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Snooker vs Pool vs Billiards – Learn the Key Differences

Professional cue sports players can quickly distinguish between a pool table and a snooker or billiards table. However, for casual players or cue sports beginners, pointing the difference between billiards and snooker and pool can be challenging. Many players generally refer to all of these cue sports as pool. Such players use pool or billiards interchangeably as an umbrella term for snooker, billiards, 8 ball pool. But, an experienced pool player may take offense when they hear such an absurd comparison. 

While pool, snooker, and billiards are often used interchangeably as they are played using similar equipment, the three games are not the same. All three games have different rules and gameplay. If you are a pool beginner or are still unaware of the differences between snooker vs pool vs billiards, here’s an interesting read that will tell the three apart so that you can confidently explain the differences whenever someone is confused about the three games.

But before we take a look at the difference between billiards and snooker and pool, let’s understand each game separately.

Also Read: 8 Ball Pool Guide to Pot Like a Pro


Essentially, the pool game has different variants such as 8 ball pool, 9 ball pool, and 3 ball pool. The name of the variant is based on the number of balls in the game. For instance, an 8-ball pool game includes 16 object (solids and stripes) balls, including one 8-ball. Similarly, a 9 ball pool game consists of nine balls, and a 3 ball pool game includes three balls.

When you play the 8 ball pool game, your objective is to pot all the assigned balls and finish the game by potting the black 8-ball in the end before your opponent. The game starts with a player playing the first shot, also called the break shot. When playing online, each player is assigned either stripes or solids after the break shot. A player can win the 8 ball pool game in three situations:

  • The player pots all the assigned object balls along with the 8-ball at the end.
  • The opponent fouls by potting an 8 ball before potting all the assigned object balls
  • If the 8 ball is knocked off the table by a player in a game played on a physical table, the opponent wins.

The other variants of pool are based on similar gameplay and rules; however, 8 ball pool is one of the most popular pool games online.

Learn how to master the 8 ball pool break shot


Snooker is a popular billiards game of British origin. It’s called a billiards game as it is played on a table with similar size and markings of that in an English billiards game. In a game of snooker, 22 balls are used, including one cue ball, 15 red balls carrying 1 point each, one green call valued at 3 points, one yellow ball valued at 2 points, one brown ball valued at 4 points, one blue ball valued at 5 points, one pink ball valued at 6 points, and one black ball valued at 7 points.  

The players must pocket the red ball first and then the non-red balls to score one point each for a red ball and more points based on the value of the other balls. When all the red balls are potted, players must pot the other balls in numerical order. After all the balls are potted, the player with the highest score wins the game.


While there are multiple variations of Billiards played worldwide, English Billiards is the most popular cue sport played between two players or two teams on a table with no pockets. English Billiards originated from an amalgamation of numerous games, including winning and losing carambola game. The cue sport is popularly played in the Commonwealth countries. The game includes three balls; one red object ball and two cue balls in yellow and white.

Each player attempts to score higher points than the opponent in the game and uses a different color cue ball. The players attempt to reach a pre-decided score to win the match. The points are allotted through winning hazard, losing hazard, and cannon as follows:

  • Through cannon, the player hits a cue ball so that it hits another cue ball which goes on to hit the red ball for three points. 
  • If the first cue ball directly hits the red ball, the player scores two points.
  • If the first and second cue ball and the red ball is hit, but the red ball is not potted, the player scores two points.
  • If the second cue ball and red ball are hit simultaneously, the player scores two points.

Also Read: Five common 8 Ball Pool Misconceptions

Snooker vs Pool vs Billiards 

Variants8-ball, 9-ball, 3-ball, 15-ball, 1-pocket, bank-poolFrame, CenturyCarrom, Pocket
Balls15 balls, including 7 stripes, 7 solids, and one cue ball. Balls can also be reduced to 8, 9, or 3 based on the variant22 balls, including 15 reds, 6 colored balls, a one cue ball. Other variants may use 9, 6, or 1 red ballThree balls, including one white, one yellow, and one red
Pockets66Carrom Billiards has 0 pockets and Pocket Billiards has 6 pockets
Size of Balls 21/4 inch21/1627/16 inch
Cue Stick58 inches long57-58 inches long54-56 inches long
Table7ft bar tables, 8 ft home or recreational tables, and 9 ft professional and tournament tables10-foot to 12-foot tables7-foot, 8-foot, and 9-foot tables same as pool tables
ObjectiveThe main objective is to pot the assigned balls before the opponentThe main objective is to score higher points than the opponent by first potting the red balls followed by colored balls from least to most valuableThe main objective is to score points by hitting the cue ball so that it hits another cue ball which further hits the red ball


By now, you may have understood the difference between billiards and snooker and pool. It is important to be able to differentiate between the three cue sports if you are a fan of cue sports. These snooker vs pool vs billiards differences will help you understand the cues, balls, tables, and rules of each game better. The next time you see a cue sports table, you will be able to identify the game confidently. Playing billiards, snooker, or pool on a physical table with friends is fun. However, pool variants such as 8 ball pool have gained popularity on online gaming platforms. You can play 8 ball pool online with real players for free or join cash contests to win real money.

Vijaya Bharti
Vijaya Bharti is an experienced gaming writer fuelled by a passion for virtual worlds and interactive storytelling. Her profound understanding of game design and culture shines through her compelling content pieces captivating readers. She finds leisure in playing online games, writing about anything related to games, and watching web series.


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