Difference Between Pool and Billiards

Pool vs Billiards

Billiard is a table game that originated long time ago. Today, the name is used in connection with a family of games that are called cue sports. Billiards itself is a game that is played on a rectangular table covered with baize cloth with players trying to pocket balls placed on the table with their cues (long sticks). The billiard table is lined by rubberized cushions to keep the balls in play. There are pockets on all 4 corners as well as on the middle of the two longer sides of the table. Pool is a game within the family of cue sports and is similar to billiards. However, despite similarities, there are differences that will be highlighted in this article.


Billiard is an indoor table game that evolved from similar outdoor games that were played outdoors such as crocket and golf. Today the entire family of cue sports can be termed as billiards games though classic billiards game is played with only three balls on the billiards table. There are no pockets on the table and only three balls namely white, yellow, and red. One can use both yellow as well as red balls as strikers.

Inside UK, billiards is referred to as English billiards to differentiate it from all sorts of table games played with billiards balls in North America. The game of billiards became complicated with passage of time with common people finding it hard to decipher its rules. This gave birth to a simpler game of snooker with pool being the offshoot of snooker.


Pool is a shortened version of the game of billiards that was originally called pocket billiards to serve the purpose of a quick game in between horse races. The game belongs to the family of cue sports and consists of many different versions with 8 ball, 9 ball, 10 ball, pocket ball etc. being more popular ones. Pool table has the same green baize over it, like the billiards table, but the table is faster with pockets on all 4 corners and a pocket each on the middle of the two longer sides. The balls in the game of pool are differently colored and numbered depending upon the version of the game being played. 8 ball pool is the most popular pool game played in the US and interestingly, the number of balls in this game are 15 and not eight. There is also a version called 3 ball that is played with three balls and the goal is to pocket all 3 balls in the fewest possible shots.

Pool vs. Billiards

• Billiards is a generic term and also the name of the classic table game referred to as English billiards in UK.

• Pool is a newer game that belongs to the family of cue sports, and it evolved from snooker, which in itself is an offshoot of billiards.

• Billiards is played with only 3 balls; white, red, and yellow, with no pockets on the table.

• There are 6 pockets on pool tables, and it is played with different numbers of balls depending upon the version being played.

• Pool has a faster pace than billiards.

• Billiards is much older than pool.

• Billiards is in the classic mould, whereas pool is contemporary.

• Pool is easier to understand and is, therefore, much more popular these days than billiards.