Pool matches at all levels are streamed — most of it for free on sites like YouTube. There are also specialty streaming services, general services, and occasional live TV matches. Read on to learn what you need to know.
In a hurry? If you want to add pool to your sports diet rather than focusing only on pool, your choices will depend upon where you are. DAZN offers a lot of pool coverage for fans in the United States and Canada. Sky Sports shows a lot of pool in the United Kingdom, which you can stream through NOW.
If you have spent time in a bar, pool hall, employee lounge, or your friend’s finished basement, you have probably played at least one round of pool. Whether you play pool for fun or for money, it can be an exciting activity that can easily keep you entertained for several hours.
Furthermore, you can watch pool for free from a variety of streaming services. High quality streams tend to be limited to larger events. But even the smaller events are presented such that they are enjoyable. This all means that you can follow your favorite pros without the need for a cable subscription.
It’s believed that pool is derived from games that were played in England during the late 1700s. However, the games that we typically think of as pool were first played in the late 1800s and have evolved over the past 200 years.
Over the course of the 20th century, the pyramid style of pool became a popular alternative to billiards. Pyramid pool is more of an offshoot of snooker, Russian billiards, and similar games played in Europe before making their way to the United States.
Today, there are pool players all over the world. Despite (or maybe because of) the popularity snooker in the UK, pool is extremely popular there as well.
Types of Pool
Pool is similar to snooker and Russian billiards in that it is played on a table with balls that are hit indirectly via a cue ball with a stick (pool cue). The goal is to put the balls into the pockets. The games differ in that pool tables are smaller with larger pockets. There are also many game-specific differences.
Despite its name, eight-ball is played with 15 colored balls arranged in a triangle (or pyramid). The balls numbered 1 through 7 are solid colored. The balls 9 through 15 are striped. The eight-ball itself is traditionally black.
The goal is to hit all of the solid or striped balls into the pocket before your opponent and then to sink the eight-ball. The exact rules of how the game is played vary.
For example, in some contests, the first person to sink a ball gets to choose either solid or striped balls. In others, the player must take whichever ball set is represented by the ball they sank.
Other Pool Games
Nine-ball is played with 9 balls, which are arranged in the shape of a diamond. You must pocket each ball in numerical order starting with one and ending with nine.
In ten-ball, you use 10 balls arranged in a triangle as in eight-ball. The player must call each shot, and you must strike the ball with the lowest number remaining on the table for a shot to be considered legal. This does not, however, mean that the lowest ball must be pocketed. The combination shot (carom) is common in ten-ball.
The majority of American pool tournaments are organized by the Billiard Congress of America (BCA). A few of the more prestigious tournaments includes the US Open Nine-Ball Championship, Mosconi Cup, US Open Straight Pool Championship, and US Open 10-Ball Championship. In most cases, these tournaments are operated by CueSports International (CSI).
There are also many tournaments from amateur pool leagues via the American Poolplayers Association (APA). These include APA Poolplayer Championships and APA World Pool Championships.
However, there are many major tournaments that take place outside of the United States that may be of interest to pool fans. Perhaps the most anticipated event each year is the World Cup of Pool. This tournament features teams of two playing nine-ball in a single-elimination format. Typically, 32 teams representing players from 31 nations are invited to play each year, and the host nation typically gets to field two teams.
How to Watch Pool
If you want to maximize your pocket billiards viewing, you are probably going to sign up with service that specializes in the game.
The CueSports International (CSI) feed offers live footage of most major tournaments that take place in the United States. This includes the US Open Banks Championship and the Diamond Las Vegas Open. Events normally stream live on Billiard TV and YouTube.
This organization also has a YouTube channel that you can visit to get even more content featuring your favorite stars playing against other elite players.
DAZN offers a significant amount of cue sport content that is presented with high production value. It is one of the best ways for Canadian fans of the sport to find the content that they need at a fair price.
Of course, this service is available to fans in the United States, and it also offers content from a variety of other sports including football, baseball and most mainstream combat sports.
See our DAZN review for more information.
Cue sports are very popular in the United Kingdom and so Sky Sports broadcasts big events in pool and snooker. You can stream Sky Sports with NOW.
CueSports.live isn’t a streaming service but they provide a constantly updated list of pool and snooker events with links to where they are streaming — generally with links to different sources in different countries.
The archived content is normally free while live streams may require a fee or a subscription.
Devices to Live Stream Pool
The major services support most devices. DAZN, NOW, and YouTube support all the following and more:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android mobile
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- LG TVs
- Samsung TVs
- Web browsers
Pool is one of the most popular sports in the United States, and it is also one of the most convenient sports to watch. Whether you want to see live coverage of a BCA event or archived footage of previous American or international tournaments, you can do so with ease.
The best part is that you generally don’t need to partner with your cable provider to find the content that you want, and in some cases, you don’t have to pay anything to view it.
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