how to play snooker on a pool table

Can You Play Snooker on a Pool Table: Reviled!

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can you play snooker on a pool tableAs a huge fan of both sports, I can see the appeal of converting an existing pool table into a snooker table. 

Let’s be honest here, good pool tables are not cheap and require a lot of space. Even the smaller pool tables need a huge amount of space to be comfortable while playing. 

Snooker tables are the behemoths of the sport, these giant gentlemanly tables require a lot of room and for sure don’t come cheap.

So is it possible to convert a pool table into a snooker table? kill two birds with one stone so to speak. 

Of course, you can start playing snooker on a pool table if you want. You will need some balls and some table markings, but will playing snooker on a pool table be practical? Can you get the same playing experience as you do when playing on a snooker table?

Realistically, can you play snooker on a pool table?  As you can imagine the answer is a little more complicated than a black or white; yes or no answer. A simplified answer is, yes, it is possible to play snooker on a pool table. 

There are things a few things to consider if you want to start playing snooker on a pool table.

Can you play snooker on a pool table? Yes! 

But from my own experience, I will share  4 main points to consider if it’s worth converting your table for playing snooker on.  Will you get the same experience and will it be worth it.

4 things to know before converting your pool table into a snooker table.

Before you start drawing lines on your pool table, there are a few things to consider when deciding if you can play snooker on your pool table.

A few years ago I decided to do the same, as a lover of snooker and an avid player I wanted to try and convert my 8 ft’er into a snooker table.

As someone who has played both games on their intended tables, I can offer some insight on their playability and practicality and how they differ.

I’ll give you my opinion below and 4 things to understand before you convert your table into a snooker table.   

If you want to check out the differences between pool and snooker then I created an in-depth article covering everything.

     1. How snooker and pool compare against each other

Consider how the two games are played and how they are different. 

Pool is a very attacking game, straight from the break the balls are smashed open and the fun starts. It’s fast, quick and aggressive.

This is contrary to snooker, which is a more methodical, tactical and slower game. A snooker break is more of an art form than pure power. How to break in snooker requires hours of practice to perfect, is completely tactical and positional.

Snooker is a phycological game made up of different elements, such as the size of the table. Remove these elements and psychologically you have a slightly different game.

     2. The different sizes of table

One of the psychological elements, as mentioned above, is the size of the tables they are played on. 

A standard billiard table size for snooker and pool differ hugely. 

In fact, the standard pool table size for pool differ hugely, with common sizes being 7, 8 and 9 ft tables.

Snooker is almost entirely played on a 12 ft table making it much bigger than a pool table.

The difference between a 7 ft pool table and a 12 ft snooker table is an impressive 47.5 ft² area.

That makes the playing surface area of a 12 ft snooker table almost three times bigger than the playing surface of a 7 ft pool table

Size difference between a pool table and a snooker table

Table Sizeplaying surface in ft²Size difference
7 ft24.50 ft²47.5 ft²
8 ft32 ft²40 ft²
9 ft40.50 ft²31.5 ft²
12 ft Snooker72 ft²

Its this difference in size that makes the two games completely different. 

The size of pool tables allows the game to be much faster whereas the size of a snooker table will require more tactile play such as snookering your opponent to gain an advantage.  

Making the snooker table smaller will remove this tactical element somewhat.

     3. Size of the balls and pockets

Snooker tables have smaller balls and smaller pockets, making it more difficult to make a successful pot. 

Pool tables have later pockets to accommodate larger balls, usually making it easier to pot.

This also aids in the style of play both games produce. The type of game that has a bigger target at a shorter range will produce faster games than games played with smaller targets and longer distances.

Playing snooker on a pool table with pool table pockets and balls will completely change this dynamic of the game. 

SportBall sizePocket size (corners)
English pool2 Inch3.62 Inches
American pool2.25 Inches4.6 inches
Snooker2.06 Inches3.4 Inches

     4. Amount of balls needed

Another thing to consider about, can you play snooker on a pool table or not, is the number of balls you’ll need.

A snooker table uses 22 balls in total, compare that to 8 ball which uses 16 balls in total. 

That’s a lot of extra balls on a smaller table, as you can imagine, things will get crowded pretty fast. 

When I converted my 8 ft table into a snooker table I used 10 red balls instead of the standard 15 red balls. 15 reds, as well as all the colors on an 8 ft converted pool table, just felt cluttered. 10 red balls worked much better.

As you can see from the table above, standard snooker balls are smaller than standard pool balls so using 22 snooker balls sized 2” ¼ would be too crowded for a smaller table.

Either get smaller balls or use fewer reds – As I said I used 10 red balls instead of 15

Know which sized snooker balls you will need

The balls I went with are the  –  Aramith 2” 1/4  inch snooker balls on amazon, They are the standard size for pool balls so they were the perfect size for the cushions on my table. 

