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Do You Want A Pool Table Or A Billiard Table?

By: Adriana Noton

Many people interchange the words "billiards" and "pool, " but they are actually two distinct games. While both use a cue to strike balls on a flat surface, there are many differences in how the games are played. There are also many differences between a pool and a billiard table.

For pool, the table is typically shorter than the traditional billiard table. Today, the standard length for billiards is ten feet, although originally the length was about twelve feet. For pool, the length was a little over ten feet until the first quarter of the twentieth century. The current standard is approximately nine feet, but seven and eight-foot lengths are common as well. The shorter lengths are most often found in homes or clubs where space is an issue. Both types are normally half as wide as they are long.

Balls for the two games are different sizes. For billiards, the balls have a diameter of 2-7/16 inches, while pool balls are standardized at 2-1/4 inches, although some British balls are 2 inches. All balls in the set will weight the same. However, the weight can vary from around 7-1/4 ounces to 7-3/4 ounces each.

Both types of surfaces, sometimes called felts or slates, are typically covered with a material called baize. This cloth is wool with a fine weave. Modern pool surfaces may use a synthetic or synthetic blend. The traditional color for both is green, but today many color options are available.

The biggest difference between the two styles is that, traditionally, billiard tables do not have pockets, while pool tables do. The games are played with a different number of balls, normally two cue balls and one object ball for billiards. A cue ball, eight ball, and fourteen object balls make a set of pool balls.

There are many variations on both games. The most popular pool game is eight-ball. Each player claims either the striped or solid object balls and aims to place all of them in pockets first. The player can then place the eight ball in a pocket. All balls are to be pocketed without allowing the cue ball to be pocketed. The most popular form of billiards is three-cushion. A player uses a cue ball to strike either the other cue ball or the object ball, a minimum of three rails, and then the second ball. The game is played until either a set number of points is reached by one player or the time limit has been reached.

Billiards was derived from a lawn game and was played as far back as the 15th century. Variants were played almost from the beginning, but the modern game of pool did not appear until the 19th century. Whereas its ancestor was considered a gentleman's game, pool quickly became associated with gambling halls and was frowned on by many religious leaders.

The cue sticks used are also slightly different for the games. Modern styles are normally made of wood with leather tips. Pool uses a slightly longer cue with a smaller tip. Players of both games may purchase custom cues or decorative styles with inlays or carvings.

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