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While billiard sports are not the most popular sports in the world, they do still attract quite a following. In many Western countries, there is barely a town or city that doesn’t have somewhere that you can play a spot of billiards. Our experts want to go through the most popular countries for billiards, as well as share a bit of extra information about how billiards got to wear it is today.
So, where is billiards most popular? Well, this is a pretty tricky question to answer. This is because there are dozens of games classified as billiards. However, if we had to say one country, it would be the United Kingdom. Pretty much all of the major billiards tournaments (mostly snooker) pass through the UK. Billiards is also immensely popular in Commonwealth countries such as Australia and India. Some billiards games have popularity in the United States, but a lack of major competitions has limited the scope of the sport.
Let our experts explain this in a little bit more depth. We even want to cover the billiards sports that are most popular in each country. Hopefully, this should give you more of an idea about the spread of billiard sports around the world.
Where Is Billiards Most Popular?
Billiards sports are incredibly popular in the United Kingdom. A lot of this is due to the heavy broadcast of major snooker tournaments for a few decades. Even to this day, every major snooker event will be shown on mainstream channels. The same happens throughout the Commonwealth. If you watch any major snooker tournament, then pretty much every player will be from a Commonwealth nation. This is due to the popularity of the sport there.
The same goes for pool. You can play this pretty much anywhere in the UK, and it is a popular game to play for British people when they head overseas to countries like Spain.
Billiards has hit such a great level of popularity in the UK that many major billiards players have become household names. This includes players like Jimmy White, Ronnie O’Sullivan, and Stephen Hendry.
Billiards in the United States isn’t anywhere near as popular in the UK or various Commonwealth countries. However, 8-Ball Pool has been gaining popularity as of late. The sport is a little bit hindered by the fact that there are various organizing bodies for it. Players often come up with their own rules during casual games too. Unless there is a bit more standardization to 8-Ball Pool in the United States, it is unlikely to become a sport that people tune into by their millions.
Which Billiards Sports Are Most Popular in Each Country?
Let’s stick to the United Kingdom and the United States here, partly because the UK is most popular for billiards, and because our readers are likely from the United States.
In the United Kingdom, it is all about snooker at a competitive level. When you get to more casual play, then it is likely to be pool. There is barely a pub in the UK that doesn’t have a pool table in it. Here, Brits will play blackball pool, which is very similar to 8-ball pool. Most major towns and cities will have a large snooker club which often attracts a lot of patrons.
In the United States, 8-ball pool is the most common billiards sport played, but there are so many rules variations that you could class it as multiple sports.
When Was Billiards Invented?
It is likely that table billiards was invented in France in the 15th Century. It may have happened earlier, but the first record we have of billiards existing as a table sport is due to King Louis XI owning his own billiards table. Back then, it was more a variant of outdoor billiards games, though. It would have been nothing like the billiards that we play today.
Moden day billiards didn’t really begin to evolve until the 19th Century. This is when the cue was invented. After that, the game quickly spread around the world. This was due to heavy pushing of the game as the British passed through the various realms in the British Empire.
When was Eight Ball Pool Invented?
Eight Ball Pool was invented in 1900. Although, the game wasn’t invented from scratch. Instead, it was a natural progression from a game known as Pyramid Pool. While Pyramid Pool is still played in the United States, it hasn’t been played extensively since 1925. The game is now known as basic pool.
Is Eight Ball Pool the Same as Blackball Pool?
For the most part, yes. Eight Ball Pool is mostly played in the United States, while Blackball Pool is played throughout Commonwealth countries. While there are some subtle variances between the rules, the main difference between the games will be the colors of the main balls. Eight Ball Pool will use solids and stripes. Blackball Pool will use red and yellow colors.