How Many Balls Are on a Pool Table?

By Ron Augustine

Depending on the pool game you're playing, there can be a different amount of balls on the pool table. The only thing that stays the same from one game to another is the cue ball, which is the white ball you use to hit the colored balls with.

Eight-Ball

In eight-ball, you should have 16 balls on the pool table: one white ball and 15 colored. At the start of the game, the 15 colored balls should be grouped together into a triangle shape (use the rack to properly organize the balls).

Nine-Ball

A game of nine-ball should have 10 balls on the table: nine colored balls (numbers one through nine) and one white ball. At the start of the game, the nine balls should be grouped together into a diamond shape.

Three-Ball

A game of three-ball should be played with four balls on the table: three colored balls (typically numbers one, two and three) and one white ball. At the start of the game, the three colored balls should be grouped together into a triangle shape.

Snooker

A game of snooker should be played with 22 balls on the table: 15 red balls, one white ball and six balls of other colors (yellow, green, brown, blue, pink, black). At the start of the game, the 15 red balls should be grouped together into a triangle shape on one end of the table. One colored ball should be behind the red balls and another should touch the front tip of the triangle. One colored ball should be set directly in the middle of the table, and the remaining three should be spaced out directly in front of the cue ball on the other end of the table.

Considerations

You can make up your own billiard game that allows for as many balls as you want on the table. Eight-ball, nine-ball, three-ball and snooker are the most commonly played pool games.

References

About the Author

Ron Augustine is a rookie freelance writer and producer who has worked primarily in radio and print media for Chicago Public Radio's Sound Opinions, Relevant Magazine, WMBI Chicago and the Burnside Writers Collective. He graduated Moody College in 2007 with a degree in Communications.

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