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Pool vs. Snooker: A Comparison Of Table Sizes And Game Rules

In the world of cue sports, pool and snooker reign supreme, both captivating audiences with their unique blend of strategy, precision, and skill.

Though they appear similar at first glance, a closer look reveals substantial differences in their table size and game rules that profoundly affect the playing experience. This article will provide an in-depth examination of these differences and provide insights into what makes each game distinct and appealing in its own right.

Table Sizes

One of the most prominent differences between pool and snooker lies in the size of the tables used for each game.

Pool Tables

Pool tables can come in various sizes, with the most common ones being 7, 8, and 9 feet long. Bar or pub-style tables are usually 7 feet long, while professional tournament tables are generally 9 feet. An 8-foot table is often called a "home" size, as it's a popular choice for personal use due to it being a compromise between the other two sizes.

The standard width of a pool table is around half of its length, giving it a 2:1 ratio. For instance, a 9-foot table would typically be 4.5 feet wide.

Snooker Tables

On the other hand, a full-size snooker table is quite a bit larger, usually measuring 12 feet by 6 feet. This larger size adds to the complexity and challenge of the game, requiring longer shots and more precise positioning. Smaller snooker tables do exist and are used more for leisure play or in places where space is a constraint. These smaller tables may be 10 feet by 5 feet, or even 8 feet by 4 feet.

Differences in Game Play

The differences between pool and snooker go beyond just the size of the tables. The gameplay and rules also significantly vary between the two.


Pool encompasses a variety of games, but the most common variants are 8-ball and 9-ball. In 8-ball, players are assigned either solid-coloured or striped balls, and the objective is to pocket all of your assigned balls before ending with the 8 ball. The 9-ball game is played with just nine balls, numbered 1 through 9. Players must hit the balls into the pockets in numerical order.

Pool games tend to be quicker and more straightforward, with each player typically taking multiple shots in a row.


Snooker, in contrast, is a more strategic game. It involves 21 object balls: 15 red balls, and six other balls in different colours, each with a designated point value.

Players must first pocket a red ball (worth one point each) followed by a coloured ball. The coloured balls are then returned to the table until all the red balls are pocketed. After that, players must pocket the coloured balls in ascending order of their points.

Snooker is generally a longer game than pool and requires more precision, given the smaller pocket size relative to the ball and the greater number of balls on a larger table.

What are the Pro's and Cons of Pool vs Snooker

Each game, pool and snooker, has its own unique pros and cons, largely based on the rules, equipment, and strategy involved. Here are some considerations:



  1. Variety of Games: Pool comprises various games, like 8-ball, 9-ball, straight pool, etc., which provide diversity and can cater to different skill levels and preferences.

  2. Table Size: Smaller table sizes are more accommodating for casual play and smaller spaces, making it more accessible for home use.

  3. Simpler Rules: The rules for pool games like 8-ball and 9-ball tend to be more straightforward, which makes it easier for beginners to learn.

  4. Pace: Pool games usually move along at a quicker pace, which can make them more exciting and less time-consuming.


  1. Less Strategic: While there's still plenty of strategy in pool, the smaller table and fewer balls can make it less strategically complex compared to snooker.

  2. Less Precision Required: The larger ball-to-pocket ratio in pool means less precision is required, which could be a downside for players seeking a challenge in accuracy.



  1. Strategic Depth: With more balls on a larger table, snooker tends to be a more strategic game, requiring careful planning of shot sequences.

  2. Precision and Skill: The smaller ball-to-pocket ratio requires a higher level of precision, which can be rewarding for players seeking a challenge.

  3. Scoring System: The scoring system in snooker adds an extra level of complexity and excitement, as comebacks are always possible right up until the end.


  1. Table Size: The larger table size requires more space, making it less suitable for casual home play.

  2. Learning Curve: The more complex rules and scoring system of snooker can make it harder for beginners to learn and understand.

  3. Game Length: Games of snooker typically last longer than pool, which may not be ideal for those looking for quick games.

Remember, whether you prefer pool or snooker ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both games have their unique charms and challenges that appeal to different people. You may even enjoy both, appreciating each for the unique skills and strategies they require.

Let’s Summarise

Pool and snooker, while similar in many respects, provide different challenges and experiences to players. The table size, number and type of balls, and the unique rules for each game all contribute to their distinct identities. Whether one prefers the more strategic and lengthy game of snooker or the faster-paced, straightforward game of pool usually comes down to personal preference. Regardless, both games offer a great mix of strategy, skill, and suspense that continue to entertain players and audiences alike.

Here is a comparative chart summing up the main differences between pool and snooker:

Please note that this chart simplifies many aspects of pool and snooker, and there are additional rules and game variants not covered here. For a more complete understanding, consider referring to official rulebooks or reputable guides.

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