Rules of Snooker & Billiards

Rules of Snooker & Billiards
Wikimedia Commons

What are the rules of snooker? What are the rules of billiards? What is the difference between snooker and billiards?

Snooker and Billiards are non-physical games played around the world today that have enjoyed wide popularity. But like every other game, they have rules.

So, before we answer questions about the rules of billiards and snooker, let’s talk about each of these sports.

Some people sometimes find it difficult to separate one from the other and, as a result, fail to understand that the snooker rules and billiards rules are significantly different.

Objectives of a Snooker Game

Snooker is played by two players at a time. The objective of the game of Snooker is to strike the object ball with the white ball using a cue. This is repeatedly done until one player fails to pot the object balls.

In potting more object balls, you win more points. Amassing points through the potting of object balls do not cover all the rules of snooker. Let’s, therefore, look at the rules below.

What are the Rules of Snooker?

Snooker Rules – Cue Sports
Via: Wikimedia Commons

#1. The size of the snooker standard ball is measured at 2.07 in diameter. The red balls have to be fifteen in numbers, six object balls of other colors that are also not numbered known as colors, and a white ball is known as the cue ball.

#2. The point values allocated to balls are red balls -1, yellow balls – 2, green balls – 3, brown balls – 4, blue balls -5, pink balls – 6, and black balls -7.

#3. By standard, only two players can play the Snooker at a time.

#4. Point Scoring: In Snooker, points are awarded in two different ways. A player can be awarded a point when the opponent commits a foul. A player can also earn points by striking the red balls or color legally inside the pot. As narrated above, each potted red ball attracts a point of 1 and so on.

#5. A game is ended when all “potable” balls have been potted following the game’s rules.

#6. Once a ball is legally struck into the pot; the player continues to pot until he fails to pot the ball.

#7. In potting the object balls, the cue ball is meant to at least touch one of his chosen balls. If the cue ball makes no contact with an object ball, then it becomes foul.

#8. So far as the red balls remain on the table, the player who takes his first stroke will have to take the red balls and not the yellow, as his legal object balls.

#9. If a player chooses the red ball as his legal ball, he must strike his cue ball in so that it makes the first contact with the red ball. It is a foul if the player does otherwise.

#10. A player who scores the red ball initially must take on the color balls and alternate his strike between the red and the colors as far as there are still red balls on the board. (though in some places, this rule is waved).

#11. It is a foul in standard Snooker for a striker to hit the cue ball in such a way that it jumps from the bed of the snooker board. Some players deliberately do this to jump an obstructing ball when aiming at a ball.

#12. It is a foul for any of the balls to jump off the table.

#13. After a cue ball jumps off the table, the incoming player must place the cue ball within the arc line and is not restricted to the position he keeps the ball within the arc. The incoming player is not also limited to playing any ball.

#14. While the game is on, it is a foul for a player to change a ball’s original position either by shaking the board or hitting a ball mistakenly.

#15. When a game is on, and the cue ball is touching another ball, it is declared ‘a touching ball.’ The striker in such a scenario is required to play the cue ball away from the ball it’s touching. Otherwise, it becomes foul.

Objectives of a Billiards Game

Billiards is a sport that has its origin from England. But the game has spread to other parts of the world, especially the commonwealth nations.

Like the Snooker, it is a sport played by two players at a time.

Billiards’ main objective is to outscore your opponent with points by first reaching the number of points needed to win the game. It is a game that demands more of your mental calculation than physical ability.

What are the Rules of Billiards?

Billiards Balls
Via: Wikimedia Commons

#1. Billiards game must be played with three balls (yellow, white, and red). Each player must choose a cue ball of either white or red.

#2. The players must decide who breaks (strikes) the game first. This is usually done with the players hitting their preferred cue ball simultaneously to the end of the table and returning to them. The player that decides who breaks is the player whose cue ball is nearest to the ‘balk’ cushion.

#3. Players take turns to strike the balls, and each player’s amount of points decides the game.

#4. A player’s point can only be scored in three ways:
A) In-off: This happens when a cue ball hits the balls before it goes into the pocket. This could attract 2 or 3 points depending on the people playing.
B) Pot: Pot is called when the ball, other than the cue ball, hits the pocket. There are usually 2 or 3 points attached to this shot.
C) Cannon: This is when a cue ball hits two balls at a strike. This attracts up to 2 points.

#5. A player is to continue playing until he fails to score a point with his shot.

#6. When a foul is committed, the next player whose turn it is to play can decide to reshuffle the cue ball or continue play on their spot.

#7. The player who reaches the agreed winning points total wins the game.

What is the Difference Between Snooker & Billiards?

The significant difference between billiards and snooker is that while billiards is played with just 3 balls: red, white, and yellow, snooker is played with 15 red balls, 6 colored balls, and one cue (white) ball.


Snooker and Billiards have been used interchangeably by some people to refer to cue sports. From this article, it’s now clear their differences in terms of the rules that govern each and the number of balls each is played with.

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