Your snooker cue is one of the most important pieces of equipment in the game. A well built cue will be rigid and sturdy enough to stand up to the entire range of shots being played in the modern game – stunning a long red to get in and playing a delicate stun when in the short game. Your snooker cue should be reliable and in perfect condition as it can lead you to become more confident in your own game. If you have the opportunity, pickup a proper hand made Ash or Maple cue that is in great condition. The confidence in knowing you have a world class hand made cue will make you that much more confident on the table and improve your game.

Tony Fun – Interview with a Canadian Snooker Player

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I had the pleasure to interview Tony Fun, a close friend, and someone I have learned a great deal of snooker from. Tony has been a competitive snooker player since the 1970’s, is a century runner that visited England, played with Peter Ebdon, and was the recipient of Marco Fu’s first 147 maximum break. Enjoy the interview and please do leave some comments below.

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Tony’s accomplishments and Personal History in snooker

I first saw a pool table at the age of 6 at a friend’s house. I gravitated to it right away. The more I played the more I enjoyed it. I found over the next couple of years I was making friends with just about anyone with a pool table. In 1972 or 73 at 11 or 12 years old I saw a snooker match being played on TV, I don’t know who was but I remember seeing these guys in tuxedos playing on a table the size of a football field. That was it. A year or so later I was playing some straight pool at Brentwood Bowling Lanes on a 4 ½ x 9 ft table and a friend invited me up to a snooker room by the name of Jubilee billiards. The only snooker room in Vancouver with a 24 hr licence, a smoke filled hall boasting 12 beautiful 6’ x12’ snooker tables.

At 13 I didn’t have a curfew and often joined friends to go up and play snooker until very late in the morning. I was playing a game now that was so exciting I couldn’t sit still on the days I knew we would be going up there. In order to get cash for table time I would save birthday money, Christmas money, take in bottles and even wore my lacrosse jersey to go house to house looking for donations to team tournaments that didn’t exist. On days I made enough I would tell my friends to leave me in the pool room at 3 or 4 am and I would take a bus home. I would play until I ran out of money and then brush tables for more practice time. I was not yet playing well but was quite determined. Many occasions I got to watch some of the top players on the front table; this would just inspire me more. I remember once traveling on the bus and whenever I could see my reflection in the windows I would stand, take my snooker stance and stroke looking behind in to the reflection to see if I was cueing straight. Many a bus driver had to wonder what the hell this skinny kid was doing.

By the time I was 15 going on 16, I had left home and in to my first apartment in White Rock BC. My landlord knew I was under age and that I was lying about my age but seemed to like me. I had a mattress, a small tv, 1 pot 1 pan and cutlery for 1. In the town was a small pool room with one snooker table and the rest were 5 x 10’s. No one played on the snooker table so the owner let me practice on it if I kept it clean and freed it up should someone wanted it. Within a couple of months my landlord offered me his push button Valliant if I would put gas in it…back to Jubilee. I played some of the locals and faired ok but then early one morning I was practicing on the front table as there was no one else around. A young oriental guy named Danny Dee stood watching me; I asked if he would like to play. He said no thanks, but this guy will. This was the first time I met Tommy Lee…we played for 2 dollars a game. I remember thinking “wholly crap, this guy only shoots black balls”. I was a quick study so Tommy only took 4 dollars from me and I paid $1.80 in pool time. I began to play him every chance I got and even moved closer to Jubilee so I could bus or walk to the hall. I played with Tommy for 2 solid years and became a first class ball spotter and my math was fast and accurate. Two of the most dominate things in my game came out of the beatings I took from him, one was my long potting game as it was the only way I ever got in. The 2nd was learning to make everything possible when I got in because there was seldom a chance I would get a second opportunity in the same frame. I cannot count the amount of times I had breaks of 60 + points and lost the frame. Over the next 4 years there were endless games of cut throat (or follow) the last whole evenings or sometimes days.

