April 10, 2013

World Championship Qualifiers Round 3

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:48 pm
Absolutely shameless, that's what it is.

Absolutely shameless, that’s what it is.

Wednesday and Thursday see us getting a step closer to the Crucible as the winners from the first two rounds are paired up against seeded players 33-48 to decide who goes forward to the final weekend of qualifying ahead of the World Championship which starts in just 11 days time.


We are now halfway through the qualifiers and there hasn’t at least at time of writing been too many shock results so far. It was good to see Jimmy White come through against Tian Pengfei and he now faces an even tougher task against Xiao Guodong to make a match up with Rob Milkins for a slot at the Crucible.

Fellow old boy Tony ‘Ginger’ Drago is also still in there battling having come back to beat another old hand Andy Hicks, both the Whirlwind and the Tornado proving that there is life in the old dogs yet. Even if they are now more of a slight breeze that you will need a coat for and a prevailing westerly wind which requires a hood.

The players from Thailand are also doing well, arguably much better than the Chinese contingent and James Wattana, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon are all safely through and could be joined this evening by Dechawat Poomjeang if he comes through his match against Liu Chuang which he leads by a single frame at the mid session interval. If he does this would mean a 80% strike rate for the Thailand boys. Thai revolution anyone?

Anyway, Round 3 finds ever more familiar names taking to the baize. Lightning/Jumping/Undecided Nickname Jack (Pot) Lisowski starts his campaign with a match against Wattana, my mate Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis the six times world champion also faces Kurt ‘The Norwegian Cockney’ Maflin in what could be a fascinating clash of styles as well as nicknames.

We have former runner-up Nigel ‘Licensed to Pot’ Bond in action as well as familiar nicknames like Rory ‘Shake Hands/The Dentist’ McLeod, The Sheriff of Pottingham Anthony Hamilton and Big Dave Bananaman Harold. Promising young players like Michael White and Ben Woollaston who are as yet without a decent nickname will also be hoping to make an impact so they can get one, all in all this is now where it begins to get really serious with players within touching distance of the Crucible and a bit sillier for this particular blogger.

On the betting front it’s going well and I’m pretty confident of ending the week in decent profit after a disappointing China Open put a dent in what has been a very profitable season so far puntingwise. But I much prefer betting in these longer matches as I am sure most snooker punters do, just a pity there are so few of them these days. We also still have the 66/1 on Joe Swail to make the Crucible, he’s only two matches away now with Mark Joyce next up.

Anyway, here we go again for another round, I’ll preview the first session and you may have to come back a few times to check on updates as matches become clearer and the bookies price things up. Here goes….

Click on the matches for head to head statistics, where there is no link the players are meeting for the first time.

Wednesday 10th April 10am starts (conclude at 7.30pm)

Ben Woollaston v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh   

Michael White v Zhang Anda   

Matthew Selt v Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon   

Jack Lisowski v James Wattana    

Steve Davis v Kurt Maflin   

Xiao Guodong v Jimmy White

My pal Steve, we go way back.

My pal Steve, we go way back. Just great mates really, nothing more.

