Snooker is notorious for being the most difficult game involving a table and balls. Yet, is snooker more difficult than pool? It looks easy enough from a spectator standpoint.
We’ve explored several differences between pool and snooker.
Differences include table, ball, and pocket/pot size. Game rules, scoring, and fouling penalties are also different in snooker. Physical differences, rule differences, and game accessibility make snooker harder than Pool.
Why Snooker Is More Difficult Than Pool
Even professional pool players perceive snooker as more difficult than Pool.
A good pool player can become a good snooker player after working on technique.
However, average pool players find snooker more frustrating than fun without lots of practice.
When comparing snooker to pool, the first difference players mention is table size. Regulation-sized pool tables are 9×4.5 feet, whereas snooker tables are 12×6 feet.
Most full-sized snooker tables are in private homes or dedicated snooker halls. So, finding a place to practice and playing snooker is more challenging.
The ideal room size for comfortably playing snooker is 22×16 feet.
Thus, businesses and homes often have 10-foot tables rather than regulation-sized 12-foot tables. Smaller tables result in a game that feels different than pro-level games.
The size of a snooker table also makes it more complicated to hit more distant balls. Because the ball travels farther, it is more challenging to make precision shots.
When you play pool, you don’t think about the nap of the pool table cloth. With snooker, the surface of the fabric is pivotal to shot outcomes. Snooker tables usually use a tightly woven, coarse woolen baize cloth.
The cloth matters in snooker because of the distance the balls travel across the table. Nap affects the distance a ball can go and its trajectory. Baize cloth increases resistance and slows the ball.
In snooker, hitting the cue ball in precisely the same spot yields different results.
The ball trajectory depends on whether it is going lengthwise or widthwise and how much spin is on the ball. The cloth nap affects the results.
The ball size is another component that makes snooker feel more difficult than Pool.
Pool balls are larger at 2.25” than snooker balls at 2.16”. The size may not seem that significant, but a large target is easier to hit than a smaller target.
Also read: What Are Pool Table Balls Made Of?
Snooker table pots are smaller than pool table pockets, which makes playing snooker more challenging. A snooker table’s pots’ size corresponds with the smaller snooker ball size.
If snooker table pots were as large as pool table pockets, the game might be slightly easier to play. Alas, hitting a ball into a smaller pocket/pot makes it more challenging.
Snooker has more rules than Pool.
If there aren’t too many rules to consider, it’s easier to play a game more casually. Even if you’ve had a few drinks while playing, you’re not likely to forget the simple rules of Pool.
In a basic game of an eight-ball pool, each player has seven balls.
During a turn, a player pockets as many of their balls as possible. Players must call each play. A player’s turn ends when they foul. The winner must pocket all their balls, plus the eight-ball last.
The first phase of a snooker frame lasts as long as a red ball is on the table. Red balls are all “on” during a player’s first turn.
The player must pot at least one red ball at the beginning of their turn. During the next shot, the player nominates another color to be “on.”
Shots alternate between having red “on” and another color “on.” A player’s turn ends if they fail to pot a red ball or if they foul.
The second phase of a snooker frame starts when there are no more red balls remaining on the table.
During this phase, balls must be potted in color order from least to most points. When the final black ball is potted, the highest scorer wins the frame.
Each snooker game has a predetermined number of “frames.” The player who wins the most frames wins the game.
In snooker, it is necessary to keep track of scores throughout the game. However, a basic game of pool does not require keeping a score during a game.
In a basic game of pool, the winner scores a point for balls legally knocked into a pocket.
The first person who pockets all their balls, plus the eight-ball, wins. Thus, there’s no score-keeping necessary unless determining who wins the most games over the evening.
In snooker, each potted colored ball is worth a different number of points:
- Red: 1 point
- Yellow: 2 points
- Green: 3 points
- Brown: 4 points
- Blue: 5 points
- Pink: 6 points
- Black: 7 points
Foul penalties in snooker are more complicated than in Pool.
In a game of Pool, there are various ways to foul. However, a foul in Pool results in the end of the player’s turn.
In snooker, different types of fouls carry varying penalty points. Fouls yield 4-7 points depending on which balls are involved. Fouling penalties in snooker result in the referee awarding points to the non-fouling opponent.
Unlike in pool, scoring in snooker is complicated enough to benefit from a referee.
The referee tosses a coin to determine who goes first. The referee announces points, penalties, and free balls. Referees also replace pocketed colored balls and clean cue balls.
Having a game with a referee keeps players from having to keep track of points. It also keeps down disagreements about disputed shots.
If you’ve ever caught a snooker match on television, it may look like the game is easy to play. However, keep in mind that the players spend five or six hours a day practicing. Plus, they’ve probably been playing since they were very young.
Physical aspects of snooker technique involve proper stance, cue stick action, and shot approach. However, only about 40% of gameplay is about physical requirements. 60% of the game involves mental technique, such as lining up the shot visually.
New players often have difficulty working out the correct angles to use for good shots. They must train their brains to factor ball and pocket size, distance, and cloth-related trajectories.
Popularity and Accessibility
Lack of popularity and accessibility make snooker a more difficult game to play than Pool.
Pool tables are common in bars and pool halls. Some homes even have pool tables in their game rooms. However, in most places in the USA, public snooker tables are rare, don’t exist, or aren’t regulation size.
Snooker clubs are far easier to find in the UK. After all, snooker originated with British soldiers in India.
Final Thoughts on Snooker vs. Pool Difficulty
Players generally find snooker more difficult to play than Pool. A snooker table is larger, the balls are smaller, and the pots are smaller. Because the ball has to travel farther, it’s harder to make precision shots in snooker.
The rules, point system, and foul system are more complicated, too.
Pool is a game anyone can play and enjoy with very little practice. However, snooker is harder than pool because it requires more practice and mental concentration.
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- Can You Play Snooker on a Pool Table?