Hi PLM. (edit: sorry, meant to type CLM. PLM the name of a company that I deal with so I guess I had them on my mind.
) Like you, as an American, I had never even heard the term "snooker" before I finally discovered the game for myself at 19 years old. That was a very long time ago. There are very few snooker players in the USA, certainly no one with anywhere near the talent that you see displayed by the professional players as you watch the dodgy internet streams. There are a rather minuscule number of snooker "tables" available here in the USA. I put "tables" in quotes because of the few tables that are publicly available, many if not most of them are in terrible disrepair, not re-clothed in decades, not properly set up, horrible ball sets, or numerous other issues so play on those tables is nothing at all like proper snooker.
If you ever have cause to travel through the Chicago area, I have a tiny, little club set up with one of the finest, most accurate tables to be found, even judging by British standards of Snooker, I daresay, and you would be welcome to stop in for a visit. Even if you don't know which end of the cue to hold, it may be worth viewing a real, live proper Snooker table to give you a sense of awe and respect for what those professional players do. I first viewed Snooker on television the very night I stepped off an airplane in London. It was just a couple months before the now famous 1985 World Championship Final and there was some tournament on telly. Being reasonably familiar with American Pool, I was in awe at what I saw on television. Literally within 24 hours of that, I found my way to my local snooker parlour, retrieved the ball tray from the girl at the desk, and climbed up the stairs to see my first real, live snooker table after watching on telly earlier. When I reached the top of the steps, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.......a large, darkened room, lit only by the table lights centered on the pristine green baize of 18 snooker tables in a perfect geometric 6 x 3 matrix. No one was even in at the time; I was alone with my playing partner to see these 18 empty, perfectly lit tables. It was sort of the snooker equivalent of standing on a hill in the tee box and the vista of the prominent, distinguished golf course is your pearl at that moment in time. That image has stuck with me all these years. As Dan-cat said:
a life-long love affair
So if you pass through Chicago, drop me a line.