Snooker, Pool, And Billiards Cuesport Rules, History, And Components


 What kind of game is usually played on a table, with sticks, and small balls?

What is snooker? What are the snooker rules? What is pool? What are the pool rules? What is billiards? What are billiard rules?

Questions like these will be answered as you  read down this article thoroughly.

Games often played with sticks, on a table with balls are kinds of sports that fall under the sports category known as Cue Sports or Billiards Sports.

player playing blackball as his last ball in a competition
A pool player playing blackball as his last ball in a competition

In cue sports, players have to pot designated balls into the table pockets, and only one person is to emerge as a winner. The player must strike the cue ball on another towards the table pocket direction, and must avoid commiting fouls in the game.

It is a game that breeds competition on who is better. It often leads to betting in snooker, betting in pool, and betting in billiards. In fact, there are world wide cue sports championship and tournaments that come up for competition from players around the world. An example of such competition is, The World snooker championship. It was first held in 1927 as documented by wikipedia.

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Cue Sports Has The Following Objects, Terms, And People That Makes It What It Is:


It has a table which is usually 7, 8, 9, to 10 foot long. The table is rectangular in shape. The table usually has pockets or holes at the four corners  of the table, and two holes at the sides of the table making it six pockets. The table is usually called a snooker table, a pool table, or billiard table. These tables usually have cushions at every side of the rectangular table.

Snooker table with pool balls
Snooker table with pool balls

On the table, there are some markings. The mark that looks like a capital letter 'D' turned to the left at the point where a cue ball is placed to make a break is known as the 'D'. The d is curved line placed beneath or above a straight line 8 - 10 inches drawn away from the cushion as seen in the image below.>


Cuesports are games usually played with a stick. The stick is called Cue Stick. It's is of kinds; some of the sticks are light in weight, and some are heavy.

Snooker cue sticks, white ball, and 15 American 8 ball pool balls inside a triangular rack.
Snooker cue sticks, white ball, and 15 American 8 ball pool balls inside a triangular rack.


Cue Sports have balls which are usually in numbers or units. The number of balls usually played in a frame is usually dependent upon the type and kinds of game to be played. The balls are usually colored in red, blue, purple, pink, brown, yellow, black, green, orange, white, and marroon colours.

The white ball is a special ball. The white ball in cue sport games is called "cue ball". It is special because it is the ball you strike directly with a stick to another ball you wish to pot.


Pot Is a term used to identify the fact that a player has put a ball successfully in a snooker board pocket or hole. 


This is a triangular shaped rubber which balls are arranged inside, and moved to the little spot marked on the able, and taken off to place the balls together in a triangular shape. The process is or action is also called rack, racked, or racking, depending on the sentence and tenses it is used. 


A referee racking red and yellow UK 8ball pool snooker balls
A referee racking red and yellow UK 8ball pool snooker balls

In cuesports game, there is usually a refree - a person who racks the snooker balls, pool balls, and billiards ball. The act of arranging  balls into a triangular shape in cue sports by a referee is called Racking!

In some countries like Nigeria, the referee is called Boardman.


These are lovers of this sports games. They are usually understanding and responsible in their actions. In fact, before the game snooker, gained more popularity around the world, it was played only by the military, especially the British Army who were trained to be disciplined. It was also found in the Gentlemen Clubs.

Some do play this game within their own privacy, while some pay to play at places where the snooker board is. Places you could find snooker board mostly are at bars - where drinks and other consumables are sold.

Anyone can play snooker, poop, or cue games.


A lady applying chalk at the tip of a cue stick
A lady applying chalk at the tip of a cue stick

There's always a blue chalk for the purpose of aiding in cue and ball control. The chalk is applied to the tip of a cue stick. The chalk is blue in color.


Powder is applied the between index and thumb ridge. It's purpose is to allow room for smooth movement of cue stick in the player's finger bridge.

Snooker Score Board

This a board that is in the abacus form. It is used to record scores and points for each player. It helps in avoiding miscounts.

Snooker Cue Rest

This is a stick with ridges. The ridges is where a player balances his cue stick to aim and strike a ball which farther away from him.

Types Of Cuesports

Snooker, Pool, and Billiards are the main three game types under Cuesports games.

