Snookerbacker

September 8, 2019

Shanghai Masters Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:07 pm

Ronnie defends his title in his first outing this season

It’s been a barren summer on the baize, which to be honest as a fan and an unashamed traditionalist, suits me down to the ground, but for players, particularly lower down the rankings, it’s been a bit of a blow to their earning capability, so much so that some of them have been claiming they are now once more, part-time players. 

In the past by this time of year they’d be chalking up and getting ready for the ranking events, but not this time around. After the mysterious and secretive invite handouts for the Paul Hunter Classic recently, we’re now treated to an invitational event containing the top 16 players in the world and some handpicked Chinese players, in this former ranking event in Shanghai.

It seems a long time since we saw anything in terms of rankers and last week a few of the top boys were invited to the Six Reds in Thailand for their annual piss up. Stephen Maguire ended up winning it, someone might have to remind him of that at some point when he gets home given his reputation as one of the hardened drinkers on the tour alongside his fellow Scot and finalist John Higgins. In fact given that these two also carried off the World Cup at the start of the season it’s been a very successful start for the pair of them, they both line up here again this week.

The only ‘real’ event of the season so far saw Judd Trump make a winning debut as World Champion at the International Championship beating a resurgent Shaun Murphy in the final. Murphy spent last year trying to hit a barn door with a shovel and missing, but whatever he did in the break between The Crucible and that tournament appears to have got him back into the groove, just in time to maybe try and save his top 16 place, which was beginning to look quite perilous.

Ronnie O’Sullivan seems to always enjoy himself in Shanghai and he seems to have been out there for a quite a while ahead of his title defence this week. He’s been photographing all the food he is eating, he’s been swimming with and cuddling Liang Wenbo and he looks to have fully engrossed himself in the Chinese culture. Of course he famously once claimed that China had ‘got it right’ and was the ‘best country in the world’, I’m not sure how that fits with his socialist beliefs in workers rights and I presume he is not a fan of boiling dogs alive in a pot to eat them, but it’s not the first time that The Rocket would have opened his gob before engaging Mr Brain.

Anyway, to the snooker. It’s usually a cracking watch this and Eurosport as usual is the place to be for the Chinese events. At time of writing the wildcards have only just been announced as Zhang Yi, Cao Jin, Wu Yize and Zhao Jianbo, however we still don’t know who they are playing as this will be decided at the party they have to open the event.

The rest of the draw can be viewed on the usual World Snooker ‘my first PDF’ here and the format here and it’s fair to say that once the wildcard matches are out of the way every match will have two familiar faces competing. The novelty also where Shanghai is concerned is that people ACTUALLY TURN UP TO WATCH! So that’s a bonus and perhaps a lesson to the authorities that perhaps it might be a better idea to hold events in major cities than in the arse end of nowhere.

I’ll probably have the odd bet here and there on this with them being decent length matches, indeed if you think this will go according to seedings and Ronnie and Judd are set for a showdown in the final, there are a few specials at Ladbrokes that are worth your attention, highlighted below.

So enjoy the event, it’s not a ranker which is a bummer for a lot of players, but in terms of a spectacle it usually delivers a decent week of snooker for the armchair fans.

Recommended Bets: Specials at Ladbrokes – O’Sullivan and Trump Final, both hit 5 tons in the tournament and a final of over 18.5 frames 12/1, same bet with 6 tons each 20/1, same with 7 tons each 28/1. Will there be a tournament 147? Yes @ 9/4. Each way to win outright on Yan Bingtao @160/1 and Lyu Haotian @250/1.

   

 

August 2, 2019

International Championship

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:01 pm

Mark won’t want to let go of the vase

The International Championship burst onto the snooker calendar a few years ago with record breaking prize money and it remains one of the most prestigious tournaments in terms of cash prizes around, it gets underway on Sunday in Daqing where Mark Allen defends the title he won 12 months ago.

