Although often misinterpreted as the same game, Snooker, Pool and Billiards are actually three separate games. Played on different sized tables, with different amounts of balls and rules, they may seem interchangeable, but they do not mean the same thing. The first of the three to be created was ‘Billiards’, and was used to describe a game called ‘carom billiards’. Since its creation, however, it has evolved into a general term to describe a variety of games played on a table, with balls and a cue. While similar equipment is used for billiards and pool, each game has its own set of rules. Snooker also uses similar equipment, but has a more complex set of rules to the other two.
One of the key differences between the three is the number of balls used. In Snooker, there are 22 balls. A white ball, known as the striker, or cue ball, fifteen red balls, and one of each of yellow, brown, green, blue, pink and black. Each ball is 2 1/16 inches in diameter. Billiards, on the other hand, uses only three balls. One white, one yellow and one red, with both the white and yellow acting as a striking ball. Billiards differs from snooker with slightly larger balls at 2 7/16 inches in diameter. Conversely, the number of balls in pool can change depending on the variant of the game. The standard game of pool, however, consists of sixteen balls each 2 1/4 inches in diameter. There are eight solid balls of colour, numbered 1 to 8, seven striped balls numbered 9 to 15, and a solid white ‘cue’ ball.
Billiards and pool tend to be played on the same sized tables, either seven, eight or nine feet long. Respectively known as a bar, recreational or tournament table. The main difference between the two is that a pool table has pockets, while billiards does not. Snooker tables are historically a lot bigger and feature pockets. In America, people play with 10 foot tables, while in the UK players use huge 12 foot tables.
The rule differences are, of course, where the biggest changes between the three occur. Each game obviously has a comprehensive set of rules, including a number of variations on the original format. With billiards, the main idea is to score points, or ‘counts’, by bouncing your ‘cue’ ball off the other two balls on the table.
Snooker, on the other hand, is a lot more complicated. Games are organised into frames, and a player can win a frame by scoring the most points. Points are decided by using the white cue ball to pocket the red and coloured balls. The red balls are each worth one point, while the yellow is worth two, green three, brown four, blue five, pink six and black seven. There are also rules which govern which ball can be pocketed at a given turn. You must pocket a red followed by a colour and so on. If the wrong ball is pocketed, this is a foul and the player will not receive any points. Once all red balls are pocketed, you must pocket all the colour balls in ascending order to win.
There are many variations of pool, however, in a standard game of pool, players score points by shooting balls in pockets. At the start of the game, one player ‘cues’ the white into the triangle of spots and stripes. Once you pocket a spot or a stripe, you then have to pocket the rest of your chosen balls. Once you have pocketed your seven balls, you have to pocket the black to win. Straight pool rules also dictate that you must call your pocket before taking your shot.
1st Option and Snooker Tables
Here at 1st Option we are incredibly fortunate to be able to represent some of the most incredible properties in the whole of United Kingdom. Because of this, we have a whole host of properties featuring snooker and pool tables, including Ember way, Cedar Court, Newington and Old Chelsea Factory to name a few.