Around my 17th birthday I was playing a set on a Friday night with Rene Gauthier (The younger brother of Tom, a very well-known cue maker). The match started out as any other with Rene a very competent potter, missed a first red in and I compiled my first century break of 108. I had worked so hard at achieving this I couldn’t believe it. To me, running a century meant “you are a player”. It was possibly one of the greatest nights of my life; I still wonder if I knew how many points I had through the run would I have been able to break the barrier. I kept the same shirt I was wearing that night for 36 years. Now I wanted every possible century break available, always keeping an eye out if there were 10 or more reds on the table. Always keeping an eye out to clear the black if was hung up somehow because there was a never ending goal in mind. The second century seemed even harder, but more importantly I was breaking many more 60’s 70’s and 80’s. Now you couldn’t get me off a table with a whip and a chair. Over the next few months I had met Brady Gollan from Kelowna who was 15 at the time. We got along well and I had a car…we spent a lot of time together when he was in town visiting different clubs. Around that time I believe he had just won the Jr and under 21 Canadian championships. He was incredible, one of the most naturally talented snooker players I have ever met with an insatiable hunger for action. This is a whole other story.

At the age of 19 I was beginning to enter local tournaments and joined the BC Snooker association. I did ok at starting rounds but up against the stronger players still around like Tommy Lee, Jimmy or Johnny Bear, Jerry Kapchinsky and many more I was a little fish. As I continued to practice, play and gamble the game of snooker was sliding away in interest. Tournaments were getting less all the time; the top players were no longer around or just not playing. It seemed I and a few others were the last of the new generation. There was some action, a few tournaments and the odd head to head matches but nothing compared to earlier years. I was now in my twenties and compiling quite a number of centuries but not against the players of yesterday, this was disheartening as it felt like I missed the opportunity to push past the cliff of being in my mind “average”. So snooker maintained at this “average” for a few years.

At the age of 26 I started to have some tingling in my hands and sore joints, not understanding what the cause as I was in quite good health considering how much I smoked over the years of playing snooker. After 4 months of testing it was concluded that I had a rare spinal disease that was at that time 1 in 900 thousand that were affected. The disease had “no cause and no cure” With an expectation of much pain and an eventual wheel chair. Sometime later I began to lose sensitivity, strength and feeling in my hands and legs. The night before the surgery I had to sign a waiver that because they were working so close to my central nervous system I may permanently lose the use of my legs. Funny that in all that, the only thing I could think of was losing the ability to play snooker. Nothing meant more to me.

The surgery was successful and relieved much of the pressure in my spine; however recovery was about 18 months…no snooker with stitches from the base of my neck & halfway up my skull. As soon as I could walk and move around I would go up to the snooker club to sit and watch all day. This was more painful than the surgery to watch others play; at times I just wanted to jump up, grab my cue and push someone aside off the front table. About 14 months later I would stretch as much as possible, each day trying to get a little further over the table. A total of 18 months later I could get back to my physical form over the balls, but couldn’t play. It felt like starting over and could only stand a couple of hours a day at most. About this time a small golf shop opened next to what was now the new Jubilee, a gentleman by the name of Doug Bogle worked there and was often in the club for coffee. It turned out not only was he a player from the old days of snooker but had spent quite a bit of time with Cliff Thorburn when he was in his prime. I got talking with Doug and it turned out he was monumental for my recovery; he was a great snooker coach and golf coach. He spent many hours in repositioning my body to combine comfort and freedom with a solid platform. It took about 6 months of which time I had never felt so grateful to continue playing this incredible game again, to not only achieve the level of game I previously attained but now starting to surpass it. I had been studying snooker by video tapes for almost 2 years (and actually wore 3 tapes completely out) and was now beginning to learn to apply some of what I had learned to my own game. In 9 months I was playing to a level I had yet to achieve. I was 28 and compiling centuries to the level I quit counting.

At this time I woke up every single day gracious, but again there was not much going on for snooker. I had gone back to work for the most of a year and saved some money. My mother had recently passed and I had a small inheritance so with this combination I was by no means wealthy but didn’t have to work immediately. I thought I may have reached a plateau as I was headed to Calgary to play a tournament at the Crystal Palace, the night before leaving had 2 century breaks over a 2 hr session against Wade Bryant and 1 against Tom Gauthier at the original Alpha billiards in New Westminster BC. Back in Vancouver I was sitting in the Jubilee snooker club daydreaming about when I was 11 or 12 watching snooker on TV and how I had always dreamed of going to England, the home of snooker. The next morning I went to the passport office to get a passport as fast as possible. In such short notice they would only grant me a 6 month passport. 3 days later I was on a plane. I had no hotel or accommodations booked nor did I know anyone. I had a suitcase, a snooker cue with a Canadian flag on it, and on arrival at Heathrow had nowhere to go. Come to think of I had not told anyone I had left. Two weeks later I was playing in a house tournament against Peter Ebdon at Kings Cross, of course not knowing who he was. (He was the #1 amateur in England at that time). From there was 5 months of snooker heaven, playing in sometimes 2 tournaments a day. Peter was such an incredible host…so much more to tell.