There are 8 heldover matches from the qualifiers kicking things off, these include Allen’s potential banana skin against Peter Lines and recent Riga Masters Champion Yan Bingtao’s opener against Alfie Burden.

It is also the first outing of the season for the World Champion Judd Trump, who comes into this as favourite, something that he’s going to have to get used to every time he lines up from now on, such is the expectancy following his dazzling Crucible performance.

As you would expect it’s a high quality field with only O’Sullivan missing from the big hitters so it will be very interesting to see who has been putting the hours in over the extended break and who has got a decent tan and a dusty cue case.

It’s always difficult to gauge form this early in the season but in the seven years this has been running it has only really produced one eyebrow raising winner, Ricky Walden (remember him?) back in 2014, from outside the upper echelons of the game, with Trump, Higgins, Selby and Allen sharing the other titles, so history tells us that you’d have to gamble that the winner will be someone with proven trophy pedigree and not from the lower ranks. The big question of course is who will be taking home the vase, I mean trophy?

In the top quarter, assuming Allen doesn’t slip on that banana skin early on you’d have to give him a favourites chance of reaching the semi-finals given he’d have a very winnable path to the last eight. In Quarter two, you have a few big hitters in the shape of John Higgins, who has already lifted the World Cup this season and has form here, recent Pink Ribbon winner Stuart Bingham and lurking at the bottom of the quarter, Neil Robertson, who I am assured will turn up on time for this one. It will also be interesting to see if Shaun Murphy can get back to anything like any form this early in the season at fancy prices in the outrights, but the bad news is that he’s in probably the toughest section of the draw.

Quarter three would usually be an automatic tick in the Mark Selby box, but until he starts playing like Mark Selby again I think I’d give him a wide berth and for me this is the section that could produce a semi-finalist from a little lower down the ranks, Crucible semi-finalist Dave Gilbert perhaps. The bottom quarter is where Judd opens his account for the season and he’s seeded to meet another member of the Riga Careless Crew Kyren Wilson in the semi-finals but there are obstacles for both along the way if there is any rustiness there. It will be interesting to see how Judd reacts to his new status of the man they all want a shot at, it’s a whole new ball game for him this season.

So, it’s potentially a very decent week of snooker ahead and it is of course all covered on Eurosport, I’ll back a couple to low stakes for some interest and just use this as an assessment early on of who might be looking good for a decent season.

Recommended Bets: (All E/W) Mark Allen @20/1, Stuart Bingham @22/1, Dave Gilbert @40/1, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh @190/1. Quarter Betting Doubles/Trebles/Acca on Allen, Bingham, Gilbert and K.Wilson, acca pays 749/1 at Ladbrokes.  

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

Click here for the Eurosport listings

July 25, 2019

It’s Snooker Time!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:09 am

Snooker: A*, Model Painting A*, History: U

This weekend sees the return of competitive snooker on Eurosport as the potters, well some of them at least, head over again to Riga in Latvia for the Riga Masters.

The qualifiers for this were held about a month ago and since the Snooker World Cup, which I didn’t watch a ball of, it’s been a welcome break to allow both players and fans to regroup and look forward to the months ahead on the baize.

Despite it being holiday season, there are still a few big names who have decided to make the trip. Mark Selby will be attempting to put a fairly miserable season last time behind him and rediscover his winning ways early doors, Mark Williams is going there not having picked up his cue for a month, which he said when he won The World Open last season too, and Neil Robertson, fresh from his realisation that Chernobyl was actually real also adds prestige, if not an in depth understanding of political and nuclear history, to the starting line up.

But this has to be seen as a chance for some of the lower ranked players to pick up a bit of pocket money to help them on their way to another busy season, despite the fact that there are mutterings afoot that not all those lower down the rankings are that happy with the way the calendar is beginning to shape up.

There does seem to be an increasing move toward invitational events with the odd free-for-all car boot sale events so beloved of Ronnie O’Sullivan falling by the wayside. You don’t want to go upsetting those numpties too much Bazza, they’ve been propping the purse strings up for the last few years.

