A simple guide to billiards
Billiards is the kind of game that is different wherever you go. Countries have different versions, and some countries play more than one, which can make it a little confusing when talking to someone and suggesting playing a game.
Imagine billiards as the overarching umbrella category, and then within that there are three main versions of billiards, and of course within each of these three are even more specific versions.
Carom billiards is the first of the three main versions. Within this category you have games such as artistic billiards (which is a major world cue sport), balkline, four-ball, straight-rail, three-cushion billiards and five-pin billiards.
The biggest difference between carom games and other versions are that it’s played on a pocketless table. This means that the game is played completely differently to those that have pockets. During carom games, you gain points by “caroming” your own cue ball off both your opponent’s cue ball and the object ball on a single shot.
The next category is pocket games, which as you can tell from the name is based on shooting balls into pockets, rather than the aim of carom games. Within this category you have pool, eight-ball (which is another major world cue sport), three-ball, bowlliards and American rotation.
Almost all of these pocket games are played on a table with six pockets, but each version usually differs in how many balls you get.
The last main category for billiards is snooker games, which resemble pocket games far more than anything else. Usually the table is covered in green cloth and it’s played on a slightly larger table than pocket games. Some popular versions of this are snooker, Brazilian snooker, and power snooker. Main snooker is another major world cue sport.
In snooker games far more balls are used than in pocket games and rather than just aiming for balls in pockets there other factors to keep in mind such as the colors of the balls.
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