Frequently Asked Questions
The Difference Between Pool, Billiards and Snooker
11 April 2016
Pool, billiards and snooker. They all seem pretty similar. There’s the big table, the cue sticks and the satisfying sound of balls knocking into each other. So what’s the difference between the three games? If you’re looking to purchase your very own pool table or billiards table to upgrade your game room, you might want to know the difference so you make a wiser investment choice.
We at All Table Sports in Sydney sell the finest Australian-made and imported pool and billiards tables in Sydney, so we like to think that know a thing or two about the game. Check out the main differences between the three sports.
Billiards: A Gentleman’s Game
Billiards, or carom billiards, is the game that started it all and dates back centuries, originally played outdoors in a croquet-like fashion. King Louis XI of France apparently had the first billiards table in the 15th century, and its popularity only spread from there.
The Object of Billiards
All history aside, the main thing that sets billiards apart from other cue sports is the lack of pockets on the table. The object of the game is not to sink the balls in the pockets, but rather to strike one of the three object balls on the table with the cue ball, then hit a minimum of three railings and then finally hit the other object ball. Sounds like it takes a lot of skill. Three cushion billiards is by far the most common form, but you can also play Straight Rail, which is a bit easier, only requiring you to strike a single rail in between the two object balls.
Billiards – Tables and Equipment
Aside from the fact that billiards tables do not have pockets, one way to tell a billiards table is by the size. They are usually 9.3 feet by 4.7 feet, or 10 feet by 5 feet in America. In addition, the cue sticks are shorter, the diameter of the cue ferrule is thinner, and the professional-grade ones have leather tip. The balls are also larger in billiards than pool.
What’s Pool All About?
Pool is probably the most internationally common game, despite the many variations on house/pub rules. The earliest references of pool that we might recognise date back to the 1800s.
The Object of Pool
8-ball pool is most popular, meaning that you rack up 7 solid coloured balls, 7 striped balls and an 8-ball in a triangle shaped rack, which you’ll break up to start with a white cue ball. You win if you sink every ball in the suit you originally hit into a pocket and then finish it off with the 8-ball. If you pocket the 8-ball before you sink your suit, then you lose the game.
Pool Tables and Equipment
Standard pool table sizes are 9 feet by 4.5 feet, and the balls are around 2.25 inches. You can, of course, play pool on any number of table sizes, from 7 Foot Tables to 12 Foot Tables.
Snooker: Something in the Middle
While pool is more popular, snooker is the first cue sport to emerge into the world after billiards, dating back to the 16th century.
The Object of Snooker
The aim of the game is to score more points than your adversary by switching between pocketing red and object balls. You finish off the red balls then pocket the object balls in a specific order.
Snooker Table and Equipment
Like pool, in the States, table dimensions are 10 by 5 feet, but in Europe, they play 10 by 6 feet. Snooker uses 21 balls in total, each measuring 2 1/8 inches. 15 of the balls are red and solid coloured, and the other 6 are object balls with different colours.
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