Pool, Billiards and Snooker are three of the most popular bar games, but they often get mixed up. While these three cue sports all developed from the same origin, they are completely different games, with different rules and equipment. If you are interested in learning more about the classic Billiards game and its more recent offshoots, keep reading! When it comes to which is more fun to play between Billiards vs Pool vs Snooker, the jury is out – you’ll have to try them all and decide for yourself!
Snooker, Billiards and Pool have a lot in common – they are all played on a cloth-covered table, and use a cue stick to hit balls. However, they are entirely different games, played with different equipment.
Unlike the other two, Billiards (or Carom Billiards) developed in the Gentlemen’s clubs of 19th century Britain. It is played with only three balls: one red object ball and two white cue balls. Carom Billiard cues tend to be shorter than those of Snooker and Pool, with a heavier butt. Billiard tables do not have pockets, and instead there are bumpers around the Billiard table that the ball can rebound from. You score points by “caroming” your white ball off the red ball and your opponent’s white ball. A lot of the fun of Carom Billiards games is in the speed and unpredictability of the balls’ movements!
Pool took the building blocks of Billiards and made a very different game that became popular among commoners. A set of Pool balls consists of 9-15 object balls and one white cue ball. A standard Pool cue is longer and lighter than a Billiards cue stick. Like Billiards, Pool tables are either a seven foot table (bar table), an eight foot table (recreational table) or a nine foot table (tournament table). Unlike Billiards tables, Pool tables have pockets, and when playing a Pool game, you score points by sinking object balls into the Pool table pockets.
Check out our review of the best pool tables to find out more information.
If you are already a committed Pool junkie and looking for a Pool cue, click here to see our picks for the best Pool cues currently available.
Snooker also developed from Billiards, but increased the scale even further. A set of Snooker balls consists of a whopping 22 balls in total:
- One white striker ball
- Fifteen red balls
- Six colored balls: one each of yellow, brown, blue, pink, green and black
Snooker tables are also larger than Pool and Carom Billiard tables – American Snooker uses ten-foot tables, while English Snooker tables are a huge twelve feet! Snooker cues tend to be a bit lighter than pool cues, with a smaller tip.
Like in Pool, the objective is to sink target balls into pockets using a cue stick, but Snooker adds a layer of complexity. Different colored balls are worth different points, and players must pocket one of the red balls on the snooker table with the striker ball before moving on to a colored ball.
Which Is The One For You?
Out of the three games, Pool is probably most popular as a recreational game, while Snooker beats pool as a spectator sport – especially with the massive twelve foot tables and smaller pockets. This is also probably why the latter is considered more difficult, with pool tables being smaller. Carom Billiards has fallen in popularity over the years, but it is great fun to play! Which of these games is the one for you is really a matter of personal choice, as well as what is available at Pool halls or playing venues near you. Will you become a Pool whiz, a Snooker champion or a master of the Billiards table? Time – and a lot of practice – will tell.
Frequently Asked Questions
Billiards and Pool are not the same thing, though Pool was initially called Pocket Billiards. Billiards is played with only three Billiard balls, and you points are scored by hitting the target ball or your opponent’s cue ball with your cue ball. In contrast, Pool is played with up to sixteen balls: one white cue ball and 9-15 object balls, and you score points by sinking balls into the Pool table pockets.
Pool came before Snooker in the sense that the term “Pool” existed before the term “Snooker”. In the 19th century there were lots of different cue sports making the rounds, several of which had the moniker “Pool”. All of these Pool games eventually solidified in the versions of Pool and Snooker that are played today.
Billiards refers to one of the original cue sports that is still played today. It involves two players hitting balls with long cue sticks across a table. The objective of the game is to hit or “carom” your cue ball against the red ball, your opponent’s cue ball, or the bumpers on the edges of the playing surface.
To sum up, although Billiards, Pool and Snooker all have the same origin, they are not the same thing. They each have their own rules, tables, balls and even cue sticks. Judging which is better between Billiards vs Pool vs Snooker is difficult, because they are all a great way to have fun with friends or family! A Snooker, Pool or Billiards table would be a fantastic addition to any games room.