Some people are often confused with the types, kinds or mode, and rules of these games. This article from will explain everything you need to know concerning this game(s). You can share this post with your friends to educate them on the terms of this topic.

Each of the three types of games under cuesports games have modes that are used in playing them example: eightball - pool game mode. Also, each of any game mode in any type of cue sports games have different rules that guides and make the game interesting to play.

I will explain from the next paragraph, some types of cuesports games, their kinds, and their rules.


Snooker is a game that is said to have come up firstly for the first time in the 19th century. According to wikipedia, its was further developed in 1882 where it's first rules was finalized by a British Army Officer Sir Neville Chamberlain. He also helped in making the game popular from that period at particular place called Ooctacamund.

Snooker was called a gentleman's sports at the time it was played in United Kingdom before spreading nationally in the 1960's before gaining recognition in other countries.

Snooker Rules

Snooker first rule as was set by Sir Neville Chamberlain was a combination of Black Pool, and Pyramid. Black pool and pyramid are kinds of cue sports game under pool.

Black Pool, According to Wikipedia,

"Black Pool originally known as everlasting pool,was a form of pocket billiards (pool) mainly played in the late 19th century, first being recorded in 1862. This game was derived from life pool but lacked the pooling of bets and players had unlimited lives.30 It had as many colour balls as players with an additional black ball that was placed on the centre spot. A player is paid a life (stake) from the opponent whose ball was potted. The player is then allowed to pot the black ball which meant all opponents must pay a life. Balls are respotted after being potted and the best strategy is to alternate potting colour and black to maximize money. Around 1875, black pool was merged with pyramid pool to form the new game of snooker, today one of the most popular cue sports in the world".

Pyramid is explained in Wikipedia in actual words thus:

"Pyramid pool or simply pyramids, is a form of pool played mainly in the 19th century. It was one of several pool games that were popular at this time, and was forerunner to modern games such as eight-ball, blackball, straight pool, and Russian pyramid".

Its rules still according to Wikipedia follows thus:

"Objects balls were racked in a triangle with any remaining balls placed at the back of the triangle. It could be played by several players, with an agreed stake per ball pocketed, or with just two players in which case the winner is the one to first sink over half the balls. 

Teams were also allowed if there were an even number of players. In early versions of the game, when one object ball remained, the game shifted so one player took possession of the original cue ball, while the other used the object ball, as they attempted to sink the other player's designated ball. This rule was dropped in the United States during the late 19th century. 

An early version of pyramid pool awarded the entire pool to the player that sank the last ball.120–121 Originally, balls did not need be to called. The calling of shots was added in the early 1880s in the United States".

So, the two were merged to form snooker.

Rules And How To Play Snooker

A player wins a frame by scoring more points than their opponent. At the start of a frame or a game, with the balls arranged in it's positions, the snooker balls are positioned differently from pool cue games such as eight ball.

Snooker 15 red balls
Snooker 15 red balls

The Cue ball is usually placed in the space within the 'D' which is curved inside the straight line, and three coloured snooker balls are placed above the straight line. At the center of the table, in-between the two side pockets, another colored snooker ball is placed. In front of the ball at the center, at a distance Red balls which are 15 in numbers are racked in a triangular shape with another color ball at the tip of the triangle making it 16. In front of the racked balls is the black ball at a spot.

The red balls are 15 in numbers, while the coloured balls including black and white - cue balls are 7 in numbers. The other five colored balls are Green, Blue, Brown, Pink, and Yellow. The total numbers of balls available in a snooker game is 22.

The game begins when the first player with the cue ball in the "D",  executes a break-off shot by striking the cue ball with the tip of their cue, aiming to hit any of the red balls at the edge of the triangular pack. The players then take alternating turns at playing shots with the aim of potting a red ball into a pocket and thereby scoring one point for each.

Failure to make contact with a red ball constitutes a foul, which results in penalty points being awarded to the opponent.

At the end of each shot, the cue ball remains in the position where it has come to rest; unless it has entered a pocket, where it is returned to the "D" and ready for the next shot.

