Game Classes

Snooker Class

Snooker is two games: Part 2: Run the obstacles in sequence (2 thru 7); collect points until you fault; go to the table. Part 1: Do three (or more) red obstacles. Each *successfully* completed entitles (and obligates) you to pick up any numbered obstacle (sequence from part 2 is point value for part 1). If you fault an obstacle in the opening sequence and it's a red, you lose the right to pick up a numbered obstacle. If it's a numbered obstacle, you just don't get the points.

You keep going in the opening sequence, regardless of faulting, unless:

  1. You take a red obstacle more than once
  2. you take more than one numbered obstacle
  3. you take a numbered obstacle without having *successfully* performed a red

Refusals ARE NOT FAULTED in the opening round. (This is one of the intellectual paradoxes of the game. A dog goes to the top of the A-Frame, then clambers back down the way he came. The handler sends dog back up the A-Frame. That is a refusal, and not faulted. Dog side-jumps the long-jump. This is a refusal, and not faulted. Dog runs out left on the weave poles. This is a refusal, and not faulted). [Note: Starters/Novice there are no refusals. Advanced, refusals on contact obstacles only]

What you want to find in a Snooker course is the best flow and most points (you need 37 to Qualify in Advanced and Masters... more Super-Q in Masters). Don't be timid and get satisfied with finishing the course. Be bold enough to plan to have your dog finish obstacle # 7 about 1/2 second before the final whistle blows. That last 7 points always makes the super-Q. Your intellectual challenge is to calculate how much you can get away with in the opening sequence and still finish #7 in the closing. Finding a flowing path for your dog is the key to racking up the points you need. (Bud Houston)

It is STRONGLY advised not to enter green dogs in Snookers. With a green dog we've worked so hard on getting them to sequence obstacles then all the sudden in this one game we ask them to run by equipment and not do them. The confusion this can cause in the dog's mind often shuts down a green dog. If a student can run a complete course at practice then they are ready to PLAY in some game classes at matches and shows. Once they start doing well in the games classes at matches and shows then they're probably ready to give Standard and Regular classes a try. Even after that point, don't try Snookers until the handler and dog have a couple of titling legs in the other classes. (Penny Winegartner)

There are ways to think about Snooker so as not to freeze when a dog misses a contact or knocks a bar. Here is one way to think about the opening sequence in Snooker so that you will know quickly whether to do another red or not. The red "1" obstacles are like locks. You have to have the key to open the lock, which allows you to do the bonus obstacle, that is, the obstacle after the red obstacle. So if you do not properly perform the red "1" obstacle, you do not earn the right to the bonus for unlocking the lock. In other words, if your dog knocks down a bar, no bonus. As for missed contacts or other errors on the "even numbered" bonus obstacles in the opening sequence, no problem. You just don't get the bonus points you've earned from doing the "red" correctly unless you do the bonus obstacle correctly. Just go on as if you had done it correctly - never try for a second bonus obstacle. Doing the "red" correctly just entitles you to try for one bonus obstacle. (Billie Rosen)

Fault a red, do a red.
Fault a color, do a red.
No more reds? Do the closing sequence.
Hear a whistle, go to the table.
(Roseann Vorce)

Questions and Answers About Snooker

In Snooker, if you are running the opening and you go for a contact obstacle and the dog misses the contact, do you go on for the next red jump or do you do the contact obstacle until they get it?

You go on to the next red, or if you've completed/tried all the reds, then you start the closing sequence.

If, in the closing, you miss the contact in a sequence, do you have to keep doing the obstacle until they get it, or are you finished and head for the finish line, or do you move on to the next obstacle of the sequence?

Any faults in the closing sequence, and the judge will blow the whistle. Don't leave unless the judge blows the whistle. Remember, they may have had a different view than you, and may be giving you credit for the obstacle.

