Billiards, pool and snooker

Billiards, pool and snooker are played indoors on a pocket table.


The following specifications are standard for equipment used at all World Pool-Billiard Association sanctioned and/or recognised events. These specifications do not apply to tables manufactured for commercial home use. The design of a pool/billiard table must not have any sharp edges or materials that will cause injury or damage to clothes.

Pool is played on a pocket billiard table with one white cue ball and 15 numbered object balls. It can be played by two individuals, pairs or teams. Points are scored for pocketing designated balls in designated pockets. The first player or side to reach an agreed number of points wins the game.

The table

A ‘9 foot’ pool table has a playing surface of 2.54m long and 1.27m wide and an ‘8 foot’ pool table is 2.34m long and 1.17m wide. The length of a pool table is always twice the width.

Billiard, snooker and pool tables are covered in a fabric with a minimum of 85 per cent combined worsted wool and no more than 15 per cent nylon. Yellow-green, blue-green and electric blue are acceptable for competition.

There are six pockets in snooker and pool tables — two at the top end called the ‘top’ pockets, one each at the middle of the longer sides called ‘centre’ pockets and two at the bottom end called ‘bottom’ pockets.

Space about table

Recommended minimum space about the table is 2.5m (absolute minimum is 1.6m).


Cue sticks used at competitions must be a minimum length of 1.016m and a maximum weight of 708.75g. The tip must be no wider than 14mm.


A set of pool balls consists of one white cue ball and 15 colour-coded numbered balls. The balls numbered 1 through 8 have solid colours and the balls numbered 9 through 15 are white with a centre band of colour. The balls are 52.5mm in diameter and are coloured and numbered as follows:

  • yellow — 1 and 9
  • blue — 2 and 10
  • red — 3 and 11
  • purple — 4 and 12
  • orange — 5 and 13
  • green — 6 and 14
  • maroon — 7 and 15
  • black — 8


The lights over a pool, snooker or billiard table must be at least 520 lux and the minimum height of the fixture is no lower than 1.016m above the bed of the table. The lights must be placed around the table so that any lighting is not directed at the players.


Snooker is played on an English billiards table using 15 red, 6 coloured and one white cue ball. Points are scored by pocketing balls and forcing an opponent to give away points through ‘snookers’. It may be played by two persons, pairs or a team.

The table

The playing area of a snooker table is 3.57m x 1.778m. Height of the table from the floor to top of the cushion is 88.1cm to 87.6cm. There is a tolerance of +/-13mm for both dimensions. There are six pockets, the same as a pool table.


Cue must be at least 91.4cm in length.


English billiards is the most popular form of billiards in Australia. The table is the same as snooker. Carom is another form of billiards and is played on a cloth-covered table, usually 1.5m x 3m or 1.4m x 2.7m. It has no pockets and often features heated slate. At its simplest form, the object of most carom games is to score points or ‘counts’ by caroming off both the opponent’s cue ball and the object ball on a single shot.

There are many carom billiards disciplines. Some of the more common games are straight rail, cushion caroms, balkline, three-cushion billiards and artistic billiards.

Billiards is played by two players or pairs. The three standard balls in most carom billiards games consist of a white cue ball, a second cue ball with typically a red or black dot on it (to aid in differentiation between the two cue balls) and a third red ball. In some sets of balls, the second cue ball is solid yellow. 

Sport association details

Billiards and Snooker Association of WA Inc.

Adam Wyard
Executive Director
PO Box 223, North Perth WA 6906
Telephone 0412 387 469

West Australian Eight Ball Federation Inc

Terry Green
PO Box 3064, Bassendean DC WA 6942
Telephone 0419 777 510


The information in this guide is general in nature and cannot be relied upon as professional advice concerning the design of, or marking out for, sporting facilities and playing areas. No assurance is given as to the accuracy of any information contained in this guide and readers should not rely on its accuracy. Readers should obtain their own independent and professional advice in relation to their proposed sporting activity.

Page reviewed 17 March 2021