Watching snooker on TV is, of course, a productive use of anyone’s time but every fan should try – if only once – to experience the game live.

The first time I went to the Crucible I almost felt let down. I simply couldn’t believe that this tiny theatre could be the same venue I’d been watching on the goggle box all those years.

But there is no substitute for being there.

Although the cameras add to the claustrophobia and feeling that there’s no place to hide for the players, you are at the mercy of the TV director if watching at home.

Watching in the arena enables you to direct the pictures yourself. You can witness, up close, the talent, the great play and, most fun of all, the psychological breakdowns.

Years ago I saw John Virgo play. He lost all four frames before the interval and, shortly after he’d returned to his dressing room, a light bulb somewhere in the arena popped loudly, leading a spectator to call out ‘Virgo’s shot himself!’

All right, it’s not exactly the Parrot Sketch but this is how we made our entertainment before the internet.

Ah, yes, the internet. Humanity took its time but it finally discovered a new way of screwing even more money out of people.

There are various websites offering snooker tickets and almost all of them are rip-off merchants.

Here’s one already selling tickets for next year’s World Championship – which are yet to even go on sale.

World Snooker has a deal with See Tickets for UK-based tournaments. All the other sites claiming to sell tickets – usually for well over the odds – should be avoided.

Or to put it another way: do not, do not, DO NOT buy tickets from them.

Or from eBay for that matter. As World Snooker make clear: "tickets bought from unauthorised sources may not be valid and admission to the event will not be permitted."

Of course, even ‘official’ ticket sellers have to have their cut and so it is that ‘booking fees’ and ‘transaction fees’ apply.

I’ve had a number of emails from people who believe these are unfair as they are paying a fair whack for the tickets in the first place.

Most people don’t live next door to a snooker venue. They have to pay to travel. They have to pay to feed and water themselves. They may even wish to purchase a copy of Snooker Scene.

In these tough economic times, half empty arenas are not necessarily a comment in the health of snooker but a reflection on the fact that some people don’t regard the tournament experience as value for money.

And See Tickets may well be a reputable organisation but the fact is when you attempt to buy tickets for the World Open you are directed to a page advertising the format for a completely different tournament – the World Seniors Championship, played not in Glasgow but Bradford.

This strikes me as something that could confuse potential attendees of the new event.

And the game needs them. There’s nothing worse for a player than turning up to find a mere handful of spectators. It means there’s no atmosphere and doesn’t feel as important as it should.

It also looks horrible on the TV to see banks of seats with nobody in them.

In a way this is snooker’s own fault. It is such an easy, intimate sport to watch on TV that many people have no intention of ever going anywhere near a venue.

But it’s worth doing not least because TV doesn’t really capture the skill on show to anything like the same degree as being there does.

Plus you might get on the telly yourself.


Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me what the new ticketing approach is for Sheffield next year? They kept banging on about it not being postal anymore and being earlier?

Any clarification anyone can make would be great!


Anonymous said...

'And See Tickets may well be a reputable organisation but the fact is when you attempt to buy tickets for the World Open you are directed to a page advertising the format for a completely different tournament – the World Seniors Championship, played not in Glasgow but Bradford.'

That was the case until a few minutes ago when, by sheer coincidence, the page was corrected.

Ray said...

Dave you are so right,you can't beat live snooker. I've been to lots of tournaments over the years but one match in particular will stick in my memory forever. May 1992, I went to buy tickets for Hendry v White for myself, my brother and 3 friends but was told that White wouldn't be playing and Willie Thorne would be replacing him.My 3 friends decided they were not interested if White wasn't going to be playing (losers!!!!)so I ended up just getting a ticket for my brother and I.
The day of the match was really hot and humid and we thought twice about going but went ahead. It was best of 8 frames and the humidity was not conducive to good play.
Willie was 4-0 up at the interval,Stephen then made 2 ton pluses and 80 odd and in the final frame he made his first competitive 147.
It was so exciting - real edge of the seat stuff. I don't know how he did it because we were nervous just watching it. A sheer magical night.
Call me sad but I haven't had so much enjoyment without taking my clothes off for a long time!!!!. That's what's great about live snooker you can always boast "I was there" and being an absolute snooker fanatic you can never beat live sport.

jamie brannon said...

I enjoy going to live snooker, but sometimes the cameraman gets in the way of the shot though and for me I appreciate the skill level just as much at home. I find going very relaxing though.

mathmo said...

I've recently had a keen interest in watching live snooker over the past few years. And there is nothing like it.

I especially love watching the World qualifiers at the Sheffield EIS. You can watch some of the old pros and new up-and-comers battling for their careers. I've seen a few Jimmy last frame deciders and the tension is immense!


I would certainly agree that live snooker is better, although TV snooker is cheaper and entails no effort.

The advantage TV snooker has is the replay. You can see a great shot again, whereas in the arena its gone forever.