Almost to the day…6 months later I was home. I kept a pair of 6 month old low heeled shoes as a souvenir as they were most comfortable for playing long hours of snooker. 4 months after buying them I had played so much snooker that I had worn completely through the leather on the right outside portion as this was a pressure point in my stance. My baby toe was sticking through the shoe. Well again, there was not much going on for snooker in Vancouver…but it no longer mattered. Looking back I was fortunate enough to play against these younger players and got a firsthand look at the quality of the amateurs that were on their way up. I won a number of matches based on experience and being on form that day but also lost many matches simply by being outplayed. I was so overwhelmed at how talented and deserving these players were. Their achievements came from nothing short of hard work and dedication. They wanted every point available but played with the discipline in making good choices. The first lesson that came my way was in modesty. Was I disappointed in my outcome, absolutely not…I didn’t go to England in hopes of turning pro, I went to find out what my best was and could be. And I did. After playing on the conditions of English tables that were for the most fantastic and consistent, then coming home to Brunswick Anniversaries where your fingernails were dirty after 2 frames and no one to play…I quit.

A few years later, friends that had a club in Port Moody BC called me up and asked if there was any chance I could come down on the Saturday to their Snooker hall. I said that I wasn’t playing and had a date that night. Bob the owner said “were not looking for you to play, there’s a kid down here we want you to look at, he had to ban from the junior tournament. He’s 13 and knocking in 70 breaks. No one else wants to play”. I immediately considered my date secondary, cancelled it and went down to the club that Saturday night. As I walked in I saw a very typical looking Chinese man with a kid next to him. Bob said “Tony, I’d like you to meet Marco Fu and his father Willie” We chatted for a few minutes, Marco’s English was much better than Willie’s but both were very polite and I enjoyed speaking with them. We decided to have a game on an 18th century Samuel May table. I watched as Marco pulled out a 15 oz snooker cue with about a 8.5 or 9mm tip. The butt looked like a weathered fence post as the stain had worn off. We played a few frames and ended up pretty much even, I wanted to play snooker again. I began to meet Marco for practice sessions (watched intently by his father Willie). Marco was all about offence, not surprizing the way he could pot. Willie asked me to work with Marco but in a very short time I felt I had reached my limit as I too was very much a feel player and had limited teaching capabilities. After watching Marco long enough to know he was something special, there was another strength which was his maturity and ability to concentrate to a level beyond his age. At that point I did not want to cause any complications with Marco’s progression and thought it best I introduce him to Tommy Lee. Much more to tell, but about 18 months later Marco and I both played at the Canadian Championships in Guelph Ontario where Marco was the youngest qualifier ever to play in the event. Marco was not allowed to attend the dinner where there was an honorable mention in his name as his mother heard there was alcohol present.

I played over the next few years as new members on the BC Snooker council were getting more tournaments together. In a practise session at a new club Embassy Snooker where I met Marco for an afternoon session, I expected Marco to beat me up a little as he was starting to excel again. But today was a little different, I broke and he broke his first maximum break…I think he was 15. At this point Marco was winning every match and tournament he entered, at one point I believe Marco had gone 34 matches without a loss. For me it is worth mentioning that Marco ‘s winning streak ended when I won 5 to 3 over him at Western Canadians in Vancouver. The last game came down to a final black. After 3 well played safety’s on Marco’s behalf, I was left on the green side of the table with the cue ball 2 inches up and 1 inch off the side rail and the black 3” up from the top rail and an inch off the side rail. Safety was marginal at best, so bridging over the corner pocket I released my cue as if the black was over the pocket. I did not see the black disappear…but it sound like someone snapped a piece of wood. I would have to say this was a tournament best for me based on Marco’s performance over the last months without a loss.

Over the next few years I had played at the Club 147 in Langley BC on a gorgeous BCE Westbury with a gentleman named Bill Beatle. Bill was from The 70’s and knew Cliff quite well. This table was identical to those played at the World Championships, including the cloth. Bill was a great player and an expert at everything he did – world class target shooter, jewelry maker, wine coinsure and a hell of a snooker player. This club was the last I played regularly at, had quite a number of centuries on this table as well. The last larger tournament I played was at the Western Canadian Championships in Winnipeg Manitoba. I was happy to finish as a quarter finalist with my health again becoming challenging. A thousand dollar check was a nice added feature to the trip. Over the last couple of years of play I had Marco Fu join me in an exhibition match with proceeds going to a local hospital. This was quite close to the time Marco was leaving for Hong Kong and then England. Great to watch his progression over the years, I am not surprized at his success whatsoever.

