Difference Between a Billiards Table, Pool Table and a Snooker Table

While to many people these three games seem to be the same, there are distinct differences between billiards, pool and snooker. The reason why many people confuse them is because they use the same concept. If you are very keen, you will clearly see major outstanding differences starting from the playing surface, the equipment’s and accessories used among other things. If you have watched any major snooker championship and got the feeling that the table is somehow different from pool but could not point out the difference, then this article is for you.

We ought to put it in black and white that when we talk of billiards we are referring to the carom version and not just another name for the traditional variation of pool. That being said, let it also be clear that you can pick one table with a conversion top to help you enjoy one or two of these games. This guide should give you a head start before you buy a table of your choice.

With conversion tops you are able to save on the space you have in your game room not to mention that you save hugely on your budget. You simply buy one table that can be converted to several gaming tables by simply changing the top. Now let’s dive into the distinct features of billiards, pool and snooker starting with billiards.

What is a Billiards Table?

We will first seek to know the principle of billiards then go to the other details. Unlike what many people say, billiards is not another type of pool, rather it is the foundation on which pool and snooker evolved from. Billiards is played on a larger table that has no pockets.

When playing billiards (also known as carom billiards), the player aims at striking the object ball with the cue ball. The ball should hit the rails three times and somehow contact with the second ball. In this game, there is no need for pockets as the player does not aim at potting the balls. A standard billiards table measures 9.3   feet by 4.7 feet, there are however larger tables in the US that measure 10 feet by 5 feet.  The playing surface measures 112 inches by 56 inches from one rail to another for a standard table.

The size of the balls used in billiards are slightly larger than those of pool and they measure 2-7/16 inches in diameter. They weigh in between 7.23 ounces and 7.75 ounces which is equivalent to the weight of pool balls. The balls roll on a table top that is made of 100% worsted wool known as the baize. The baize is an equivalent of a felt in pool and snooker.

What is a Pool Table?

You can easily identify a pool table by the mere presence of six pockets (four at every corner and two at the center of each rail on the long sides). Pool tables differ slightly in size with the common variations being 7feet, 8 feet and 9 feet. You can find 10 feet tables in traditional establishments with vintage decors, however they are not very common nowadays. There are small pool tables that are found in homes and they be as small as 6feet by 3 feet.

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To enjoy the game of pool, you will need 15 object balls that have distinct numbers on them, a cue ball and a triangle rack that is used to arrange the balls before the match.  Pool cues are a bit longer and come with a thin tip to hit the balls perfectly for a smooth roll on the felt.

What is a Snooker Table?

These are the largest tables among the three tables. The height of these tables is somehow reduced with even smaller pockets. To play the game of snooker you require smaller balls. The balls are 21 in number and they come in different colors which represent different values.

In Europe, a standard snooker table measures 12×6 feet while as in the US the tables’ measure 10×5 feet. The smaller tables make the game easier for beginners as they prepare for the championships. The balls are 2-1/8 in diameter which is smaller compared to those used in billiards and pool.

The cue sticks used in snooker are specially made for speed due to the extended size of the table. The butt end to ferrule ratio is normally 2/3 which makes them longer that the normal pool or billiard sticks.

The rules of snooker are different from those of billiards and pool and you need to learn them before you start playing the game.


With the detailed explanation above, it is now very easy to differentiate between billiards, pool and snooker. You can now go ahead and enjoy a game that you know!


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