The three meetings between Ben Woollaston and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh have been in minor events and can largely be disregarded as they were over three years ago when neither had made any type of breakthrough. Ben continues to impress and looks to have improved in leaps and bounds just lately, but Un-Nooh has two matches under his belt and I am sure won’t be short on confidence. Woollaston is a player I would like to see at the Crucible as I think he might do something similar to what Jamie Jones did last season if he made it, a really tough match against Ryan Day awaits the winner but I think Ben can book his place for that and end the run of the Thai here. For me Zhang Anda’s win over Yupeng is probably the biggest shock so far in this, he’s shown precious little to suggest he was capable of that but he closed the match out and now faces Welsh protege Michael White. Unfortunately White comes into this on the back of his worst run of results of the season and he has only won one match in 2013, losing more than his fair share to lower ranked players, his price is no value against a player who has seemingly hit winning form and has been to the Crucible before by this very route. Thanawat has by all accounts looked in very decent form so far this week and his price to beat Matt Selt does stand out as a tempter, though Matt did beat him in the UK in November 6-4 so with that in mind I will resist the temptation to back TT for the match but I think it could be close so the handicap beckons. I have backed Jack Lisowski to qualify and I think he probably will but his price to beat the experienced James Wattana is frankly ridiculous, Wattana rarely gets hammered and while Jack is capable is reeling off frames in the blink of an eye James has the experience to know how to cope with that, but something is telling me that Jack will make the Crucible so I will stick to my guns. A clash of styles awaits in what will surely be a live streamed match between the Nugget and Kurt Maflin for the right to meet Peter Ebdon in the next round, I will say now that I unashamedly love Davis, I hope he wins and therefore there is no point listening to me when I say I think he will outfox Maffers, whose one major flaw for me is his inability to scrap, it will either be around 10-7 to the Nugget or 10-2 to Maffers I reckon, depends who is boss but I know that Steve still takes this tournament very very seriously. Finally, my childhood hero takes on Xiao Guodong who he hasn’t played since 2010, contrary to what one particular person said earlier. Jimmy played well in his first match but got a lot of chances, perhaps the fact that he’s had a game in the conditions and has a win under his belt will help and Xiao does get beat frequently by lower ranked players, oh what the hell Jimmy it is. Call it nostalgia.

Predicted Winners: Woollaston, Anda, Selt, Lisowski, Davis, Jimmy White.

Recommended Bet: 3×1 point doubles and a 2 point treble Anda, Thirapongpaiboon and Jimmy White all plus 2.5 frames with Apollobet, treble pays over 9/2.  

Wednesday 10th April 2.30pm starts (conclude at 2.30pm Thursday 11th April)

David Gilbert v Tony Drago   

Nigel Bond v Alan McManus    

Anthony McGill v Rod Lawler   

Liang Wenbo v Jimmy Robertson

Dave Gilbert - loves his silver threads.

Dave Gilbert – loves his silver threads.

Four decent ties to entertain us in the afternoon, Tony Drago upped his game in the last round against Andy Hicks after what was effectively a nice warm-up in Round 1 and he takes on Dave Gilbert, who made the last 16 at the Crucible last year losing to Neil Robertson. I like the way Gilbert plays the game personally, he’s very much a percentage man and doesn’t often play the wrong shot and despite not gracing our screens much since the Crucible appearance his results in qualifying haven’t been that bad lately. The two have met twice over the longer format but not for a few years, it’s one apiece as things stand. Drago has to be found out eventually as he makes so many mistakes and I think he’s riding his luck a bit both on the table and as a consequence of his favourable draw so far, here is where he comes unstuck in my opinion. Don’t expect fireworks between Alan McManus and Nigel Bond, though Bond I think is unfairly sometimes portrayed as a slow negative type of player when in truth he is anything but that. Angles came through the mill last night with a decider win over Aditya Mehta, with anyone else you might factor that in but not Alan, I’m not even sure he knows what tired means. As you would expect these two have met many times but it was very surprising to me that it’s 8 years since they last did so, McManus holds a very strong head to head advantage but most of the damage was done when he was at his peak since then they have rarely not been close and I expect another close one here, I think I would marginally favour Bond to snatch it. Rod Lawler finds a way to win like no other and he takes the step up to face Anthony McGill, this could be another close and long drawn out affair. Anthony’s results of late have been greatly improving and his run to the final of the Scottish PTC in December appears to have filled him with confidence, Rod has been one further and won a PTC this season so these are two players coming into this after their best season’s on the tour. I’m going to stick with Rod to grind it out but again I expect a very close match. Two players that don’t like to hang around are Liang Wenbo and Jimmy Robertson, Jimmy hit 7 – 50 plus breaks in his demolition job on Li Yan in Round 2 and is in good form now after a quiet season. Liang is a very unpredictable player and is capable of beating anyone if he is in the mood, his recent results have displayed a bit more consistency though and it’s usually taking decent players or performances to beat him. Whilst again, like a scratched record I will say I think this will be close, I’d side with Wenbo.

