Top snooker star Mark Selby knows all about glory in Blackpool and he would love to sample more in the 888casino Shoot-Out,which starts at the Tower Circus Arena on Friday.
Selby won the World 8-Ball pool championship at the resort eight years ago but is yet to triumph in the Shoot-Out, in which 64 top players will be battling it out for £32,000 over the next three days.
Victory would be the perfect way for the 30-year-old from Leicester to make up for the disappointment of losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan in last Sunday’s final of the Masters, a tournament he won last season, when he was also crowned UK champion.
But the Blackpool event, in which each match consists of a single 10-minute frame and every shot is played against the clock, is not one Selby takes too seriously.
He told The Gazette: “It’s a tournament you can’t really prepare for. Your involvement could be over after you’ve made the break! It’s a lottery, but first and foremost it’s a fun tournament and it isn’t the end of the world if you lose.
“Tactics play a part – if you get a good lead you can be clever and run down the clock – but it’s really about enjoying it.
“The venue certainly helps. The fact that the spectators can have a drink and are encouraged to be vocal adds to the atmosphere.
“And I always like coming to Blackpool, having won the World 8-Ball there and watched my brother-in-law Gareth Potts play in it too.”
Selby, the first player to make a 100 break in the Shoot-Out, is yet to progress beyond the last-16 stage and starts his challenge against Cao Yupeng in tomorrow ’s second match.
But primarily, Selby views the Shoot-Out as a welcome escape from the rigours of the practice room.
“Once you get into the New Year the World Championship is on the horizon. I’ve reached the final of the Masters this year and now I want to reach the World final and go one better.”
Having previously announced that the only tickets still available were for the final day, the organisers have made extra tickets available for all sessions.
These are in the upper tier, some with a restricted view, and are being sold at discounted prices from £10.
Tickets are available via www.worldsnooker.com/tickets or 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras).