Despite both being relatively popular billiard games (pool more so than snooker), many people – both players and spectators – considered snooker to be the harder game of the two.
Is snooker harder than Pool? Snooker is considered by many to be harder to play than pool. This is because snooker is played on a larger table, has more rules for the game, and has a more complex scoring system than pool. With the factors combined, it makes it harder for casual players to play snooker.
In this article, we’ll cover why snooker is considered to be more difficult to play than Pool and also whether or not this means that snooker players are better than pool players…
Is Snooker Harder Than Pool?
Snooker can be more difficult to master than pool for a number of reasons. Snooker is more of a complicated game than pool, with more rules and a larger table to play on.
Snooker is also not played recreationally as much as snooker, making it harder to get practice in some areas.
For example, snooker tends to be more popular in the United Kingdom, while pool is commonly enjoyed in North America.
What Makes Snooker Harder Than Pool?
Some of the common reasons cited as to why snooker can be harder to play than pool include:
There is not a major difference in size between pool tables and snooker tables, but it is enough to make the game more complicated.
Snooker players have more table surface to play on, thus meaning the ball has to travel farther. For comparison, the following are the full table sizes for both snooker and pool (regulation, competition sizes):
|Table Size||12ft (Length) x 6ft (Width)||9ft (Length) x 4.5ft (Width)|
As you can see, at full size a snooker table is both noticeably longer and also wider than a competition-sized pool table. It’s also worth noting that many pool tables are also common in smaller sizes for home or residential use and can be 8ft x 4ft or 6ft x 3ft.
The 6ft x 3ft option is clearly noticeable as this is half the length of a full-sized snooker table meaning that players who can excel on a small table may not necessarily transfer over to the significantly larger snooker table.
The cloth surface on a snooker table and a pool table are different.
The cloth on the snooker table is made of material that can affect how fast and hard a ball can be hit, more so than the cloth on a pool table.
What this means is that you need more control when it comes to assessing the power for each shot. Pool is a more fast-paced game with heavier cues so it can be more forgiving if you play a short shot.
Ball And Pocket Size
The balls and pocket sizes on a snooker table are smaller than a pool table. Thus, it can be harder to aim a ball to go into a pocket with snooker.
Pool cues are quite long, usually measuring at around 58 inches. They also vary in weight, and players can interchange which cue they use based on their preference or technique.
A snooker cue is around the same length as a pool cue, but they tend to weigh less and have a smaller tip.
Check out our guide on the different types of snooker cues here.
What Are The Differences Between Snooker And Pool?
Snooker can require more mental energy, being that the game has more rules than pool. The rules are also quite different between games.
As a general overview, snooker is a game that relies more on tactics, strategy, and a high level of technical shot ability.
Pool is seen as more of a casual billiards game that is easier for beginners to learn. There are of course strategies and technical skills needed for pool when playing competitively but the main difference is the fact that a casual pool player can play to a good standard, even a beginner can clear the table from a break with some luck.
In snooker, the difference in skill level between a beginner and a competitive player is huge. Potting two consecutive balls in snooker will be a challenge even for players that can play pool which is a good indication that snooker is generally more difficult to play than pool.
Below are some of the key differences between the two games.
With pool, the goal is to get all your balls in the pocket, then sink the black ball. The number of balls on the pool table can change and is usually no more than 16.
Players choose either solids or stripes to represent which balls they must get in to win.
There are different variations depending on whether you play 8-ball pool, 9-ball pool, or some other variation but the basic concept will be similar and that is to pot your designated balls before the other player.
In snooker, players alternate between potting a red ball and another colored ball, play continues in this order until there is still at least one red ball on the table.
The color must be called and that particular colored ball needs to go in for the player to get a point. There are 22 balls on the table, with 15 of them red, and 7 colors.
Snooker also has a more complicated scoring system than pool. Because colored balls have certain points, and games are played in frames, someone has to be keeping score for snooker.
A frame in snooker consists of a player winning when they score the most points.
With pool, it’s easy to follow based on what balls are left on the table. Sometimes, players will call which colored ball they are aiming to get into the pocket.
When players are playing for fun, they will sometimes just aim to get their particular balls in the pocket, whether striped or colored.
We’re not trying to over-simplify pool but to give the best visual representation – a casual player in pool has the skill set to clear the table from a break, this can be done without your opponent even getting a shot.
In snooker, consecutive balls potted are classed as a break. The better break you can have, the more chances you have of winning the game. The difficulty is that most players struggle to get a break of more than 15 on each shot (which is the equivalent average of potting 2 red balls and 2 colored balls).
A competitive player would need to be able to hit breaks of 50+ (half-century) to win a game while professional players need a break of 100+ (century). The highest break possible is 147 and the video below shows the level of skill needed to score a maximum from the initial break:
When it comes to making a mistake, or a foul, there are different consequences. In pool, when you make a foul, it is the next player’s turn. However, snooker players can lose points for making a foul, of which there are many for casual players!
Snooker players tend to practice more than pool players, regardless of whether or not they play for fun or professionally.
This is because snooker requires a lot of thought to consider how to pocket certain balls and master specific shots and situations. There are techniques that players can pick up over time with practice.
Pool tends to be played at a much faster pace than snooker. With snooker requiring so much strategy, one game can take a long time. Pool is meant to be a more leisurely and social game, unless playing professionally, but it still tends to move quicker.
The biggest difference between snooker and pool is the rules. The games are played in two completely different ways. The only similarity that can clearly be seen is that both games are played on a table with pockets using cues and balls.
Are Snooker Players Better Than Pool Players?
With reference to skill set, as well as physical and mental agility, it could be argued that snooker players are better than pool players.
Snooker is more of a challenge in terms of rules and physical space to be played on.
That being said, there is no definitive answer based on any concrete data. It’s more so a matter of opinion which player is better.
Can Pool And Snooker Players Play The Opposite Sport?
Generally speaking, someone who is good at snooker could pick up pool a bit easier, as could pool players pick up snooker. However, because snooker is complex and involved, a pool player may not enjoy it as much.
When you get used to playing the fast-paced game or pool, it can be seen as ‘boring’ when you switch to the more methodical and slower-paced game of snooker. This will of course depend on personal preference but the reason Pool is more popular is because of the mass appeal of being able to pot a ball easier.
In pool, when you pot consecutive balls you get the hit of dopamine which is more difficult to get with snooker because it’s more difficult to pot consecutive balls!
As with most sports and games, the level of difficulty will depend on the individual player’s preferences and skill set. When it comes to comparing snooker and pool though, there is a general opinion that snooker is harder than pool.
There are a few key reasons why snooker is harder than pool which include:
- Snooker has a larger table and playing surface
- The rules and scoring system for snooker are more complicated
- The ball size and pockets are both smaller in snooker
- Snooker is a more tactical game requiring more mental focus and planning
While ‘most’ people would agree that snooker is a more difficult game to play than pool, that doesn’t necessarily mean that snooker players are better than pool players! The skills for both games are definitely transferable and getting better at one of these games will also mean that you can improve simultaneously at the other.