The Indian national billiards and snooker championship 2017 is just around the corner.With the show set to begin on 12th January 2017, we all are suddenly very curious about the sport. Being one of the newcomers to this eloquent game, the first question that comes to mind, what is the difference between Billiards, Pool, and Snooker? All three are kinds of cue sports, where you use the cue and cue ball to target object balls, a lot like carom. However, while each one of them might share the same core game model, each is different from the other in terms of equipment used and rules & regulations that make each sport highly entertaining and different from each other.  In India, the sport is remains shrouded in mystery as most of us try to make head and tail of a cue stick.Here we will unravel a brief overview of billiards, pool, and snooker.

Carom Billiards:

Also known as French billiards, we start with billiards as it acts as the foundation for the games of pool and snooker that came much later.

Billiards was played for the first time in the early 15th century in France. It is a cue sport that had a huge following throughout history, with interests from global figures such as Mozart, Napoleon, Mark Twain and even Abraham Lincoln.

Surprisingly billiards we don’t try to pocket the object balls, rather try to hit the cue ball such that it would direct one of three object balls to subsequently hit the three railings and then another of the object balls to score a point.This format of billiards is commonly known as three cushions. While three cushions is the most common format of billiards, there are a few more variations:

  • Straight ball: simplified format where there is only one railing strike between two object balls
  • Four balls: a variation where there are four object balls

Carom Billiards as a game is pretty old and uses equipments which are starkly different from the other two; the cue is slightly smaller as compared to both snooker and pool and most striking off all is that the 10 and a half feet long table has no pockets. Billiards is a starkly different game from its successors and has remained majorly unchanged in the passage of time and remains a sophisticated and eloquent sport.


Snooker was the first ever variation of billiards, historical mentions of which can be traced back as far as the 16th century.  While historians sometimes credit croquet as the predecessor of the game, it is indisputable that billiards and snooker share a lot of similarities.

The obvious difference is in the design and size of the table; a slightly smaller table of 6 by 10 feet, pockets, and different sized balls make it pretty easy to spot the difference.Furthermore, snooker uses 21 balls, of which 15 are red and lack numbers while 6 balls are numbered and of different colors. The basic concept of the game is to score points by alternatively pocketing the red and the numbered balls.

The complexity of snooker comes from the rules that depend on the variations of the game, making it both a strategic and skillful game to play.


The earliest mention of pool can be found in the early 1800’s, as is the case we can’t really determine if it originated directly from either billiards or snooker, except for the fact that it constitutes a simplification of the latter, as well as the presence of pockets.

The most common variation of pool is known as ‘8-ball’, which consists of 16 balls, 7 solid coloreds, 7 striped, a black 8-ball and finally the white cue ball. The table used is even smaller than the snooker table averaging at 9 feet by 5 feet. The objective of a standard 8-ball game is to pocket an entire suit of balls, that is either colored or striped followed by pocketing of the black 8-ball.

8-ball remains one of the most played cue sports, gaining acceptance from the masses for being slightly less complex than its predecessors while still retaining much of the interesting gameplay.

In India cue sports like Billiards, snooker and pool while pretty popular, do not get the same attention as mainstream sports such as cricket or football. Still one can find places that host pool, snooker or billiards in the metro cities, such as Gamer’s den in Kolkata, Trip shot in Delhi and Shoot club in Mumbai.

To discover more interesting places hold on to your horses as we get ready to launch our latest app 100MPH, to help you find and connect with people to play, coaches to learn from and venues to play at!

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