English snooker (or international snooker) is a cue sport (billiards game) of British origin. The snooker played today is a modern version of the 16th century billiards game, played with 22 balls: 15 red balls, 6 colored ones (with different point values) and the cue ball.
The regulation table (used in tournaments) measures 6 ft (1.86 m) by 12 ft (3.66 m), has 4 corner and 2 side pockets with cushions that are more narrow than on American pool tables.
Snooker vs Pool
Pool is more common in the US than snooker. Snooker is very popular in Canada, Europe, Middle East, Australia, India and China. In general, it’s safe to say that snooker has become popular in the countries where Great Britain has had colonial influences.
More skill is required to play snooker. The table is larger, the pockets narrower and the balls smaller. Once a pool player starts to play snooker they will get better at pool because accuracy is critical to snooker.
Snooker tables are commonly referred to as English pool tables and are bigger than the American pool tables (either tournament or bar). On a snooker table, the corner pockets and the side pockets are the same size but are smaller than the pool table pockets. On the pool table, the corner pockets are smaller than the side pockets.
When it comes to the tables’ height, the British height specifications are 2 inches higher than American specifications. Snooker requires a “faster” nap (that fuzzy stuff on the table) than pool. The traditional color for snooker is green.
The standard size pool ball is 2 ¼ inches. When playing pool on coin op tables, the cue ball (white ball) is always larger than the rest of the balls (standard pool table and balls in the photo to the right). The standard size snooker ball is 2 1/16 inches.
In bar pool games 15 balls plus the cue ball is used. In snooker games there are 15 red balls, the 6 colored balls (valued from 2 to 8 ) and a cue ball. The pool balls are numbered, while the snooker ones are not.
With such differences between the two games it’s obviously that the rules differ greatly (which is why we won’t even start to write about that part).
Learn to play snooker
World Snooker Academy within English Institute of Sport is located in Sheffield. It officially opened in 2006 and holds courses tailored to the players’ requirements.
The Academy offers a special course for young players (aged 17 and under). The cost is £500 per student per week with accommodation and includes anything from coaching to nutritional and psychological advice.
For more information check the Word Snooker official website.
Did you know?
Ronnie O’Sullivan (photo right) is currently ranking no. 1 in the official snooker world rankings after winning the 888.com World Snooker Championship title on May 5, 2008 (held at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield)
Photo by boolve