Snookerbacker

November 25, 2019

Betway UK Championship Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:00 am

Can anyone stop the big two?

It’s that time of year again, it’s time to head to York for the Christmas markets and the UK Championship, it’s also the week where the BBC come to town and pretend that this is the first tournament since The Crucible.

It’s always an exciting time for snooker fans, not only do we have this, but on the other side of the festive season we also have The Masters and a big part of proceedings here will involve players jostling for position and the right to make the top 16 for Ally Pally with only this and the Scottish Open left to go towards rankings.

But the main aim for the potters will be to add a major title to their CV. It’s usually a very familiar face who ends up taking home the trophy and to be honest for me it would be a big surprise if that weren’t to happen again with the big four players Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby all in great form coming into this, indeed each of the last 8 UK Championships have been won by one of those four and I’d say the odds on one of them winning it again would be very short.

There are many diehard snooker fans that bemoan the demise of this event, whether it be the 128 at the venue or the length of the matches, we do tend to hark back to the classic UK Championships in Preston. But I still think this one holds its own as a major, the venue and the city of York are fantastic and although I think they should reinstate the two session semi-finals, the matches are long enough to ensure that generally, the best players last until the end.

So is there anyone outside of the main four mentioned that might have a chance to break their stranglehold on this title? I suppose the first name that springs to mind now outside the top 4 is Mark Allen who is more than capable of raising his game at the highest level as he’s proved by winning The Masters, Shaun Murphy is coming back into form, John Higgins remains a danger but we’re yet to see much this season from the likes of Kyren Wilson or indeed the enigma that is Ding Junhui, who was last seen trying to hit a bulls arse with a shovel and missing, he currently lies 16th in the rankings, only £4000 ahead of Ali Carter so a poor show here will see him bumped out the Masters.

So, lets have a look at the quarters and see if there is anyone lurking within who might upset the odds.

Quarter 1

The defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan heads up the draw and I’d imagine he’s a man with a point to prove following his narrow defeat to Judd Trump in Belfast, meaning that with most bookies, Ronnie is now a firm second favourite. Looking at his draw it looks pretty straightforward up to the last 16 when I’d say he might have a test in the shape of Ali Carter or perhaps Ding Junhui who may end up having a Masters knockout match in the Last 32, but I’d say his main barrier to winning the quarter comes in the shape of Shaun Murphy. Murphy has been impressive since his season to forget last time with a narrow defeat to Ronnie in the Shanghai final and a title of his own at the China Championship, but on balance I think you have to side with Ronnie to at least make the semi-finals this year.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Ronnie O’Sullivan

Quarter 2

This quarter contains the in-form Neil Robertson and John Higgins and they are seeded to meet in the quarter finals here, but there are a few players that may have something to say about that. Higgins has been posting some decent results as ever but for me he’s not quite as clinical as the Higgins of old and I think there are a couple of banana skins facing him here, not least Stuart Bingham who made his sixth career maximum in Belfast and to me looks to be playing very near his best lately. He can negotiate his opening three matches (though Thepchaiya Un-Nooh will prove a test) to set up a meeting with Higgins and if that happens I think he’ll progress further to a possible match up with Robertson in the quarter finals, at the odds on offer and considering he’s playing well I think Bingham is worth an each way bet in this.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Stuart Bingham

Quarter 3

Another wide open section this with the member of the fab four in this one being Mark ‘6 minutes and 13 seconds’ Selby. Other names that might fancy their chances in this section include Mark Williams, Dave Gilbert and Stephen Maguire and there are some fancy prices around in the quarter betting if you don’t fancy Selby to emerge, he’s arguably the most likely of the top four to perhaps slip up in the early stages with Ricky Walden, a player who likes it here, in his mini-section. Although he’s definitely playing better than he was last season, The Jester is still a little inconsistent and for me he’s not a player to be putting the mortgage on this week. If it wasn’t for the fact that he generally runs out of steam in long events I’d quite fancy a punt on Graeme Dott from what I think is a pretty decent section of the draw. Gilbert still seeks his maiden ranking title and what a week this would be to do that, he has to have a decent chance of making at least the semis and from there with his Masters debut surely already in the bag for after Christmas, who knows?

