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Are Pool Players Athletes?

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Have you ever been playing pool, and wondered about the professional pool players if they made money? Are you in an argument about if pool players are athletes and you need to know the answer now? Well in this article we will go over everything you need to know about pool players. 

So are pool players athletes?

Although you would hope for a direct yes or no to this question, it all depends upon what you consider an athlete. If you say that an athlete is when someone plays a physical sport, then a pool player would not be considered one. If you said that an athlete is someone that invests energy physically and mentally and has to obtain a certain skill to play, then yes they would be. Because most people consider an athlete to be someone who uses physical strength or stamina, then pool players are not considered athletes by most people. 

If you want to know more about pool players and professional athletes, you will want to keep reading. Then you will then be able to make your own decision on if pool players are athletes or not. 

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What makes someone an athlete?

If you are choosing a sport or game from a professional point of view and are investing your physical energy, mental energy, skill level, and are devoting your actual and genuine concern for it, then you will be known as an athlete of that sport.

On the other hand, if you simply play the sport for fun, and not a choice as your profession or career, and you are not making it as a source of your income, then you will be known as just a player of that game, and not an athlete.

If we apply this approach to Pool or other billiard games, then just playing Pool or snooker in a bar at a regular weekend will not make you an athlete. However, if you are applying your physical ability to Pool, learning it at a professional level, and want to make it a career, you could then call yourself an athlete.

There is a lot of doubt about the theory mentioned above. Since Pool and other games are not a part of the Olympics, people say that it is not a sport, and pool players are not athletes.

Another problem is that people have developed a concept that only those sports players are regarded as athletes who invest a lot in physical activity. When it comes to an athlete, they think of sports like baseball, football, etc. However, this is not the case.

Although less physical activity is used in Pool and other cue games, it is regarded as a sport and its players as athletes if they are taking it as a professional game and not a fun activity.

If you get to know about the lifestyle of a professional football player, then you will get to see that they have to stick to a lot of things that other highly physical athletes do. They have to follow a strict diet plan,  be involved in a lot of practice, and so on. They take their game very seriously and don’t just pass it or get over the loss quickly. 

Since almost all billiard games are so common, they can be enjoyed by everyone. Because of the massive availability of this game in pubs, bars, and pool halls, they can be played by everyone. And since everyone is not an athlete, not every pool player is considered an athlete.

Is pool a game or a sport?

To know if pool players are athletes, we first need to find whether pool is just a game or is it a sport. Many people argue between the two.

From a technical point of view, professional sports players are considered athletes. An athlete is the one who competes in a competition by proving a skill. His entire style and score are judged upon his skill level. On the other hand, the people who play sports for fun are not considered athletes. If they are playing a professional game that athletes play just for having fun and not at a professional level, they are not considered as athletes.

Since pool games originated from the pub or club-like environment, in the past, there was a lot more happening in the game other than playing Pool. Players used to smoke and drink alcohol in between shots as this game was so slow and was played very often.

Players used to enjoy, laugh, comment, and joke during the game while having puffs of cigars. It was, therefore, never taken as a sport. But, with time, serious considerations were made. Other distracting activities were removed, and a professional way of playing was developed. From that point, this game turned into a sport and its players into professional athletes. 

Today, severe penalties and fines are given to the players who engage in a wrong conversation or taunt other competitive players during the game. This has turned this game into a qualified sport. 

Differentiation between a game and a sport in this aspect is essential. A game, as its name suggests, is just a fun activity. It can be just a computer game, board game, or just a series of actions and tasks designed to cheer yourself or others up. Although it has some level of competition, it is not extreme.

Is there skill involved in playing pool?

There is a lot of skill involved in Pool. It is not just hitting the ball with the cue stick. First of all, a keen focus is needed by the player. A complete strategy needs to be developed before the game. The weak points of the opposition are determined and targeted as well. 

Other than that, there are many methods of hitting the ball, the speed with which the ball is hit, and which ball to hit. From an outer angle, it only seems that the player is just hitting, but a lot is going on internally. 

Contrary to this, a game that has some fixed rules and regulations and has an official board or higher management who conduct contracts, monitor events, and conduct sporting activities is regarded as a sport. 

From this definition, snooker, Pool, and other billiard games are regarded as a sport, and its players will be called athletes. For Example, Japan and England have considered it as a professional sport and its players as athletes by developing separate governing bodies for billiard games.

People who still have the past perception of this game consider its players as just time passers and fun lovers. Although serious followers believe these players as professionals and give them the same value as other sporty athletes get.


Now that you know all about pool players and if pool is considered a sport, you can decide if you believe pool players are athletes. It really all does come down to what your definition of an athlete is and what your definition of a sport is. If you believe like so many others that pool is a sport based upon the rules and regulations of the game, then you understand how the professional players of the game are considered athletes. 

Regular people playing pool for fun are not considered athletes though just like those throwing a football or playing a game in the backyard are not called athletes. 

No matter if you consider them athletes or not, you have to admit that the people who play pool professionally give of their time, and effort and hard work in order to keep up with the rules and to be consistent with their shots.