A Quick Breakdown of the Differences Between Billiards, Pool, & Snooker

Billiards, Pool, & Snooker

What’s the difference between pool and billiards? Are they the same thing?

Billiards, also known as cue sports, refers to a type of ball game played on a cloth-covered surface and hitting a ball using a cue stick. The table is surrounded by cushions (bumpers) that prevent the ball from falling off.

Billiards, Pool, & Snooker

Pool, billiards, and snooker are actually different types of billiards game.

In the US, pool is more popular than both billiards and snooker. Most players there use the terms “pool” and “billiards” interchangeably to refer to a game of pool. In the UK, snooker is more popular than billiards and pool.

Differences Between Billiards, Pool, & Snooker

Here is a rundown that illustrates the differences between these three table games:

  1. Billiards

  2. Also known as Carambole, this game is played with 3 balls on a table with no pockets. The table is usually heated to increase the speed of the balls. The balls used for the game are one white ball with a spot, one white ball without a spot, and one red ball.

    The most popular carom billiards is known as “3-cushion”. The objective of the game is to score points by “caroming” your cue ball off the 3 Rails, the red object ball, and your opponent’s cue ball.

  3. Pool

  4. This game is played with 9 to 15 object balls on a table with 6 pockets. The length of the table can be 7 feet, 8 feet, or 9 feet.

    There are different types of pool games. The most common ones are:

    • 8-Ball (most popular cue sport)
    • 9-Ball
    • 10-ball
    • Bank Pool
    • One-Pocket
    • 14.1 (popularly known as Straight Pool)

  5. Snooker

  6. Snooker is a type of billiards game that is played on a 12-foot table with 6 pockets. The game is played with 22 balls and players compete to get the highest point in a game.

Snooker balls are not numbered. However, they come in 6 different colors, which have different point values (Red = 1, Yellow = 2, Green = 3, Brown = 4, Blue = 5, Pink = 6, and Black = 7).

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