Snooker vs. Pool: Discover the Differences (2024)

Posted on: 22 September 2023

Last edited on: 29 February 2024

Snooker and Pool, two of the most recognized cue sports globally, have captivated enthusiasts for generations. While both might appear similar at a glance – with cues, colored balls, and green tables – they are inherently distinct games. Each offers a unique experience, from the gameplay intricacies to the strategic depth required. Furthermore, the histories of Snooker and Pool are rich and varied, with each sport tracing its lineage back through different times and cultures. As we delve into the nuances of these games, it becomes evident that while they share a common thread, they are, in essence, worlds apart.

Snooker vs. Pool: Discover the Differences (1)

Popularity and Venues

Both snooker and pool have gained immense popularity around the world, but their fan bases and predominant regions of play vary. Snooker, traditionally associated with the UK and has recently seen a surge in Asia. Pool, on the other hand, is a mainstay in American bars and recreational centers.

When it comes to venues, each sport has its iconic settings. Snooker is mainly played in quiet, dedicated halls, emphasizing concentration and precision. The pool is more versatile, seen in local bars, halls, and even eclectic venues like upscale lounges.

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Historical Background

Snooker originated in late 19th century India with British Army officers. Combining elements from other popular billiards games of the era, snooker quickly gained traction among the officers and was later introduced to England. Over the years, snooker’s appeal grew, with the World Snooker Championship, established in 1927, solidifying its place as a premier cue sport. Its elegant and strategic nature, combined with the challenge of navigating a larger table and more balls, has cemented its status as a game of finesse and patience.

On the other hand, the pool has its roots in Europe, evolving from games played on the ground in the 15th century, which then moved indoors onto tables. The original term “pool” referred to a collective bet or ante, associated with gambling. As European settlers arrived in America, the game adapted to its new environment. Variations such as 8-ball and 9-ball emerged, with pool becoming synonymous with American leisure culture, especially in the 20th century. From smoky bars to glitzy tournaments, the pool’s journey has been marked by its adaptability and wide-ranging appeal.

Table and Equipment Differences

Snooker and pool, though stemming from the same family of cue sports, have distinct variations in their equipment and setup.

When it comes to snooker tables, they tend to be larger, measuring 6 feet by 12 feet. The pockets are rounded and tighter, which requires precision when making shots. The cloth surface, often green, is smooth and allows the 21 balls (15 red, 6 of other colors) to glide effortlessly. The balls are more petite in diameter compared to pool balls, usually around 52.5 mm.

In contrast, pool tables come in various sizes, but are generally smaller than snooker ones. The most common size, especially for an 8-ball pool, is 7 feet by 3.5 feet. Pockets are more comprehensive with a more angular cut, accommodating the more giant balls, which measure around 57.15 mm in diameter. Depending on the game variant, a pool might use 8 to 16 balls.

When examining the equipment differences between snooker and pool, several distinctions can be identified:

  • Snooker cues tend to be slimmer with a smaller tip diameter, catered to the game’s need for precision.
  • In contrast, pool cues have a broader tip, making them suitable for the larger ball size and the unique striking techniques often employed in pool.
  • Both games utilize chalk, but the type and application might differ.
  • Bridges and rests are common, yet their design can reflect each sport’s particular needs and traditions.

Understanding these nuances is essential to appreciate each game’s intricacies and traditions fully.

Snooker vs. Pool: Discover the Differences (2)

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Gameplay and Rules

While Snooker and Pool share a common ancestry, and both involve potting balls into pockets using a cue stick, their gameplay, and rules significantly differ.


For Snooker enthusiasts, the game begins with 15 red balls, valued at one point each, and six colored balls – yellow (2 points), green (3 points), brown (4 points), blue (5 points), pink (6 points), and black (7 points). The ultimate goal is to outscore your opponent by skillfully potting the balls in a specific order.

To secure victory, players must first pot a red ball, followed by any colored ball. The colored balls are then returned to their respective spots until all reds are potted. After that, the colored balls are potted in ascending order of their value.

A match is usually decided over an odd number of frames, and the player with the highest number of frames wins and emerges victorious.


This game encompasses several variations, with 8-ball and 9-ball being the most popular. In 8-ball, players are designated either ‘stripes’ or ‘solids’ based on the first type of ball they pot. The objective is to pot all of one’s designated balls, followed by the black 8-ball, before the opponent does. Incorrectly potting the 8-ball before clearing other balls or potting it into the wrong pocket results in an instant loss.

