What is the Difference between Billiards and Pool?

You probably have heard the terms billiards as well as the pool when it comes to cue sports. Although both terms are used interchangeably a lot and they look alike but there is a difference between the two.

You may have wondered what the differences between these two are since to the passing observer, they appear to be one and the same. Yes, both games have similar concepts. They both use a pretty long stick (cue stick) distinguished by its white tip. This is used to strike the ball.

Also, players typically stand by the table, lean over, and by carefully measuring and lining up the shot they want to take, they send the ball in a specific direction. All these are done while considering the distances and angles involved.

These all look the same, isn’t it? However, when comparing billiards vs pool, the main difference between the two is the way each game is played.


Billiards historically has been known as a game for gentlemen. It was developed during the 1800s for men as they play and bet on while they enjoy their drink and cigar. In this game, each player gets two balls a cue ball as well as a striker. The goal is to strike your cue against the striker ball, directing it to strike your opponent’s cue. There are no pockets in the billiards table which instead has bumpers surrounding it.

In billiards, points are scored when the cue ball of your opponent is struck and also how difficult the shot is.

In billiards, the balls known as cues are yellow and white. This is to make telling each one apart from the other’s very easy.


This game originally was developed from billiards and unlike its predecessor, it is considered a game for the common man. The game uses just one cue ball colored white. The balls are a total of 16 or more and can either have a corresponding number of 1 – 15. They may also be color red and yellow.

A pool table has 6 pockets with 4 in each corner and one each at the center of the long sides. The goal is to sink your balls into any of the 6 pockets available and finally the black one ahead of your opponent does. Also, the angles and distances are put into consideration in pool before each shot.

You can read more about different cue sports in this article.

Other Significant Differences


Billiards use three balls; one each of red, white, and yellow. The white and yellow act as the cue. Each is 2 7/16 inches in diameter. For pool, the standard is 16 balls but depending on the variant of game played, this can differ. The diameter of each one is 2 ¼ inches.


Billiard have slightly longer tables than the pool. While the pool it is usually about 7 – 9 feet long, billiards can be anything from 10 to 12 feet.


Each game has its rules and also allow for some variations. In billiards, the main aim is to score points known as counts. This is done by bouncing your cue ball off the others using the bumpers at the edge of the table.

Pool has several variants. One of the most common is the straight pool.

For straight pool, the players agree on the threshold of points to reach to be declared the winner. A player can pocket any ball and get points for it. This is a “call pocket” game meaning that you must declare the pocket you intend to use. The shot is only successful if it enters the chosen pocket.

For an eight ball game, a player starts by breaking the rack. Earlier, the balls are arranged in a rack so that they are together. The first type to enter a pocket belongs to the player that pocketed it while the other player owns the other type. The first player to put all of theirs into the pocket declares a pocket to put the black one. If they successfully pocket the black in the intended pocket, they win else, the opponent wins.

You can learn more about the difference between these two lovely games here: https://differencebtwn.com/difference-between-billiards-and-pool.


Billiards and pool are two interesting games. Whichever one you choose, playing these games depend on using high-quality tables to enjoy the best possible game. You should also invest in a good quality cue stick so that you can enjoy playing with friends as you develop your skills.

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