Is there a difference in pool and billiards? Actually, even though the two words are often used interchangeably, there is a big difference in the history, table style, and games that define the two activities. Technically, “billiards” can refer to any game played on a cloth covered table with a cue stick and balls. “Pool” is actually a type of billiards game. However, in the U.S., when we hear someone refer to playing billiards, a billiards table, or billiards accessories, they typically mean “pool.” Let’s take a look at some of the differences between the two activities.
The History of Pool and Billiards
The origination of the word “billiards” comes from the French words for “billart,” meaning a wooden stick and “bille” meaning ball. The game of billiards evolved out of a lawn game that was moved indoors and played on a table covered with green cloth to emulate grass.
As the game of billiards became more popular, a variation called pocket billiards began to be played in gambling houses where bets were taken for a “pool” of winnings.
The Game of Billiards
Billiards is played on a cloth covered table with bumpers to keep the balls from rolling off. A billiards table is 10 feet in length and does not have pockets. The most common game is played with three balls, one red, one white with a spot, and one white with no spot. The balls are somewhat larger than pool balls. The cue stick used in billiards is 54” to 56” long.
The object of the game is to hit the red ball so that it “caroms” or bounces off the two white balls, one after the other. This gains the player one point. The player with the most points wins.
The Game of Pool
Pool differs from billiards in a number of ways. First, the pool table, although still being cloth covered and having bumpers, is smaller than a billiards table. It is 7 to 9 feet in length and the cloth used to cover the table is designed to slow down the roll of the balls. The table has six pockets, one in each corner and one on each long side. The game is sometimes referred to as “pocket billiards.” Pool cue sticks are longer at 57” to 59”.
The biggest difference is that the game of pool is played with 8-15 balls, with the object being to score points by sinking the balls in the pockets of the table. There are loads of variations in the number of games you can play in pool.
Juniper is Your Number One Pool and Billiards Resource
Located in Appleton, WI, Juniper Pools is your number one resource for all your pool and billiards needs. We carry the highest quality tables manufactured by Plank and Hide™ Pool Tables as well as Olhausen® Billiards Tables. Not only do we carry the finest tables, but we also can supply you with all you need in the way of pool and billiards accessories including cues, racks, balls, lighting and more. Contact us by phone or better yet, come by the showroom and see what we have to offer.