Within the countless types of billiards games, two of the most popular worldwide are snooker and pool (more specifically, 8-Ball and 9-Ball). There are many commonalities between these two games, such as equipment, techniques, and the player’s reliance on strategy and mental calculation. However, many significant differences between the games wonder if a snooker player could proficiently play pool or if the transition would be too difficult.
Snooker players can play pool. The skills required to play snooker do translate well to a game of pool. However, there are particularities of pool dissimilar to snooker that snooker players would have to learn and adapt their gameplay rather than solely utilizing a snooker-based skillset.
In this article, we’ll discuss why snooker players can often transition to pool with relative ease and what they would need to know about pool to play successfully.
Why Snooker Players Are Often Skilled at Pool
First thing’s first, anyone can try and play pool or snooker. They might not be the best at either, but they can surely learn the rules and give it the old college try. But, both are a game of skill that take time to learn.
It is usually easier for beginners to learn the basics of pool and improve their gameplay faster than if they started with snooker. That being said, there are a number of reasons why snooker players are often skilled at pool, even if they’ve never played this specific billiard game before.
Skilled snooker players can play pool exceptionally well because both games have a great deal in common, with the biggest discrepancy being the number of balls on the table and their rules of play. Both pool and snooker are ultimately pocket-type billiard games requiring players to sink pool balls using a pool cue and a cue ball.
Because the equipment and premise of both pool and snooker are ultimately the same, players from each game will learn similar skills in terms of:
- Various types of shots
- Fundamentals (grip, stroke, stance, body alignment, etc.)
- Strategizing optimal ball placement
All of these make the transition from snooker to pool relatively easy. Of course, there are some key differences between these games that a snooker player will need to be aware of and adapt to if they want to win a game of pool.
What Snooker Players Should Know to Adapt to Pool
There is much a snooker player would find comforting in a game of pool since they’re still focusing on sinking balls into pockets. While many of these games are the same, there are two elements a snooker player needs to learn and adapt to.
Before they can play a game of pool proficiently, a snooker player needs to recognize the differences in pool regarding its rules and equipment, and accessory size.
Differences in Rules
The rules of pool are by far the biggest difference between the two games. In snooker, a table is set with 22 balls of seven different colors (15 red, seven colored, one cue ball). The object of the game is to earn more points than your opponent by pocketing balls in the right order in accordance with a numerical system.
If you’ve played a game or two of pool, you can already tell this is a far more complicated set of rules. In pool (we’ll focus on 8 Ball Pool since it is the most common), the player’s objective is to simply pocket all of the balls within their assigned group and the final eight ball before their opponent.
While each game has its own additional rules in terms of fouls and other semantics, it’s pretty clear snooker is a much more complicated game. Therefore, most snooker players find it an absolute breeze when they play pool that they only have to focus on a set group of balls rather than optimizing colors, points, and proper order for their shots.
Differences in Equipment and Accessory Size
In addition to the rules, another difference between snooker and pool that is extremely obvious to players is the differences in table, cue, and ball size, as demonstrated in the table below.
|Table size||12’L x 6’H||8’L x 2.7’H|
|Ball size||2 1/8”||2 ½”|
In addition to this, snooker pockets are often much narrower as well, which is why many people argue that snooker is a more challenging game because the player’s calculations of spin, power, and aim have to be much more precise than in pool where the balls and pockets are larger, but the table is smaller.
Can Pool Players Transition to Snooker as Easily?
After reading that most snookers find the transition to pool relatively easy, the next logical question would be if the same stands if things were reversed.
While pool players are certainly capable of playing snooker, and much of their skills and techniques would transfer over just like a snooker player would, many conclude that the transition is not as easy for these players.
Ultimately, the rules of snooker are much more complex than pool, and the equipment is less forgiving. The reduced ball and cue size, as well as the increased table size, would take any pool player a moment or two to adapt, let alone adding all of the nuances of the snooker rule book.
Of course, after a few games of getting used to the rules and size differences, it stands to reason that any pool player could hold their own against a snooker player of similar talent. Additionally, the fact that snooker players find the transition easier doesn’t mean any snooker player could automatically outmatch a pool player at their own game.
It’s important to remember that these are two different games that require their strategies to win and techniques to perfect.
If you’re a snooker player who’s considering dabbling in pool, we fully encourage you to do so. There is a wide range of billiards games out there, so don’t think just because you’ve practiced one game in particular that you have to “stay in your lane,” so to speak.
There are many aspects that pool and snooker have in common, and it never hurts to be skilled at both. They can each benefit your gameplay by forcing you to think and shoot differently, and you might find you learn a thing or two on the pool table that is advantageous on the snooker table or vice versa.