Snooker vs Pool

So what are the differences between snooker and pool? They're both played on tables, but they're very different.

difference between pool vs snooker
Wade McElwain

Written by: Wade McElwain

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2023-12-20

Snooker vs PoolIcon

Snooker and pool, both popular cue sports, often draw interest and intrigue from enthusiasts. While they share similarities in game-play involving cue sticks and balls on a felt-covered table, several fundamental differences set these two games apart.
So what’s the difference between Snooker vs Pool, and will you look like an idiot not knowing the difference?  (The short answer is yes)

Table Size and Equipment

A snooker table vs a pool table is quite the size comparison, as one of the most apparent differences lies in the table size. Snooker tables are notably larger than pool tables, typically measuring 12 feet by 6 feet, while pool tables are commonly 7, 8, or 9 feet long. 
The balls used in both games also differ in size and quantity. Snooker balls are smaller and lighter than pool balls, with 22 balls in total, comprising 15 red balls, six different coloured balls, and the white cue ball. 
Pool, on the other hand, utilises 16 balls, including a white cue ball and 15 object balls, either solid or striped, along with the 8-ball.
So, if it’s a really big one, and the balls are mostly red, it’s a snooker table!

Know your pool vs snooker tables, and you’ll be good to go. 

Gameplay and Scoring System

The game-play in snooker involves the player potting red balls alternated with coloured balls, earning points for each successful pot. Points vary based on the colour of the balls, with the black ball carrying the highest value. A player's turn continues until a miss occurs or all red balls are potted.  
In contrast, pool involves pocketing either solid or striped balls followed by the 8-ball to win the game. Each ball carries a specific point value, and players aim to pocket their designated set of balls before aiming for the 8-ball to secure victory.

Snooker and pool both have different balls, and varied rules, so know the score before you start a game.  
If there are a lot of red balls on the table, chances are you are playing Snooker. 

Cue Sticks and Technique

Another notable contrast lies in the cue sticks used and the technique required for each game. 
Snooker cues tend to be longer and narrower with a smaller tip, designed for precise shots over the larger playing area. 
Pool cues, comparatively shorter and sturdier, often feature a larger tip to accommodate various types of shots in the smaller pool table setting. Snooker also uses a lot of bridges given the size of the table.

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Complexity and Strategy

Snooker is widely regarded as a more complex and strategic game due to its larger table size, smaller balls, and intricate scoring system. 
The precise control required for snooker shots, especially positioning the cue ball for subsequent shots, demands a high level of skill and strategic planning. 
Pool, while also requiring strategy and precision, is generally considered more accessible due to its smaller table size and simpler scoring system.

Popularity and Global Reach

In terms of global popularity, pool enjoys a broader following, particularly in the United States and various parts of Europe. Its accessibility and varied game-play options contribute to its widespread appeal. Snooker, on the other hand, has a dedicated fan base, prominently thriving in the United Kingdom and parts of Asia, where it is regarded as a prestigious and skillful sport.
So the difference between snooker and pool on a global scale, is that they are both growing rapidly, but pool still has the popular advantage. 

So while both snooker and pool share similarities as cue sports played on felt-covered tables with balls and cues, their differences in table size, equipment, game-play, cue sticks, complexity, and global popularity set them apart. Whether you prefer the precision and complexity of snooker or the accessibility and strategic gaming of pool, both games offer unique challenges and enjoyment for enthusiasts of cue sports.

The key in snooker and pool is to have fun, don’t scratch the felt, and never ever sit on the tables. Snooker and pool might have their similarities and differences, but those are still big no-no’s.

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain is our Mr. NFL, a bona fide North American sports nut who knows about NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA plus MMA boxing and more. Originally from Canada, Wade is also an international award-winning stand-up comedian; host of numerous TV game shows; and a TV producer & writer. He also runs NFL in London-the largest NFL fan group in Europe, and has hosted NFL events at Wembley and around the world. Yes, he lives alone and does nothing but watch sports.

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