The most irritating thing about TV snooker, apart from SOME commentators, is when a player misses and the camera follows the player back to his chair and sticks on him.

You want to see the lie of the table and work out the incoming players options and all you can see is the non striker.

The next thing you see is the incoming player striking the ball.

FFS we know what Sean Murphy looks like, will you show the table.

This is particularly irritating(and sky are notorious) when the featured player pots the ball and the camera follows him without showing the path of the cueball.

Do these directors know anything about the game?

Could they receive instruction from a player or informed journalist?

The table, the path of the cueball, and an odd replay, thats all we need to see in a televised snooker match.

Betty Logan said...

The day of watching snooker live is over, I fear, when it goes 3-D at next year's world championship.

Alma said...

Indeed, nothing compares to see snooker LIVE.
First time I’ve “smelled” snooker was amazing! The tension, the players grimace, the referees, the winning, the losing, the people whispering to each other. And since is such an intimate atmosphere, you definitely feel part of the game. You’re there heart and soul, trying to guess the next move (feeling really important if your guess was right, or really stupid if not :P). It was just marvelous! You can’t buy such a thrill, such an amazing experience!

CHRISK5 said...

I went to watch World Doubles in the mid-late 80s & some Premier League matches in the 1990s.

The venues were plush & first-rate
but watching snooker from a limited angle of the table & having to be quiet like at church isn't so appealing.

I remember one PL match that Willie Thorne was commentating on,
his shiny bald head was directly opposite where we were seated -
me & my mate had a wrench trying desperately to not laugh or giggle!

TV viewing any day of the week for me - it gives a full spectrum of the match & table situation & you can suit yourself how you watch it.

At home - at least you can laugh at WT without disturbing the play aswell !

Anonymous said...

Another intelligent comment from chrisk 5. perhaps you were thinking about bald heads when you were trying to understand the rankings.

Matt said...

Nothing beats watching it at the venue for me, but what I think I enjoy the most is being able to see the person not at the table and how they are coping after they have missed etc. It tells you so much more than looking at the table does sometimes.

CHRISK5 said...

Anon 6.18pm - Well,the ranking tariffs for all events was released today - as I correctly predicted them weeks ago.

As I said,all of last seasons tariffs remained the same & the German Masters got 5,000 pts like the Welsh Open.

The World Snooker/Global,Pro Snooker ranking lists debate will rumble on - until it's clarified.

Back to greater audience participation in a match - surely the Sky Shootout will allow noise & atmosphere - even when players are on the shot.

Though - you would think the Masters at Wembley had already permitted that !

Trophymad said...

There's nothing like walking down the stairs in Fürth, where the Paul Hunter Classics are and seeing all the BIG green tables! Ever since I walked down this stairs for the first time I'm even more in love with Snooker then I was before. So if any fan here wasn't at a live event yet: Go do it!!!

Anonymous said...

Regarding ebay - I'm afraid there are always people allocated too many tickets who then sell on ebay and personally I've attended about 10 sessions in the last 3 or 4 years to those I applied to and didn't get through official channels so I resorted to ebay. I know it's not the done thing but needs must and I have no regrets. But the returns office at the Crucible is equally fruitful and at least you get them at face value.

Anonymous said...

The Crucible is an awful venue and the sooner Barry Hearn can move the World Champs to somewhere where the crowds appreciate the players AND can sell out every session the better.

Snooker is a world sport and deserves better than some Derbyshire pit town.

Anonymous said...


Where would you suggest ?

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Marcus of Supreme Snooker (With your permission Dave)
How are you both! You seem very knowledgeable Marcus and as a “Trained Writer” with some snooker experience I am offering you a job as an author of my next publication.

The book “Snooker the Fine Art Method” was written (Home Made) over twenty years ago principle to register copyright and as an alternative to the Joe Davis books on “Coaching Snooker”.
Joe claimed that his books had only “Scraped the Surface” of coaching and inferred there was much left unsaid.

The second “Fine Art” book has over two hundred thousands words to choose from plus a few photographs pertaining to “Fine Art” technique.
There are also many videos and home made DVDs that will be the bases for professional editing. A point to note Marcus the Fine Art book(s) should not have any words that require a dictionary

ISBN 0 9517089 0 2 Is the Fine Art book number! From this Marcus and other information “Around” you can meet Mr Hey You for “Suitability Purposes” as we may not even like each other. Mr Hey You

PS There has been some blog talk Marcus about “Timing, Luck, In the right place and the window of Opportunity! Is all that rubbish? DM

Anonymous said...

I would remind Anonymous 12.07am that the Crucible Theatre is in Yorkshire not Derbyshire. Also, derogatry remarks about Derbyshire pit towns are uncalled for. I would remind him that both Joe and Fred Davis came from a Derbyshire pit town, so he maligns the origins of snooker when he makes remarks like that.

Lorraine said...