When a red ball enters a pocket, the striker must then pot a colour ball of their choice. If successful, the value of the potted colour ball is added to the player's score, and the ball is returned to its designated spot on the table. The player must then pot another red ball followed by another colour. The process of potting reds and colours alternately continues until the striker fails to pot the desired object ball, at which point the opponent comes to the table to start the next turn, or when there are no red balls remaining.

The act of potting successive snooker balls and scoring sequentially in this manner is to make a "break". At the start of each player's turn, the objective is to first pot a red ball; this is usually the case until all of the reds are off the table, or they have been awarded a free ball, which allows them to nominate another object ball to play instead of a red.

The cue ball may contact an object ball directly or it can be made to bounce off one or more cushions before hitting the required object ball.

The game continues until every red ball has been potted and only the six colour balls and the cue ball are left on the table. The colours must next be potted in the ascending order of their values, from lowest to highest,

Here are the colours and the popularly known points they carry:

Yellow first - worth two points 

Green - three points 

Brown - four points 

Blue - five points 

Pink six points and 

Black - seven points

Each colour ball remains in the pocket after being potted.

When the final ball is potted, the player with the most points wins the match. If a player deduces that there are not enough points remaining on the table for them to win the frame, that player may offer to concede the frame while at the table (but not while their opponent is still at the table); a frame concession is a common occurrence in professional snooker. Players will have to play on even when there are not enough points available for them to win, hoping to force their opponent into playing foul shots by playing snookers

These are shots that are designed to make playing a legal shot harder, such as another ball being between the cue ball and the object ball.


Pool is another type of Cue sport. It  has some differences from snooker. The differences is realized in the game's rule.

Apart from the game's rules, there are  kinds of pool or types of cue ball pool games, but I'll explain just the most popularly played one, Eight-ball Pool. 

There are various kinds of pool games, but I'll explain three. The three I'll be talking about are popular types of pool games played around the world.

Eight-ball Pool/Black-Pool

An 8 ball pool player doing a break-off.
An 8 ball pool player doing a break-off.

Eight-ball is a kind of pool game that is usually played with 16 balls in total(including cue ball or white ball). Eight ball pool game is mostly played in the United States of America. It is also played in United Kingdom, but with a little difference with the balls.

The American eightball pool game is played with solids and stripes coloured balls; the colors include red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, and maroon which some times called Brown. While United Kingdom pool is played with only two types of colored balls; the yellow and red balls. It's also known as Blackpool

The colored balls are always seven (7)in numbers and the black ball makes it complete for each player with either solids or stripes or red and black. 7 + 7 + blackball makes the ball fifteen. 

There's another kind of eight-ball pool known as Tavern eight ball also known as Bar Pool is played on a coin board or coin table which is smaller than the most used tables.

How To Play And Rules For Eight-ball/Blackpool Game.

Before I state out how to play eight ball or black pool and it's rules  you might want to know that this particular kind of game has various kinds of rules depending on which country or continent it's being played in. 

In an pool article from wikipedia, it was made known that, in the United Kingdom, the game is commonly played in pubs, and it is competitively played in leagues on both sides of the Atlantic. The most prestigious tournaments including the World Open are sponsored and sanctioned by the International Pool Tour. Rules vary widely from place to place, and between continents to such an extent that British-style eight-ball pool/blackball is properly regarded as a separate game in its own right.

As a result, various places around the world seeks to follow the standard rules as set by the World Pool-Billiard Association. 

The eight-ball game is played with a full rack of fifteen balls including blackball and the cue ball.

The first aim is to claim a particular set of balls - whether stripes or solids in the US, or reds and yellows in the UK. 

Another aim is to pocket any set of the 7 balls acquired by a particular player, and then legally pocket the 8 ball which is Black.

The first ball (whether solids or stripes or red and yellow) a player pots during the break shot is the player's ball to pot through out the game. The player's opponent now takes the other ball not potted. 

While potting balls, players mist avoid sinking the 8 ball or black ball early. The blackball should only be sunk when a player is done with his targeted balls.

Straight pool,

which is also known as 14.1 continuous, is a game that originated as a slight modification of continuous pool - which is another offshoot of fifteen-ball pool. The shooter may attempt to shoot at any object ball on the table. 

