What's the Difference Between a Pool Table and a Snooker Table?
When you walk into an arcade or bar, the first thing you notice is usually the pool table (especially if you're a pool player yourself). This game has been around since before the United States was founded, and it's not going anywhere any time soon!
What many people don't realize is that there are several different kinds of tables on which to play billiards. What are the differences between these tables? How do they differ from each other? Which one should you play on? Let's answer these questions in this guide to the difference between a pool table and a snooker table.
What Is a Snooker Table?
Before we can look at how snooker tables compare to pool tables, let’s first take a look at what a snooker table is. A snooker table, also called a pocket billiards table (if you don’t know why, please look it up), is different from a pool table in that it has less pockets and larger pockets to accommodate (much larger) balls.
Since these balls are often bigger than billiard balls, they are referred to as snookers. While there are also some differences between pool and snooker cues—including their size—the biggest difference between these two types of cue sports lies in their rules. Each game has its own governing body which sets out specific rules for each game.
What is a Pool Table?
A pool table is any table used for playing pool. They can range in size from 3 to 10 feet wide, and 8 to 12 feet long, with standard cues (2-1⁄4 inch diameter cue balls) being 12 inches in length, on average.
This means that pool tables have sizes of: 9' × 4'6 (8' × 4'2) or 9' × 5'6 (8' × 5'). The goal of each game is to sink all of one's balls while preventing their opponent from doing so first; if both players have achieved such a goal simultaneously, then they can choose to tie or re-rack and play again until one has won.
How the Tables are Similar?
Although pool and snooker are played on different types of tables, there are many similarities between them. For starters, both games use triangular sticks to hit balls into a pocket or goal. In snooker, pockets can be located anywhere around the table and in pool they’re all located on one side.
In both games, you have to strike your ball so that it rebounds off of at least one wall before going into a pocket (although it isn’t necessary in pool). Both games use similar sized balls, but snooker balls weigh slightly more than pool balls.
How are they different?
It’s surprising to find out just how many people don’t know that pool and snooker are completely different games. The easiest way to differentiate them is by looking at what they each use as their main playing tool: cue sticks versus cues. Table size also makes a big difference, since pool tables are much larger than snooker tables.
The balls themselves also vary in size—pool balls measure 2 inches in diameter while snooker balls measure 31⁄4 inches (it doesn’t seem like a big difference, but it makes for a large gap between pocket openings). Finally, ball speed is greatly affected by table size; pool tables allow balls to be hit much faster than on snooker tables.
Are there other things to consider?
A pool table can come in two sizes: 4-feet wide and 7-feet wide. Most people think of a snooker table as being 7-feet wide, but that’s not necessarily true. For example, manufacturer Broumme produces both a 6.1-foot (200 cm) and an 8.3-foot (260 cm) variant that is perfect for home use.
If you are looking to get into playing snooker, then you may want to consider either renting or buying a smaller option before making your final decision on what type of table to buy.
All in all, pool and snooker tables are pretty similar: they’re both used for games in which you use cues to hit balls into pockets, but there are some differences. For instance, pool tables can be longer than snooker tables and are usually found indoors, while snooker is an outdoor game played on a table that’s not usually as long.
Both have their advantages: if you have more space or play outdoors frequently then choosing a snooker table makes sense; however, if your budget allows or you spend most of your time indoors then go with a pool table.
American Game Zone has an excellent collection of Pool & Snooker tables. Check it out here.
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