There's nothing like the atmosphere of a live match. I've got to disagree with you Dave, though, on feeling let down by the Crucible on my first visit. I was the original walking cliché - I walked in, gasped, and said "God, isn't it TINY!" I wouldn't change it for the world though.

Best way to get tickets is the Crucible's own online booking system, that way you know you're actually getting what you pay for.

And live snooker, well, you see things the cameras don't. Tony Drago calling himself something I shan't say here, reactions on the players' faces as they walk back to their seats after missing a vital/easy pot, and the peace & quiet of not having to listen to JV asking where the white ball's going, unless you want to.

Anonymous said...

Presumably the scantilly clad women who are due to dance around like dervishes at the World Open make watching snooker live a tedious occupation.

Anonymous said...

Because that'll happen.


Anonymous said...


joe and fred werent the ORIGIN of snooker, so please stop talking crap. ta

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secrete is wasted if not shared
Dear Betty Logan. Hello Dave
You are so right lass on 3-D being the “Beginning of the end” for live snooker. I don’t know whether you had a brain wave Betty or just read Barry Hearn’s mind.

Snooker will become much more popular with “Small sponsor adverts” including local businesses offering there 51% plus of course the other percentages to the lucky share-holders.

Next years will probable be the last World Championship for Sheffield. Birmingham may possible get a turn before it goes elsewhere.
The bold Ronnie’s demand last year for “Entertaining Snooker” has been ignored and unlikely to be repeated out loud until he (Ronnie) can define exactly how it can be coached and taught.

Snooker in the “Working Mans” club will never die. The Christmas Handicaps, the pro ams and the PTC events may loose there attraction without instant play backs but Football Spectators have now got used to always being right first time Mr Hey You

Anonymous said...

2 26 dont bother writing it nobody cares to read your trash.

Dave H said...

'Next years will probable be the last World Championship for Sheffield.'

A deal has been signed to keep it at the Crucible until 2015.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secrete is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr X @ 10:01 Hello Dave
How are you gentlemen! Joe Davis did not “Discover” Snooker. Joe wrote his first book “Improve Your Snooker” in October 19-36 at the then grand price of 3/6 (Three shillings and sixpence).

For the record this book of 19-36 did not carry the copyright symbol or the usual patter on “All rights reserved etc”. But all the later books on improving, and a method of coaching snooker was rightly “Copyrighted” by Joes publishers.

Sadly Joes claim may have been unlawful as the copyright on snooker was declared “Null and Void” for some obscure reason without cause or explanation during the early nineties.
Snooker the “Fine Art” was actually written as an “Alternative” method not as a replacement, but to give choice to the Joe Davis method. Mr Hey You

Anonymous said...

hey you i couldnt give a flying fig about your rubbish method or anything else you type in here. what i typed was correct, so i would be glad if you would not bring me into your crappy copyright joe fine farty arty i cant spell DM rubbish. thanks

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secrete is wasted if not shared
Hi Dave the Brave @ 1:52 pm
How are you lad and thanks for the posts. About the 20-15 Crucible date? I am really serious on knowing the “True” odds are from a genuine bookie.

Considering he the bookie man has your money (Invested) for five years the odds should be about twenties as both sides will have insurance against Government official interference like barring gambling or alcohol.

A gentleman’s bet Dave strictly on the “signatures” should give me the odds of 5/1. Please remember Dave the modern booker actually works on a “Marginal profit” or a “66 round”. I’ll chance a pony Dave @ fives. Mr Hey You

Dave H said...

Good luck with that...

Greg P said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kildare cueman said...

hey you- Ill give you ten ponies

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secrete is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr XX @ 2:48 and 3:55 pm
Thanks again Sir for the plugs.-Hello Dave. Snooker the “Fine Art” method Mr X is played with a Timing, Poise and Finesse has been thrived for, since the Joe Davis days.

Please note Sir no one stops to watch the champ on a ton but will gaze enviously at the Fine Art” method when only a dozen balls are put together.

Why don’t you Mister X and others try and emulate this puzzling cue action and method as it really is as manufactured as a bar of chocolate that can be copied easily but note the recipe is copyright and on offer.

The official coaches and “Hangers-on” men and women are showing fear, possible of redundancies or being asked by students to be taught the “Fine Art” method.

Amazingly Dave some top snooker people would rather the “Fine Art” be scraped than accept the worlds greatest cue action and method from a mister “Nobody”. Mr Hey You

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secrete is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr Kildare @ 8: 16 am
Thanks for the offer of “Tens”, Hello Dave. I wonder Mr K if you understand the “Semantics” of the bet as no blog member as yet, has questioned the “Fine Art” theory on the disciplinary postponements.

The clues of the “Story” Mr Kildare are in the importance of television in snooker and who threw the first stone and more importantly who was ordered to ignore the first strike?

It looks like the “Reasons” for the postponement of these disciplinary cases may be the next postponements.
Your bet is still on Mr Kildare, see you somewhere to settle up in 20-15. Mr Hey You