Summary: Shortly after I met my wife, changed careers and had kids… snooker began to show up in the rear view mirror. I play now and again at Kevin Deroo’s home about 20 minutes from mine, but it feels like little gas is left in the tank. I’ve gained some weight, eyes going and have somewhat taken a spectators seat. I look back at my life in snooker at 55 and feel so incredibly fortunate to have had the experiences I have with the sport I love. Having the privilege in meeting and playing with professional players like Cliff Thorburn, Bill Werbenuik, Jim Wych, Kirk Stevens, Peter Ebden, Dennis Taylor, Willie Thorn, Brady Gollan and Marco Fu as well as a number of the top Canadian players was amazing. The time spent playing the game of snooker and the experiences of what comes with the clubs, the people, the gamble and the never ending curiosity of what the next day brings is hard to put in to words. I always said if I put the effort in to anything else as I did snooker I couldn’t fail. This is true as like the game of snooker only gives us what we put in; it forces us to be honest with ourselves in order to make it to each next level.

Stories you can ask me about

  • The longest follow game I ever played – 42 hrs 7 different players
  • Jubilee Billiards – Standard Sat. night raid
  • Tommy Lee – falls asleep on a perfect game of blues
  • Tommy Lee vs Jim Wych – Seymour billiards – penalty frame
  • Brady Gollan – follow game in Port Coquitlam. Paul Stanton, Reed Unger,
  • Brady Gollan vs Bill Werbenuik
  • Brady Gollan Vs Tom Finstad – Western Canadians Washroom break(Jerry Kap)
  • Bill Werbenuik – pints of lager Ace Billiards trick shots
  • Crystal Palace – Russ Schuster Pranks
  • Jubilee – newspaper set on fire – bet
  • The flight to England – almost kicked off the flight
  • First day in England – Ritz snooker club
  • Meeting Peter Ebden first time in final of house tournament (breakfast)
  • Kings Crossing – Kids & practice
  • Snooker clubs in England – private rooms, sound proofing, tv waiters, block irons
  • My snooker cues stolen and retrieved
  • Baz Nagle & Willie Mosconi
  • My buddy Charlie Brown – gambler, rounder – cards, snooker, 9ball, golf
  • Brady Gollan – Little Paul snooker and golf 400.00

Ton Fun’s Achievements

  • Qualified and played at 2 Canadian Snooker Championships
  • Guelph Ontario, Vancouver BC
  • Qualified and played at 2 Western Canadian Championships
  • Vancouver BC, Winnipeg Manitoba Finished ¼ finals
  • Qualified for pro am Vancouver BC
  • Including Cliff Thorburn, John Bear, Brady Gollan
  • Won BC Tournament at Chenier Billiards
  • Placed 1st in BC Qualifiers for the year 1995
  • Century breaks – unknown played 13 years after my first

Memorable Photos


Tony Fun with Marco Fu at the Black Dog Billiards, a charity fund raising exhibition match


Black Dog Billiards, a charity fund raising exhibition match. The cheque is being accepted for New Westminster Memorial Hospital


Canadian Snooker Championship in Guelph Ontario with Hal Grobman


Tony Fun at the Canadian Snooker Championship in Guelph Ontario solo photo



Thank you for reading!

Do you want me to answer specific questions about snooker?

I’m happy to share what I know and answer specific questions any readers may have. Please feel free to use the comment box below, and I will personally answer any questions you may have. Thanks!


How to Fix your Cue Action and Stance – Analysis of Duane

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A commenter, Duane, asked me a number of questions recently as you can see at the following comments on a few of my articles. Duane sent me some videos of himself playing on a pool table and I provided a bunch of feedback through analysis and assessment of his cue action. If you are looking for FREE assessment or analysis of your cue action, stance, stroke, or game play, send some videos of you playing snooker, billiards, pool, or any cue sport. I love watching these videos and learning from my students and providing feedback to help them.

