The snooker season continues this week as the unique Snooker Shoot-out takes place in Swansea. As always we have our snooker expert Dean Strand (@DSSnookerTips) on hand with his preview and predictions.
History, Location and Format
The Shoot-Out dates back to 1990 but has been held yearly since 2011, when it was revived as the Snooker Shoot Out.
The 128-man tournament is being held in at the Swansea Arena for the first time in 2023, having been held in Leicester for the last two editions.
What makes this tournament totally unique, is it is played over a single frame per match, with a shot-clock in effect. The audience are also encouraged to be loud throughout, in stark contrast to the silent nature of a normal snooker tournament.
Given it's unpredictable nature, this ranking event throws up some unusual winners and no person has ever won it more than once.
The defending champion is Chris Wakelin from England, who beat Julien Leclercq in the final last year, knocking in a 119 break to win it.
- Each Frame is a maximum of 10 minutes
- Shot clock in operation (15 secs for first five minutes, 10 secs for last five)
- Players must hit a cushion or post a ball with every shot.
- All fouls result in ball in hand.
- Tie results in blue ball shoot-out.
The next event on the calendar is the Snooker Shoot-Out. The format of this event is different to any other on tour, and comes with a different set of rules to regular snooker events.
Every match in this event is a one frame knockout with frames lasting just 10 minutes. Players will have a 15 second shot clock for the first five minutes followed by a 10 second shot clock for the remainder.
The ball must hit a cushion (or pocket) on every shot and any fouls result in the cue-ball in hand.
A lot of people see this event as a lottery and there’s definitely a lot of luck involved but there are still players far better suited to the format than others. Slower players can struggle with the shot clock and some players enjoy the atmosphere, with the crowd encouraged to make noise throughout the frames as opposed to the usual silence.
Luck does still play a huge part though and for that reason I prefer to pick bigger priced outsiders for this event. It’s rarely an event that produces an expected winner and last season's final was contested by 80/1 shot Chris Wakelin and 250/1 shot Julien Leclercq.
Aside from last season's runner up, Leclercq who’s only entered the event once, nobody here this week has a better win ratio than Jamie Clarke at this event. In his five previous attempts at this tournament he’s reached the last 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals winning a total of 12 of his 17 matches.
Looked in good form at the UK Championship last week, beating Kyren Wilson to reach the last 16 and he has a favourable first round draw this week too, with a match against 99th ranked Andres Petrov.
My second pick for this one is last season's runner up Julien Leclercq. Last season was Leclercq's debut season as a pro and his first time entering this event and he clearly wasn’t phased by the atmosphere, making a couple of half-centuries and beating former Shoot-Out winners Michael Holt and Dominic Dale on his way to the final.
He was the third-quickest player on tour last season behind Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Ronnie O’Sullivan, so the shot clock clearly isn’t an issue for him and at 66/1 looks worth an each way bet.
Zihao is my only pick this week that hasn’t played in this event before so a little bit of a punt, but he’s a player that’s impressed me in his early days as a pro and 125/1 looks a good price to me.
He's had some tough draws in his early events, but has impressed in recent weeks winning six of his last nine matches, including against Graeme Dott and Michael White. Also plays at a quick pace naturally so the shot clock shouldn’t be much of an issue for him.
Hallworth has entered the Shoot-Out five times previously and usually does well, two last 16 exits and one quarter-final appearance.
He's beaten some good players in the format previously including Zhou Yuelong, Tom Ford and Gary Wilson and 150/1 again looks worth an each way bet.
My final pick is the biggest price out of the lot but 400/1 looks too good to turn down on a player with a decent record in this event.
Dean Young is another very quick player and although he often struggles in regular events he does seem to enjoy this format. Six wins out of 10 at the event in total, with a run to the last 16 2 years ago beating Lyu Haotian, Yuan Sijun and Michael Holt. Last season was only one pot away from beating Mark Williams in the second round.
Check out the rest of our Snooker Betting Tips here.