Billiard vs Snooker vs Carom: Breaking it all down.

Origin of Billiard

The origins of billiard can be traced back to as early as the 15th century, and it was mention that the game once was a lawn game similar to croquet but later evolve and move indoors on tables with green cloth and cue sticks.

In history, the pool is known as the “Noble Game of Billiards” as it has records of royalty and other nobles playing it. However, in the modern days, Pool is known as Pocket Billiards in more formal term and is a type of Cue Sport and Games.


Type of Billiards Table

There are a few common tables we will see when we in a pool centre, they are mainly Pocket billiards and Snookers. But Billiards come in 2 varieties: Pocket Billiards and Carom Billiards, and in sizes 6FT all the way to 12FT.

In Carom Billiards a.k.a French carom billiards is a table where the pocket is not needed. The size of the table is 9.3 feet by 4.7 feet, and in the US it is 10 feet by 5 feet.

In Pocket, Billiards has six pockets on the table, Four on each of the corners and two on the midway point of each side the long side of the table. Pocket Billiards has a significant size difference for both English and American tournament. The English table size used is 7 feet or 8 feet when it airs on television for the finals. The American table size used is 8 or 9 feet in size.

The Snooker tables are larger than both of the billiard tables, but they are also lower in height and have smaller pockets. Snooker tables in Europe are 12 feet by six feet. Snooker tables in the U.S. are smaller, measuring 10 feet by five feet.

Learn more about the space requirements of the a pool table here.

What’s the difference between the 3 tables?

The main difference is with the number of balls used in these 3 tables.

For snooker, the number of balls used is 22 namely one of the following white, striker ball, brown, yellow, blue, pink, black, green and 15 red balls.

For Carom billiards, the number of balls used is 3. White and yellow can act as the striker ball and lastly red ball.

For Pocket Billiards, the games played with one cue ball and 15 object balls on a table. The number of balls used is 16, one white colour cue ball, seven solid number ball from 1-7, one solid black ball number 8, and seven striped number ball from 9-15.


Type of games

8 Ball(US) / Black Ball (UK)

The objective of the Eight-ball is to pocket the balls all the seven solid or striped ball, and pocket the solid eight ball last.
For the Black-ball, there is 7 of each yellow and red balls and one black ball. The player will have to pocket the coloured ball and the black ball last.

9 Ball

Hit in numerical order 1 – 9
The objective of 9 Ball is to pocket the balls in numerical order.

French Carom Billiards

The objective of 3-cushion Billiard is to strike the cue ball to hit the object ball in a particular fashion, and the cue ball has to hit the cushion three times and then contact the second ball for scoring a point. If the cue ball fails to touch the cushion three times, it will be the end of turn for the player. The cue ball can be either both white and one of it has the spot on it or white and yellow.

However, for the standard carom billiards, the objectives are more towards moving the object balls around the table with the cue ball in a particular fashion.


The objective of Snooker is to score and plot the ball in the six-pocket and whoever has the high score wins the round. The player(or team) will have to pot a red ball first before potting the coloured ball. When the player (or teammate) fails to pot the coloured ball, it is an end-of-turn for the player.

The point system for the coloured ball respectively Red for 1 point, Yellow 2 points, Green for 3 points, Brown for 4 points, Blue for 5 points, Pink for 6 points, and lastly Black for 7 points


Type of Table Bed

Wooden Bed

Medium Density Fibreboard(MDF) pool tables are affordable, and they are easier to move around as they are lightweight designed for home-usage. However, MDF table will have a minor U bend in the middlemost of the time which is common, but it will affect the gameplay where it makes a vast difference.

Slate Bed

The slate crafted from out of a piece of rock where the surface is entirely flat with the thickness usually is around 10mm to 40mm and its weight around 250 kilograms. Due to the weight, it cannot move around unlike the MDF slate.
The slate is levelled and will not bend in the middle, which will not affect the gameplay if the cloth is worn off, you can re-cloth them as well.

The choice of table bed is always a really important consideration, for more information – check out our article on a deep dive into these two different table bed here.


Type of Cloth used


Woollen clothing sometimes called Nap cloth made out of loop weave as a result of having a noticeable nap on the cloth. Using woollen clothing for a game, you will notice the ball will move slower than the worsted cloth. After some time, the cloth will develop ridges and tracks which will affect the precision and playability.

The cost of the woollen material is affordable, and if you are playing for leisure, it will be a perfect choice for you.


Worsted clothing is also known as speed cloth is used primarily in the professional tournament, it has a flatter weave thus it will not pill like woollen cloth. As a result, the ball will roll much faster on worsted cloth. At the same time, it will cause burn marks on the fabric due to the sudden acceleration of the ball.
With the given price for this material, it will surely provide a more consistent and precise play compare to the woollen material.

If you are looking to play professionally or for tournament practices, this is the type of material that is perfect for you.


Maintenance of your table and equipment

How to keep your table in tip-top condition.

A few rules to keep in mind to keep your table in good condition.

1 – Don’t Eat or Drink near the table.
2 – Cover whenever you are not playing
3 – Remove accessories on the wrist.
4 – Move away from the table when chalking cues.


Rule 1: Don’t Eat or Drink near the table.
This is to prevent water or food stains on the table.

Rule 2: Cover whenever you are not playing
The cover will protect the table from dust particles, kids, pets, spills and other contaminants.

Rule 3: Remove accessories on the wrist.
When playing, loose accessories on the wrist could potentially scratch the cloth and just one small pick on the cloth. It will process and grow into a sizable hole.

Rule 4: Move away from the table when chalking cues.
When chalking the cue, move away from the table and after chalking place, it upright to prevent the chalk dust to lay on the table.

Chalkdust is abrasive and fine; if you chalk near the table, the ball will roll and settle in the cloth. After some time, the abrasive of the chalk dust will cause a hole in the fabric as well.


These ensure your pool table lives up to its maximum lifespan.


Clean your table

A few essential items you will need to clean your pool table cloth.

1 – A soft bristle brush
2 – Handheld Vacuum*
3- Cloth

When using the soft bristle brush, make sure you brush lightly in one direction as it will help to make sure the cloth will be in a uniform direction and prevent scratching the cloth. However, if you play regularly, it will be more efficient to use a handheld vacuum. However, you have to set light suction for the vacuum to clean the dust and chalk. Lastly, use the cloth to wipe the wooden part of the table to clean the dust.


Cue Sticks

A straightforward method is to use a damp paper towel (Not wet) and wrap around the shaft, move it up and down quickly or use a microfiber cloth with the same action as it will do the same thing.

Cue Ball

Soak the pool ball in a bucket of warm water with soap and wipe the ball after few minutes. Alternatively, you can use a pool ball polisher to achieve the glossy shine look on the ball. Use the ball consistently to prevent dust and dirt from sullying the cloth as well.


Inspired? Check out our range of Pool, Snooker and Carom tables here


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