Pool vs. Billiards vs. Snooker: What’s the Difference?

The average person has no clue that Pool, Billiards, and Snooker are three very different things. The most common misconception is that Pool, Billiards, and Snooker are separate words describing identical games in different regions of the world (Pool is American, Billiards is European, and Snooker is for kids). Although there’s some underlying geographical accuracy, this theroy is wrong- let’s find out the truth.

The technical difference between Pool, Billiards, and Snooker is that Pool and Snooker are types of Billiard games. Billiards refers to any table game where a cue stick is used to hit balls on a flat, cloth-covered surface with walls.

There are two main types of Billiards: Carom Billiards and Pocket Billiards. Carom Billiards was invented first and is played on a table without pockets. Pool and Snooker, both Pocket Billiards games, are played on tables with 6 pockets in which players try to shoot the balls into the pockets.

The main differences between Billiards, Pool, and Snooker can be explained by the table type (number of pockets), table sizes, number/size/color of balls, size/shape of cue sticks, and obviously the object and rules of each game.

Table typeNo pockets6 pockets6 pockets
Table size10 feet7 feet
8 feet
9 feet
12 feet
# of Balls3 balls16 balls22 balls
Ball Size2 & 7/16th inches2 & 1/4 inches2 & 1/16th inches
Ball Colors1 red
1 white (striker)
1 yellow (striker)
8 solid (colors)
7 striped (colors)
1 white (cue)
15 red
1 yellow
1 brown
1 blue
1 pink
1 black
1 green
1 white (striker
Cue StickShort
Thick at base
Thin shaft
Thin Shaft
Table ClothFastSlowSlow
ObjectScore the most pointsWin the most framesMany different games