The Shoot-Out features some unique rules not seen in a televised event before, these include:
- One frame matches all the way through to the final
- Random draw for each round
- Ten minute time-limit per frame
- Shot clock: first five minutes at 20 seconds and final five minutes at 15 seconds
- All fouls to result in opposing player having the ball in hand. Clock starts when the player takes the cueball.
- Players must hit a cushion (with the cue ball OR the object ball) or pot a ball on every shot.
- Players 'lag' for who breaks (winner decides)
- Blue ball shoot out in event that points are tied in frame (winner of lag decides who goes first). Cueball placed in D.
'Lagging' is seeing who can get the white the closest to the top cushion after hitting the bottom (black ball) cushion first.
This set of rules will culminate in a unique event that will not have been seen anywhere before. The most obvious difference are the one-frame matches. If the player looses the 'Lag' then they have to break of which gives the opponent the chance to pot a red and potentially clear up, which means they would of only played one shot in the entire tournament.
The other main addition is the shot clock. Usually reserved for smaller, invitational events such as the Premier League and Power Snooker, it will be interesting to see how all the players will get on with it, especially ones known for not being very fast around the table, such as Fergal O'Brien, Dave Harold and Peter Ebdon. If a player doesn't clear up after the break-off then it will most likely go past the five-minute mark into the 15 second a shot zone. This will test the players ability, nerve and most of all, speed around the table.
They will also have to bare in mind when playing safety shots that the cueball or a object ball has to be potted or hit a cushion or it will be a foul shot which gives the opponent the chance to place the cueball anywhere on the table. So they need to be extra careful or they could see a failed safety or an escape be the last shot they play in Blackpool.
There are some stand-out pairings for the first round matches. The biggest tie has to be John Higgins v Mark Williams. Having being beaten by John Higgins in the biggest match of last year at the UK Championship final 10-9, Mark will be looking for some payback. The other big tie has to be the one between Ronnie O'Sullivan v Marco Fu. After impressing in the Masters by reaching the final, Marco will be looking to carry on his good form, but as the master of the shot-clock everyone will be favouring Ronnie, not just to win the match but the whole tournament.
Other big matches include Peter Ebdon v Steve Davis who aren't known for their quick-fire playing styles, but it will be an entertaining match anyway to see how they get on, especially when the shot-clock goes to 15 seconds. Other exciting matches include Tony Drago v Liang Wenbo. Tony being probably the fastest player on the circuit should make this a quick-fire match. Crowd favourite Jimmy White v Ali Carter and world champion Neil Robertson v Barry Pinches.
The full draw and the Sky Sports match schedule is below:
Friday, January 28
Tony Drago v Liang Wenbo
Mark Allen v Ryan Day
Stephen Lee v Michael Holt
Nigel Bond v Joe Jogia
Stephen Hendry v Fergal O'Brien
Robert Milkins v Martin Gould
Andrew Higginson v Jamie Burnett
Tom Ford v Stephen Maguire
Ding Junhui v Dominic Dale
Jimmy White v Ali Carter
Michael Judge v Alan McManus
Mark Williams v John Higgins
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Marco Fu
Peter Ebdon v Steve Davis
Jimmy Michie v Marcus Campbell
Mark King v Jimmy Robertson
Saturday, January 29
Barry Pinches v Neil Robertson
Peter Lines v Barry Hawkins
Shaun Murphy v Rory McLeod
Alfie Burden v Matt Selt
Ricky Walden v Joe Perry
Judd Trump v Dave Harold
Graeme Dott v Matthew Couch
Jamie Cope v Ken Doherty
Adrian Gunnell v David Morris
Gerard Greene v Rod Lawler
Matthew Stevens v Mike Dunn
Stuart Pettman v Bjorn Haneveer
Joe Swail v Mark Davis
Andy Hicks v Mark Selby
Anthony Hamilton v Anthony McGill
Stuart Bingham v Ian McCulloch
All last 32 matches (a random draw for the last 32 will be made once the first round is completed).
Sunday, January 30
All last 16 matches