The fast and furious snooker returns again this weekend as the Snooker Shootout once again takes place in Watford. As with last year 128 players have been invited to the tournament which is again a ranking event much to the condemnation of some.
Shot clocks, quirky rules and a random draw make this event entertaining and with £32,000 for the winner it is certainly worth winning, as Anthony McGill discovered 12 months ago when he landed the title and the many benefits that come with it.
2017 – Anthony McGill
2016 – Robin Hill
2015 – Michael White
2014 – Dominic Dale
2013 – Martin Gould
2012 – Barry Hawkins
2011 – Nigel Bond
Every match in the tournament is 10 minutes long. The first five minutes see a 15 second shot clock in operation and that comes down to 10 seconds for the final five minutes. A ball must hit a cushion in every shot unless one is potted. Failure to do so will result in a foul. All fouls in this tournament give the other player cue ball in hand. There is a lag to see who breaks and the winner at the end of the 10 minutes progresses. If the scores are tied after the 10 minutes a blue ball respot decides the winner.
The 128 players have already been drawn against each other in the first round where the winners will win £500. Each match a player wins they will double their prize money right through to the final where the champion will walk away with a cool £32,000 for a maximum of 70 minutes work which is not to be sniffed at. Each round has a random draw which adds to the excitement.
It is hard to pin one particular profile down when we are looking at the winner of this tournament but it goes without saying that in the main you do not want players who are not fluent cueists. I say that because 10 seconds in the second half of frames is not very long and the last thing you want to be backing is a player who gets flustered easily.
Personally I look for players who can get in from distance and who can score heavily when they are in. In this format a 30 point lead can be massive so getting the first chance in the balls from distance is often the bulk of the battle won. The tournament is played in a noisy setting so a light hearted character is helpful.
I’ll go with three main bets this weekend. All my bets will be with BetVictor who are offering four places on the competition. Getting players deep in this is hard enough without having to make the final to get paid out.
Regular followers of me will know I can’t avoid Martin Gould when this tournament comes around but it is not without good reason. Firstly he’s local so he should get plenty of support and that can come in handy in this event in particular but he ticks every box in my profile. He nails pots from distance and scores well when he is in the balls. He is a former winner of this and I would expect him to go well again especially with the confidence he must have after his season so far.
Jack Lisowski is another who is enjoying a good season and he also has the temperament and the quality to do some damage here. Some might have this as a jolly but a big week for him will boost his ranking no end and potentially get him in some of the qualification events to come. Lisowski sits fourth in 50 break per frame percentage on the circuit this season so if he gets a chance in a frame he’s likely to score heavily in it. That can’t be underestimated so I like him here.
Dave Gilbert is a player who really should have won something on the circuit by now but if you think back 12 months he was the winner in waiting until the referee made a horrendous error in the quarter final which dumped him out. Armed with motivation for revenge and being on the fringes of the top echelons of the rankings a big week here would have huge implications on his career. I fancy we’ll see that from him.
I’ll take two among the bigger prices this week too with the first of those being Mark Joyce. Slightly more understated than the three men I’ve backed above, Joyce is more than capable of delivering a decent run at this tournament. He has 83 50+ breaks on the circuit this season which has him 24th on the tour which shows that when he gets in he can score. He is a canny operator who can tie players up and who will run the clock down and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him progress a few rounds.
Li Hang is just outside the top 20 when it comes to 50 breaks on the season so he is cueing well and he is another who can get in from distance and score. Hang is having his best season to date not just with scoring but also with his results and although he has a tough opener against Mark Williams if he can come through that then his scoring ability could carry him a fair way at a decent price.
Back M.Gould to win Snooker Shootout (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with BetVictor (1/4 1-4)
Back J.Lisowski to win Snooker Shootout (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 41.00 with BetVictor (1/4 1-4)
Back D.Gilbert to win Snooker Shootout (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with BetVictor (1/4 1-4)
Back M.Joyce to win Snooker Shootout (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with BetVictor (1/4 1-4)
Back L.Hang to win Snooker Shootout (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with BetVictor (1/4 1-4)