Snooker is a billiards game, or cue sport, that — like most forms of billiards — is of British origin. Snooker is a slightly more modern version of 16th century billiards and is played using 22 balls – one cue ball, 15 red balls, and 6 different colored balls with different point valuations. A regulation snooker table measures 6 feet (1.86 meters) by 12 feet (3.66 meters) and has four corner and two side pockets. Points are scored by striking the cue ball with the result being a successful pocketing of the other balls into one of the six pockets according to game rules. The game is played in matches, which are comprised of a predetermined number of frames. The object is to score the most points per frame to win the majority of frames in the match.
Though snooker is played recreationally, it is also a professional sport with numerous tournaments held annually and the elite World Championship match held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. Professional snooker has a governing body that sets the rules and regulation for play. Following a brief hiatus in the popularity of the sport during the mid 1960s, The World Snooker Association was founded in 1968. Today, snooker is a popular and well-respected sport with professional standings kept and followed by many fans.
Since its inception in 1977 until 2005, the World Championship was sponsored by Embassy. However, beginning in 2006, a new sponsor took over due to regulations forbidding a tobacco company from sponsoring sporting events. Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd. sponsored the 2006 World Championship under its flagship online casino website 888.com.
Some very popular snooker players have graced the sport during its history, with Jimmy White being one of the best-known names in the sport. From the very late 1990s through 2003, a young player by the name of Paul Hunter brought popularity to the sport of snooker amongst a younger generation of fans and players. Hunter was a talented player, but sadly died in October of 2006 from a rare form of cancer.
There are annual Snooker World Championships. There is some question as to whether the Crucible will be the continuing location of the World Championships in subsequent years. As snooker continues to be a popular and growing professional sport, it and other billiards games continue to be a popular recreational pass time as well.