Difference Between Pool, Billiards & Snooker

Although the terms “pool” and “billiards” are often used interchangeably, the two do not mean the same thing. Billiards was originally a term to describe a game called ‘carom billiards’ exclusively, but has since evolved into a general term to describe a variety of games played on a table with balls and a cue stick.

While carom billiards and poolare often played with similar equipment, each game is different and thus, has different rules. Likewise, snooker is also a game played with similar equipment, yet has its own set of rules.

8 Ball Pool vs Billiards vs Snooker: Key Differences

The basic difference between pool, billiards and snooker is with respect to the size of the table and the number balls. In pool, there are 6 pockets in the table and is played with either 15 or 9 balls along with a cue ball. In contrast to pool, a snooker table is larger with 6 pockets and is played with 22 balls. In billiards, the table has no pockets and is played with only 3 balls.

8 Ball Pool

Pool has different variants and based on that number of balls are declared. In the eight-ball pool there are 15 balls, in the nine-ball pool, there are nine balls and in the three-ball pool, there are three balls.

After the first shot (called break), the players have to choose whether to play with solid colored balls or striped colored balls. After potting either of the seven balls, the 8 Ball has to be potted.

An individual can win if −

  • He pots the 8 Ball legally after potting all the seven balls.
  • The opponent illegally pots the 8 ball.
  • 8 Ball is knocked off the table.

Also Read: 

How to play 8 Ball Pool

8 Ball Pool Rules

Mistakes to avoid while playing 8 Ball Pool


In Billiards, only three balls are used whose colors are white, yellow, and red. The white and yellow balls can be used as cue balls. Billiards is played either between two individuals or two teams. The players have to string in order to decide who will start the match.

Points are awarded through cannon, winning hazard, and losing hazard −

  • In cannon, the cue ball is hit in order to hit the other cue ball and then the red ball two points will be scored.
  • In winning-hazard, a player has to pot the red ball and in this case three points are scored.
  • In losing hazard, a player can score in the following conditions −
    • If he hits another cue ball which hits the red ball and pot it three points will be scored.
    • If the red ball is hit first and then the other cue ball, then two points are scored.
    • If the other cue ball is hit and then the red ball and the red ball is not potted, two points are scored.
    • If the red and the other cue ball hit simultaneously, then two points are scored.


In snooker, 22 balls are used which include one cue ball, 15 red balls, Along with the table has one ball each of yellow, brown, blue, pink, black and green colors. In this sport, a player has to pot one red ball and one colored ball.

  • The winner is decided on the basis of the number of points.
  • A player will score one point by potting the red ball.
  • Then he has to shoot the colored ball from least valued ball to the most valued ball.
  • The player has to shoot the least valued ball first and then move to the next valued ball.

In conclusion, Pool, Snooker, and Billiards are cue sports which are played on a table having pockets. The main objective is to send the balls to the pockets. In general the games look basically the same, but each has its own rules. All these games are popular casual games and are enjoyed widely.

FAQs on Difference Between Pool, Billiards & Snooker

Is Pool and Billiards the Same Thing?

To the casual observer both games appear to be the same since the concept is similar. The objective of Billiards is to use your cue ball to push the striker ball into your opponent’s cue ball. A billiards table does not have pockets. Instead the table is surrounded by bumpers that allow balls to ricochet and move around the table. Points in billiards are scored by striking your opponent’s cue ball and vary based on the difficulty of the shot. A pool game has a single white cue ball and fifteen additional balls of different colors. Balls are numbered and are either solid or white with a colored stripe. There are several variations of pool, but the objective of all of them is sinking your balls in the pockets before your opponent can.

What is the Difference Between Snooker and Pool?

Pool is played on a table with 6 pockets with 9 to 15 object balls plus an additional cue ball. The number of balls depends on the type of pool you’re playing. More on that below. Snooker is played on a table that has 6 pockets. Snooker tables are larger than pool tables but the pockets are smaller than pool tables’. Snooker is played with 15 pink numberless balls, 6 numbered object balls, and 1 cue ball.

Is Snooker Easier Than Pool?

Opinions vary, but most people consider snooker to be a more difficult game than “pool” as it is widely known. This is mainly attributed to the larger snooker table and the smaller size of the pockets. However, difficulty depends mainly on any given player’s ability and familiarity with the game.

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