Ronnie himself as we know has vowed to not play in any of the Triple Crown events this season, which I will believe when I see it, instead opting for the likes of the Champions Cup (Champion of Champions) and the Regal Welsh (Welsh Open) to dazzle us with his brilliance, though I’d say we’ll definitely see him at Ally Pally in January and probably also at The Crucible, for his annual meltdown.

I’m going to be flitting in and out of tournaments this season and other than the three big ones I’ll not be going too heavy on the old gambling, unless something really stands out. I’ll bash up a couple of recommended outright bets for these lesser tournaments, but with the best of sevens back in town here, no match betting for me until the longer matches come around again.

Recommended Outright Bets (all E/W): Ali Carter (18/1), Joe Perry (25/1), Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (33/1), Lyu Haotian (66/1). 

Enjoy if you are tuning in, here is the Eurosport schedule.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

June 13, 2019

Tipping Point

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:43 pm

There has been a noticeable rise lately in the number of snooker tipsters on social media. Tipsters exist in all sports so there is no reason whatsoever that snooker should be any different, but the way it’s increased lately, particularly in what I’d term the ‘wet behind the ears’ brigade, has awoken me from my semi-blog-retirement to recount my own experiences in this area, and hopefully offer some advice to those new to these shark-infested waters.

It may or may not interest you to know that I have never called or considered myself a snooker tipster. This is not the reason that I set up this website many years ago. My passion, if you can call it that, as well as snooker itself, was always the writing side of things and I’d been more or less bullied, in the nicest possible way on the old Betfair Snooker Forum to set it up, no doubt because everyone on there was sick of me and wanted to chat amongst themselves without me sticking my oar in all the time.

Indeed, the name of the site (Originally – Top Drawer – The Snookerbacker Blog) was only named as such because that was the name I chose at random for my Betfair handle, I was a backer not a layer, a lover not a fighter and it seemed obvious to me that simply carrying this over onto a new and different site would bring my online friends from Betfair here with me, which it duly did. A happy by-product of my chosen name (or as many have laughably referred to it in the past ‘my brand’) was the double meaning it gave later to my ambitious 5 year amateur tournament adventure backing grass roots snooker. This was purely by accident.

As I rambled on and on, sometimes posting several blogs daily, it became apparent from the increasingly busy comments section on here that it was gaining quite a following. The early obsession with ‘hits’ and ‘visitors’ which all bloggers have came and went and people seemed to enjoy what they were reading as much as I was enjoying writing it, but soon the questions started being asked by my original chums, those who put me up to it in the first place – ‘this is good and all that, but errrmm, where’s the tips snookerbacker?’

So, the almost accidental, and largely reluctant fall into writing previews for snooker events and accompanying them with bets began, with me trying as best I could to carry on enjoying the writing side of things while putting my neck on the line with my supposed in-depth knowledge of the sport.

To be fair, it started pretty well, and I have to say at this point that it was becoming rather enjoyable writing up conclusions and seeing the winners roll in, the very definition of beginners luck was happening to me. Of course there were bad calls, which inevitably brought about the odd, literally, negative comment.

One particular call that stands out was a recommended bet on Sam Baird in a World Championship qualifying match in the early days which he impressively managed to lose 10-0. This brought about probably my favourite insult of all time when one person, who had presumably been convinced enough by my rationale on Sam’s credentials to carry off a comfortable win and not lose 10-0 to follow me in accordingly with his pocket money, decided that he wanted me to ‘DIE in a house fire in my wheelchair clutching my benefit book’, quite why he dreamt this very specific scenario up I’ll never know, but suffice to say it didn’t happen, well not yet anyway.

It turned out that a very nice member of Sam’s family contacted me not long after the match to tell me he’d been in bed with flu in the week before the match. To be fair, I have met Sam a few times since those days and he always seems to have a cold, but how was I to know that then?

Anyway, where was I? Before I start losing the point and getting all rose-tinted about the good old days. Oh yes, that’s it, the pressures that tipping brings.

