Snooker vs Pool: Understanding the Key Differences in Gameplay and Rules

When it comes to cue sports, two popular games that often come to mind are snooker and pool. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are several key differences in gameplay and rules that set them apart. Whether you’re a beginner looking to learn the basics or a seasoned player wanting to brush up on your knowledge, understanding these distinctions can enhance your appreciation of both snooker and pool.

Gameplay Differences

One of the most noticeable differences between snooker and pool lies in the number of balls used. In snooker, a total of 22 balls are utilized, including red balls worth one point each, six colored balls worth different points (yellow – 2 points, green – 3 points, brown – 4 points, blue – 5 points pink – 6 points, black – 7 points), and one white cue ball. On the other hand, pool is played with only 16 balls – one cue ball and a combination of solid-colored (worth one point) and striped (worth two points) balls.

Another distinction lies in the size of the table. A standard snooker table is significantly larger than a pool table. Snooker tables measure around 12 feet by 6 feet, while pool tables usually come in various sizes ranging from 7 feet to 9 feet in length.

The scoring system also differs between these two games. In snooker, players aim to score as many points as possible by potting (pocketing) red and colored balls in a specific order. The game ends when all reds have been potted followed by the colors in ascending order. In contrast, pool follows a simpler scoring mechanism where players accumulate points by pocketing their designated group of balls until all their assigned balls have been cleared from the table.

Rule Variations

While both snooker and pool share some common rules, there are notable variations that distinguish the two games. In snooker, players take turns at the table, with each turn ending when a player fails to pot a ball or commits a foul. When a foul occurs, the opposing player is awarded points and given the opportunity to take their shot. This back-and-forth continues until one player wins by scoring more points than their opponent.

In pool, players also take turns but have more flexibility in their shot selection. They can choose to pot any ball on the table as long as they hit one of their assigned group first – solids or stripes. Additionally, fouls in pool typically result in the opponent being awarded ball-in-hand, meaning they can place the cue ball anywhere on the table before taking their shot.

Another significant difference lies in the level of skill required for each game. Snooker is often regarded as more challenging due to its larger table size and complex scoring system. The precision and strategy required to navigate around multiple balls make it a game that demands patience and meticulous planning. Pool, while still requiring skill and accuracy, is generally considered more accessible to beginners due to its simpler rules and smaller table size.


In conclusion, while snooker and pool may appear similar on the surface, understanding their key differences in gameplay and rules can enhance your enjoyment of both games. From the number of balls used to the size of tables and scoring systems employed, these distinctions add depth and uniqueness to each cue sport. Whether you’re drawn towards the complexity of snooker or prefer the accessibility of pool, both games offer hours of entertainment for players of all skill levels. So grab a cue stick, chalk up your tip, and enjoy exploring these captivating cue sports.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.