What’s the difference between Billiards, Pool and Snooker?

Cue sports have been around since the 1340s and it’s commonplace to see pub pool tables, members club snooker tables and even the occasional bar billiards table in towns and cities around the UK.

Billiards is the oldest set of rules, originally played outdoors on croquet lawns, and eventually on an indoor board covered in green fabric to simulate grass – a practice that continues to this day with standard snooker table baize.

It was over 500 years before snooker was invented in 1875, by putting together rules of two billiards variants: pyramid pool, which used 15 red balls, and black pool, which used different coloured balls.

While the word ‘pool’ has been linked with versions of pocket billiards for centuries, the modern game of eight-ball pool was not invented until the early 1900s and has become the standard variant played on pub pool tables in the UK.

What to know about Billiards

Billiards has a lot of variations. Some use tables with no pockets at all. Some – called pocket billiards – use a table similar to a familiar snooker table or pool table with pockets around the edge.

In most versions, you can score points by hitting an opponent’s ball with your own after banking off a cushion or cannoning off another ball on the table, although there are a lot of other rule sets in use around the world.

The first time you see a bar billiards table can be quite a surprise. That’s because instead of pockets in the sides and corners, it has holes in the middle of the playing surface itself, with points scored depending on which hole your ball drops into.

Pool and snooker can be thought of as specific rule sets of pocket billiards, although the popularity of both have made them sports in their own right.

What to know about Pool

Pool is not a single game, but a collection of similar variations of pocket billiards. For instance, pub pool tables come in a variety of sizes, and the game can be played using ‘spots and stripes’ or red and yellow balls.

There are other versions of pool too, such as 9-ball, which uses nine balls arranged in a diamond instead of the usual 15 in a triangle.

What to know about Snooker

Snooker is much more clearly defined, with a large table of specific size and fixed rules about gameplay, scoring and fouls.

But it’s still governed by the same body as billiards – now called the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.

If you’ve never tried it, a game of full-size snooker is well worth an hour or two of your time. But with the challenge of such a large playing surface and tight pockets, it’s no wonder most casual players prefer to stick to their local pub pool table instead.

Get your venue ready for Easter 2021

Don’t be caught out by the early Easter this year – it’s time to get your venue ready if it’s not already.

In 2021 Easter Sunday lands on April 4th, and while that’s not the earliest possible date Easter can be (which is March 22nd) it’s also a long way from the latest, which is April 25th.

This also means Easter comes before the planned reopening of some hospitality businesses on April 12th, but it’s the perfect opportunity to show your local customers that you are preparing to reopen.

By putting up your usual Easter decorations, you can show that your venue is active and start building some buzz, so that on April 12th when outdoor customers can return, you have a socially distanced queue waiting at your door.

Ideas for Easter 2021

This year might need some lateral thinking to make the most of the major calendar events, and Easter is no exception to that.

If you won’t be open until the following Monday, you could consider putting on a belated Easter event – it wouldn’t be the only thing delayed by Covid over the past year.

Or broaden your theme to a celebration of Spring, which is spot-on for the reopening of businesses and reawakening of the UK’s shared social life.

Eggs are very Easter-specific but bunnies, butterflies, flowers and fairy lights can all stay in place throughout the Spring and Summer, so get stuck into some decorating!

Easter entertainment options

When hospitality reopens, it will be outdoor-only at first, so make sure your entertainment options reflect this.

If you’re interested in putting your pub pool table outside until indoor customers can return, read our guide Putting Pub Pool Tables Outside For Summer. It was written before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, but in general the same rules still apply.

That includes suitable protection for your pool table in case of rain, some level ground for it to stand on, and plenty of clearance around it for comfortable cue action.

More ideas for outdoor entertainment

Your pub jukebox can help with all kinds of entertainment – modern digital jukeboxes come equipped with karaoke and built-in bingo games, which can be enjoyed outdoors just as much as indoors.

Again we can help if you’re interested in using your pub jukebox in this way, or replacing an old analogue jukebox with a more modern, (literally) all-singing and all-dancing digital jukebox.

For more great suggestions on making the most of your outdoor space this summer, read our article from last year, Fun Outdoor Beer Garden Event Ideas.

How we can help

Get in touch with Manco Automatics by calling 0161 870 7777 and we can help you to work out what safety precautions you need to take, in order to offer outdoor entertainment to pubgoers in line with the ever-changing COVID-secure restrictions in Easter 2021.

And finally, as conditions (hopefully) continue to ease in the coming months, let’s make the most of the summer whatever the weather, with brighter days ahead and the long overdue chance to get hospitality back in business.