I was beginning to get interest from bookmakers wanting to advertise on the site and unlike now, in those days they were quite prepared to pay a decent sum of money for this once they saw the traffic this place was getting and the customers it could get for them in a market that was at this point just emerging in the early days of Barry Hearn’s dictator…I mean leadership. However, this increased the gambling focus of the site and with that came a more intense period of tipping up matches and tournaments, to such an extent that it was almost expected on a daily basis and the level of subsequent thought going into the bets diminished accordingly.

Coupled with this and a massively increased amount of traffic, people I’d never encountered before were starting to demand I publish my profits and losses even though I’d never reached into anyone’s pocket to tell them to back my tips, nor asked anyone for any subscription fee of any kind and I really couldn’t be arsed, but the inevitable accusations then began that I was ‘covering up’ and ‘hiding something’ (quite what I don’t know) and that I was ‘in bed with the bookies’, which I most definitely wasn’t as I always demanded a flat fee up front for any deal and not, unlike some I have heard about, who stood to gain more by people following in any losers they flagged up – the old ‘profit share’ payment agreements, I was always, and remain, on the side of the punters.

I didn’t really like where this was beginning to head to be honest and my honeymoon period was definitely over.

You have to remember that this was at a time when very few snooker websites existed and in terms of blogs, I was beginning to be talked about in the same sentence as Dave Hendon’s pioneering Snooker Scene Blog, where people went for in-depth behind the scenes news and the legendary Pro Snooker Blog, which was the information and rankings bible for anoraks. The only difference was that my clientele came for toilet humour and degenerative gambling. I did however consider myself, almost certainly delusionally, as one of the golden triangle of snooker bloggers and now it was all beginning to fall on its arse because of betting.

Anyway, as the sleepless nights worrying about flagging up losers and wondering where the next winner was coming from increased my lack of enjoyment, a saviour arrived in shape of a blog follower called Mark who offered to do all the profit and loss maths for me and send me a chart every time it needed updating, all I had to do was put it on here and not worry about people asking stuff like that anymore, he also reassured me that he’d checked already and that I was holding my own with reputable tipsters he’d encountered in other sports, so that made life a little easier and my deflated ego feel a little more stroked.

So in conclusion, to the new breed of tipster that has started inhabiting the old bogs and cesspits in which I used to forage and emerge stinking of shit, I can offer some advice and observations gained from experience, mostly because I have either done, or at least considered doing, all of them. You can take the advice if you like, you can ignore it, I really don’t give a toss, but here it is.

  1. You are never profiting as much as you think you are, take a step back, if you tip on things just because they are happening you can never win in the long term, you have to be selective and be prepared to leave whole events alone if nothing takes your fancy.
  2. Don’t cry when you lose, don’t make excuses, don’t claim that the match was bent and definitely don’t personally insult the player that lost. Oh and (quite specific this one) don’t claim that a fellow tipster was lucky to select a massive priced winner because you’d done the research and it shouldn’t have won, that can only make you look stupid and the other tipster look even better.
  3. Don’t take it, or yourself, too seriously, most rational people understand that you lose more than you win, in terms of quantity of bets. In my case that happened a lot and the reason I remain in decent profit year on year is that the winners are quality over quantity when it comes to the prices. In other words, nobody rational cares if you win or lose a few quid backing 20 short prices if you bag them a big winner every few weeks. On a personal level, at the end of this, the best you can hope for is that people respect your opinion if not always listening to it, the next best is that you are forgotten and not ridiculed and hated by the people you led astray with your awful tips. The worst does not bear thinking about. 
  4. Unless you have a tried and thoroughly tested method which is solidly based on mathematical theory, don’t even think about charging for tips because you think you’ve got it sussed. You haven’t, you will end up stressed out, looking stupid and people won’t trust you ever again. 
  5. Even if you think you are having a fair strike rate on a certain event, don’t go down the subscription route, refer back to Point 1 and read all these points again.

