Fascinating Facts about Pool (Billiards)

Welcome to a world of precision, strategy, and friendly competition: the world of pool. This globally beloved game, with its roots tracing back to the 15th century, has become a staple in pubs, clubs, and recreation rooms across the globe. From its intriguing origins to its modern worldwide appeal, the game of pool holds a treasure trove of fascinating facts. Whether you’re an experienced player, a casual fan, or simply curious about the game, dive in and explore these captivating insights into the world of pool.


  1. Origins: Originating in the 15th century, pool was initially an outdoor lawn game, akin to croquet. It later transitioned indoors, with green cloth tables simulating the outdoor grassy playing field.
  2. Terminology: The name “pool” derived from a type of betting that occurred alongside the game. As bets were “pooled” on game outcomes, the game itself gradually adopted the name “pool”.
  3. Variations: Numerous pool game variations exist, including eight-ball, nine-ball, straight pool, and one-pocket, each with its unique rules and strategies.
  4. Table Dimensions: Standard pool tables maintain a 2:1 ratio in length to width and traditionally feature green woollen cloth cover with six pockets.
  5. Balls and Cues: The game is typically played with 15 numbered, coloured balls and a white cue ball. The pool cues used to hit the balls evolved from “maces” with large heads, similar to golf clubs, to their modern slender design.
  6. Skills Required: Pool involves a combination of strategy, physics, and psychology, demanding steady hands and precise aim. Expert players are adept at predicting ball paths, planning shots, and manipulating spin to change the cue ball’s trajectory.
  7. Global Appeal: Pool is globally recognised as a professional sport, with numerous international tournaments and leagues. Some top players secure considerable prize money and recognition in the sports world.
  8. Cultural Influence: Pool has left its mark on popular culture, featuring in films, books, and TV shows. Movies like “The Hustler” (1961) and “The Color of Money” (1986) spotlight the strategic depth and high-stakes drama intrinsic to the game.
  9. UK vs. US: In the UK, pool tables, balls, and cues are smaller compared to those used in the American version of the game.
  10. Global Players: Countries including France, Spain, and Australia also engage in the UK version of the game.
  11. Popularity in the UK: Over 5.2 million people play pool weekly in the UK, with over 2 million regular players and 3 million casual players.
  12. Supply and Demand: About 62,000 pool tables were supplied by pool table operators to various venues such as pubs, clubs, hotels, etc., with BAPTO members contributing to over 20,000 sites.
  13. BAPTO’s Impact: BAPTO maintained a player database focused on key players like team captains and organisers, allowing efficient and effective communication within the pool-playing community. Through its members and database, BAPTO provided sponsors with an extensive, targeted audience.