Snooker vs. Pool: Discover the Differences (3)

In 9-ball, players attempt to pot the balls in ascending numerical order, with the 9-ball being the last. The first player to legally pot the 9-ball wins the frame.


Snooker and Pool are two cue sports with unique rules, equipment, and history. Both games offer a captivating blend of strategy, skill, and entertainment. Though distinguishing between them may seem tricky, exploring their intricacies reveals their distinct identities and diverse charm. Whether you’re a player, fan, or simply curious, the journey through Snooker and Pool is engaging and enlightening.

Snooker vs. Pool: Discover the Differences (2024)


Snooker vs. Pool: Discover the Differences? ›

While snooker and pool share some similarities, they are two distinct games played on different tables with different rules and equipment. Snooker is played on a larger table with smaller pockets and smaller balls

A billiard ball is a small, hard ball used in cue sports, such as carom billiards, pool, and snooker. The number, type, diameter, color, and pattern of the balls differ depending upon the specific game being played. › wiki › Billiard_ball
. The balls used in snooker are also numbered differently and have a different colour scheme.

What is the difference between snooker and pool? ›

Snooker is played with 15 pink numberless balls, 6 numbered object balls, and 1 cue ball, while Pool is played on a table with 6 pockets, with 9 to 15 object balls, and in addition, a cue ball.

Why are snooker and pool cues different? ›

Because of various factors, pool cues and snooker cues are different. The primary reason why the cues differ is because of the size of the cue ball. A standard pool/billiard cue ball will measure 1 7/8 inches in diameter for an English cue ball while the standard American cue ball measures 2 1/4 inches in diameter.

Was pool invented before snooker? ›

Snooker is a pocket billiards game originated by British officers stationed in India during the 19th century, based on earlier pool games such as black pool and life pool.

What's harder, pool or snooker? ›

Which game is harder-9 ball pool or snooker? Snooker by far. It was a short learning curve for Allison Fisher to go from top female snooker player to top female pool player. 8-ball and 9-ball are too easy to play, and any snooker player can pick up the basics and become competent in short order.

Is it OK to use snooker cue for pool? ›

So if you're only casually enjoying English pool whilst focussing on your Snooker game, feel free to play English pool with a Snooker cue. There are marginal caveats to using a Snooker cue to play English pool - Namely a very slight loss of precision over shooting where an English Pool Cue would deliver.

Is it illegal to snooker in pool? ›

1 Definition: A player is Snookered when it is impossible to play the finest cut possible on both sides of any of that player's own Colour by way of a "straight - line" shot. Snookering an opponent is not a foul. 2 A player cannot be Snookered by a ball of the player's own Colour.

Why are snooker cues thinner? ›

Type of Game: As mentioned earlier, snooker generally requires a smaller cue tip size for increased precision, while pool benefits from larger tips for added power and control.

What makes a snooker cue expensive? ›

There is a big difference in the manufacture process. Making a Hand-spliced cue is a longer process and often involves extra splicing and includes more exotic woods.

Why is it called snooker? ›

The word snooker was, at the time, a slang term used in the British Army to describe new recruits and inexperienced military personnel; Chamberlain used it to deride the inferior performance of a young fellow officer at the table.

Which is older, billiards or snooker? ›

The history of snooker can't be understood without first mentioning its sister game “billiards”, which is centuries older than snooker, which is a relatively young game.

What is the hardest billiards game? ›

Three-cushion billiards is a very difficult game. Averaging one point per inning is usually national-level play, and averaging 1.5 or more is world-class play.

What is the disadvantage of snooker? ›

The disadvantage of playing snooker is that it can be a frustrating game at times because of the amount of practice needed to play it properly.

Which country invented snooker? ›

1875. Snooker was invented by the British Army in the Indian town of Jubbulpore.

Is snooker good for the brain? ›

By engaging in snooker regularly, players can sharpen their concentration, decision-making, problem-solving, and memory skills, while also reaping the rewards of social interaction and moderate physical activity.

Why is it called a snooker in pool? ›

In 1875, army officer Neville Chamberlain, stationed in India, devised a set of rules that combined black pool and pyramids. The word snooker was a well-established derogatory term used to describe inexperienced or first-year military personnel.

What is the point of snooker? ›

The objective of the game of snooker is to strike the white cue ball with a cue so that it strikes the object balls in turn and causes them to fall into one of the six pockets, called potting .

Are snooker balls the same as pool balls? ›

The first thing you will notice about the ball size between snooker and pool is that snooker balls are slightly smaller. Snooker balls usually have a diameter of 2 1/16 inches (52.5 mm). Pool balls have a diameter of 2 1/4 inches (57 mm).

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