Is Pool Easy To Play? Is It Hard?

For the recreational or weekend player, there are several indoor games that can be taken up as a leisure activity. Some of them, such as table tennis or badminton, require a good amount of fitness and stamina, while others that are not so demanding have universal appeal. One of latter is pool.

Pool is easy to play and is not considered a hard activity. It offers fun, leisurely participation for everyone regardless of skill level, fitness, or age. Beginners can often play with little instruction. Of course, practice makes perfect and attaining a higher level of skill will take some time.

Although pool is relatively easy for beginners to learn, players who aspire to achieve a higher standard of play will find that mastering the intricacies of the game is not as easy. For beginners or those seeking to improve their skills, read below as we discuss what you need to know to learn.

Is Pool Easy Or Hard To Play?

Pool is relatively easy to play, however, the difficulty depends on two major factors. These two influencing elements are the pocket size and the table size. The pocket size impacts how easy it is to pocket a ball. The table size affects difficulty as the accuracy of shots depends on distance.

The Pocket Size

The biggest factor that impacts the ease or difficulty of pocketing balls, referred to as potting, is the ratio of the ball size to the pocket size. In pool, this ratio is approximately 2.0. The size of a standard pool ball is 2.25 inches or 57 millimeters whereas the corner pocket size is 4.5 inches, and the center pocket size is 5 inches.

Although the center pockets are slightly larger than the corner pockets by half an inch, they are much less forgiving of an inaccurate shot. As a result of this, many players prefer to pot into the corner pockets most of the time and use the center pockets only when necessary. As in many other games, there are no hard and fast rules, so each game must be played according to what it demands.

The Table Size

Pool tables come in many sizes, but the most common size is 4 feet by 8 feet or 3.5 feet by 7 feet. Children’s pool tables can be purchased in smaller sizes such as 6 feet by 3 feet with a lower height. Novelty tables are also available in nonstandard sizes. The pocket and ball size are smaller as balls have a 1.87-inch diameter with a correspondingly smaller pocket.

As the table becomes smaller the game becomes easier, because accuracy is dependent on distance. Every beginner realizes that the easiest shots to make are those where there is little distance between the cue ball to the object ball. The reason for this is that a tiny error of 2 millimeters in aiming gets magnified with distance.

How Hard Is It To Learn Pool?

How hard it is to learn pool depends on the skill level that you seek to achieve. It is not hard to learn the basics of pool, however, as you aspire to attain a higher skill level, it will be harder to learn. Learning more intricate and accurate skills takes time and a lot of practice.

The most critical parts of technique for pool are the stance and bridge. Both can be learned very fast but there is a limit to how far this can take the player. Playing at a high level consistently requires considerable mastery over technique in addition to knowledge of angles, which includes a lot of experience.

There are no shortcuts to the mastery of any worthy goal, pool is no exception. Most games, including pool, have two major aspects: skill and strategy. The skill aspect is a never-ending story as each tournament brings better players and tougher competition. Strategy is a byproduct of experience and learning that can take years to master.

For the weekend player who does not aspire to become a champion but only improve, there are many instructional books and videos available. Personalized coaching is not worth it at the beginner level. The main components of basic technique can be mastered with practice including the right guidance from a book or video.

As you would in any other sport, you shouldn’t expect too much improvement too fast. It is also better to concentrate on one technique at a time. Pool is an activity that can provide years of pleasure and fun at any standard of play so take your time when seeking to improve your skill.

Which Is Harder: Pool Or Snooker?

Between pool and snooker, snooker is much harder. Many assume that the games are similar, but the two games are incredibly different. Attaining a standard skill level in snooker could take years, even with plenty of dedicated practice. Snooker is very competitive, whereas pool is more leisurely.

Snooker requires an extreme level of technique, plus a lot of hard work to learn defensive play, shot selection, and ball control. There are many skilled players who were never able to master strategy, with others unable to master another area. The complete snooker player is one who has mastered all the areas of expertise: technique, defensive play, ball control, shot selection, and strategy.

Generally, snooker players are very competitive with the ambition to leave their mark on the game. For every snooker player who makes it to the professional ranks, there are hundreds of excellent players who are lacking in one of the areas outlined above and could not make the grade. In contrast, most pool players view their game as a form of entertainment.

A Fast Comparison Of Pool Tables To Snooker Tables: Why It Matters

A standard snooker table is 12 feet by 6 feet. Children’s tables are available in smaller sizes with smaller balls and pockets. The standard snooker ball is 2.07 inches or 52 millimeters whereas the pocket size is 3.35 inches. The ball size to pocket size ratio is 1.618, though the ratio in pool is 2. The 12 feet by 6 feet snooker table compared to an 8 feet by 4 feet pool table is 50% bigger.

Every snooker novice finds out the hard way that the longer the distance, the more difficult the shot. The small tables combined with bigger pockets make pool the easier game to achieve a basic level of proficiency, whereas the bigger snooker tables and smaller pockets demand a very high level of accuracy to be successful.

Pool Players vs Snooker Players: Who Wins?

Between pool players and snooker players, snooker players would win hands-down. The level of skill, precision, and accuracy that snooker players possess cannot be matched by a pool player. Pool simply does not require the high level of skill that snooker does.

The extreme levels of accuracy and precision that snooker requires is something that pool players never needed, and therefore never developed. In the nineties when American pool tournaments featuring prize money became very popular, several high-ranked snooker professionals would participate.

Some of the big names that tried their hand at prize money pool tournaments were Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Ken Doherty, and many others. All were eliminated in the last 16. The last 16 is also known as the pre-quarterfinals. The next generation of snooker players who thought they could make their mark on pool were Ronnie O’ Sullivan, Mark Selby, and Judd Trump. They were met with the same fate.

The only two snooker players who won a few trophies at pool were Tony Drago and Alison Fisher. Most of the prize money pool tournaments attracted the best players in the world so it was no mean feat to reach the last 16. Many pundits consider the last 16 players to be almost the same in skill with very little to differentiate one from the other except their luck of the day.

As pool does not develop most of the skills essential to snooker, pool players cannot reach the level needed to compete in snooker tournaments. There has never been a pool player who was able to reach the professional ranks of snooker or reach the last 16 of a snooker tournament, which testifies to the difficulty levels between the two games.

Final Thoughts

Pool is easy to play and learn at a basic level but will require some practice and considerable effort to achieve higher skill levels. It is not hard to play making it a fun activity for players of all capabilities. For many players it is an entertaining activity that you can casually improve in.