Billiards is typically played with three balls – two white cue balls and one red object ball. In contrast, snooker is played with fifteen red balls and six coloured balls. Billiards is played on a table without pockets, while snooker is played on a table with pockets.

The game of billiards

(Photo By Derrick Brutel on Flickr)

picture of billiard table

The game of billiards is believed to have originated in France in the 1500s. The word ‘billiard’ is thought to come from the French word ‘bille’, meaning ‘ball’. The game quickly became popular in Europe, and by the 1800s, it had spread to America.

Billiards is played with three balls – two white cue balls and one red object ball, It is played on a larger table than snooker – typically 8 feet by 4 feet, In billiards, points are scored for each ball pocketed, regardless of colour.

The game of snooker

(Photo By distillated on Flickr)

picture of a person playing snooker

The game of snooker is a cue sport played on a table covered with a green cloth, or baize, with pockets at each of the four corners and in the middle of each long side. It is played using a cue and snooker balls: one white ball (the “cue ball”), 15 red balls worth one point each, and six balls of different colours: yellow (worth two points), green (three), brown (four), blue (five), pink (six), and black (seven).

Snooker tables are usually only 6 feet by 3 feet

A player scores points by potting the balls into the pockets according to certain rules. The total number of points available in a game of snooker is 147. The game is played between two players, usually over the best of 19 “frames” (the name for a single game).

Billiards Vs. Snooker – Key differences

Billiards and snooker are both cue sports played on a table with pockets and balls, but there are some key differences between them:

Number of balls: Billiards is typically played with three balls – one white, one yellow, and one red – while snooker is played with 21 balls, including 15 red balls, six colored balls, and one white cue ball.

Table size: Billiards tables are typically larger than snooker tables, with dimensions of around 10 feet by 5 feet, while snooker tables are generally 12 feet by 6 feet.

Pockets: Billiards tables have larger pockets than snooker tables, which makes it easier to pot the balls.

Scoring: In billiards, the player earns points for each successful shot, while in snooker, the player earns points for potting the red balls and then the colored balls in a specific order.

Cues: Billiards cues are typically shorter and lighter than snooker cues, which are longer and heavier.

Rules: There are different sets of rules for billiards and snooker, with snooker being considered a more complex and strategic game with more rules and regulations.

While both billiards and snooker are cue sports played on a table with balls and pockets, there are significant differences in the number of balls, table size, pocket size, scoring, cues, and rules.

How to play snooker?

Snooker is a cue sport that is played on a rectangular table with pockets in each of the corners and in the middle of each of the long sides. Here are the basic steps to playing snooker:

  1. Set up the table: Place the 21 snooker balls in the triangle rack, with the pink ball in the middle of the triangle and the black ball at the back. Place the triangle at the foot spot, which is the marked point on the table.
  2. Break: The player who breaks hits the white cue ball with the cue, aiming to hit the red balls first. If a red ball is potted, the player can then pot a colored ball, starting with the yellow, then green, brown, blue, pink, and finally black. If the player fails to pot a ball, the other player takes a turn.
  3. Scoring: Each red ball is worth one point, and each colored ball has a different point value (yellow – 2, green – 3, brown – 4, blue – 5, pink – 6, black – 7). If a ball is potted, the player continues their turn until they miss or fail to hit the correct ball.
  4. Fouls: If a player commits a foul, the other player receives a penalty of four points and can then choose to take their turn or make the offending player take the next shot.
  5. End of game: The game is over when all the balls have been potted. The player with the highest score at the end of the game is the winner.

Snooker requires skill, precision, and strategy, making it a challenging but rewarding sport to play.

How to play billiards?

Billiards is a game played on a table with no pockets, using three balls: one white, one red, and one yellow. Here are the basic steps for playing billiards:

  1. Set up the table: Place the red ball on the spot at the center of the table, and the white ball anywhere inside the D-shaped area at the end of the table. Place the yellow ball anywhere on the table.
  2. Determine the order of play: The player who scores the opening shot gets to go first.
  3. Scoring: Players score points by striking the other two balls with the cue ball. The object ball is the ball the player is trying to hit, and the cue ball is the ball the player is using to strike the object ball.
  4. Hitting the object ball: To hit the object ball, aim the cue ball at it and strike the cue ball with the cue stick. The object ball should move and collide with the other ball.
  5. Continuing play: If the player successfully hits the object ball, they continue playing until they miss or commit a foul. If the player commits a foul, the other player gets a turn.
  6. Fouls: Fouls include hitting the wrong ball first, not hitting any balls, or causing the cue ball to leave the table.
  7. Winning the game: The game ends when one player reaches a predetermined number of points or when all balls are removed from the table.

These are just the basic rules of billiards, and there are many variations and advanced techniques to learn as you become more experienced with the game.


Featured Image By – June O on Unsplash

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