Pool. Also known as pocket billiards or pool billiards. A hugely popular game in America. Elsewhere on the planet, however, it’s seen as the very poor cousin of snooker, a sport hugely popular across Europe, Asia and Oceania. Pool is, obviously, nowhere near as good or as popular. But consider this. There are 23 snooker tournaments around the planet each year, with the World Championships earning the winner a cool £300,000. But the highest prize money in pool is roughly the same. So there must be something to that game, right? I mean, it’s not at all like the Americans to give out ridiculously large amounts of cash for no apparent reason. Oh, wait…
Snooker was invented in England in 1875, whereas pool was invented in America around 1900. In snooker, you have to pot a red, then a colour, then repeat until all the reds are gone, then pot all the coloured balls in the correct order. Each red is worth one point and the points for the coloured balls go up in sequence. The winner of the frame is the one with the most points. Each match consists of a certain number of frames. One more than half must be acquired to win. Unlike pool, it’s not just ‘some game’ – it’s a sport. The players are athletes. Snooker is a very refined and dignified sport. It’s played in clubs with a glass of sherry whilst gentlemen wax lyrical about the disaster that is the modern world.
‘Pool’, on the other hand, is very American. The tables are considerably smaller, as are the cues, and the rules much simpler. Pot the balls in the holes with a stick. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to play the game. You know what I think of when I think of pool? Shouty, checked shirt wearing, beer drinking, raw meat eating, overweight, rednecks. Well, I think that’s sweet. Different cultures, different attitudes. Snooker, after all, was invented by a man named Sir Neville Francis Fitzgerald. How much do you want to bet pool was invented by an American named Cletus Billy Bob Austin?
I’m clearly not the biggest fan of pool, but I know that is changing. Snooker clubs, across Britain at least, are dying out and shutting down because of a lack of business. My local snooker club, in the month before they ditched snooker, earned ten pounds from snooker. Ten! Thank heavens they had pool tables. It’s not that popular among the younger generations anymore. ‘Power snooker’ was even invented, a lot like pool but a damn sight more exciting and much simpler to play than snooker. And faster. Heck, the longest snooker match in history went on for 145 frames over two weeks…
But I do like pool, despite the gentle mocking. It might be very American, but I like the wild abandon Americans display with sport and games, throwing themselves into each one with admirable gusto and energetic temperament. Pool quickly rocketed in popularity around the world after its creation and it has remained at that peak ever since.
But, that said, I don’t think snooker has had its day. The tournaments are attended by thousands of people and are broadcast around the world to hundreds of millions of people. Gee, the last World Championships had a total prize fund of nearly one million, four hundred thousand pounds. So, yeah. Take that pool…
So, what are my thoughts on pool? It’s good. It’s a fun game and one that offers a real alternative to other cue sports. Although, that said, it will never hold a candle to my beloved snooker…
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the ‘Archives’ page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:
The Indelible Life of Me
New Post Every Saturday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post
Hark Around the Words
New Posts Every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post