The goal is to reach a set number of points determined by agreement before the game. One point is scored for each object ball pocketed where no foul is made. 

A typical game might require a player to score 100 points to win. In professional competition, straight pool is usually played to 125 points. Straight pool is a call-pocket game, meaning the player must indicate the intended object ball and pocket on every shot.

In Nigeria, this particular kind of pool game style is called Highest Pot though they usually regard both it and eightball pool as snooker. Every ball on the table except black has one point each when being pot by a player, and black has two points. The person with the highest points wins the game. All the 15 balls as played in eightball pool is what is usually used - no special balls and arrangements.

Other Kinds Of Pool Cue sports Games

Below are other cuesport games sourced from Wikipedia.

Racked Games

These are games comes from the early 19th century games of pyramid pool and fifteen-ball pool which required balls to be racked due to the large number of them on the table. Of the other pyramid traditions of Continental Europe, only Russian pyramid survives. Snooker, originally known as snooker's pool, can be considered a member of this family. One-pocket initially did not require a rack, it was originally played with just three balls. The games share common equipment such as tables and balls.

Rotation Games

One of many correct nine-ball racks: the 1 ball at the apex centered over the foot spot, the 9 ball at center, the other balls placed randomly, and all balls touching.

Rotation games require players to make legal contact with the lowest numbered ball on the table or a foul is called. The earliest rotation game, originally known as 61, started off as a variant of fifteen-ball pool during the mid-nineteenth century. 

The name "rotation" came from how the balls were placed around the table in its unracked offshoot Chicago. 61 has spawned many variations of its own such as American rotation, seven-ball, nine-ball, ten-ball, and Kelly pool. Of these, nine-ball is the most popular and the predominant professional game with ten-ball as its greatest competitor. There are many local and regional tours and tournaments that are contested with nine-ball.


The largest nine-ball tournaments are the independent US Open Nine-ball Championship and the WPA World Nine-ball Championship for men and women. Male professionals have a rather fragmented schedule of professional nine-ball tournaments. 

The United States Professional Poolplayers Association (UPA) has been the most dominant association of the 1990s and 2000s. An intense contested event is the annual Mosconi Cup, which pits invitational European and U.S. teams against each other in one-on-one and scotch doubles' nine-ball matches over a period of several days. The Mosconi Cup games are played under the more stringent European rules, as of 2007.

Three Ball Pool

Three-ball originated as a rotation game but the folk rules have changed considerably since the 1980s. It is now generally played such that the player at turn continues shooting until all the balls are pocketed, and the player to do so in the fewest shots wins. It dispenses with some fouls common to both nine- and eight-ball.


One-pocket owes its origins to 18th century cramp - handicapped games. It is a strategic game for two players in which each player is assigned one of the corner pockets on the table. This is the only pocket into which he can legally pocket balls. The first player to pocket the majority of the balls (8) in his pocket wins the game. 

The game requires far more defensive strategy than offensive strategy, much unlike eight-ball, nine-ball, or straight pool. Most times, accomplished players choose to position balls near their pocket instead of trying to actually pocket them. This allows them to control the game by forcing their opponent to be on defense instead of taking a low percentage shot that could result in a loss of game. These low percentage shots are known as "flyers" by one-pocket aficionados.

Bank Pool

Bank pool can be played with a full rack, and can be a long game, but is more typically played with nine balls popularly  called "nine-ball bank". The balls are racked in nine-ball formation, but in no particular order. 

The objective of the game is simple: to be the first player to bank five balls in any order eight-balls when played with a full rack. Penalties and fouls are similar to one pocket in that the player committing the foul must spot a ball for each foul. This must be done before the incoming player shoots.

Artistic Pool

Artistic pool is the competitive discipline of trick shots inspired by its carom equivalent. Played on pool or snooker tables, players must complete a set number of shots of varying difficulty.

Hybrid Carom Or Obstacle Games

Cowboy pool and bottle pool are games involving only a few balls which are placed at specific spots on the table. Elements of their games go back to the eighteenth century before balls needed to be racked. Bottle pool shares traits with pin billiards games such as Danish pin billiards. Cowboy pool is a descendant of English billiards. Kaisa is a similar game played with different equipment.

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