Table Differences

Did you know that there is a difference between pool and billiards? How about snooker, ever heard of that? Professional players undoubtedly know the difference. But what about the rest of the pool playing universe?

Most people tend to use the words "Pool" and "Billiards" interchangeably even though they are separate games. If you are new to the game, or even an intermediate player, there's a more than a good chance that until now you didn't even know that there was a difference, but there is.

The confusion stems from the fact that there are actually two entirely different games, both of which are known as "Billiards". What the majority of players consider to be the game of "Pool" is also known as "Pocket Billiards".

There is another game that also includes the word "Billiards". This other game of "Billiards" is officially known as "Carom Billiards", "French Billiards", "Carabole Billiards" or simply "Carabole". Now add to this, that unless you've been to Europe, there's an even better chance that you've never even heard of the game of "Snooker". Confused yet?

"Pool" a.k.a. "Pocket Billiards"

Take a look at the differences that separate "Pool" from the other two games.

  • Table Size -The first thing to take note of is that true "Pool" and "Billiards" tables are noticeably different from each other. The official pool table size or a regulation table size is based on a 2:1 formula. The length of the table is twice the width. This works out to an official pool table size measuring 9 feet by 4.5 feet. Pool tables or "Pocket Billiards" tables as the name implies, have pockets, whereas Carom Billiards tables are pocketless.

  • The Balls - "Pool"/"Pocket Billiards" is played with 15 balls. There are 7 solid colored balls (1-7), and 7 striped balls (9-15), the 8 ball and the cue ball. "Carom Billiards" is played with only 3 balls, two white balls, and one red ball.

  • The Cues - "Pool" or "Pocket Billiards" cue sticks are generally 58.5 inches long, although many players will have custom cue sticks made in various lengths depending on their purpose i.e. a "breaking" cue or a "playing" cue. Note that "Pool/Pocket Billiards" cues have become slightly longer over time. Prior to the eighties, the common cue length was 57.5 inches. By comparison, "Carom Billiards" cues are generally shorter with larger tips, while "Snooker" cues are longer with smaller tips.

Carom Billiards a.k.a. French Billiards or Carabole

Unlike "Pool/Pocket Billiards" or "Snooker", "Carom Billiards" is played on a 10-foot by 5-foot, pocketless table, which often has a heated slate underneath. The heated slate helps to reduce friction thus adding speed to the balls.

Carom tables are cloth covered with a type of baize that is dyed green and made from 100% worsted wool, which combined with the heated slate makes for a very slick and fast surface offering little resistance as balls travel across the table.

"Carom Billiards" is typically played with 3 balls, but is some games additional balls may be added. In its simplest form, the object of the game is to score points or "counts" by caroming your own cue ball off both your opponent's cue ball and the object ball with a single shot.

And Then There Was Snooker

Snooker is a cue sport which originated among British Army officers stationed in India in the latter half of the 19th century. The game is played on a regular "Pool/Pocket Billiards" table, but instead of fifteen balls, this game employs twenty-one balls (15 red balls and 6 balls of different colors plus the cue ball). The objective is to pocket the balls in order, reminiscent of the "Pocket Billiards" game "Nine Ball".

So What's Next

Regardless of your game of choice, eventually you are going to want to invest in some quality equipment to complement your abilities. When that time comes, be sure to make a call to PoolDawg at 1-866-843-3294 to get any additional questions answered or to place your order.