Selections: Gilbert, Bond, Lawler, Liang.

Recommended Bet: 3 point double on Bond and Lawler both plus 2.5 frames at over 11/10 with Apollobet.   

Thursday 11th April 10am starts (conclude 7.30pm)

Anthony Hamilton v Dechawat Poomjaeng   

Mark Joyce v Joe Swail   

Jamie Burnett v Yu Delu   

Jamie Jones v Liam Highfield

Rory McLeod v Sam Baird   

Dave Harold v Alfie Burden

The Sheriff of Pottingham

The Sheriff of Pottingham

World Snooker recently asked Anthony Hamilton to spruce himself up a bit and it has to be said his quest to win this year’s Willie for Scruffiest Player is a fantastic effort and testament to the prestige of these awards. But lately there hasn’t been anything too shoddy about his game. He’s had good wins over Stephen Maguire and Judd Trump and is showing signs that he might be getting back into form at the right time of the season. He faces Dechawat who is another of the Thai contingent who seems to be improving. Poomjaeng is scoring well but for me there are players that reach a level and struggle to progress beyond it, I think The Sheriff represents that level currently for him. I am getting quite excited about my bet on Joe Swail to qualify but he faces another stiff test against Mark Joyce who has been winning a lot more matches than he has been losing lately and taking notable scalps along the way. It goes without saying that I want Joe to win, nothing against Mark but 66/1 is quite a price to have riding at this stage. In his/our favour Swail beat Joyce in December in a PTC, he also has the two matches at the venue under his belt, I will dare to dream and go for Swail but if he does win his next match is one that I would not expect him to win in all honesty. Yu Delu was mightily impressive early on against Ian Burns and coasted to victory, he now takes on Jamie Burnett from Scotland. Although Burnett won their most recent meeting, Delu has beaten him twice before in qualifiers quite comfortably and I’d take a punt on him to do so again, Burnett is also on a run of seven straight defeats. Why oh why did I recommend Jamie Jones to qualify? It was a hunch at the time in the way that you just expect that a player as good as him will come back to form eventually, but he faces the dangerous and improving Liam Highfield who is definitely on the up recently and coming onto the betting radar, I have to say I am sorely tempted to recommend a bet to counter the hunch, Highfield on current form could be considered favourite for this match but I will stick with my daft bet on JJ in the hope he will come good. I said in the ‘To Qualify’ preview that I was hearing positive noises from the Rory McLeod camp and he faces Sam Baird who came through a real thriller with Peter Lines the other night that by all accounts was settled by a miscue. Rory is tough as old boots in the qualifiers and I would make him my best bet of this session. Finally, Dave Harold takes on Alfie Burden and all the signs are from the head to heads that this will be a tight match. For me, Big Dave is a player that is very hard to read but you know he’s always going to be up for the World’s, he is just like that. Alfie didn’t play all that well in the last round and seemed pre-occupied with the standard of the table, if he has that mindset again he will struggle against Dave, who won’t miss some of the balls that his last opponent did and even if he does he will forget it by his next visit.

Selections: Hamilton, Swail, Delu, Highfield, McLeod, Harold.

Recommended Bet: 4 points win on McLeod at 8/13 with Paddy Power. 2 points on Yu Delu at 11/8 with Apollobet.    

Check out all the match prices and the outright prices for the World Championship including Ronnie O’Sullivan Specials at Apollobet by clicking here   

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That Once a Year Time: The 17-Day Snooker Punters Guide

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:59 am

Internet-TrollIn honour of this excellent piece by Dave Hendon the other day relating to the once a year snooker journalist brigade that descend like a huge turd from the sky on our sport at this time every year having spent the rest of the year watching football, I thought as a blogger, tweeter, gambler and first and foremost fan I should also give some pointers for those in society who only share my passion for 17 days a year.

