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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SNOOKER AND ENGLISH POOL AND AMERICAN POOL?

Snooker Pockets VS Pool Pockets

Both pool and snooker have the same number of pockets.

6 pockets. One at each corner and one in the middle.

And that is where the similarities stop.

Pool pockets are made with synthetic rubber or leather. These need constant care or else they crack and tear.

The pool pockets are larger than snooker pockets. Also consider that English pool balls are bigger than their snooker counterparts. The corner English pocket mouth is 3 3/8” to 3 5/8” and the side pocket mouth is 4 1/16” to 4 5/16”. The pocket of a snooker table is 3.5 in. Professional tournaments use slightly smaller pockets to increase the overall difficulty.

Plus a snooker player needs to be more accurate with their shots as the snooker pockets are more curvy from the inside. SO if you can reach boss level on a snooker table then expect to be a LEGEND at English or American pool.

But your high runs are going to be lower with a snooker pocket.

Another thing to consider is the cutting the balls close the rail with snooker pockets. This will be difficult with the rounded pockets. So expect to practice more varied banking and kicking.

This reddit user said it perfectly

A simple guide to the difference between snooker, American pool and English pool

cutting balls close to the rail will be tougher since the pockets are rounded

Snooker always uses drop pockets. Pool tables can have either drop pockets or a ball return system.

Are pool balls and snooker balls the same size?

Side-by-side comparison of snooker balls and pool balls

Snooker balls are smaller than pool balls by a fairly significant amount.

Pool balls and regulation size pool balls are 2 and 1/4 inches in diameter. Snooker balls are two and 1/15 inches and diameter. The set of Snooker might be 2 and 1/16 inch in diameter. So Snicker balls being smaller than pool balls. That makes it difficult to use pool cues on snooker balls or vice versa snooker cues on pool balls because the differences in the sizes

I’m gonna talk about the cues in a second. The difference is in size also makes it difficult to play pool on a snooker table as well as snooker on a  pool table because the height of the rails are different, the size of the pocket is different. So there’s actually the size of the balls matters significantly when you play.

So on the left here we have a pool cue and on the right, we have a snooker cue. The key difference between the two types of cues is the tip size. So typically a pool cue, the tip size will vary between 11.5mm to 13mm. Whereas a Snooker cue, the tip size will vary from 8mm to 10mm, perhaps, a 10.5mm at most. So that is the the major major difference between the two types of cues.

For the left here, we have a snooker cue along with the extensions, and on the right, we have a set of pool cues. That’s a plane cue, a jump cue, and a break cue. So, typically in snooker a player only needs one cue because there’s no hard break shots and there’s no jump shots allowed in snooker. Therefore, you just use one cue.

But in pool, you have a hard break shots that typically players will have a breaking cue and jump shots, that require a jump cue and then you have a playing cue for regular shots.

So most snooker cues, as you will see at the handle end, there will be a a hole that allows you to insert the extensions into, simply because the tables are so big that often you will need an extension and rest to play a lot of the shots. Another key difference between snooker and pool cues is that most snooker cubes, although not all of them, most snooker cues are made with ashwood. As you can see the grains on the snooker cue very clearly

But on a pool cue, the wood is typically maple where you don’t really see the wood grains that clearly.

Another thing is that snooker cues, may come in one piece or in the case of others they actually break apart into two, but it doesn’t break in the middle, it breaks it about one  quarter and a three quarters distance wise, along the cue.

All pool cues pretty much break right in the middle. 

Difference Between Pool Cue and Snooker Cue?

I guess you can use any type of cue for pool and snooker. But it’s not the ideal piece of equipment for the game that you’re playing.

So let me explain to you why you’d have all sorts of cues for different games.

English and Snooker pool cues

A 1 and 7/8 of an inch size cue ball is for English pool. It is the smallest cue ball that you’ll be playing with. The cue has to have an 8 mm to 9 mm size tip.

So it’s a smaller size tip because it’s a smaller size ball.

Some people do use snooker vs pool cues.

A snooker cue is about 11 mm size tip. You can play that with an English cue ball. But really, it is for playing with a snooker cue ball. The snooker cue ball is 2 and 1/16 of an inch in size.

But a lot of people like to play with the same cue that they own whether they are playing English pool or snooker. You can play that with either to be honest with you without much of a problem.

People prefer to play 8-ball pool with a thinner English tip because it gives control.

The reason?

It’s thinner. It’s more delicate. It’s smaller. This is useful if you are a decent quality player.

For not such good players or beginners a snooker size cue is best.

American pool cues.

I have discussed the difference between American and English pool balls.

The big difference is that an English ball cue is 1 and 7/8 of an inch. The American cue ball is 2 and 1/4 of an inch.

So for an American pool game you use an American pool cue. And the difference is that the ferrule is plastic and has a 13 mm size tip.

The reason for this difference is simple.

An American cue ball is heavy.

If you’re using brass, you will tend to find that the contact that you’ll make with it can be quite harsh, and it loses its feel. The plastic of the American pool cue has more give. AND you feel the shot a little better.

To break or not to break with an English cue

One thing I would note though is for breaking, use an American pool cue to break in English Pool.

Hang on a second. You just said don’t use a bigger tip as the control is decreased.

I did.

But here is the thing. The American cue is powerful vs the English cue. Much like the military.

When using an English pool cue for breaking 3 things can go wrong. The tip can either:

  1. Mushroom-the impact of breaking squashes down the tip and the edges of the tip go over the edge of the ferrule.
  2. Or it can split it
  3. Or it can split the ash of the English cue. EXPENSIVE BREAK!!!

So some people will use American cue to break with.

Or you can get a specific break cue.

This will have carbon fiber ferrule, and it’s designed to take that harsh impact every single time you break and stop your nice cue that you normally use when playing from splitting or breaking.

So, hopefully that’s giving you a bit of insight into why you have different type of cue for the different game. Yes, you could use all the different one with the different ones, but my advice should be to use the right cue for the right game.

Want to know which pool cues you need? Check out our page on best pool cues for more information.

Still want to learn more?

Check out our other articles on everything related to pool here.

(Interested to know what pool balls are made of?)