What Are The Origins Of Pool, Billiards, And Snooker?

What Are The Origins Of Pool, Billiards, And Snooker?

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Do you remember seeing billiards tables adorning the corners of upscale restaurants? Or people flocking over a pool table in a neighbourhood gaming plaza? You get the cue here; all of us have been familiar with cue sports growing up! But what are cue sports exactly? And how do we tell them apart?

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What are Cue Sports?

Cue Sports are games of skill played with a cue stick played on a specific table known as a Billiards table. There is a long and rich history of these games which have resulted in the game being as well-known as it is today.

In this article, we are covering all three popular forms of cue sports namely, Pool, Billiards, and Snooker.

1. Origin of Pool

Formally known as Pocket Billiards, this cue game was invented and first played in the early 1340s. When asked who invented the game of pool, the answer is said to be King Louis XI of France, since he owned the first known indoor billiards table and popularized the game.  

The history of Pool is said to be ‘rich' as it was mainly enjoyed by the French nobles and the English gentry. It first began as a lawn game similar to croquet and eventually, due to the evolution of technology, pool has grown to what it is today. Today, there is a multitude of pool games ranging from 9 ball to 3 ball, speed pool, and even bank pool. All of these games have different objectives but are played using the same table, cue stick, and balls.

Before the late 1600s, the cue ball in the pool was not struck upon with the cue sticks but shoved with wooden sticks known as maces. Eventually, cue sticks were introduced because it was difficult to strike the balls on the edges with the maces and their large heads.

During the 19th century, there were American Poolrooms which were betting parlors for horse racing, and eventually, pool tables were installed for the pastime of patrons. However, what started as a pastime for people is now nationally and internationally recognized, played, and beloved by the people of the world.

2. The History of Billiards

Carom Billiards, also known simply as Carambole, is a game that belongs to the family of billiards. Quite similar to pool, the game also has a table and is played by striking balls using a cue stick. What makes the game different from pool then? The reason why this game is different from pool is that a carom billiards table does not have pockets, unlike pool tables.

The objective of the game is to bounce one’s own ball off the other two balls on the table. Questions like where did billiards originate and who invented billiards are quite unclear but Billiards history traces all the way back to 18th-century France and McCreery of St. Louis, Missouri, is said to have popularized the game in the 1870s.

Not as popular in the United States as Pool, Carom Billiards is well known throughout history in Europe and France particularly, where the game is said to be born. The billiards industry has seen many changes, from the advancement of the materials used to create balls and even the maces being changed to cue sticks as discussed above.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, many games were developed under Carom Billiards, well-known games including Straight Rail, Balkline, one cushion, and three cushion.

3. Snooker and its Roots

In the early 1800s, billiards was a game that was really popular among the British army officers stationed in India. Soon enough, a game was derived which was a combination of pyramid pool and black pool. That was the origin of snooker.

When was snooker invented and who invented snooker?

Snooker was invented by lieutenant Neville Francis Fitzgerald Chamberlain in 1885 who helped popularize the game in India and Britain. The game came to be known as snooker because snooker was a word used to describe new recruits and inexperienced officers. The same word was used by Chamberlain to ridicule the performance of a younger officer at the game table, and so the name stuck. Fun trivia, right?

At first, Snooker was a game meant only for the British officers and the gentry. However, due to the growing interest in the game, many small snooker clubs were formed and the popularity of snooker took off from there.

Today, the game is as popular as pool and billiards, played by people in multiple countries worldwide, and the ups and downs which snooker has seen in its lifetime surely add to the rich history of the game.

Conclusion

Cue sports have seen everything from the French Revolution to British Raj in India, they have been highly popular and have also been at the brink of extinction. We hope that this article has provided you with a better understanding and clarity of these games and why, even in today’s modern world, these games are still alive and thriving.

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