Match Winner bet, you can either place your bet before the first stroke is played or you can bet as the match progresses. If you do bet in-play, then the odds will fluctuate according to how the match is unfolding.
2) 'Winning Margins'
Rather than just putting money on one player to win, you may also want to put money on how much they will win by. That is, you can bet on the margin of their victory. Obviously, this is harder to predict, so it is more of a risk than the normal two-way win/lose bet, but then, you will enjoy better odds.
For example, if John Higgins was playing Jimmy Robertson in the World Championships, a bookmaker could offer you odds of 4/7 for Higgins to win or 3/1 for him to win by five clear frames. Additionally, if you're betting in-play, you may also be able to bet on how many points Higgins will win an individual frame by.
Here's an example of the odds you might get on the outcome of Frame 6 of a match between Higgins and Robertson, with Higgins favourite though a whitewash unlikely:
3) 'Outright Winner'
Another very popular type of betting in snooker is 'Outright Winner'. Here, you put money on the player you think will win an entire tournament. Usually the odds for this market are available well in advance, plus you can also bet as the tournament progresses, though the odds will decrease all the time.
As well as betting on the winner, most bookmakers will also allow you to be on whether or not a player will make it to the final, the semi-final, the quarter-final or even if they will be knocked out in the first round.
Below is an example of a betting market for an Outright Winner, in this case for the Players Championship 2014. The odds for each player to win are clearly displayed, plus you are also being given the chance to place an 'each way' bet (that is, betting on a player to either win or reach the final) at half-odds.
4) 'Frame Breaks'
You can either bet on what the biggest break will be before the match starts or as it progresses. Additionally, you can bet on the biggest break in a single frame. While this is often a fun way of making watching the snooker a little bit more interesting, it can also be a good market to play if you have a good knowledge of player form. For instance, you could know that one player needs a few frames to warm up, but once he's into the game, he's a competent break-builder.
In this case, betting on him to achieve a break of 50 or more, or even a century, could be an attractive option. Here's an example of the odds you might get if you wanted to bet on the highest break of a mid-match frame:
In the same way, most bookies will also let you bet on who will score the highest break in a frame, a match or a whole tournament, plus, of course, on exactly how big their biggest break will be.
5) 'First Colour to be Potted'
Another fun betting market, but again, one which can be pretty safe to put money on, is the first colour to be potted in a frame. In most top-level matches, players always aim to get a black in after the first red, so if the players involved are on good form, the black could be a good bet. Any other colour will always be something of a gamble.
Here's what a betting market for this could look like for Frame 6 of a match:
6) 'Handicap Betting'
Handicap betting has become increasingly popular in snooker and most online bookies offer this type of market, particularly for the major tournaments. While this may look complicated, it really isn't, and it can be a good way of maximising your chances of winning some money.
So, where two players may not seem to be closely-matched, bookies may offer a handicap. This means that the underdog will get a head start in frames, making it harder for the favourite to come out as the winner.
Let's say, for example, Ronnie O'Sullivan is playing Ryan Day in the first round of the World Championships. Unsurprisingly, O'Sullivan is the clear favourite, so a straight wager on Day is not a very attractive proposition.
However, in such an unevenly-matched contest, the bookmaker may choose to give the underdog a head-start in frames. This is known as a handicap. For instance, Day could be given a handicap start of +2.5 frames. Then, if O'Sullivan only wins by one or two frames, an original bet on Day would pay out.
One major advantage of betting in-play is the ability to 'cash out'. This simply means that you are given the opportunity to cancel your bet and either cut your losses or you can walk away with a profit without exposing yourself to further risk. Here's how it works:
Let's say you have bet £10 on Shaun Murphy to win his opening match in the World Championships at 2/1. At the start, you were hoping for a win of £20, plus your initial stake back. However, Murphy has lost the first 3 frames and is struggling to make any decent breaks, giving you the feeling that this won't be his day. Now, the bookmaker could give you the chance to cash out at £4.43. While this will mean you lose money on your initial stake, if you take the offer, you won't lose all of it. Murphy could, of course, get back into the game and win, depriving you of £30, but then that's a gamble you have to take.
Alternatively, imagining you made the same bet, if Murphy is winning by 4 frames and looking like he's on top form, the bookie may give you the chance to cash out at £13.25. By accepting this offer you will be in profit on your initial stake and won't be exposed to any more risk. If, however, you take it and your initial hunch was right, then you will have missed out on the big winnings. Again, this is a gamble you have to take.
If you're serious about making money through betting on snooker, then you need to do your homework. Only with a good knowledge of players' form will you be able to make informed decisions and spot attractive odds. Additionally, you also need to have a good appreciation of players' form at specific tournaments, as well as the usual patterns of the major tournaments.
For instance, you should analyse a player's form going into a major tournament, but at the same time be aware that he may save his best for the big stage. Similarly, recognise players who either start well or need some time to warm up – this information can help you spot attractive odds and help you win some money. Just some of the things you should bear in mind include:
Rookies rarely do well at major tournaments. Upsets do happen, but they are rare. Instead, it's seasoned pros who tend to rise to the top at the big events.
Despite this, whitewashes are very rare, so a victory by a 10-frame margin may not be the best bet to make.
Few players manage to defend the title, especially at the World Championships.
Centuries are quite common at the highest level, though maximum 147 breaks are relatively rare, so bear this in mind when placing you bets.
As with all sports, there is no such thing as a 'sure thing' in snooker, no matter how hard you have studied the form book. As such, you should always bet under the assumption that you may lose.
Remember, you should only bet what you can afford to lose and be aware that betting on sports can be addictive, so be sure you are only ever making rational, informed choices.
Important Information on Gambling
You must be 18+ to gamble
Every new gambling account offer has "Terms & Conditions" that will apply - make sure you read these before opening an account.
See www.gambleaware.org for help and advice on problem gambling.
Please gamble responsibly.
- For the latest news from the professional circuit, check out the World Snooker website
- The BBC is also a great place to learn the latest snooker news and so make the best choices.
- UK Net Guide has a comprehensive selection of the How to Bet on Sports site area and we recommend that you watch our youtube videos too if you are new to betting.
- Read our guide to The Masters, one of the major tournaments on the snooker circuit.