Billiards Table vs. Pool Table

What's the Difference?

Billiards tables and pool tables are often used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences between the two. Billiards tables are typically larger, measuring 12 feet in length, while pool tables are usually 7, 8, or 9 feet long. The pockets on a billiards table are smaller and rounded, making it more challenging to sink the balls. In contrast, pool tables have larger, square-shaped pockets, allowing for easier ball pocketing. Additionally, billiards is played with three balls, while pool is played with 16 balls, including the cue ball. Despite these differences, both tables provide a great platform for players to enjoy the strategic and skillful game of cue sports.


Billiards Table
Photo by Nathan Cima on Unsplash
AttributeBilliards TablePool Table
SizeVaries, typically largerVaries, typically smaller
Number of pockets66
Playing surface materialSlateSlate
Cloth typeWoolenWoolen or worsted
Table legsUsually ornateVaries, can be simple or ornate
Table weightHeavierLighter
Table shapeRectangularRectangular
Table levelingAdjustableAdjustable
Table accessoriesUsually includes cues, balls, and chalkUsually includes cues, balls, and chalk
Pool Table
Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash

Further Detail


Billiards and pool are two popular cue sports that are enjoyed by players of all skill levels. While many people use the terms "billiards" and "pool" interchangeably, they actually refer to different games played on different types of tables. In this article, we will compare the attributes of a billiards table and a pool table, highlighting their similarities and differences.

Size and Dimensions

One of the key differences between a billiards table and a pool table lies in their size and dimensions. A standard billiards table is larger than a pool table, measuring 12 feet in length, while a pool table typically measures 7, 8, or 9 feet in length. The larger size of a billiards table provides players with a more spacious playing surface, allowing for longer shots and more strategic gameplay.

Additionally, the dimensions of the pockets on a billiards table are narrower compared to those on a pool table. This makes pocketing balls in billiards more challenging, as players need to have precise aim and control over the cue ball.

Number of Balls

Another difference between billiards and pool lies in the number of balls used in each game. In billiards, the game is typically played with three balls: one white cue ball, one red object ball, and one yellow object ball. The objective is to score points by striking the red and yellow balls with the cue ball in a specific order.

On the other hand, pool is played with a larger set of balls, usually consisting of 15 numbered object balls and one white cue ball. The objective in pool is to pocket the object balls in a specific sequence, depending on the variation of the game being played, such as eight-ball or nine-ball.

Cloth Material

The cloth material used on billiards and pool tables also differs. Billiards tables are typically covered with a fine, smooth cloth made of worsted wool. This type of cloth provides a faster playing surface, allowing the balls to roll smoothly and quickly across the table.

On the other hand, pool tables are usually covered with a thicker and coarser cloth, often made of a blend of wool and nylon. This cloth provides more friction, which helps the balls to grip the table and prevents them from sliding too much. The slower playing surface of a pool table allows for more control over the balls, making it easier to execute precise shots.

Cue Sticks

Both billiards and pool require the use of cue sticks, but there are some differences in their attributes. Billiards cue sticks are typically longer and heavier compared to pool cue sticks. This is because the longer length of the billiards table requires players to have a longer reach, and the heavier cue stick helps generate more power for longer shots.

Pool cue sticks, on the other hand, are shorter and lighter, as the smaller size of the pool table allows players to reach all areas of the table comfortably. The lighter weight of the pool cue stick allows for more finesse and control, making it easier to execute precise shots and spin the cue ball.

Gameplay and Strategy

While both billiards and pool share similarities in terms of gameplay, there are some differences in strategy. Billiards is often considered a more strategic and precise game, as players need to carefully plan their shots to score points. The narrow pockets and larger table size in billiards require players to have excellent cue ball control and positional play.

On the other hand, pool is often seen as a more casual and social game, with a focus on pocketing balls in a specific sequence. The larger pockets and smaller table size in pool make it easier to pocket balls, but players still need to strategize and plan their shots to outmaneuver their opponents.


In conclusion, while billiards and pool are both cue sports enjoyed by many, they differ in various attributes. Billiards tables are larger, have narrower pockets, and use a smaller set of balls, while pool tables are smaller, have larger pockets, and use a larger set of balls. The cloth material, cue sticks, and gameplay strategies also vary between the two games. Whether you prefer the precision and strategy of billiards or the casual and social nature of pool, both games offer hours of entertainment and enjoyment for players of all skill levels.

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