Anyway, it’s largely been fun being a reluctant tipster, with the occasional ‘oh fuck it’s time to end it all, where’s the matches, oh fuck they are in my other wheelchair with the benefit book in’ moment to spice it up. But I’ve definitely noticed a change of tone amongst those doing the tipping recently and I’m glad I did it when I did as I think you’d need either nerves of steel, a masochistic personality, a never ending supply of hard drugs or probably all three to take it on at the level I did. I’ll factor in that I think betting on snooker is much more difficult now than it was when I started out, so you’ll probably need more drugs.

Just remember, when the fun stops, make sure that big winner isn’t far away or you’re fucked.

Here endeth the lesson.                 

June 9, 2019

Season Specials

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:21 pm

Off we go again

This is more of a memory jog post for me really but today a couple of firms are pricing up some season long bets and as I did last year, I’ve decided to have a play on them.

The markets in question are on individual players to have a ranking event success over the course of the season and Black Type Bet are happy to accept multiples on these markets so I’ve gone with four players who at the prices to me represent a great bet to sit down and cheer on this season.

I’d go as far as to say that I would be disappointed if the first fourfold at a shade under 7/1 hadn’t landed by the end of January.

I’ve followed those four as bankers with variations on a further three riskier players, two of whom are still seeking their maiden ranking title but are getting closer as the seasons pass and the other who is usually reliable to produce the goods during what is an increasingly lengthy season.

I have steered clear of the obvious picks as you’d imagine Judd, Ronnie, Selby and Robertson will all get their hands on some silverware at some point this season, indeed in the case of Robbo, it’s basically an annual tradition now for him.

If you do fancy going at the really short prices, you would have to factor in that Ronnie won’t be playing as much this season, indeed if his latest rant can be with taken with anything more than a pinch of salt he’s planning to skip all three ‘triple crown’ events. You’d also imagine that Judd will be a little more choosy now he’s World Champion and that Selby and to a lesser extent Robbo will continue to pick and choose, but that’s more of a gamble.     

So if you decide to have a play head over to Black Type or Ladbrokes/Corals to see what you can find, my bets are below. Remember these are ranking events only, The Masters and any other invitational events don’t count.

Recommended Season Specials (all with Black Type Bet):

Fourfold pays over 13/2 on John Higgins, Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams and Mark Allen.

Fivefold pays over 21/1 on those four plus Jack Lisowski.

Sixfold pays over 35/1 on those five plus Stuart Bingham.

Sevenfold pays over 121/1 on those six plus Dave Gilbert.

 

May 14, 2019

Q-School 2019 Details

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:30 am

It’s back to school for the potters.

The World Championship may be over but for amateur snooker players, the biggest event of the season is nearly upon us as we head to Wigan for this season’s Q School. The four semi-finalists from each of the 3 multi-player events will earn a place on the World Snooker Tour for 2019/20 and 2020/21, with a further 4 players also receiving tour cards, presumably from the Order of Merit list that runs over the three events.

It’s the usual mix of players, from those fresh from dropping off the main tour last season, to those who’ve been ploughing the amateur and senior tours in preparation, to the rookies to the no-hopers, it really is a real mish-mash of standards here and always makes for a very competitive couple of weeks.

This year a few bookmakers have priced up qualification from Event 1 which starts on Saturday, whilst Ladbrokes/Corals have also come up with a wider ‘to qualify at any point’ market.

There are some very familiar names there looking to bounce straight back on to the tour including the likes of Allan Taylor, Peter Lines, Sean O’Sullivan, Robin Hull, Ross Muir, Rory McLeod and Sandi Lam alongside a few Chinese players who are looking to re-enrol like Xu Si and Zhang Yong and European players Alexander Ursenbacher and Lukas Kleckers.

There are also familiar names to snooker fans who are also throwing their cue back into the ring after a spell away from the main tour like Jamie Cope, Barry Pinches and Andrew Pagget. We also have Reanne Evens, Rebecca Kenna and Ng On Yee in there flying the flag for the Women’s Tour as well as a smattering of players that hardened snooker fans might remember from back in the day who also fancy their chances of one last stab at the main tour.

