The new Caesarcasino.com Shootout in Blackpool is intended not to be a serious test but a bit of fun.

It may well be, but the format runs the risk of it turning into a farce.

Each match will be stopped after just ten minutes. There is a 20 second shot limit for the first five minutes and one of just 15 seconds for the next five.

This means there will not be time to play certain shots, such as ones needing the extended rest. Amid the panic, players may well end up just whacking the balls about.

Players will hopefully be fully appraised of the rules before they start, although these were still being refined yesterday after it became clear they were somewhat ambiguous.

In short, the players lag – or string – to see who breaks. The frame then continues as normal but players have to hit a cushion with either cue ball or object ball or pot a ball on every shot.

The rules state the opposing player will then have the cue ball ‘in hand’ after a foul. In the official rules of snooker, this means the cue ball in the D but, in the Shootout, it means the player can place it anywhere on the table. Hopefully this important distinction will be made clear.

If points are level at the end of the ten minutes, players will take part in a blue-ball shootout.

The whole of the top 64 is involved. Prize money starts at £500 in the first round and the winner will receive a cheque for £32,000.

One question I’d be interested in having answered is this: what happens if there is, say, ten seconds left in the match when a player comes to the table? Will he have to play his shot in this time or have the full 15 seconds?

I guess we’ll find out tomorrow night.

Despite a few reservations, I’m all for new innovations such as the Shootout which, unlike Power Snooker, is at least snooker in a recognisable form.

This is not the World Championship. It is supposed to be entertainment and I’m sure the players and fans will enjoy something a bit different.

The danger, though, with events such as this is that it gives those who enjoy sticking the knife into snooker the chance to claim it has dumbed down, sold its soul and generally become desperate.

Such people don’t mention the new German Masters, the two new ranking events next season or the general way in which the sport is going forward under Barry Hearn’s stewardship.

No doubt the Shootout will bring about great debate, which is actually one of its functions.

There is an option, though, for those who take against it: switch off.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,on a totally different track altogether,i wathced the Alex Higgins play Hurricane last night in belfast.It was fantastic,not sure if there is a UK tour but if so i would strongly advise all snooker fans to go.Love him or hate him Alex Higgins made what we have today.

Mathias said...

For us foreign people reading this blog, would you please explain the word "string" or "lag" - what does it mean?

Dave H said...

It means each player has a cueball and plays from baulk the full length of the table. Whoever gets their white closest to the baulk cushion decides who breaks.

Redandblackblog said...

In answer to your question Dave i'd presume the player would only have 10 seconds to play his shot as the matches have a 10 minute limit, don't think there's any doubt about that.

Anonymous said...

Is it going to be a one table set up?

Anonymous said...

Older readers will remember Monty Python sketches where Graham Chapman used to walk on as a Major brandishing a stick under his arm. "Stop! This sketch is getting too silly"
I do hope this is not the case in tomorrow's Shoot Out Tournament. As in life there is sense and reason in all things.
Also, does anyone know what the rundown of prize money is for German Masters? One thing's for certain if the Germans fall in love with snooker then snooker will be a very loyal audience.You only have to look at how British musicians have huge German followings which have endured for many years.

Anonymous said...

It could be chaos, but it's better for the players than sitting at home this weekend.

Sonny said...

I'm taking it with a pinch of salt. For me it's an excuse to get the beers in and relax and enjoy it and not get too worried about how it's perceived by snooker bashers. It's a chance to see all top 64 players on tv (barring Liang unfortunately) which is no bad thing as a lot of them are only familiar names to many snooker fans through early round results pages.

Shaun Murphy proclaimed that "It's time to seriously start thinking of a rule change" when talking about the ball in hand after a foul. But no one takes him seriously anyway with such comments so that's nothing to worry about.

Tomorrow will be a parade of players and will feature quite a few exhibition shots which are always pleasing on the eye. There's bound to be a few last second saves and blue ball shootouts which will make it a bit more exciting.

I think this would be a great "prologue" to a bigger event, i.e. like the par 3 tournament before the US Masters. Once it gets past round 1 and all players have been paraded though, I wonder how much appeal it will have to follow to the end.

Let's all enjoy it, and worry about perceptions and formats after we've had time to judge it. This is the one Barry Hearn dreamt of when taking over the chairmanship, the "Grim Reaper" event. Given what he's achieved so far in the game, he deserves a chance and as a one off per season event I can see no harm in it.

Betty Logan said...

I'll be following Dave's sage advice and switching off. After Power Snooker these mickey mouse formats really don't appeal to me. If it is successful good luck to it.

Anonymous said...

Sonny, being critical of this doesn't make someone a "snooker basher".

I'll watch some of it, but I know it'll be rubbish. And please let's not have anyone responding to that with the old cliche about not being able to criticise something you've not seen yet. I've never seen anyone set fire to my house, but I'd be fairly critical if they suggested it.

Anonymous said...


i thought power snooker was a shambles from the off...and it was.

i think this one is a good bit better and will be worth the watch, though not enough to change snookers face.

time will tell

kimball said...

A cool head will bag 32 grand.

