There are three major game types that can be played on a certain pool table; they are pool, billiards and Snooker. Even though all of them use coloured balls and cues, their rules and play style are vastly different.
Pool, or eight-ball, is one of the most popular games that is played around the world. In eight-ball you start with a cue ball, seven striped coloured balls, seven solid coloured balls and one black ball (16 balls in total). The players are assigned one of the two groups of coloured balls after they have been scattered with a break shot, and someone sinks one of the two variations of balls. The end objective to legally sink the eight ball (Black ball), this can only be done after the player has sunk all the coloured balls from his group.
Snooker is another popular type of cue sport. Snooker is played using a cue and 22 balls that are all worth different amounts of points, these balls are as follows:
- 1 white (cue Ball)
- 15 red (1 point each
- 1 Yellow (2 points)
- 1 Green (3 points)
- 1 Brown (4 points)
- 1 Blue (5 Points)
- 1 Black (7 points)
When starting, the red balls are placed in a triangle, with the other coloured balls being put on marked position that are called ‘spots’. Players are awarded points by sinking red and coloured balls in the correct sequence. They can also gain points if the opposition player makes a foul.
A player wins a frame by scoring more points than the other player, and wins the match when a predetermined number of frames have been won.
Carom billiards, also referred to as French billiards, is a game played on a 1.5m by 3m pocketless table. It is typically played with 3 balls; each player has their own cue ball and an object ball. The object of the game is to score points by caroming (rebounding) ones cue ball off both the opponent’s cue ball and object ball in one shot.
The invention of this game and date is seen as unclear, but has been thought to be traced back to 18th century France.