How Many Balls Are Colored or Striped in Billiards?

Set of billiards balls

Billiards involves careful, precise rules and various components that have made it the sophisticated sport it is today. Whether you are playing competitively or recreationally, billiard balls are one of the sport’s most recognizable features. How many balls are colored or striped in billiards?

For a traditional game of 8-ball pool, the table is set with 16 balls. One is the solid white cue ball, eight are colored, and seven are striped. While you will often work with the standard 16 balls, billiards game variations can include as few as three to as many as 22 balls.

Below, we will discuss more information about billiard balls and their qualities. Keep reading to learn all about the balls used in this game!

How Many Balls are Colored or Striped in Billiards?

While some billiards variations can involve between three to 22 balls, you will typically see 16 balls on the table. 

8-ball pool, the most popular form of billiards, features 16 balls total — eight for each player.

In 8-ball pool, there is one solid white cue ball, which players hit to strike other balls into the pockets. The balls numbered 1-8 are solid colored, and balls 9-15 have colored stripes in the center.

Traditional Colors for Billiards Balls

Billiards balls are almost always the same, barring a few differences. 

If you are using the conventional rules of 8-ball pool, the balls will be labeled in the following way: 

Ball Number Color Striped or Solid
Cue White Solid
1 Yellow Solid
2 Blue Solid
3 Red Solid
4 Purple Solid
5 Orange Solid
6 Green Solid
7 Maroon Solid
8 Black Solid
9 Yellow Striped
10 Blue Striped
11 Red Striped
12 Purple Striped
13 Orange Striped
14 Green Striped
15 Maroon Striped

As you can see from above, the succession of colors is the same for the solid and striped sets. 

This helps keep continuity with the aesthetic of this sophisticated game.

Are Billiards Balls Always the Same Colors?

The colored and striped qualities mentioned above apply to nearly every game aspect. 

However, you may see some variations of these colors and patterns.

Essentially, the rules of a specific game of billiards remain the same, but the colors and patterns on the balls may vary based on the manufacturer.

If you want to get creative, there is no harm in adding your own design to your billiards accessories. 

Customizing your billiards balls is a great way to add a unique touch to your table!

Why Are Billiards Balls Numbered and Colored?

Those unfamiliar with the sport of billiards might wonder why there are so many different colors and designs on the balls.

Simply put, numbers and colors help players differentiate between their balls and their opponent’s balls.

In some game variations, the numbers and colors can even affect a player’s score. 

For example, in snooker ball, each differently-colored ball shot into a pocket gives the player a different number of points.

How Important Are Colors and Stripes for Recreational Play?

In a recreational game of 8-ball pool, the colors and patterns of the balls are only important for differentiating between players.

One player or team aims for the solid-colored balls, and the other aims for the striped balls.

But, some recreational players may create their own interpretation of casual play with their opponents, meaning the colors are only as important as you want them to be. 

Is Billiards the Same as Pool?

If you’re a recreational billiards player, the different forms of the game may not be important to you. 

But, if you’re playing competitively, things might be different.

While “billiards” and “pool” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Billiards itself is a game involving only three balls, the colors and patterns are different, and the balls might vary in size compared to 8-ball pool. 

However, billiards is a blanket term that refers to all variations of the sport.

Despite small changes in size, the only difference in the balls used in different variations of billiards is the colors. 

Final Thoughts

Traditionally, a 16-ball billiards table includes the cue ball, eight solid-colored balls, and seven striped balls

All sets of billiard balls tend to be colored or striped with the same colors, though customizing billiards balls is not uncommon.


Benny is the owner of Supreme Billiards and has been shooting pool and teaching people how to shoot pool for a few years now. He enjoys showing new players techniques and drills to improve their pool game.

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