Billiards vs Pool vs Snooker: Understand the 4 key differences

Billiards, Pool, and Snooker are three terms that have been used interchangeably by many people recently. It is acceptable if you are comparing them with other game types. However, if you are learning how to play pool, you will find out that they have many differences in detail. So Billiards vs Pool vs Snooker: what are the differences? This article will assist you in determining which of these three categories you have.

Billiards, Pool, and Snooker

What is Billiards?

Billiards, sometimes called carom billiards, is among one of the cue sports which refer to games played with cue sticks on tables without pockets. Popularly, billiards just use 3 balls: one red ball, white one with spot, and white without spot.

What is Billiards

Billiards has its origins in a lawn game similar to croquet that was popular in the 15th century. At that time, the game was only open to royalty and nobles. Gradually, more styles were added to this game. It went from being an outdoor sport to requiring a hardwood table when it was brought indoors. A basic border was used, and the table was covered with green fabric. The color was chosen specifically to seem like grass. After that, this game was given a name as billiards which is derived from the French word “billart”. During the late 1600s, cue sticks started to be applied until now.

What is Pool?

Pool is also a group of cue sports that are played with cue sticks but on a table with six pockets along the rails where balls are dropped. Pool is normally played with one black ball, seven yellow balls, seven red balls, and a white cue ball, however, the number of balls used depends on the game.

What is Pool

The history of Pool seems to be weird since it starts with the gamblers. Back in the 18th century, gamblers resorted to poolrooms to bet on horse races, which was prohibited at the time. The money was pooled into a big pot. Poolrooms were chosen since pocketed billiard tables made them appear less suspicious. While waiting for the results of the genuine game, gamblers would play lightly. The pool table got its name as a result of this.

What is Snooker?

Snooker is also one of the cue sports that is played with cues on a six-pocket table. Snooker is normally played using fifteen red balls, six colored balls, and one cue ball, all of which are significantly larger than pool balls. Snooker is different from billiards and pool because three balls can be used as a striker to hit other balls whereas you can only hit the white cue ball in the former.

What is Snooker

Snooker was first introduced in 1875. Lieutenant Neville Chamberlain wanted to change a few things about the “black pool.” One black ball and fifteen red balls are used in the game.

The lieutenant thought about putting other colored balls in the game. Because those balls were new to the game, he referred to his version of “black pool” as snooker. The term comes from the Royal Military Academy’s newcomers, who are known as “snooker”


Billiards vs Pool: how to distinguish?

These 2 terms sometimes are used mistakenly because they all refer to cue sport using the cue sticks. However, you can easily differentiate them by looking at the table and the ball’s numbers. Billiards uses tables without pockets with 3 balls while Pool uses tables with 6 pockets and 8 balls. Sometimes, people call Pool pocket Billiards.

Can you play snooker on a pool table?

Yes, but with some preparation. There are many differences if you compare Snooker vs Pool. They are different in rules, ball numbers, and especially, the table used. However, it is interesting that you can definitely play Snooker on a Pool table. Firstly, you have to make some preparations. You’ll need to sketch the snooker ‘D’ form at one end of the table with extreme caution. Some players will purchase spot stickers and use them to mark out where the colored balls should go.


In short, Billiards vs Pool vs Snooker are three popular cue sport games that are played by a large number of individuals. However, there are numerous differences between them in terms of game rules, ball count, tables, and cues. We hope that this article has given you some clear ideas about which game you are playing or trying to learn so that you can achieve the greatest possible result while following the game’s regulated rules.