"Correction" of obstacles only happens in the opening sequence, and only applies when the dog has not reached the "point of completion" for the obstacle. This occurs when:

  1. Dog pops out of the weave poles. You must complete the weaves by either correcting from the point of the pop out, or by starting over. In starters, you will still receive points for the weaves because missed poles are not faulted in Starters.
  2. Combination obstacles. Dog takes the first obstacle and faults it. You still have to do the remaining obstacles. You won't get points, but you may continue on.
  3. Combination obstacles with a specific sequence and/or direction in which they are to be done . You must go back and do the obstacle in the correct sequence and/or direction. You won't get points, but you may continue on.
  4. Dog jumps over the wing of a jump. Go back and do it correctly. You will get points for the obstacle, as refusals are not faulted in the opening.
  5. Dog bails on a contact obstacle before reaching the point of completion. On the dogwalk and A-frame, this is before the dog begins the down ramp. On the teeter, this is before the board begins to tip. In starters, you just continue on, as the four-paw rule says you have to, and you won't receive points for it. In
  6. Advanced or Masters, go back and do it again, and you can still receive points for the obstacle, as this is a refusal which is not faulted in the opening.

(Joe Sare)

Snooker rules and tutorial for beginners and the "snooker challenged"

  1. The start line can be a line, or the table. Make sure your dog is behind the line or on the table, and wait for the timekeeper to signal that the ring is ready.
  2. You get points for each obstacle successfully completed. Point value = obstacle number.
  3. Opening Sequence: red - color, red - color, red - color (and sometimes red - color).
    1. Successfully completing a red jump "earns you the right" to perform a colored obstacle.
    2. If there are 3 reds, each red jump may be attempted only once. If there are more than 3 reds, sometimes only 3 of them may be attempted, and sometimes all four of them must be attempted. If there are more than 3 reds, listen closely to the judge's briefing.
    3. If your dog faults a red jump, take another (different) red jump. If it was the last red, start the closing sequence.
    4. Your run is over if you:
      1. Take two colored obstacles in a row.
      2. Successfully complete a red then do another red without a color in between.
      3. Attempt the same red more than once.
      4. Attempt more than 3 reds (if only three are to be attempted).
      5. Perform a color without first SUCCESSFULLY completing a red.
    5. If the dog faults a colored obstacle, continue. You will not receive points for that obstacle, but your run continues.
    6. The opening sequence ends when:
      1. You fault the third red
      2. You successfully complete the third red, and then attempt a color
    7. Obstacle direction (except for teeter, chute and ascending spreads) usually does not matter during the opening sequence. Make sure this is covered in the judge's briefing.
    8. Sometimes two or more obstacles are used together as though they are a single obstacle. In addition to the overall direction that these can be taken (see prior note on direction), these kinds of obstacles often must be taken in a particular sequence. Make sure that the correct sequence, and any other rules pertaining to these combination obstacles is clear in the judge's briefing.
  4. Closing Sequence: 2 through 7
    1. Run obstacles 2 through 7 in order.
    2. Any faults incurred in the closing sequence will end your run. Faults are the same as for a standard class.
  5. The end can be a finish line or the table. If a table is used, time stops as soon as the dog touches the top surface of the table, and they do not have to down.
  6. If the timekeeper blows the whistle, don't panic. Any points you have earned are yours. Just get to the finish quickly to stop the time. You can earn no more points once the timekeeper has blown the whistle. Note - Some judges will give credit for an obstacle performed if the dog is past the point where they can fault the obstacle (they are in the down contact, or they are past the pole on a jump) when the whistle blows. Others will only award points if the dog has left the obstacle/landed. You should find out which way the judge is going to call it during the judge's briefing.
  7. Placements are based on points. Ties in points are broken by time, so get to the finish as quickly as possible.
    1. A qualifying score is 37 points or more. Unless 4 reds are to be taken, maximum points are 51:1,7,1,7,1,7,2,3,4,5,6,7 (Qualifying score does not apply to starters level.)
    2. The closing sequence is worth 27 points (if you finish). You need to earn at least 10 points in the opening sequence. The sequence 1,2,1,2,1,2 only earns 9 points, so you must use a 3 or higher at least once in the opening sequence. If your dog faults a red, then you need even more points for your other two colors.
    3. If you score 17 points or more in the opening sequence, then you only need to complete #6 in the closing sequence to qualify. If you score 23 or more in the opening sequence, then you only need to complete through #5 to qualify.