Predicted Quarter Winner: Dave Gilbert

Quarter 4

It’s only November and Judd Trump has already won £412,000 this season, with three ranking titles already won and the first talk in snooker for some time of potential domination of the sport, he’s definitely embraced his World Champion status and is sweeping all before him with some incredible snooker. It’s fair to say that his section of the draw right up to the Last 16 is extremely winnable, even if he isn’t on his A game so it would be a big shock not to see him at the business end of things again. The only threat I can really see to him making the last eight without coming out of first gear is Gary Wilson but you’d not expect Gary to reverse the Crucible semi-final result there. It’s all set up for a quarter final between him and Mark Allen who also has a fairly straightforward route to the last 16, try as I might I can’t see anything other than a Trump/Allen quarter final and I think if there is anyone this week that could possibly spring a surprise on Judd, it’s Allen.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Mark Allen.

Recommended Outright Bets: Mark Allen at 16/1, Stuart Bingham each way at 35/1, Dave Gilbert each way at 50/1, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh each way at 130/1. Allen at 9/2 and Bingham at 8/1 to win their quarter. Quarter 3 winner punts on Graeme Dott at 20/1, Ricky Walden at 25/1. 

You can view the draw here

November 22, 2019

An Interview with a Rocket

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:03 pm

Decided to play here after all

With the Betway UK Championship fast approaching, the sponsors Betway have caught up with the defending champion to talk about stuff, it was probably meant to be focused on the event but as ever with Ronald it kind of veers off into other avenues, although to be fair they do a half decent job of reeling him back in to the matters in hand.

He talks about why last year’s win meant more to him than a lot of his others, what he feels about being compared to other sporting greats and why it’s not the right time to be making comparisons between him and Judd Trump….

Three decades and 72 titles into his professional career, there will be one thing motivating Ronnie O’Sullivan when he pitches up at the York Barbican to defend the Betway UK Championship title.

“Coffee,” O’Sullivan says. “There are some lovely coffee bars up there, there are a couple of fantastic restaurants.”

O’Sullivan is smirking as he says this, but the inference is clear: simply turning up isn’t enough for him anymore. There has to be something more to get him going.

Take winning last year’s UK Championship, which he celebrated with far more gusto than usual, standing on the barriers surrounding the table and lifting the trophy aloft before pouring a bottle of water over his head.

“I was being riled up by the crowd,” says O’Sullivan, who is the second-favourite to defend his title in 2020.

“Obviously, it was an important match and sometimes your emotions overspill.”

“I took quite a bit of stick during the game, which I thought was a bit uncalled for. It became more emotional for me than usual.”

But there was more to it than that.

“I just thought: ‘Two fingers up to you. You’re going to have to watch me celebrate 19 major titles.’”

By winning his 19th Triple Crown event – five World Championships, seven UK Championships and seven Masters titles – O’Sullivan became the most prolific major winner in snooker history, beating Stephen Hendry’s tally of 18.

The record reaffirms what several people already believed, that O’Sullivan is the sport’s greatest ever player.

In a recent Instagram post, the Rocket declared breaking Hendry’s record as “one of my proudest moments as a snooker player…a huge achievement”, seeming to finding a level of satisfaction that generally eludes him.

“It’s the consistency,” O’Sullivan says. “Anything that relates to consistency is pretty cool, and it was done over a long period of time.

“I’ve won a lot of major tournaments with a lot of pressure involved. I think it’s got to be up there with one of the best achievements that anyone can achieve in any sport.”

Reaching the top of your game inevitably results in cross-sport comparisons.

Neil Robertson referred to O’Sullivan as the “Roger Federer of the snooker table, and probably even better than that” in March, a comment that O’Sullivan admitted he was flattered by.

“The best way to be able to judge how your career’s gone is by comparing it to others,” he says.

“I look at Federer and Tiger Woods going for their majors in tennis and golf. They have four majors a year, whereas we have three, but I’ve been going a bit longer, which I suppose makes my record not look so good. I haven’t done the maths.”