I’ve had a few bets here and there but have avoided the favourites and looked at the capable players further down the list who are more than capable on their day of defying big odds, in Event 1 I’ve had a stab at Ben Hancorn at 80/1 and Wu Yize (who I have heard good things about) at 40/1.

I’ve had a daft multiple at Black Type which will probably bankrupt them if it wins on Sandi Lam (8/1), Barry Pinches (14/1), Leo Fernandez (25/1) and Billy Joe Castle at 12/1, all to qualify from the first event. Wish me luck with that as I’ll need it.

In terms of three lively outsiders in the ‘Qualify at any time’ market I’ve gone with Peter Devlin (15/1), Shane Castle (11/1) and a lad called Riley Parsons at 33/1, who I remember playing in my tournament a few years back and who looked very talented, he’s recently won a qualification event in Gloucester so has clearly kept it up.

The draws for all three 2019 Q School events, and the format of play are detailed on the links below. The events run from May 18 to June 4 at Robin Park Leisure Centre in Wigan.

Click here for event one draw

Click here for event two draw

Click here for event three draw

Click here for the format

 

May 7, 2019

World Champion and Runner-Up Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:08 am

In 2011, the final of the World Championship between Judd Trump and John Higgins was the first one covered on this blog, now roll forward 8 years and Judd has finally fulfilled his potential while still in his 20’s. His win over Higgins may not have been dramatic, but it was clinical and incredibly high quality, with some now predicting a decade of dominance for the new World Champion. 

Below we hear their reactions to the press at The Crucible, which closes it’s doors to snooker fans for another year. Thanks for tuning in to this little corner of the internet for this last month, it’s time for a break from snooker now for a bit, but we’ll all reconvene again next season which as ever, will come round in a flash.

But now over to the 2019 World Snooker Champion, Judd Trump.

May 5, 2019

The World Championship Final

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:18 am

So today sees the start of a repeat of the 2011 final between John Higgins and Judd Trump at The Crucible.

The first time around it was a very different Judd Trump that faced the Grand Master, one full of youthful exuberance and a fearless potting machine and it has to be said, one which we probably all thought wouldn’t have to wait this long to get back there. Higgins was coming back after a career threatening ban and since then he’s dipped again before his latest comeback to make his third successive final.

Higgins showed an almost superhuman side of his snooker character in the semi-final, seemingly down and out during the middle of the match he played almost flawless snooker towards the end to deny Dave Gilbert in a decider, Judd had a slightly easier ride against Gary Wilson and you’d imagine he’d be the fresher of the two going into the final.

I’ve no idea who is going to win, based on the semi-final performances you’d be a brave person to bet against Higgins, but since when has snooker followed the script? Particularly during this past couple of weeks.

Higgins’ all round game to me looks in the better shape of the two but Judd may be saving his best until last. The one thing I will say is that I hope they have sorted out the table which seems to be all over the shop and quite why they can’t get it right for the biggest event of the season is beyond me. As fans, I think we’ve all had more than enough of all this endless kick/chalk/big bounces natter so it would hopefully stop all that too if they can sort the table out. Let’s hope the snooker can distract from this side of things over the next couple of days.

In terms of a prediction, if someone threatened to shoot me I’d side with Higgins, I’m not particularly rooting for anyone but I think it would be nice to see Judd finally fulfill his potential and stop being labelled the new Jimmy White.

Thanks as ever for tuning in here over the past month or so, as ever it’s been quite a ride.

Semi Final Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:48 am

John Higgins takes on Judd Trump in the final but the two losing semi-finalists Dave Gilbert and Gary Wilson have made a huge contribution to the championship this year, here is what they all had to say after the matches yesterday, with Gilbert just a matter of a few balls away from the win.

May 2, 2019

John Higgins and Neil Robertson Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:13 am

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