The term ‘pro-am’ is derived from a mixture of the words ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’. Therefore, a pro-am snooker tournament is made up of a mixture of professional and amateur snooker players.
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Sometimes, in sports like golf for instance, a professional might team up with an amateur to play against other similar pairings.
In a pro-am snooker tournament the professional players normally give a start to amateurs. However, unlike the typical handicapped snooker event, all professionals give the same start to all the amateurs. There are of course local variations to that.
For many top-ranked amateur snooker players pro-am events give them a chance to see how they fare against the professionals.
They may well then use their performance to help guide them as to their decision about trying to pursue a career on the World Snooker Tour (WST).
One of the main routes to the main tour at the moment, is Q School. This is almost a pro-am in that amateurs compete against newly relegated professionals. All are of course looking for a place on next season’s main tour.
The WST operates a ranking system based on money won at the ranking events. These ranking events often start with 128 entries and the 64 losers go home with nothing. So, pro-am events during the season are a way for may professionals to supplement their income.
Many snooker clubs organise pro-am events to help promote their club. Having professionals playing in events shows the snooker fraternity that the club is of a high standard.
Amateurs, professionals and clubs can all benefit in different ways from pro-am snooker events. Many see them as the highlight of their calendar.