Shopping for a modern pool table can be difficult if you’re shopping internationally or just unsure about the different vocabulary. Considering the wide variety of indoor and outdoor cue games, it’s common for many people to mix up snooker tables and pool tables and end up making the wrong purchase.
Fortunately, by educating yourself about the different varieties of indoor cue games, you can find the right table for you and even explore other ways to use your pool table.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about shopping for a pool table, including the differences between snooker and pool and billiards and pool.
Billiards vs. Pool: What’s the Difference?
Before discussing snooker, it’s important to understand the differences between billiards and pool because there are several other types of indoor cue games besides snooker and pool.
Generally, billiards is the classification for any indoor cue game. As a result, snooker and pool are considered forms of billiards.
However, many countries have their own form of billiards, with traditional billiards often referred to as french carom billiards.
This game is typically played with a lighter pool cue, three pool balls (one white, red, and yellow), and without pockets. The object of carom billiards is to hit the two object balls with a cue ball. Before hitting the second ball, the cue ball must bounce off three cushions, or the player does not gain a point for their shot.
The primary difference between traditional billiards and pool includes:
- Pool balls: Billiards uses 3 heavier pool balls, while pool encompasses 15 lighter weight balls and a white cue ball.
- Pool cue: carom pool sticks are lighter, have a smaller tip, shorter ferrule, and thicker butt.
- Rules: The object of carom is to score the highest number of points, while the object of pool is to sink all of your balls in the pockets.
- Table: Professional carom billiard tables feature worsted wool and require heated slate, slightly different from traditional slate pool tables. Additionally, many traditional billiards tables are played without pockets.
This last point is important because buying a billiards table without pockets won’t allow you to play traditional pool. However, you can still play pool, carom billiards, or most other indoor cue games on a traditional pool table with pockets.
What is Snooker?
While most of us are familiar with the traditional pool, many people are unaware of European snooker. Snooker is an indoor cue game similar to pool but with different rules and setup.
For example, snooker features 21 colored balls, lower set tables, and six pockets, but with smaller holes. In addition, snooker relies on a point system with more complex rules and strategy than a traditional pool.
To learn more about snooker, let’s explore how it differs from pool and whether both games can be played interchangeably on one table.
What’s the Difference Between a Snooker Table and Pool Table?
First, a snooker table has a completely different setup from pool. Snooker tables feature the following characteristics:
- 21 colored balls (15 red, 1 green, 1 pink, 1 yellow, 1 brown, 1 blue, 1 black, and 1 white striker ball)
- Slightly smaller 2 ⅙” diameter balls
- 6 table pockets (86mm or 3.5”)
- 17oz cues with 59” lengths
On the other hand, pool tables typically feature a standard 15-ball setup with the addition of a white cue ball, all measured at about 2 ¼” in diameter. Pool cues are also slightly heavier and range from 18-21 ounces in weight, though different weighted cues will be used between breaks and regular shots.
Snooker tables are also fairly large, ranging from 5’ x 10’ to 6’ x 12’, as opposed to a traditional 8-foot pool table. Additionally, snooker tables are lower set and have smaller diameter pockets. Both tables do use high-quality felt and slate for the best action.
Unlike in pool, where the object is to sink all of your team’s balls, snooker relies on a point system, and tables typically come with their own abacus.
Snooker is also played in intervals where players are tasked with knocking in a red ball followed by a colored ball, which is associated with a set point count. For example, black balls feature the highest points with 7 points and yellow with the lowest at 2 points.
Players are required to knock in a red ball before a colored ball and colored balls are taken out of pockets and placed back on the table once sunk. Red balls will remain in the pockets, and once all are sunk, the point total will be tallied to determine a winner.
Due to the complexity and strategy of snooker, it’s often considered more difficult for traditional pool players to master. However, your skills should transfer, though there will be a higher learning curve.
Can I Play Pool on a Snooker Table?
It’s generally not advisable to play pool on a snooker table. For one, the dimensions of the balls and table pockets will make it more difficult to become acclimated to the game.
However, playing snooker on a pool table is still possible, though it won't conform to professional standards.
Which Table Is Better for Me?
With this information in mind, purchasing a traditional indoor or outdoor pool table is still the best decision because it gives you the widest range to play different cue games, such as snooker, Carom Billiards, and pool.
Most professional pool tables also come with slate, high-quality fabric, and cushioned rails that make adapting different cue games easy on a traditional pool table.
For the widest selection of pool tables for multiple cue games, browse through our inventory at Gaming Blaze. We offer the highest quality professional pool tables and game tables that fit any budget or preference.