10 Differences Between snooker and billiards

Snooker vs. Billiards: Unveiling the Differences


When it comes to cue sports, snooker and billiards are two popular games that often confuse people due to their similarities. While both games are played on a table with balls and cues, there are distinct differences that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the world of snooker and billiards, highlighting their origins, rules, and uses. By the end, you will have a clear understanding of what makes these games unique.

What is Snooker?

Snooker is a cue sport that originated in the latter half of the 19th century in India. It is played using a cue stick and 21 colored balls, including 15 red balls, 6 colored balls, and a white cue ball. The objective is to score more points than your opponent by potting the balls in a specific order. The game is typically played on a table that measures 12 feet by 6 feet.

Examples of Snooker

Some famous snooker tournaments include the World Snooker Championship, Masters Tournament, and UK Championship. Players like Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, and Jimmy White have achieved legendary status in the world of snooker.

Uses of Snooker

In addition to being a recreational sport, snooker is also played professionally and has a dedicated following worldwide. It requires immense skill, concentration, and strategic thinking, making it a challenging and mentally stimulating game.

What is Billiards?

Billiards, also known as pocket billiards or pool, is a cue sport that originated in the 15th century in Europe. It is played using a cue stick and typically 16 balls, including 1 cue ball and 15 object balls. The object of the game varies depending on the specific variation being played but generally involves pocketing the object balls using the cue ball. The game is typically played on a table that measures 9 feet, 8 feet, or 7 feet.

Examples of Billiards

Some popular variations of billiards include Eight-Ball, Nine-Ball, and Straight Pool. These games are widely played both casually and professionally, with tournaments like the Mosconi Cup and World Pool Masters attracting top players from around the globe.

Uses of Billiards

Billiards is a versatile cue sport that can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels. It is commonly played in bars, recreational centers, and homes for leisure and entertainment purposes. Additionally, billiards tables are often used in professional tournaments and competitions.

Differences Table:

Difference Area Snooker Billiards
Table Size 12 feet by 6 feet Varies (9 feet, 8 feet, or 7 feet)
Number of Balls 22 balls (including 15 red and 6 colored) 16 balls (including 1 cue and 15 object balls)
Scoring System Points are scored individually Points are scored collectively
Order of Pots Specific order (red before colored) No specific order
Ball Pocketing Balls are potted into designated pockets Balls are potted into any pocket
Table Cloth Nap cloth (slower gameplay) Speed cloth (faster gameplay)
Cue Ball No special markings Usually marked with a dot
Gameplay Duration Longer games with more strategy Shorter games with quicker shots
Professional Tournaments World Snooker Championship, UK Championship Mosconi Cup, World Pool Masters
Popularity More popular in Europe and Asia Popular worldwide, especially in the United States


In conclusion, while snooker and billiards share some similarities as cue sports, they have distinctive characteristics that set them apart. Snooker is played on a larger table, with a specific order of potting and a different scoring system. On the other hand, billiards has a variety of games played on different table sizes with no specific potting order. The cloth, cue ball markings, gameplay duration, and popularity also differentiate these two games.

People Also Ask

Q: Can you play snooker on a billiards table?

A: No, snooker and billiards tables differ in size and ball arrangement, making them incompatible.

Q: Is billiards harder than snooker?

A: Both games require different skills and strategies. Some players may find snooker more challenging due to its larger table and specific potting order.

Q: What is the highest possible break in snooker?

A: The maximum break in snooker is 147, achieved by potting all 15 red balls with 15 blacks, followed by the colored balls in the correct order.

Q: Can billiards be played on a snooker table?

A: Yes, billiards can be played on a snooker table as the table size is suitable. However, it may require adjustments in terms of ball placement and rules.

Q: What are the different cue sports related to billiards?

A: Eight-Ball, Nine-Ball, Straight Pool, and One-Pocket are popular variations of cue sports that are related to billiards.

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