Please share these tips with anyone you know that fits this description.

The Once a Year Snooker Gambler

The golden rule that should be remembered here is that if a bet that you place loses it is NEVER YOUR OWN FAULT. Here is why:

There are a number of factors at work here, firstly, if you have simply decided to place the same bet as a blogger or someone that you have been told knows what they are on about, blame them, after all they TOLD you to bet and took the money out of your pocket to give to the bookies and line their pockets.

It is THEM, NOT YOU, who is responsible.

If your bet loses, there is a huge probability that the match was bent, why else would everyone on the Betfair forum be saying so? The player you bet simply missed too many balls on purpose, balls that you yourself can proudly tell everyone that you would have potted (add a ‘blindfold’ reference for added comedic effect). The bookies had got word to the player that they stood to lose a fortune on him and offered to give him a decent bung to lose. This is often the ONLY RATIONAL EXPLANATION for your bet losing, particularly if it wasn’t a bet that someone else told you to do.

The good thing about this is that as well as ‘seething’ to yourself you can take to social media websites like forums or Twitter to tell everyone, even sometimes the people who are to blame themselves, what you think of them. So here are some top tips on using social media at this time of year.

The Once a Year Snooker Tweeter

Always go for the right target and if you don’t get a response from them, go for the next one in line and so on and so on. Get gradually ruder, angrier and more personal with every message building to a crescendo which will see you ‘blocked’ by the guilty party. Remember, they are only blocking you because deep down they KNOW you are right and they cannot cope with the guilt.

Twitter is a good way to express yourself.

Twitter is a good way to express yourself.

Here are some handy hints:

Always use the hashtag #clueless when directing your views at the person at fault, this is particularly effective when directing it at someone who made you have the bet, for example:

‘@snookerbacker1 call yourself a tipster LOL LMFAO. Fucking guesswork pal go and get a proper job you are a fucking muppet #clueless’

This should upset the tipster enough for them to block you and it will also make you feel a lot better, knowing that you have got ‘under their skin’.

You could also contact the player if you aren’t getting anywhere with this so-called ‘tipster’, this handy template should help:

‘@playerwholost WTF was that? You are a fucking disgrace to your sport, how much did you fucking spoon from that? Fucking BENT #FACT’*

*Use #FACT as many times as you can, as facts cannot be disputed.

Hopefully at least one (or if you are lucky) both of these tactics will work, you will get the response you want and both will feel guilty for you losing your money.

Job Done.

The Once a Year Blog Commenter

The downside of social media is that you sometimes get blocked by people and not enough people get to know the truth, always for the reasons above (i.e. you are telling the truth and they don’t want to listen) but the good news is that there are always blogs for you to post on too!! The added bonus of this is that you can usually do this largely anonymously so you can say whatever you want without any fear of being caught!


  1. Always be insulting and personal, looking for weakspots and exposing them.
  2. Always swear A LOT, the more offensive the words, the more impact they will have.
  3. Never ever listen to excuses when it comes to betting, do not be bamboozled by someone explaining to you that their strike rate on snooker is pretty good and the profits clearly demonstrate this. This is rubbish and a diversionary tactic designed to steer you away from the information you took in good faith. ATTACK them AGAIN.
  4. Never, ever agree with anything your enemy says. Remember, they put their views up for you to disagree with, nothing more. They are picking a fight and boy have they picked the wrong guy this time.
  5. Remember, they stole your money, you would not be acting in this way if the bet had won.
  6. Even if they have put you in the Spam queue, carry on posting, there is no chance that they will see it but it will always make you feel better.

And there we have it, a nice pocket sized guide to punting and using social media for the 17 day snooker fan. I hope this helps people really get the most out of the World Championship.

Happy Punting!

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