Significance of the balkline in snooker?

Bob Jewett

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The baulk-line is a holdover from billiards where you must play from the D and over the line (not directly on any ball in baulk) when you have ball in hand. I'm pretty sure it serves no actual purpose in snooker except to provide the straight part of the D. Here are the official rules of both games:

(The baulk-line is also mentioned in the rules for the shootout form of snooker. The order of the break is determined by a lag and the lag is from the baulk-line. The line is not really required to be there for that.)