SCROLL to the END of the article to see the video

Hello Mayur
I am working on approach and coming down slowly it does seem to be a key ingredient in great play when you say look at the cueball while feathering do you mean on your practice strokes and then are you looking at the object ball aim point only once at the flow through

Thanks this is great insight into the game

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Hello Mayur
Thanks for responding to my question .It has been very helpful. I am currently implementing some of your suggestions and am having some good results.Yes I am interested in hearing more of your thoughts n this subject. I believe steering is a major reason why I and others miss balls.I in particular fall victim to this because I have difficult looking at the object ball last

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Great instructional video on fundamentals. I learned a lot about what I should be doing and shouldn’t.
Here are some question I have problems with.
One ,what is the best way to make sure your stroking arm is on line ,and straight ,mine tends to chicken wing out off line or in ,but not fall straight on line.
Two what is the best way to release the cue straight( follow stroke) some times I feel I jerk the cue especially on firm strokes I feel aim holding the cue loose but I still am steering. Thanks looking forward to hearing your response

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Hello everyone. Great article on pressure and how to use it. I never thought about it that way And it really shed some light on why I Need to play more safe, instead of just going for it.

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Hello I live in the US. I am a serious student .I have played pool ,snooker and billiards for 25 years. I currently play 8 ball, 9 ball, and 10 ball, and one pocket.I have been recently getting lower on the ball for improved aim My high run back 15 years ago was 69 on 5 dx10 but have not played snooker in several years .I play with a 60 inch cue 19 oz with Predator z 2 shaft 11 3/4 mm. I am trying to make it to the next level and believe that fundamentals is one of the main ways to do this. I would appreciate any help you have to offer. Thanks Duane

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In the video below, I provided various feedback to Duane, talking about:

  • Importance of having a stable, predictable, and well planned stance and how it’s important to stand in the right place, facing your shot head on, with both feet, and learning to walk into the line of aim correctly.
  • General recommendations on height vs cue size
  • Thinking about how to play safe in 8-ball and 9-ball vs snooker and why playing safe is an inevitability at some point in any cue sport. I also mentioned about the art of safety play on the smaller table. I also mentioned about the push shot in 9-ball off the break.
  • Mentioned some strategies to prevent steering – namely that steering actually starts from the stance and pre-routine.
  • How to think about the ghost ball in you pre-shot routine and mentioned that it helps in identification of the 1/4, 1/2 ball, and 3/4 ball
  • How to prevent aiming when you are down and why aiming in cue sports is so difficult.
  • How to create an approach system for getting into your shots
  • Accuracy in cue sports (snooker, pool, 8-ball, 9-ball, billiards, etc)
  • Talked about traditional cue action mechanics and getting your head down low and why it’s important to actually have your head down vs being a stand up player.
  • What happens when your head is above the cue
  • Slight variance about missing shots
  • Twisting of the wrist and why it’s happening and when Duane’s wrist came out of line on the backswing
  • Conscious vs Subconscious potting and wrist issues
  • How to create a stance that actually works
  • I also mentioned Mark Allen, Mark Selby, and Ronnie O’Sullivan
  • Thinking about the body being a starting point that can either inhibit or enhance your aiming system

There are MANY more comments in the video. PLEASE comment and enjoy!

CLICK HERE to watch on YOUTUBE. COMMENT on YOUTUBE or in the comments below or on Facebook! Thanks!!

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The current state of Snooker cues from China

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Snooker is quickly becoming an international game.  For the longest time, it was a game dominated by players from the British Isles – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – but it’s not that way anymore. Now there is a strong following in Germany, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and many other countries.  It’s even gaining a bit of momentum in Canada as well.

Why has snooker become more popular internationally? Well, in part, technology and televised sport has played an important role.  Players from all over the world can now go online to watch their country men (and women) play. Snooker can also be more easily broadcasted outside of the UK now with Satellite and online streaming of events and feature programming.  Self-recording and uploading amateur and home made content is a breeze now as well with Youtube and cheap video cameras available. Even World Snooker, the governing body, has an online Snooker streaming web site at so that you can watch live officially sanctioned events and matches anywhere in the world. Access to more matches, more content, and more information (like this blog), has inspired younger players to continue playing and support the sport.

China, in particular, has had some incredible success with Snooker.  There are several top 100 players from China now and it’s suggested that China will bring the next World Champion before any other country outside of the British Isles. That may well happen given the number of snooker clubs and players in China – several times more than in the rest of the world combined. Incredibly, in a recent televised World Championship round when two players from China were competing, there were some 100 million people watching back in China!

Cue making, however, is still being lead by British Isles cue makers.  Or is it?

I think it’s inevitable that since China is investing and supporting the game of snooker, they are bound to support the cue supply needs of their snooker players as well. In addition, making and shipping a cue from UK to China is still relatively expensive compared to the cost of making a cue in China and selling to the local market.

But are Chinese or Asian cues just as good as their British counterparts?  I think for a few makers in China, they are. In fact, I can honestly say that they are easily as good, if not better than British made cues.  I’m not just basing my opinion on my own experience – I actually have a few cues made in Thailand which are sold in UK under the “Greenbaize” brand.  They are superb cues, have intricate and perfectly aligned points and inlays, and hit better than some British made cues I have tried.  I’m also saying this because I am starting to see the standard improve as I see more and more cues made in China. It’s bound to happen given that so many cues are still being imported from Britain to China right now. Chinese cue makers will eventually master their craft and produce cues at the same level of quality as you would get from England.

If had to be ultra critical of Asian made cues, I would say that some years ago, the shaft woods were not as good. Was it the lack of high quality, old growth Ash and Maple? I think it’s less of an issue now though. In the past, British cue makers (and some Canadian cue makers like Kevin Deroo) may have done a slightly better job. But it’s not a hard and fast rule anymore.

If you have hesitated about buying an Asian cue, fear no more. Do your research, read up advice on TheSnookerForum, and go for it. The prices are competitive, and the quality is just as good.

Playing Poorly? Is it your Snooker cue?

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Are you concerned your cue isn’t up to snuff?  Do you think it’s too light, too heavy, too narrow, or thick, or the wrong tip size? Read on and measure your cue up against my recommendations below.

Snooker requires a delicate, consistent, and precise acceleration of your cue. There are some basic characteristics of a good cue that I believe are a minimum requirement in playing snooker:

Cue Weight

A cue weighing between 17-19oz.  Players with more upper body mass, bigger hands and Popeye arms can probably get away with a heavier cue but I think you can’t go much more than 19oz to play the game properly.  Rumor has it that Jimmy White plays with a 21oz cue and if that’s true, it’s explains in part his inability to control the white ball precisely (although his cue action is to blame as well). If your cue weighs much more than 19oz, you will find it difficult to accelerate the cue precisely and play the controlled stuns and screws required.  Conversely, if your cue weighs anything below 17oz, you may find the opposite problem of over-accelerating your arm to get any consistent cue ball movement.  There are some instances where you can get away with a very light cue.  Some of the old vintage cues you see on Ebay weigh 15-16oz but the wood is old growth Ash and Maple that’s well seasoned and lively.

Cue Length

Cue length is a controversial one to recommend.  A few factors play a role in what length is good for you including the average distance between your bridge and cueing hand, your height (shorter people should actually have a longer cue), and how you cue (a long backstroke vs a short one).  If you tend to have long back swings, a longer cue might be beneficial. If you tend to lock out your bridge arm below vs keeping it bent (what my m8 calls the “broken wing”), then a longer cue is useful to have. I’m 5’9 and although a 57.5″ cue is typical for someone of my height, I tend to stretch my bridge hand out quite far and have a wide distance between my bridge hand cueing hand and so I feel more comfortable with a longer cue.  If you don’t know for certain and are looking to acquire a cue, start with the standard specs of 57.5″ in length. As you learn more about cueing, cue action, and body mechanics, you can get a more appropriate cue, or adjust the one you have.

Tip Size

A tip size between 9.5mm and 10.5mm.  I think right around 9.8mm is perfect.  Tip size is rather important because it determines the contact surface on the cue ball.  In snooker, 9.8mm works very well because it allows for accurate cueing at distance and enough contact surface when you are up close playing delicate stun and screw shots. If you use a tip size below 9.5mm you will find it very difficult to get any consistence on long ball potting as you will often get unintended side spin on the cue ball (and miss the pot).  Above 10.5mm is too large and it becomes hard to find the right contact point to play precise stun and screw shots.  Tip size isn’t a hard and fast rule and if you know what you are doing, experiment and try something different. I do know of at least one player locally who is a very capable century breaker that plays with a 10mm ferrule fitted with an 11mm tip!