Those that have, however, will see that though O’Sullivan has been going longer, his record in majors stands up next to Federer’s and Woods’.

The Rocket has triumphed in 25 per cent of the Triple Crown events he has competed in, winning 19 of 76. Federer pips that record, winning 25.6 per cent of his majors so far, while Woods has won 17.9 per cent of his.

O’Sullivan was comfortably the youngest major winner, too, winning the UK Championship at just 17, whereas Federer and Woods were 22 and 21 respectively.

It’s not hard to see why he has kept pace with such phenomena. The sportspeople he admires most are perfectionists, obsessed with winning, and combine it ruthlessly with their genius talent.

Consequently, O’Sullivan has become more impatient with mediocrity.

“Because I’ve played sport, I look at lesser players in other sports and just see them as the equivalent of someone down the rankings in snooker,” he says.

“I just think: ‘I ain’t got time to watch people like that.’ I want to watch someone who’s doing the business.

“I wouldn’t watch tennis unless it’s Federer, Djokovic or Nadal. I wouldn’t watch football unless Messi’s playing and I wouldn’t watch golf unless it’s Tiger Woods. I switch over to something else.”

Where O’Sullivan doesn’t compare is prize money. His career earnings from snooker sit at £10.9m – a remarkable sum, but one that is dwarfed by Federer’s £103.5m and Woods’ £118.7m.

“Tennis, golf, F1 and football are global sports,” says O’Sullivan. “I’m not stupid, they look totally glamorous.

“Snooker’s appeal is not as great. I get it, but you make the best of what you can do.”

Not a great just yet

The emergence of Judd Trump as a serial winner should boost snooker’s profile, with O’Sullivan now facing a genuine rival in terms of winning trophies and doing so with panache.

Trump wrestled the Masters title off him last January, beating him in the final, before winning the World Championship in May.

But O’Sullivan says it is too early to judge whether Trump can challenge him for the crown of snooker’s GOAT.

“We’re best off having this conversation in 10 years’ time,” he says.

“To be an all-time great you’ve got to do it over 10 to 12 to 15 years. He’s had one good season, and great sportsmen do it for far longer than that.

“He’s a fantastic player and a fantastic talent, but talent will only take you so far. There are a few more ingredients involved.”

For all of his nonchalance, O’Sullivan thinks and speaks like a champion.

After 27 years of walking the walk, it is fair to say he belongs in the company of Federer, Woods and others when it comes to being one, too.

Ronnie was speaking to Betway 

November 19, 2019

WIN! Tickets for the Betway UK Championship!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:00 am

The team at UK Championship sponsors Betway have been in touch and offered me some tickets to give away for the UK Championship in York this year, so people, it’s competition time.

The tickets on offer are for the evening session of Thursday 5th December at The Barbican, I have two pairs of tickets up for grabs.

Please only enter if you intend to go or know someone that would gladly take them off your hands, they are non-transferable (i.e. you can’t sell them) as it’s names on the Guest List at the door on the night.

HOW TO WIN – GUESS THE WINNERS

The simple task you have in front of you is to simply select the winner of each of these matches, which all take place on the opening day of play, Tuesday 26th November. As a tie break question you should give your estimate of the highest break of the day. In the event of a tie, this will be used to select the winners.

So here are the matches:

HOW TO ENTER:

Tweet your 16 selections with using the hashtag #SBUKtickets and follow this with your highest break of Day 1 guess – example below

 

RULES:

One entry per person.

Entries close the minute the first ball of the day is struck.

In the event of a tie in the predicted match score, those closest to the highest break of the day will win the tickets.

The winners will be decided by me with no arguments.

November 1, 2019

Champion of Champions

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:16 am

You wouldn’t want it in the house

I’ve really not been switched on at all to the snooker so far this season, but with the cold days and nights beginning to bite, I think this week will finally wake me from my slumber as we head to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for the annual Champion of Champions event, covered by ITV4.

Now usually this corner of the internet would be peppered with childish quips relating to the unfortunate hashtag that this event has afforded itself, largely I’ll confess down to me. Knob gags and frankly juvenile innuendo would be well under way by now, but not this year, oh no, a brave new dawn means that I’m not going to be making any suggestive noises about feeling aroused by the week ahead or looking forward to the climax or anything of the sort. This is serious stuff and will be treated as such by me, no more Mr Smutty. I promise.

