Brits again feel ‘snookered’ by pool players

Dec 23, 2008 5:00 PM
by Ray Poirier | Avoiding being "snookered" is probably the reason Nevada bookmakers don’t put odds up on such things as pool tournaments. They’re just chuckling over their British counterparts who dared put odds up on a "snooker" tournament.

Snooker, a form of pool or billiards, is very popular in England so getting a lot of action on the U.K. Snooker Championship was sort of expected. However, they became suspicious when the No. 2 player drew a ton of money on the proposition that he would win by a score of 9-3.

Tension really built, however, when the match entered the final phase with the player leading. His opponent needed only to make a final shot to end the match at 8-4. But, he failed.

After the match, the loser was quoted as saying, "I just felt so under pressure, probably the most pressure I have felt in my life. Then to come off (to miss the shot) was the lowest feeling, I felt terrible."

So did the bookmakers who immediately froze all wagers and reported the incident to British wagering officials. A conviction for cheating at gambling can lead to a two-year prison term.

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association did not comment specifically on the case but reiterated its stance on match-fixing.

"The match in question is carefully monitored by World Snooker and a thorough assessment of the players’ performance will be made. In past incidents, which are extremely rare, World Snooker has taken a particularly stringent line where players have been judged guilty of match-fixing or intention to match-fix."

A dozen years ago, a player was suspended for five years for conspiring to lose 10-2 to his opponent in the World Championship.

In the minds of some bookmakers, this year’s championship was just "déjà vu all over again."