Tracing the Origins of Snooker: American or British?

Tracing the Origins of Snooker: American or British?


Snooker is a widely popular cue sport enjoyed by millions of fans and players worldwide. But where did this intricate game of skill and strategy originate? Was it conceived in the United States or the United Kingdom? In this post, we'll delve into the history of snooker and uncover its fascinating roots.

The British Birthplace of Snooker

Contrary to some popular beliefs, snooker is not an American invention. The game was, in fact, born in the British Empire during the late 19th century. Snooker traces its origins back to the British Army officers stationed in India, who sought to create a new pastime by combining elements of two other cue sports: billiards and pyramid pool.

Sir Neville Chamberlain: The Father of Snooker

Sir Neville Chamberlain, a British Army officer, is credited with inventing snooker in 1875. While stationed in Jabalpur, India, Chamberlain added colored balls to the existing game of pyramid pool, giving birth to the early version of snooker we know today. The name snooker is said to have originated from a slang term used by the officers to describe inexperienced or first-year cadets, who often struggled to navigate the new game.

Snooker's Journey to the United Kingdom and Beyond

Upon returning to England, British officers brought the game of snooker with them, and its popularity quickly spread across the nation. By the early 20th century, snooker had become an established sport in the United Kingdom, with the first World Snooker Championship taking place in 1927. Over the years, snooker continued to gain popularity both within the UK and internationally, eventually becoming the global phenomenon we know today.

The American Connection: Snooker's Cousin, Pool

While snooker itself is not an American invention, it is closely related to pool, which has its roots in the United States. Pool, also known as pocket billiards, shares many similarities with snooker in terms of gameplay, equipment, and strategy. The two games have influenced each other over time, with many players and fans enjoying both sports for their unique challenges and skill sets.


Snooker, with its rich and fascinating history, is a distinctly British invention that has captivated players and fans worldwide. Although snooker shares some similarities with its American cousin, pool, the two games have developed independently and offer their own unique experiences. As snooker continues to grow and evolve, it remains a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of its British inventors, as well as the passion of its players and fans across the globe.