The World Women’s Snooker tournament comes to Seattle

    For the first time ever, the US will host a World Women’s Snooker tournament. And it’s happening this weekend in Seattle.

    Snooker is like pool, but is played on a much bigger table, with smaller balls, and smaller, rounded, pockets. All of these things make the game more difficult. The sport was invented in the late 19th century and is big overseas in places like England, China, and India.

    The director of World Women’s Snooker, Matt Huart, said interest in the sport is growing. They intended on having the tournament in 2019, but the pandemic forced them to delay it for three years.

    Mike Dominguez is one of the owners of OX Billiards in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood which is hosting the event. He hopes to grow the game in the US and also among women. According to Huart, Dominguez was a huge advocate for bringing the tournament to Seattle and OX Billiards.

    Dominguez hopes that more women get involved with the game. Up until this year there had never been a woman on the World Snooker Tour. And it wasn’t because women weren’t allowed, there just aren’t that many women playing the game.

    “It’s only been the men’s tour because it’s only been men that play it… When young junior players see women playing the pro sport, they put themselves in their shoes and think ‘maybe I can do that,” Dominguez said.

    World Women’s Snooker is trying to change that. The winner of the World Women’s Snooker Championship automatically qualifies for the professional World Snooker Tour. Dominguez hopes a tournament here in the states will help get more American women interested in the growing game.

    Mary Avina is a professional billiards player who also plays snooker and is in town for the tournament. She started playing pool at the age of 14 and grew up playing a version of snooker that was popular in her small southern California town. For Avina, it’s the difficulty of the game that attracts her.

    Avina hopes to help grow the sport here in the states. Many people have never seen the game. Especially since up until now, all of the World Women’s Snooker tournaments took place abroad.

    “Most of the girls who play on a regular basis aren’t in the US because there’s a lot less tables, a lot less places to play,” Avina said.

    Avina is one of about 15 players who’ve entered the competition. The World Women’s Snooker organization and OX Billiards hopes that this is just the first of many tournaments in the US

    The US Women’s Open tournament runs from Friday, August 26 through Sunday, August 28 and is open to the public for viewing.

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