What’s the Difference Between Snooker, Billiards and Pool?

Admin/ November 17, 2021/ Indoor Sports

Terminology can make or break someone’s understanding of a topic. When you say one thing, but mean another, and someone misinterprets that, things can go south in a conversation. 

When you talk about similar things to a person that has little to no knowledge about a thing, then you might want to tone down on the terminology.

This time, we shall look at snooker, billiards and pool as three different things. Knowledgeable players will already spot a couple of obvious differences, as well as a problem. Let us take a closer look.

Snooker – The Aristocrat’s Pastime

Once upon a time, rich people had plenty of time and did not know what to do. Billiards wasn’t working out, the games were too quick. Then, snooker was created, a game that is more complex and takes more time to be finished.

Compared to billiards, snooker is played on larger tables, 12 feet being the standard, while billiards is played on a 9 feet table, most often. Snooker balls are smaller and the pockets are much tighter compared to the ball’s diameter. The rules of snooker make it so that one has to pocket a red, then color, and the color is always returned to the table until there are no more reds. This, and the fact that the match is played as a best of 11, means that the games last longer.

Billiards – English Billiards or Pool?

Herein lies the first problem. When most people say billiards, they mean pool, a standard game of pool international, where the goal is to pocket either the stripes or solids and then the black ball, or ball number 8.

However, English Billiards is an actual different type of billiards, which is played on a table the size of a snooker table. There are only three balls in play, each player’s cue balls and a red ball. The equipment used is standard snooker size.

The goal is to have the most points by an allotted time or to get to a predetermined number of points. Points are achieved by hitting the other player’s cue ball and red ball, pocketing either your own cue ball or another’s, after contact with the other balls, or to pocket your own cue ball after making contact with the other balls.

Pool – The Good Old

Nowadays, unless you are in England and someone says billiards to purposely confuse you, when people say billiards, they mean pool. Pool is what we typically play when we go to a pool club. The standard pool variants are 8 ball and 9 ball. The first one is known as pool international and its rules were briefly described above. 

The 9 ball uses nine balls and they have to be pocketed in order, the cue ball hitting the lowest numbered ball first.

Terminology can ruin the fun, especially if someone doesn’t bother to explain the differences. Now, you can play any game that you want, knowing the not so subtle differences between snooker, billiards and pool, the latter two referring to the same game most of the time.

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