Whats the Difference Between Snooker and Pool?

With so many types of cue sports available, it can be hard to keep them all straight. So what exactly makes snooker different from pool? Read on to find out.


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What is Snooker

Snooker is a cue sport played with two people on top of a baize-covered table. A player uses their cue to hit the white ball which then strikes other balls to pot them into one of six pockets on the table. If successful, they score points for each ball potted. Snooker typically involves two people but can also be played with four people in teams of two.

Snooker began in India during the late 19th century and quickly gained notoriety among British military officers stationed there. By 1884 it had spread to England where it further developed. The first official Snooker World Championship was held in 1927 and has been held annually ever since; nowadays Snooker boasts an intensely competitive scene with professional players from around the globe competing for supremacy.

Rules & Equipment

Snooker has a straightforward set of rules: pot as many balls as you can and score points for each one. But there are various rule variations available to make the game more challenging or exciting. The most essential equipment required to play Snooker includes a cue, chalk, balls, and an actual Snooker table.

Snooker tables typically measure 12 feet long and 6 feet wide, with six pockets at each corner and in the middle of each long side. These pockets are slightly smaller than balls so that they fit inside just barely. Covered in green baize cloth for friction, these balls roll easily across this table surface.

Chalk is used to increase friction between the cue and ball, enabling more accurate striking and avoiding miscues (when the cue slips off of the ball). Each player has their own color of chalk so that they can quickly identify whose marks appear on the tablecloth.

Snooker features 22 balls: 15 red balls worth one point each, six colored balls worth 2-7 points each, and one black cue ball (known as the “cue ball”). All shots must be taken from near the “D”, located near the center of the table where all shots must be taken; reds always go first followed by colors in ascending point value order: yellow (2 points), green (3), brown (4), blue (5), pink (6) and black (7). After all reds have been cleared fromthe table or play becomes “dead”, only colors may remain until one remains (usually black). At this point it may be said that “only colors remain” or simply “colors left”, leaving us with just that: black!

Common Strategies

One popular strategy used in Snooker is called “safety play”. This involves hitting your opponent’s ball into a pocket so it cannot be potted by them, forcing them to take more difficult shots. Another approach, known as “potting position”, involves hitting your own ball into an advantageous position for potting on subsequent turns; potting position often leads to safety play because opponents will find it more difficult to pot their own ball if yours is blocking access to the pocket!

What is Pool

Pool is a cue sport played on a table with six pockets. It is also known as pocket billiards or pool billiards. The game requires sixteen balls: a cue ball and fifteen object balls, with the goal being to sink all of the object balls into their designated pockets using the cue ball.

Pool game 8-ball is one of the most popular. To win, players must sink all balls from their assigned group (solid colored or striped colored balls) into respective pockets before sinking the black 8-ball into any pocket to seal victory.

Rules & Equipment

Pool is a game of striking the cue ball with your stick (cue), making it hit one or more object balls so they either go into pockets or strike another ball off the table. That’s it! However, there are various variations of pool available with their own rules.

Pool requires a table, cue sticks and balls. Most people use regulation size 2-1/4 inch diameter balls; however, 3/4 inch and 1 inch balls may also be available for smaller hands or children’s games. Weight of these larger pool balls ranges from 5 ounces to 7 ounces. Pool cues come in various weights, lengths and tip sizes as well.

Pool tables typically feature six pockets – two at each end and two in the middle on each side. Pool tables can be constructed out of wood, slate, fiberglass, or other materials.

Pool tables are typically covered in cloth (usually woolen), which helps keep the cue ball rolling smoothly and prevents it from bouncing off too high when hitting an object ball.

Subsection 2.3 Common StrategiesWhen playing pool, players have many strategies at their disposal. Some common ones include:

  • Playing safe – this involves avoiding risky shots and trying to prevent your opponent from getting good position on their next shot;
  • Shooting with purpose – this involves strategizing your shots so that you are in optimal position for each subsequent shot;
  • Shooting for position – this refers to taking shots that put your opponent in a difficult position for their next shot;
  • Shooting for both shape and position – This involves taking shots that put yourself in a good position for your next shot while leaving your opponent facing an uphill battle;
  • Playing aggressively – This refers to taking risks and making bold shots in an effort to win quickly;

Pool players have an array of strategies available. It all comes down to what game type and style suits you best.

What Is the Disference Between Snooker and Pool

Snooker and pool differ primarily in table size and pockets. A typical snooker table measures twice as long as a pool table with six pockets, while most pool tables are half that length with only four pockets. This makes potting balls much harder in snooker since there are fewer targets to aim for and smaller pockets.

Number of Balls

Snooker and pool differ in that they use 22 balls (including the cue ball), while pool only uses 16 balls. With more balls on the table in snooker, it can be more challenging to keep track of them all and plan your shots carefully.

Types of Shots

In snooker, players have two primary types of shots: direct shots and indirect ones. Direct shots occur when the cue ball strikes another ball directly, while indirect shots involve indirect contact such as hitting a cushion first. Due to pool’s restriction on direct shots, players must be precise with their aim if they hope to hit their target ball.

Scoring System

Snooker has a distinct scoring system from pool. Red balls are worth one point each, while yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black balls earn increasingly more points (two for yellow up to seven for black). Conversely in pool all balls have equal value regardless of color (except the eight-ball which is worth one game point).


Snooker and pool differ in terms of table size and pockets, number of balls used, shot types available and scoring system. Both require skill and strategy but offer distinct challenges that players of all levels can enjoy.

Sophie Delatorre
Sophie Delatorre

I'm a sports coach, mom, and reader who loves wellbeing as much as I love soccer! Follow me on social media to learn more about my journey toward a healthier lifestyle.

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