You may be wanting to get started playing snooker but are curious what the correct order is to pot the colored balls?
Well, this quick guide is here to help clear this question up, many players have.
I will run through the basics of what’s needed to play snooker. From setting up the table to the ball potting order and the snooker ball values. By the end of this, you can play your game without interruptions.
Knowing the correct snooker ball order is one of the things you need to know if you want to play snooker.
Just potting a color without the ball order knowledge can land you in some trouble.
Because the table is so big, and with so many balls to avoid you need to be as accurate as possible.
The margins for error in snooker is minimal, so not calculating where to leave the cue ball for the next shout could cost you the game.
Maybe you’re not at that level yet to but it’s always good to play understanding the basics and as your playing ability gets better, that basic foundations will also grow with it and you’ll be a much better snooker player for it
So, let’s get started so you can learn the correct snooker ball order.
Setting up a snooker table
Snooker tables are BIG tables and will take some getting used to. If you are more familiar with pool then despite it being a “similar game” it will still take some getting used to.
Full-sized tables are 12ft x 6ft and use smaller balls and therefore require different cues to that of American pool. There is, in fact, a lot of differences between American pool and snooker such as:
- Table size
- Ball size
- Pocket size
The way to set up a snooker table is another. You’ll need to rack your 15 red balls in a triangle just below the pink ball and place the 6 color balls on their correct spots.
Follow my Infographic below.
Snooker ball order
The order of snooker balls to be potted is in line with their values. Reds have the lowest value at 1, then colour potting order would be yellow, brown, green, blue, pink, and then black.
So, you’ve now correctly setup a snooker table, now its time to get down to business, and pot some balls.
But as you might know already, you can’t just pot anything. There is a snooker potting order that I will explain here. Its important to know the snooker ball order because you can use it to your advantage.
Maybe you want to make your opponents next snot more difficult or you need to know the best position to leave the cue ball to get a better potting angle on the shot.
Knowledge is power, use it to your advantage.
The correct snooker ball order is as follows:
- To start with you pot a RED
- Then ANY COLOR
- Then a RED
- Then ANY COLOR
You repeat all this until all the 15 red balls have been potted. Don’t forget to keep replacing the color balls (not red balls) back to their starting position after its been potted before the next shot is taken.
Now, this is the point most people start getting confused…. What next?
So, after the last red has been potted you move onto any color. If you pot it, then well done! Now replace that color to its starting position on the table and take aim at the yellow ball.
If, after potting the last red you move onto any color and miss the pot then, sit down, compose yourself for when it’s your turn and let your opponent take aim at the yellow ball.
- After the yellow ball has been potted, it’s onto the green ball.
- Then brown ball
- Then blue ball
- Then pink ball
- Then black ball
The potting order goes in ascending numerical order starting with the lowest ball value, the red balls and ends with the highest ball value, the black ball
This handy table will help you remember the correct snooker ball order and point value of each ball.
Snooker ball values
Knowing the value of snooker balls is the best way to stay ahead while playing. Reds only have 1 point then the other colours are valued between 2-7 starting with yellow for 2 points then green, brown, blue, pink and black for 7 points.
As already mentioned, the snooker ball colours have different snooker ball values.
The snooker ball colour values range from 1 point to 7 points.
Depending on what you pot will depend on the snooker points you receive.
The snooker ball values not only represent the points value of the balls, but also the potting order.
To start with, as long as a red has been potted, then any colour can follow.
With each ball holding a different value you can quickly rack up a few points if you understand the snooker ball points.
As shown in the graphic above, the snooker ball points range in value.
So what are the snooker ball points:
- The red ball has 1 point
- The yellow ball has 2 points
- The green ball has 3 points
- The brown ball has 4 points
- The blue ball as 5 points
- The pink ball has 6 points
- The black ball as 7 points
Just remember that the snooker ball points also represent the snooker ball potting order.
The order of snooker balls to be potted follow the point values. Reds all need to be potted first before the snooker ball order is followed.
How to remember snooker ball order.
With so many snooker balls on the table, it can be a little difficult to remember the correct snooker ball order.
As mentioned, the snooker ball order to pot goes by the value of the balls – from smallest to largest.
But that information is useless if you can’t remember the value of the snooker ball points.
Is there a way to remember the snooker order?
Luckily for you, there is!
A handy phrase can be used in which taking the first letter of the snooker colour ball order
The phrase is:
You Go Brown Before Potting Black
So the correct snooker order for potting the balls would be:
You = Yellow
Go = Green
Brown = Brown
Before = Blue
Potting = Pink
Black = Black
The phrase is much easier than trying to remember the colours and the correct order they should be potted.
Another handy helpful tip: As the snooker ball points and the snooker ball potting order relate, once you know the correct snooker ball order to pot, and therefore you’ll know black is last; just remember snooker black ball value is 7 points.
To know the rest just work backward through the phrase decreasing the point value by 1 for every ball.
Next would be the pink snooker ball, so 7 -1 = 6
Now you know the pink snooker ball value in points.
It’s as simple as that
What do I do when I pot a colored ball
So, if you pot a red you don’t replace the ball.
If you pot a color ball (yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, black) then you replace that color after its been potted and before the next shot, onto its original starting spot on the table.
You only replace the color ball if your shot proceeding it was a red ball. If your previous shot wasn’t to pot a red ball then you don’t replace the color
If you are in a situation where you go to replace a colored ball back on its spot BUT another ball occupies that spot, you then place the potted ball on the next spot up. So the blue ball would be placed on the pink spot and so on.
In the case that all the spots are occupied then the ball needs to be placed as close to its starting position spot as possible directly below or above the spot ensuring that the ball doesn’t touch another ball
What snooker ball do you need to hit first when playing snooker
First, you need to break off in snooker, this is done by striking the cue ball so it first hits a red ball.
The first ball to be hit is the red ball in snooker and it will continue to be hit until a player manages to pot one of the red balls. After that, the player will try to hit and pot any of the other colored balls.
What ball do you pot first in snooker
This is where the snooker colour order comes into play. In snooker the first ball you pot is a red ball, once you do that then you can pot a color.
Some players may choose to pot the easiest red ball first in order to build up their score. The most important thing to consider is where you leave the cue ball because to build a good score you will want to try and pot the balls with the highest value.
A general tactic, although very difficult, is to pot a red ball and play to be on the black ball as the black holds the highest value of 7 points.
What ball is potted last when playing snooker
The black ball is the last ball to be potted when playing snooker. This is due to the black being valued the highest at 7 points.
When all other balls have been potted, the player must aim for the black ball and pot it in order to win the game.
A player may have won the game before the need to pot all the balls because their points total is higher than what is remaining left on the snooker table. In this case, the black ball would not be the last to be potted.
I hope this clears it all up a little. I know from first hand it’s a little confusing at first, I was always forgetting how to set the table correctly and which ball I should pot next but with more practice and over some time it becomes second nature to you.
The main point is to keep practicing, the more you do something the better you’ll get and the more natural everything will become.
If you are used to playing pool, you might get frustrated at first because the shots you will usually pot without giving a second thought to seem almost impossible at first with snooker, but I promise you, you’ll get there!
Rob is an avid player and fan of all cue sports, particularly 8-ball, and snooker. He has competed in a few local 8-ball tournaments and although he is not a professional, he can compete with the best of them.