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A single cue, six pockets and 22 balls all make up one of the most complex tests of timing, accuracy and patience in the sporting world. Snooker has long been one of the most respected sporting disciplines in the world, despite it being one of the least physical games in the world.
Today's top snooker players are regarded as some of the most skilled athletes in the world and often bank millions in prize money each year for competing in the biggest tournaments in the game. Despite being a staple on major TV networks across the UK and Asia, such as the BBC, snooker is now creeping into the live streaming arena.
Over the last few years the number of live streams of major snooker events has increased dramatically and that's brought a whole new level of interest to the biggest matches. By giving fans the chance to watch, bet and engage with World Championship matches or Shanghai Masters showdowns via their desktop or mobile, millions are now finding a new love for that over 150 years old.
The History of Snooker
Snooker in its modern form has been around since the 19th century. However, when it comes to players taking aim and potting a set amount of balls on a slick surface it's believed to be much older. Formally, however, the game initially began as a spinoff of billiards which was popular among the military elite during England's rule of India.
Another theory also suggests that after his opponent failed to pot a ball in a game of billiards, Sir Neville Chamberlain referred to him as a "snooker", a term which then became common slang for inexperienced players.
After deciding to introduce coloured balls into the mix around 1875, modern snooker gradually began to take shape and the term snooker gradually attached itself to the new variant. As with many games popular among the military elite during the 19th century, snooker was initially a sport enjoyed by the English gentry. Hidden away in exclusive gentlemen's clubs, the game soon became not only a source of recreation and entertainment, but of betting.
Given the player's excess of wealth, many would often swap bets inside the gentlemen's clubs and it's this culture that helped raise the skill level of players across the country. Gradually, as more people began to take an interest in the game it spread out from the veil of exclusivity and across the UK at large.
Snooker in the 20th Century
The early part of the 20th century saw a number of dedicated snooker clubs open up across the country and that gave rise to the first professionals. First touring round the country taking on local champions, these professionals eventually took part in the first World Snooker Championship in 1927. Organised by Joe Davis, a professional player himself, the tournament was the first real instance of snooker being contested as a professional sport.
Unsurprisingly, Davis had a huge edge over the competition and won every event until he retired in 1946, but even his legacy couldn't prevent a decline in interest during the Fifties and Sixties. Fortunately, David Attenborough commissioned a show known as Pot Black in 1969 as a way to demonstrate colour TV. This show became an instant hit and later led to the airing of the Snooker World Championship.
Through a combination of impressive skills and big personalities, snooker's leading tournament began to attract millions of viewers and within a few years it became a staple part of the annual TV schedules.
Leading Snooker Tournaments
Given the rise to prominence of the World Snooker Championship on British TV since 1978, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has since organised a selection of global tournaments.
All buoyed by the success of the World Championship, these tournaments have not only attracted live crowds but millions of TV viewers across the UK, Europe and Asia. Although none have managed to match the popularity of the World Championship, each professional event does have a strong following which creates a gentle simmer of interest that's then able to boil over during the main event.
The World Snooker Tour: In between the tent pole events on the sporting calendar, professional players have a chance to compete on the World Tour. These localised events allow players to earn ranking points which, in turn, allows them to gain entry to the majors.
The Shanghai Masters: First introduced in 2007, this event was designed to capitalise on the immense popularity of snooker in China and now it's recognised as one of the most sought after titles in the sport. Regularly attracting the elite players in the game, as well as a single wild card, this tournament is one that always produces some of the best snooker action in the world.
The Australian Open: Thanks to Australia's historical links with the UK, snooker is a hugely popular sport within the country and that's given rise to a number of tournaments in recent years. In fact, in 1971 and 1975, Australia was actually the host country for the world champion event. However, following a return to England, the Aussies decided to create the Australian Masters in 1979. This event eventually turned into the Australian Open which now offers a $500,000 prizepool.
World Snooker Championship: When it comes to snooker tournaments, none come close to the stature, prestige and popularity of the World Snooker Championship. Established in 1927 and now boasting a prizepool in excess of £1.3 million, this tournament is recognised as a British institution.
Since 1977 the tournament has been held inside the intimate surroundings of Sheffield's Crucible Theatre and over the years the greatest players on earth have made their name in the World Championship. From Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry, to Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stuart Bingham, all the greats have put their hands on the famous trophy. That is a fact that's helped raise the level of prestige attached to the World Snooker Championship.
Betting on Snooker
Because the World Snooker Championship is the biggest event of the year it courts all the viewing and betting attention. For that reason, it's important to consider a number of variables before you start anteing up.
When it comes to the Snooker World Championship, players ranked outside of the top 20 are able to compete if they can come through a tough qualification process. Generally, however, these players aren't able to compete with the elite and this means, realistically, that there is only a small group of potters who can lift the trophy each year.
Because there are very few world-class snooker players, it's easier for bookmakers to keep track of the action and set the most accurate odds. Although this can be tough to overcome, there are a few tricks you can utilise to beat the bookie and profit from betting on snooker.
Study the Form: Although the same players crop up in events across the world, it doesn't mean they always perform to the best of their abilities. Dips in form are extremely common in the world of snooker and if you can pick out a player who is not playing at their best before a competition starts, it will give you an edge in the betting market. Track certain players in the media and via social networks to get a handle on their mindset and whether they are likely to be at their peak during an event.
Betting in Real Time: Over the last few years online bookmakers have made it possible for punters to place a variety of bets and one of the most popular is the in-play bet. Although somewhat more risky than other propositions, these bets often contain a lot of value. Because a bookmaker is forced to shift their odds as the game develops, they can often make mistakes and if you're able to spot these early enough you can often capitalise on them and make a profit.
Go Live: The best way to study the form and place the most accurate in-play bets is to tune into live snooker streams. Thanks to stream technology, it's now possible to tune into the latest snooker matches and view the action in HD quality from your desktop or mobile. Having the ability to do this means you can watch the early rounds, study each player's performances and then make more accurate predictions throughout the rest of the tournament.
In fact, what's even more profitable about live streams is their connection to various betting operators. Anyone that tunes into a snooker stream can simply open another tab and place a bet by clicking a single button. This is something which makes the betting process more efficient and, therefore, more lucrative.
Live Snooker Streams Online
Snooker may be one of the BBC's biggest sporting events of the year, but live streams are becoming a much more accessible option for fans. Because you can visit PlayLiveStream and find the best snooker action with a few mouse clicks, it makes everything more compatible with modern lifestyles.
Moreover, because PlayLiveStream.com isn't controlled by TV executives in suits, there are no restrictions on the action it shows. Whether it's every match at the Shanghai Masters or the qualifiers for the Australian Open, you can now watch more snooker, more of the time when you venture into the live streaming arena.