In Stockholm we are renting part of
an Irish pub to enjoy the shoot out on Sky.

The upward trend to snooker seems to
be summed up in three names.

Eurosport, Ding Junhui and Barry Hearn.

Matt said...

It is shame that Liang Wenbo won't be there. Lets hope the format works, i prefered Power Snooker to be honest. 10 minutes of snooker and bashing the snooker balls does seem a bit silly

snooker1551 day it will happen said...

If Barry Hearn wants to do a tournament get the all the players who have won a tournament this year or finished runner-up or a semi-finalist in the last 2 years in that to play against each other. Best of 9 frames. 4 players in each group, 32 players, 16 players second round 8 players quarter-finalist.

E.G. The format Barry Hearn did for the Grand Slam Of Darts.

Anonymous said...

Even with the quick-shoot format there should be allowed time to use the proper equipment, i.e. saying 'rest' when needing the extensions and stopping the clock. It is all in good fun but it should be playable in order for the players to enjoy themselves and deliver the entertainment.

Is Eurosport covering this or is this strictly for UK viewers only?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the frame would be stopped at 10 minutes if a player had a chance of completing a 147?

Janie Watkins said...

Well I'm looking forward to it. Something a bit different.

A bit of fun. I'v even set the Sky Plus in case I blink and miss a whole match!
I've packed the thermals and heading off to Blackpool for the weekend!

Anonymous said...


of course it would. are you on the wind up or pretending to be silly?

its a 10 minute frame. not a 10 minute frame unless a player can do a 147.

if i (normal) foul, my opponent is 4-0 up. after 9 minutes + of safety i pot a red. the clock hits 10 minutes (that means ive lost), but on your thinking/question i can continue as i am on a potential 147?

please think before you post !

Anonymous said...

dave asked:-

what happens if there is, say, ten seconds left in the match when a player comes to the table? Will he have to play his shot in this time or have the full 15 seconds?


he wont have to play a shot at all if he doesnt want to as the match clock will run out before he "fouls" on his shot clock.

Anonymous said...

We all know this event is total rubbish, and I'm not sure I'm going to be watching this myself, but let's look at the big picture here.
Sky is covering a World Snooker event for the first time in years, if this event is a success, who's to say it won't tempt Sky into showing proper snooker? After all, this event can't be any worse than Power Snooker.

southerner said...

But doesn't Sky show the Premier League?
Isn't that proper snooker?

(I don't know, I don't have Sky)

Anonymous said...


premier league is not a world snooker event

its an event set up (since shot clock) so ronnie can win.

snooker147 said...

I agree if people don't like it. There is always the off button isn't there?

shootoutfan said...

What happened to Robin Hull?

Leon in Kaunas said...

I look forward to tournament but it not on TV in Lithuania so I watch through illegal internet site.

Snnoker must change format as it not always good with some crap match (most involve Ebdons)

Good luck with adventure.

jamie brannon said...

Hull retired due to illness.

John H said...

pity they couldnt have made it 20 mins a frame for just the top 32 and a 20 second shot clock would of guaranteed mainly full frames with good chances of centuries and battles on the colours, and guaranteed timings for broadcasters. Nice idea to appeal to new people but just pushed it a little bit far to still be a real game of snooker still

Tony B said...

I'm watching it.

I've had a flutter on it.

And I've got to say, so far, I'm enjoying it.

And to Bazzer & Bran, nice work guys.


The Badge Man

Leon in Kaunas said...

This great tournament. Best ever.

Lots of beer and lovely girls with players.

Anonymous said...

as a Concept it was better than Power Snooker BUT Crowd interaction just spoils it.

this endless countdown Rubbish and Booing a safety shot was irritating.

Anonymous said...

Leon) Keep it up.......

You're SUCH a great laugh.

Anonymous said...

Don't get out of your pram 8.45am. It's a legitimate question as to whether a frame would be stopped with for instance a player on a break of 120 with just the colours left. Most people would be very unhappy if it was.

Anonymous said...

no pram here

your question was sillier than some toddlers ask though

Anonymous said...

Total, total rubbish.

The shame of it is that it's one of the best venues I've ever seen.

What a pity it had to be wasted on this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

i thought power snooker was shite
it was set up with very few players and geared for one winner with too many rule changes
this venue, all the players, sky production is a hell of a lot better.
i hope it happens every year (with tweaks here and there to improve it)

whats your initial reaction to it dave?

Dave H said...

I tend to agree with Ali Carter: it's a bit of fun

Anonymous said...

thanks dave
i kinda agree with neil r

he said basically what Ali did, but added more

he said it was fun, until it gets to the latter stages where a good amount of £ is on offer, making it that bit more important...

Anonymous said...

The production (in particular the regular use of overhead camera) and venue are excellent. Although it would be a great venue for a ranking tournament for the time being snooker has to put on events that the public (and TV companies) actually want to see.

One major criticism - the stag-do shirts the players are being forced to wear are awful and really spoil the aesthetic.

Anonymous said...

i love the t-shirts
i think they should sell them at venues and put on what names you wish on them

Anonymous said...

This chav din is getting annoying now.


Anonymous said...

turn the volume down on your tv alpha