Pool vs. Snooker Table: What Are the Differences?

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Both pool and snooker are fantastic games to play, but due to the fact that they’re both played on very similar tables, people may actually mistake them for being the same game. However, we assure you that they are not the same games, and although they do share some similarities, they do also have many fundamental differences between them.

Let’s figure out whether pool or snooker is the right game for you.

Pool and Snooker: The Basics

Before we start talking about the similarities shared between pool and snooker as well as the differences between them, let’s first figure out what both of them are.

What Is Pool?

Pool Balls Technically speaking, pool is a type of cue sport that is played on a table that features six pockets along the rails. The general aim of pool is for the players to pocket the balls in a specific order, which depends on the exact game being played.

There are many varieties of pool including blackball, eight-ball, nine-ball, seven-ball, one-pocket, bank pool, and straight pool.

Pool tables are generally between 7 x 3.5 feet and 4.5’ x 9 feet in size, with balls ranging from 2.25 to 2.375 inches diameter. Generally speaking, in pool, you have 16 balls, which include a white cue ball, eight solid balls numbered one to eight, and seven striped balls numbered nine through fifteen.

What Is Snooker?

Snooker Balls Snooker is also a cue sport that is played on a table, with there also being six pockets along the rails, with the aim also being to pocket the balls in a specific order by hitting them with the white cue ball, which is struck with the cue.

In snooker, there are 22 balls, which include 15 red balls, six color balls, and a white cue ball. Snooker does feature a very large table that comes in at 11 feet 8.5 inches x 5 feet 10 inches, with some smaller versions being available as well. Unlike pool which has many different varieties, there is only one way to play snooker.

Similarities of Pool and Snooker Table

Now that we know what both pool and snooker are, let’s figure out what their shared similarities are.

#1: The Same Type of Game

Of course, both of these games are played on tables, and they involve players using cues in order to hit balls into pockets. Therefore, the most basic foundations of both games are the same. They both involve the same type of gameplay, but that said, they do of course have different rules.

#2: Same Type of Equipment

Another similarity that both of these games share is that they both use the same type of equipment. Both games involve a certain number of balls, both are played on a large table, and both are played using cues.

Moreover, both snooker and pool tables tend to be made out of the same materials, with some featuring wooden playing surfaces and some featuring slate playing surfaces, both covered in felt.

#3: Number of Players

Another similarity that both of these games share is that they can both be played by the same number of people, both pool and snooker games can be played as a one on one game or as two on two games.

Pool vs. Snooker Table

Differences Between Pool and Snooker Table

Let’s take a look at the differences next.

#1: Number and Types of Balls

One of the most fundamental differences between pool and snooker is how many balls are used in both games, as well as the types of balls. In snooker, there are always 22 balls, each of which is 2-1/16 inches in diameter, consisting of 15 red balls, a white cue ball (or striker ball), and brown, yellow, black, blue, pink, and green balls.

On the other hand, in pool, although exactly how many balls are used depends on the exact game being played, the balls are usually always 2.25 inches in diameter, and there are always three types of balls. A full set of pool balls consists of 16 balls, with a white cue ball, eight solid balls, and seven striped balls.

#2: Table Size

Another fundamental difference between these two games is what size of table is used. Generally speaking, pool tables are much smaller than snooker tables.

Pool tables range from 7 x 3.5 feet to 4.5 x 9 feet in size, with snooker tables coming in at 11 feet 8.5 inches x 5 feet 10 inches, therefore being much larger. What can also be said here is that pool tables usually come in more size varieties as opposed to snooker tables, which are usually always the same size.

#3: Variations

Yet another difference between these two games is how many variations of them exist. Generally speaking, when it comes to snooker, there is really only one game that can be played with one specific set of rules.

However, when it comes to pool, there are many different variations of it, including eight-ball, seven-ball, nine-ball, straight pool, bank pool, and more. There are even some pool games you can play alone. When it comes down to it, there are many more ways to play pool than there are ways to play snooker.

#4: Basic Rules

Now, comparing the basic rules of these two games is quite difficult, because when it comes to pool, it depends on the exact variation being played, but what we can do is explain how snooker works, which is always different from pool.

In snooker, a player must hit one of the 15 red balls into a pocket, and this must then be followed by one of the six colored balls being pocketed (with the colored balls having to be pocketed in a specific order, with their value then being added to that player’s score).

The colored balls go back to their starting position after having been sunk. If a player misses a shot, they get a penalty, and their turn ends. This continues until all red balls have been pocketed, and once the red balls have been pocketed, all colored balls must then also be pocketed in a specific order.

Pool Table

Pool vs. Snooker Table: Which of the Two Should You Get?

Personally, seeing as pool comes with so much more variety and requires less space to play, we recommend it as being the game to play. There are many versions of pool, with some allowing you to play against yourself, not to mention the fact that different variations of pool have differing rules and difficulty levels too.

Sure, snooker is a fine game to play, but it’s a little more old school and much stricter than pool.


Both snooker and pool are amazing games to play, so we recommend checking both of them out before you end up buying a pool table or a snooker table.