I’m really not sure why I’ve not taken any interest in the snooker so far this season, but as winter draws in and the heating goes on I’m hoping that this will bring with it a rebirth of my passion for all things baizey. It has happened to me before actually, I more or less switched off from snooker from around 1997 until I started this website in 2010. During that period I only really bothered with the World Championship and The Masters and even then you’d not find me in an arsedent in the sofa for 17 days in early Springtime. I can’t think what it was that got me back into it but since 2010 I’ve more or less been 24/7 snooker so I suppose I am due a bit of downtime now and then.

I like this event, which is weird really because I shouldn’t. It has best of seven matches, a weird group format for the first few days, far too much lighting and it’s played on what can only be described as an oversized pool table, yet it is one of the events in the calendar that I’ve come to look forward to, possibly because it’s the first of the ITV ones, whose coverage (and adverts for funeral planning) I think is excellent.

In terms of the table, it’s manufactured by Rasson and is probably one of the ugliest tables I have ever clapped eyes on. Despite it’s hideous exterior however it was roundly praised by all who graced it last season with several top players saying they preferred it to the Star Tables used at every other event, so it just goes to show that you shouldn’t always judge a book by it’s cover.

There has already been some controversy in terms of the field this year, at time of writing there is a strong possibility that Jimmy White will be lining up as World Seniors Champion, even though this is not a main tour event, this only won’t happen if Michael Holt wins the World Open, whoever it is will face Ronnie O’Sullivan on Thursday. Less controversially we also welcome Women’s World Champion Reanne Evans to the event and she lines up against Shaun Murphy on the opening Monday.

Anyway, I just thought I’d post something up about this to try and get my interest going again ahead of a few decent events coming up, not least the UK Championship at the end of the month in York which is always a great occasion, I might post a few bets up on Twitter in amongst my political rants and retweets about rescuing dogs and definitely NO smutty knob related snooker gags.

It wouldn’t really be fair of me to post any recommends up as I’ve hardly watched a ball this season but I’ll probably have a crack on Neil Robertson in the outrights as he’s had plenty of time to find his way there having not been playing in China this week. It should be a decent week and I look forward to settling down on the winter weeknights to watch it, there’s nothing like settling down to a bit of CO…..STOP IT. 

The official Champion of Champions website can be found here

CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS DRAW & SCHEDULE

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 4 | GROUP 4
1pm
 | Group Semi-Finals (best of 7)
Neil Robertson vs. Martin Gould

Shaun Murphy vs. Reanne Evans

7pm | Group Final (best of 11)

Robertson/Gould vs. Murphy/Evans

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 | GROUP 3
1pm
 | Group Semi-Finals (best of 7)

Mark Selby vs. Yan Bingtao
Mark Allen vs. Matthew Selt

7pm | Group Final (best of 11)

Selby/Yan vs. Allen/Selt

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6 | GROUP 2
1pm
 | Group Semi-Finals (best of 7)

Judd Trump vs. Stephen Maguire
Kyren Wilson vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

7pm | Group Final (best of 11)

Trump/Maguire vs. Wilson/Un-Nooh

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7 | GROUP 1
1pm
 | Group Semi-Finals (best of 7)

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs. Jimmy White 
John Higgins vs. Stuart Bingham

7pm | Group Final (best of 11)

O’Sullivan/White vs. Higgins/Bingham

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 | Semi-Final
Winner Group 1 vs. Winner Group 4

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9 | Semi-Final
Winner Group 2 vs. Winner Group 3

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10
The Final

October 21, 2019

Update

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:36 pm

Just to say I’ll not be blogging with the intense frequency of previous years for the forseeable future, mainly because I’m not really keeping a close eye on the snooker at the moment and therefore any post would be pretty half-hearted.

I plan to continue to cover the big events and may dip in and out of some of the others but it’s fair to say that I’m taking a back seat on snooker blogging at the moment and leaving it to others.

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.

 

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