Billiards vs Pool

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Both Billiards and Pool refer to the same activity over a pool table, but they are two different games. Billiards was earlier used to determine the game ‘carrom billiards,’ and Pool was ‘pocket billiards,’ but they were given simpler names over time. Even though the types of equipment for both these games are the same, there are subtle differences, and they have different rules for playing.

Billiards vs Pool

If you have skills for playing billiards, you can definitely take up the game of Pool. However, it is a matter of specialization that specifies your expertise in either or both games. So, to give you a better idea of the differences and similarities, here is an understandable argument based on Billiards vs. Pool.

Person playing a billiards game

What Is The Game Of Billiards?

  • Billiards originated in the 15th century, but there is still some mystery around it because of the absence of any accurate information to date. The credits of its invention are with countries such as England, China, Italy, Spain, and France. But, the verdicts are yet to be revealed.
  • All Billiard games require basic equipment that includes a table, balls, and cue sticks. The objective of the game is to score more points than the opponent. One needs to reach a specific point to win the game. Billiards is a tactical table game, just like chess.
  • The players in this game need to think in both attacking as well as defensive terms. Billiards demand more concentration and mental stability than physical force. In addition, English billiards is the preferable game of this type and can be played one-on-one or two-vs-two. Three balls are necessary to commence this game, one yellow, one white, and one red. And all these balls should be 52.5mm in size. Out of these three, two are cue balls, and red is the object ball.
  • One needs to strike the ball so that it hits two consecutive balls in a single shot. This gives two points to the player. Thus, it is the canon shot. But, a potshot is when a cue ball strikes the red one, and it ends up in a pocket. This gives three points to the players. However, if the cue ball strikes the other ball on the table and pockets, the player gets only two points.
  • In-off is another scoring shot for the game, where the player has to hit the cue ball to strike one ball and put the third ball into the pocket. If the red ball is the first contact ball in this shot, then a player gets three points. Also, a player gets a chance to score a maximum of 10 points in a single shot by combining all these scoring measures.

What Is The Game Of Pool?

  • Pool is the modern version of the table game that has originated around the 1800s. It was earlier known as pocket billiards, which was a simpler version of the billiards game. But now, it has been given a more general name for the reference of players.
Pool table with cue balls scattered on top
  • The goal of this game is to pot all the balls as per the ones assigned to them. There are stripes and solid textured balls with different numbers on the table. Along with them, there is the 8 Ball on the table as well. A player will be given the first chance to strike, and the first ball that pots, whether stripe or solid, is the designated ball type for them after that, and automatically, the other person will chase the ball of other types.
  • Players need to pot their solid or stripe balls and then pot the eight-ball in the chosen pocket to win the game. The catch is that you get continuous chances to take shots if you pot even one ball of your type in the previous shot. In this way, the game becomes interesting and fun.
  • Pool is generally playable in frames. Commonly, people play around 9 frames, and the first one to win 5 of the frames is the winner. There are different pool games, apart from just the 8 ball pool, as discussed here. All of them are fun to play.

Billiards vs Pool


  1. They both need the same equipment for playing the games. (table, billiard gloves, cue sticks, pool chalk, and cue ball)
  2. Skills in one game can be preferably useful for playing the other. (only skills, not rules)


  1. The objective of the billiards game is to score a specific number of points. But, the objective of Pool is to pocket the object balls, in random or in a particular order, depending upon the game.
  2. Billiards is played with three balls (2 cue balls and one object ball), whereas Pool is played with 7+7 object balls (strips and solids), one 8 ball, and one cue ball. Therefore, different pool games require different balls in the set.
  3. Billiards need no rack to place the balls, whereas a pool game requires a rack to place the object balls.
  4. Cloth or felt on a pool table keeps the ball movements a little slow. But, the table cloth or felt over the billiards table makes the balls move fast for swift movements.
  5. Other popular games of billiards and Pool are straight rail billiards and nine-ball, respectively.
Billiards table with cue balls on top

Major Distinguishing Factors

  1. Long cue sticks are preferable for pool games, whereas thick-butt and short ferrule cue sticks are preferable for billiards.
  2. Four-ball is another variant of billiards, whereas straight Pool is a common variant of the pool game, that you play with 15 balls, 1 point on each ball, and no suits.

When To Play Billiards?

When you are in a bar or a club and have someone to challenge you over a table game, it is better to go with billiards. English billiards is a point-scoring game that makes the challenge more intense and requires precision, tactics, and skills.

When To Play Pool?

Pool is an easy game and is for people of all ages. You need to pot the balls and win the round. If you have a pool table at your home, this is one of the best games for kids, teens, and even adults. While having fun, you may want to grab your camera and lenses to take a few shots of your game.

Final Verdict

Both these games are different in terms of rules and playing style. However, one common thing is the fun and thrill of playing them. So, it is up to you to decide whether you wish to play Billiards, Pool or possess the skills to play both of them. Deciding which one is better and start playing.