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Is Billiards a Sport? – A Comprehensive Guide to the Debate

Everyone loves to play billiards whenever there is a get-together in a bar or a holiday spot, and you might have noticed your friends asking you to join, saying, “Hey, come, let’s play billiards.” But ever wondered,“is billiards a sport or a game?” Well, to learn more about this, let’s go for a flashback. The word billiard is found to have derived from the French word  ‘billart’ or ‘billette,’ meaning ‘stick.’ In the earlier 1620s, billiards was played with a port, a king, pin, and maces. Maces in ancient times symbolize the stick today.

Cue sports, otherwise known as ‘billiard sports,’ can be played with a stick. It refers to different games like carrom billiards, pool games, snooker, English billiards, and Russian pyramid. These indoor games were mimicked from the outdoor stick, and ball lawn games played in the olden times. The concept of billiards varies according to the dialect of various Countries. For example, British and Australian English refers to the ‘English Billiards’ that solely means the original Billiards sports. On the other hand, it is referred to as a game or a group of different games in American or Canadian English.

is billiards a sport

Why is Billiards given recognition in the sports criteria?

Is billiards considered a sport? A sport is defined as an activity that involves physical exertion and mental skills, where individuals compete either individually or as part of a team for entertainment or the spirit of competition. Billiards falls into both of these categories. For instance, “English Billiards” is played in the “World Billiards Championship,” a tournament dedicated to cue sports. Additionally, English billiards can be enjoyed as a recreational sport during leisure time. While billiards may not result in physical exertion that causes sweating, it undeniably contributes to improving physical and mental health, hand-eye coordination, and focus. Furthermore, the ability to execute spontaneous and brilliant moves is a skill possessed by athletes, which solidifies billiards’ status as a genuine sport.

Major subdivisions of English Billiards/ cue sports

To Answer, is billiards a sport? Here is how cue sports are further divided into games that we often play but are barely recognized as games/ sports.

is billiards a sport
  • Carrom Billiards:- Those games played on a table without pockets, including straight rail, balkline, three-cushion billiards,  one-cushion carom, four-ball and  artistic billiards,.
  • Pool games:- Played on a six-pocket table, and includes the most popular among billiard players, the 8-ball, 9-ball, 10-ball, straight pool, one-pocket, bank pool, and many more.
  • Snooker, English Billiard, and Russian pyramid:- Played on a billiards table often referred to as a ‘snooker table’ with 6 pockets. However, these games entirely differ from pool games, where they vary in their protocols and playing strategies.


1. What is the typical length of a carrom billiard table?

The carrom billiards table is typically 10 feet in length.

2. How do billiard balls vary in different games?

Billiard balls vary in different games by their size, design, and quantity.

3. How many balls are there in a Russian pyramid game?

Russian pyramid games are usually played with 16 balls in total.

4. Does the shape of the rack differ according to the games chosen?

Yes, the shape of the rack, although it typically comes in a triangle, can change as per the games chosen.

5. What is the main benefit of using chalk in cuesports?

Chalk is applied to the tip of the cue stick, usually before every shot, to enhance the friction coefficient on the tip so that the cue ball will not slide over the object leading to a ‘miscue.’