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Snooker: Jackpot could pay out in Shootout

The fast and furious Snooker Shoot Out gets underway at Leicester's Morningside Arena on Thursday and it promises to be another lively renewal.

It's an event simply unlike any other on the snooker circuit and we've got a guide to what's in store this week for fans of the green baize.

Quick-thinking and free flowing, Jack Lisowski is amongst those that should relish this unique challenge.

Tournament format

The Shoot Out was upgraded to a ranking event in 2017 and it now serves as a good opportunity for lesser ranked players to climb the ladder.

All matches are played over just a single-frame format, with a ten minute time limit and a random draw at the end of each round.

The 128 players are also up against a shot clock in this event. It's 15 seconds per shot in the first five minutes of the match and that drops to ten seconds for the final five minutes of the contest.

Players must hit a cushion (with any ball) or pot a ball with every shot and all fouls result in the opposing player being awarded 'ball in hand'. If the scores are level at the end of the ten-minute limit, the match will go to a blue ball shoot-out to decide the winner.

Quick-fire history

The first Shoot Out took place in Blackpool and Nigel Bond lifted the inaugural crown back in 2011.

No player has won the event more than once and Barry Hawkins, Martin Gould, Dominic Dale and Michael White were the other Winter Gardens winners. In 2016 Robin Hull won the event on the only occasion it was held at the Hexagon in Reading.

In 2017 the tournament became a ranking event for the first time and it also saw a switch of venues to the Watford Colosseum.

The lively crowd roared Anthony McGill to the trophy in Hertfordshire and Michael Georgiou, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Michael Holt also lifted the Colosseum crown. In 2021 the venue switched again and Ryan Day was the potter to taste success in Milton Keynes in a behind-closed-doors renewal.

That makes it 11 different winners of the Shoot Out crown and clearly it's a tricky title to hold on to. However, Graeme Dott and Xiao Guodong have both made the final on two occasions and 2019 runner-up Holt also went one better when lifting the trophy in 2020. That suggests that there is some merit in looking at past performances in this unique event.

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Tailor-made for fast thinkers

The quick-fire, one-frame format leads you to look for players that have a speedy action.

Un-Nooh, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Jack Lisowski, Zhao Xintong and Gary Wilson are recording the lowest average shot times on the snooker tour this term.

O'Sullivan has declined to enter this event, but the other four sharp-shooters will all be in action.

It's not just speed of cue that is needed in this tournament, speed of thought also plays a major role in the outcome of matches.

Big-price predictions

Mark Selby heads the betting, but the Jester is still available at 20/1 to claim the crown on home soil. That gives an idea of how open this event is and punters are certain to be well rewarded if they can find the winner.

Lisowski has been playing well enough to be of interest at 33/1. The Gloucetser potter has bags of class and it only looks a matter of time before Jackpot lands a ranking title.

Tom Ford is an excellent break-builder when on-song and he has the fluency and rhythm to be a force in this event. Model T looked in decent nick in the recent World Grand Prix and he looks capable of outrunning odds of 40/1.

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