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How Many Balls Are on a Pool Table?

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If you want to get into pool, you should know how many balls are on a pool table. You should know the pool table, the cue stick, and the pool balls which are the essential items for playing pool. Let’s get you familiarized with the number of balls on a pool table.

How Many Balls are on a Pool Table?

Depending on the game, you can have a different number of balls on a pool table. A snooker game has the most balls on a pool table with 22. Most pool games use the standard 16 pool balls, 15 colored object balls, and 1 white cue ball. 

Many countries used to play pool such as France, England, China, Italy, and Spain. Which is why there are many variations of pool games. These variations use a different number of balls also. 

pool balls dispersed on a pool table

However, the objectives of every game are almost the same. Pocket a certain number of balls in order to win. This article will delve into the different pool games and how many balls they use on a pool table.

Different Kinds of Pool Games

People play a lot of pool games around the world. Some are really popular while other pool games are close to being forgotten. Here are some of the most notable pool games and how many balls they use on the pool table. 

Carom

Some people call Carom the French billiard. People play Carom on a pool table with a measurement of 5 feet x 10 feet or 4.5 feet x 9 feet. What makes Carom unique is that the pool table doesn’t have any pockets. 

You play the game with three balls, two white and one red. One of the white balls has a small red dot or spot to differentiate it from the other white ball. One white ball (plain or spot) will be a cue ball for each player. The red ball and the other white ball serves as the object ball for each player. 

Players have to hit the cue ball so that it hits the two object balls in succession. Doing so will score you a carom that counts as 1 point. Scoring a carom gives the player an extra turn to take a shot. A player wins the game if they earn the agreed number of points to win.   

English Billiards

People play English billiards on a large table that measures 6 feet, 1.5 inches x 12 feet. The game also uses 3 balls with the same design as Carom balls. 

You can score in three different ways:

  • Losing hazard: the hitter’s cue ball is pocketed after contact with another ball.
  • Winning hazard: a ball other than the hitter’s cue ball is pocketed after contact with another ball.
  • Cannon: a scoring sequence where the hitter’s cue ball makes contact with the two other balls in succession or simultaneously. 

Snooker

Snooker uses the same pool table as English billiard. It also uses the same size of balls. You play the game with 22 balls. It consists of:

  • 1 white cue ball
  • 15 red balls
  • 1 Yellow ball numbered 2
  • 1 Green ball numbered 3
  • 1 Brown ball numbered 4
  • 1 Blue ball numbered 5
  • 1 pink ball numbered 6
  • 1 black ball (with no number yet valued at 7 points)
Pool balls placed inside a rack

You must first pocket a red ball and then attempt to pocket a colored ball of your choosing scoring the value of the ball. You then continue to alternately pocket the red and colored balls. 

Pocketed red balls remain in the pocket. Pocketed colored balls get placed back to their respected place as long as any red ball remains on the pool table. The play continues until only the colored balls remain on the pool table. 

You then must pocket the 6 colored balls in the order of their values. The game ends when a player pockets the last ball. 

Pocket Billiards

People play pocket billiards on a table measuring 4.5 feet x 9 feet. Some use 5 feet x 10 feet yet they’re for special championship games. Pocket billiards use 16 balls at most, 15 colored balls, and 1 white cue ball. 

You can play a lot of varieties of pocket billiards. They use a different number of balls on the pool table. We’ll further discuss these varieties since they are popular pool games being played all over the world.  

How Many Balls Are Used in Variations of Pocket Billiards?

A lot of pocket billiards games are popular, especially in America. You often see pool halls use the balls for pocket billiards. These are some of the popular pocket billiards games and how many balls they use. 

8 Ball Pool

8 ball pool uses all 15 colored object balls and 1 white cue ball. The game starts with all 15 object balls racked and placed at the bottom middle area for breaking. 

The number 8 ball centers the rack while 1 stripe and 1 solid ball positions at each bottom corner of the triangle rack. The number 1 ball (solid yellow) sits at the top of the triangle. 

9 Ball Pool

9 ball pool uses 9 colored object balls, specifically 1 to 9 and 1 white cue ball. The game starts with all 9 object balls racked at the middle bottom of the pool table.

The number 1 ball placed at the top of the triangle and the number 9 ball placed at the center of the rack. You can place the other colored balls at random order in the rack. 

10 Ball Pool

10 ball pool makes use of 10 colored object balls numbered 1 to 10 and one white cue ball. The placing order isn’t as far off as with the 9 ball pool.

Place the 1 ball at the top of the triangle rack. You should place the number 10 ball at the center of the rack. You can position the rest of the colored balls randomly in the rack. 

Person playing a game of pool

7 Ball Pool

7 ball pool, as the name says. uses 7 colored object balls with numbers 1 to 7 and also uses a white cue ball. As with the games above, you rack the colored balls and place the number 1 ball at the top of the triangle. The number 7 ball positioned at the center. 

However, you should place the rest of the colored balls number 2 to 6 in clockwise order around the 7 ball.

3 Ball Pool

3 ball pool makes use of only 3 object balls numbered 1 to 3 and one white cue ball. The 1 ball sits at the top of the triangle rack while the 2 ball and 3 ball go at the bottom to form a mini triangle. 

Cut Throat Pool

Cut throat pool uses all 15 colored object balls and a white cue ball. To form the rack, the number 1 ball positions at the top. The 6 ball and the 11 ball go at the bottom corners of the triangle rack. The rest of the colored balls are placed randomly. 

Straight Pool

Straight pool uses all 15 colored balls and a white cue ball. You can randomly place all the object balls within the triangle rack. You don’t have to follow a certain order for forming the rack. 

Related Questions

As you can see, the number of balls on a pool table will depend on the game you’re playing. Before we wrap up this article, let’s discuss a couple of more questions related to the game. 

How Many Balls Are on a Pool Table at the Start of a Game?

It depends on the game. The most pool balls you can have at a pool table are 22 in a game of Snookers. The least amount of pool balls you can have in a pool table are in a game of Carom or 3 ball pool. 

Why Are There Numbers on Pool Balls?

In most pool games, the number doesn’t have any value except as a reference point for the order of pocketing the balls. However, some pool games use numbers to represent the number of points if you pocket the ball. 

Does a Pool Ball Have to Hit a Wall?

In most games, you don’t have to. Many people often refer to hitting the wall with a ball as cushion in pool terms. Some games require you to hit the cushion, such as the three-cushion carom. 

Some people often regard cushion pool games as the hardest form of pool. 

Conclusion

You should know by now how many balls are on a pool table on a given pool game. With this knowledge, you can easily play a lot of pool games, even by yourself. It’s also important to note their positions in the rack as breaking is the sign for a game to start.