We heat our Burroughes and Watts tables to a constant 40 C – 50 C. That’s because we know what the professionals know; heated snooker tables improve your performance. Buy why?
Heated snooker tables create predictable ball movement
Being essentially large, flat pieces of rock, snooker table slates absorb the temperature of their surroundings. In a dark snooker room you can imagine how they might feel to the touch if you removed the cloth. Think of the flagstones in a shady courtyard and you’ll get the idea. What you might not have realised is that slate expands and contracts as the temperature changes. Even though the amounts might be microscopic, they are enough to affect the tautness of the cloth stretched over the playing surface. A cold table allows the cloth to relax, which can cause tiny wrinkles that slow the balls down or cause them to deviate from their expected path.
A smoother playing surface means you don’t have to hit the cues ball so hard
We all know how power affects accuracy, don’t we? The harder you hit the cue ball, the less likely you are to get the result you want. When you heat the slates on a snooker table they expand just enough to stretch the cloth by the optimum amount. That means the playing surface is smoother and more even, allowing you to be more delicate and precise. Smooth and easy – that’s the name of the game! Except, perhaps, when you’re going into the pack of reds. On a heated table the pack will split open for more easily, and with less power, than on a heated cloth. Take a look at the video to see Joe Perry making this happen.
A dry cloth is a true cloth
Finally, just as the slates change with the temperature of their surroundings, so the playability of the cloth is affected by the humidity in the room. A damp cloth affects the balls in all kinds of unwanted ways. Most clubs simply iron their tables to prevent this but we use dehumidifiers to keep our snooker room as close to 40% humidity as possible. Then the fact that our cloths are also heated from underneath means that, even if it’s pouring down and the air is damp inside and out, our tables always retain their professional-level playability.
Take a look at how Joe Perry easily opens a cluster of reds in the video below.