Tips--Find as smooth a path as possible. This is particularly true with dogs just starting out, as they are slowed down and/or put off by sudden changes in direction. Consider your dog's strengths and weaknesses. If you don't think that your dog can complete the entire course, try to find a flowing combination of obstacles for the opening sequence that will give you enough points to qualify if you complete number 6 or even number 5. Also, consider the obstacles you choose for the opening sequence. Unless your dog is fast and accurate in the weave poles, or on contact obstacles, think carefully before choosing one of those obstacles for your opening sequence.
(Joe Sare)

Snooker flags are easy to make from felt squares. Make numbers from black felt & either iron or sew the numbers on both sides of the felt square. You need to outline the black number on the brown & black flags or else make white numbers on those. Add a couple of felt loops on the top and a couple of loops along one side to slip PVC pipe through & you're done. The felt squares cost about $.20 may need to sew two together for each one so they don't flap around in the wind.
(Jean O'Neill)

In Snooker, there is an opening and a closing period. You will be given a time to complete the whole course, for example 55 seconds or so.

Think of it this way: In the opening, there will be three "red" jumps, worth one point each. Completing a red jump *successfully* earns you the right to go do any other colored obstacle of your choosing, worth whatever point value is assigned to that obstacle. The point value of the colored obstacle is the same as the number assigned to that obstacle in the closing sequence. For example, obstacles 2-7 are worth that many points when you complete them.

If you knock the bar on the first red jump you attempt, you have to go do another red jump, successfully, before you can go to a colored obstacle. After you do a red, you can do any colored obstacle you want for points. If you wanted to go for the maximum number of points, you would do red, seven point obstacle, red, seven point obstacle, red, seven point obstacle.

If the weave poles are one of the colored obstacles you attempt in your opening sequence, you cannot go on to another red until you get through those weave poles. But, if a jump or the dogwalk is one of your opening colored obstacles and you either knock the bar or pop the contact, you don't get a chance to fix it. You just don't get those points and have to go try another red.

After you do red, color, red, color, red, color, then the closing period begins immediately. Run right to obstacle number two, three, etc. Closing is obstacles 2 through 7, which may or may not flow. If your strategy is red, seven, red, seven, red, two, then you have to remember to take two *twice,* once as your rightful colored obstacle after you completed your last red jump, and then again to begin your closing period.

The first thing to do on a Snooker course is run the closing and see how much time you estimate that will take. Then subtract that from the time you have to complete the course. In our example we used 55 seconds, so 55 minus the time it takes to run the closing sequence is how much time you have for your opening.

Then see where obstacle number 2 is, and decide which last red/color sequence would lead you into your closing sequence the best. A lot of times the weaves are the 7 point obstacle, or the dogwalk which takes the most time to complete. So see if you have enough time to do all 7 point obstacles in your opening. A lot of times you won't. If you do all 7's in your opening and complete them successfully, and then manage to complete the closing #'s 2-7 before the 55 seconds, you will have 51 points which is the maximum available: (1+7+1+7+1+7+2+3+4+5+6+7=51). The competitor who collects the most points within the allotted time wins. In the case of a tie for points, fastest time wins.

If you go off-course or run out of time, the judge will blow the whistle. If you hear the whistle blow, run across the finish line as fast as you can because the clock is still running till you cross it. Sometimes, people (especially Starters people) do win Snooker with 1 point or even 0 points (knock the first red and do a color anyway instead of remembering to do another red). Fastest time with most points, or no points if that's the case, wins! So if nothing else, don't give up, run like heck for that finish line! Don't forget to take a stopwatch to the trial with you, to time your strategy. You'll need a stopwatch to walk Gambler's too.

Snooker is confusing, especially the first time. People are really nice and generally will help you when you walk the course, till you beat 'em a couple of times and then they probably won't be so inclined to be so friendly to you anymore (just a little joke)!! ;-) But by then, you probably should be able to come up with a workable strategy on your own. It seems like people either really love Snooker or really hate it!
(Sarah Eudy)


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