Butt Diameter

Butt size is rather important.  If you are just starting to play snooker, go with a standard butt size of 29.5mm.  If however, you have been playing the game a while, and the basics of your cue action have become second nature (someone having played more than 6 months for example), it’s recommended that you stay with the same butt size as was on your previous cue so that your cue action isn’t dramatically affected.  If you have longer than average fingers, or above average height, than a larger butt size may be beneficial.  If the butt size is too big for your hand, your hand won’t release properly from the cue during delivery.  Generally, when cueing you are supposed to have a soft touch with your cueing hand until after the cue ball has been hit.  Think like this when cueing: soft hand feather, soft hand feather, soft hand feather, soft hand backswing, cue ball strike, grip the cue to catch it. The heaving gripping shouldn’t happen until after delivery so a comfortable butt size is important. Conversely, if the butt size is too small, you will find that your wrist starts to twist, turn, and flick.  Some wrist flick is useful to have on certain shots, but if your cue butt size is so small it’s happening on every shot, it’s not good.

Bevel or Not?

On a side note, having a bevel or champfer is something I don’t have a clear answer for. The first 5 years I played the game I used a beveled cue.  Then I stopped for a few years, acquired a few more cues and now am playing with a round butted cue.  I don’t think I would go back to a champfer or bevel now.  I actually believe the champfer could cause more problems than it solves but again, I’m not sure I have the right answer yet.  If you don’t know for certain yourself, or are just starting out and are ordering a custom made cue, have it sent without a bevel.  You can always add it later.

Shaft Taper Characteristics

How a cue shaft is tapered affects how it plays.  I think the “milk bottle” taper is how a snooker shaft should be. This is where most of the shaft is thick until the taper becomes more prominent in the last 12 or so inches up to the ferrule.  This taper provides the strength and horizontal force for long, straight cueing, and the heavier taper in the last 12 or so inches provides just enough flex to get the easy spin and soft touch when in the short game.

Cue makers tend to have a preferred taper they ship cues out with. Some cue makers base their judgement of the taper based on what they believe the wood needs in order to play.  Some like to reduce the cue ball squirt and so thin out the shaft significantly, whereas others like to leave a lot more wood on the shaft and keep the shaft stiff and rigid.

Lower end cues that use less dense Ash and Maple wood tend to ship standard with a very thick shaft. It’s done this way to provide the rigidity but at the cost of cue comfort for the user.  Older vintage cues can be made quite a bit slimmer than average as often the wood is more dense and hardened.

American pool cues come with a straight taper where the last 18-24 inches of the shaft are the same diameter.  It’s done this way because you can impart more side spin on the cue ball – which is standard practice in American pool.  American pool is a top and side spin game, whereas snooker is a screw and stun game. Different shafts are needed to play each game well.  For pool I have a Predator shaft (laminated maple, light weight, less squirt), whereas for snooker, I prefer a very dense and stiff Ash or Maple shaft and am not as concerned about squirt.

I hear players talk about how their cue is “lively” but often, it’s just the way the shaft has been tapered.  You can take a dead hitting cue, increase the shaft flex by tapering it down on a lathe or by hand, and give it a lot more “life” than it had before.

Ash vs Maple and the Shaft Wood

What’s important is the wood itself.  Good cue makers have select Ash or Maple that is well seasoned, aged, dried, and less susceptible to warping. Having straight arrows and lines is a controversial subject and it’s worth some mention. Dense shaft wood with bad arrows will generally play better and with more stiffness than young light weight wood with perfect arrows. Sometimes, lines represent the stiffer part of the tree and so a shaft with many lines can hit well but in other cases too many lines from another tree make the shaft soft and whippy which becomes hard to control and doesn’t play well at all. Don’t be too concerned about arrows or lines if you don’t have a preference or full understanding either way.  Just ask the cue maker for dense, stiff, well seasoned wood and leave it to them.  Some cue makers suggest that arrows affect sighting and won’t ship you a cue without at least some straight arrows on the top part of the playing cue.

Even if you have a first rate cue, it’s still possible the cue just isn’t right for you.  The best way to approach this dilemna, is to go and try some other cues for an extended period of time. If you are lucky enough to have a m8 with a quality cue, ask to borrow it for an hour or so on the practice table.  Please don’t “test” a cue on the match table. Your focus is different in a match situation and you don’t get the focused time as you would in practice.

Still aren’t sure?

Do you want some sage advice on your current playing cue?  Do you need some ideas on what cue you should purchase?  Check out my Snooker cue maker list or leave a comment and share your thoughts!