The quality of the Aramith balls is first class but more expensive as all Aramith balls are. If you are looking for a cheaper set of snooker balls then I also recommend the Empire UAS 2 ⅛ inch snooker balls, check out their price on amazon and see what you think.

If you want to convert an English pool table then consider getting smaller balls as the pockets are smaller and so is the hight of the cushions, these Aramith 2” snooker balls should work nicely

All these factors combined need to be considered, but it’s perfectly plausible to play snooker on a pool table, you just need to make some adjustments.  You won’t get the authentic snooker feel but it has its own merits and will help you a lot with positional play.

 

Can you play snooker on a pool table with balls that are too big or too small? 

You might struggle with this one as American pool tables tend to have higher cushion noses and bigger pockets that might not give the same rebound feedback if you choose the smaller 2-inch snooker balls. 

The same is true with getting bigger sized balls for an English pool table

Try to get snooker balls that suit the dimensions of your table

So, let me answer; can you play snooker on a pool table?

You definitely can, I have done it. The major thing to consider is the size of the balls. The game takes attributes from both snooker and pool. It will be a more aggressive style of snooker with some tactical and positional elements mixed in. Although not strictly snooker or even pool, the game it produces is a lot of fun and it will help improve your positional play.

Although it manages to merge playstyles from both, there are elements of both games that are lost.

Snooker is a truly tactical and positional masterpiece that is complemented by the size of the table. 

That same fineness required for taking long pots on with incredible accuracy is not as relevant on a pool table.

To get the most comparable playing experience you really need to use a 9 ft or even a 10 ft table.

How to play snooker on a pool table

You can easily play snooker on a pool table, if set up correctly. Let me explain very simply how to play snooker on a pool table.

The basic rules are:

Snooker is a turn-based game that is won by collecting points from potting balls.

    • If you miss a shot it’s your opponent’s turn.
    • You always start your turn by hitting a red ball. 
    • A red is always pot first, then any color, then a red… and so on.
    • Once you pot a color (not a red), you replace it back in its starting spot on the table.
    • You continue this run of red and colors until there are no more reds on the table.
    • Then pot all the colors in numerical point value starting with the lowest. 
    • Whoever has collected the most points wins the game.

Basic rules on Fouls

    • If you foul in snooker its 4 points to your opponent
    • If you foul by hitting a color, the value of that color is awarded in points to your opponent – unless the value is less than 4, in which case just 4 points are awarded
    • If you pot the white ball then that’s a foul and your opponent. White is placed in the D

Now you know the very basics of how to play snooker on a pool table, you can start enjoying games of snooker

Learn More…

Some snooker related articles that I feel might be useful for you are:
> What is a century in snooker
> How to break like a pro in snooker
> Snooker ball potting order

Converting a pool table into a snooker table

Above I discussed some of the differences with playing snooker on a pool table. 

Yes, it’s more than possible to play on a pool table, but you need to make some adjustments to make the whole thing possible.

If you feel satisfied that converting your pool table into a snooker table then lets jump straight to it

What you will need to convert your table and play snooker on it:

You may be interesting in:

If you are looking for snooker balls then i recommend these;  check out their prices on Amazon:

Aramith 2″ 1/4 snooker balls HERE

Aramith 2″ snooker balls HERE

Empire 2″ 1/8 snooker balls HERE

If you are looking for the things to convert a pool table into a snooker table then check out some of these on Amazon:

Marker pen HERE

Black dots HERE

If you want to know a little more about the anatomy of a snooker table and how to set one up as well as the points for the colors then check the link out. It would be a very useful article for your little project ahead. 

It will give you some measurement of where to place the sports for the colors and where the baulk line should be.

 

What you’ll need to do.

 

1, Mark baulk line: Using a marker pen, draw the baulk line.On a full sized snooker table the is 31inches from the baulk cushion.  Thats approxomatly ⅓ the distance from the baulk cushion to the middle pockets

2, Create the D: Best to use a popsicle stick or something similar, have one end in the center of the baulk line and carefully rotate the popsicle stick to create the circumference of the D

3, Color spots: Either using your marker pen or a sticky dot map out where all the colors should be placed. 

The brown is in the middle of the baulk line.

The green and yellow are at each end of the D

The blue is in the middle of the table, inline with the two center pockets.

The pin and black need to be far enough apart the the reds can be racked between them. Depending on the size of your table and balls used you may use the full 15 balls or opt to use only 10 red balls.

4, Set the table up: Everything should be in place for you to start enjoying your game. Make sure to place all the balls in their correct starting position and you are good to go.

5, Enjoy: Enjoy playing snooker on a pool table, It’s really a lot of fun!

Congrats, you have successfully converted your pool table into a snooker table.

Final thoughts

Can you play snooker on a pool table? Yes, you can, and if you are able to I think you should give it a try. Its a lot of fun and will help you improve your positional play also. 

Although it loses some of the elements that make snooker, snooker. It also adds some unique and exciting elements to the game too. 

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