The popularity of cue sports temporarily dropped in 2020, because International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) canceled all events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, the video gaming industry was already on the rise, and its growth only skyrocketed during the same period. And, because fans couldn’t watch the pool, billiard, snooker, and other subdivisions of cue sports live, they found solace in virtual environments. Sadly, we weren’t there to suggest game titles, but it’s never too late, right? This list of the best pool games for PC will be valuable to cue sports fans, old and new.
Virtual Pool 4 topped the list of the best PC pool games almost unanimously. It allows you to play 27 different cue games, including 8-ball, 9-ball, 10-ball, pub pool, snooker, and billiards. The game features realistic physics, 5 modes of difficulty, and is best known for its Pro Tour Career mode, which starts you off at Local tour, takes you through Regional and National, and ends with the World tour. We also liked the Hustler career, which features 6 locations and 100+ increasingly difficult opponents. Virtual Pool 4 has a paid single-player version, and a free (with paid upgrades) multiplayer game version, downloaded separately.
2. Pool Nation
Pool Nation is an affordable pool simulation game, that many describe in one word as “shiny”. It features outstanding graphics, beautiful locations, eye-appealing landscapes, and customizable balls, cues, and table decals. The game offers 11 Game Modes, 4 offline and 7 online-only, and even has an Aiming Assist for first-time players. Its best feature is certainly realistic ball and cue physics, based on their tried-and-tested Xbox 360 Physics engine. Although you can play regular games, the focus in Pool Nation is on impossible trick shots, which you can replay in slow motion.
Shooterspool is, weirdly, not on Steam, despite how much praise it has received. It’s one of the multiplayer pool games for PC that has no single-player equivalent, e.g., no solo Career Mode nor the ability to fight AI. However, it offers a wide array of online game modes, including pool, snooker, and carom billiard. More precisely, 8-ball, 9-ball, 10-ball, One Pocket, Straight Rail Billiards, Chinese Pool, Blackball, 1 or 3 Cushion Billiards, Snooker 6-Reds, etc. You can play this billiards simulator for PC with or against players over the Internet in matches (2v2, 3v3, etc.) or full-blown tournaments.
4. Pure Pool
Pure Pool was released in July 2014, but its graphics remain beautiful today. The gameplay is strictly focused on the game of pool and includes 4 game modes (American 8-ball Pool and Killer, for example) and 4 unique challenges, two of which are Royal Rumble and Perfect Potter. Pure Pool has a solo and online mode, both of which allow playing matches or tournaments. However, the multiplayer performance ranks you on the Global Leaderboards. Uniquely, a free add-on, VooFoo DNA, uses Artificial Intelligence to create an interpretation of people you meet. That way, you can challenge “them” even when they’re offline.
Real Pool 3D Poolians is one of the best MMO pool games for PC. On top of the base game, it includes profile pages with avatars, friends lists, chatting, and more. Although you can technically play offline, most people opt for online gameplay. You can play matches or up to 10 different tournaments daily and a custom Team Play Mode, allowing 6 players to play one table simultaneously. Besides realistic gameplay, immersive sound effects, and decent graphics, the game has multiple game modes – 3-ball, 8-ball, 9-ball, 15-ball, 14+1, snooker, Blackjack, and more.
6. 8 Ball Pool
8 Ball Pool is the largest pool multiplayer browser game on the Miniclip website. It’s not only free, but you can play as a guest to avoid creating a Miniclip account and exposing your privacy. What’s more, the game can be embedded on other websites easily, and even downloaded as a standalone executable (from other websites), so you can play it offline. With that said, the entire focus is on the 8-ball game of pool, with 3 modes of difficulty and a very smart AI-based opponent. You can play individual matches or enter tournaments. If played online, you can also earn Pool Coins to buy new cues, pool table cloth, and fine-tune the visuals.
Cue Club 2: Pool & Snooker offers 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10-ball games, as well as Speed Pool and Killer. Rules can be customized, you can select the appearance of ball sets, cues, and tables, and even configure table size to be anywhere between 6 ft and 12 ft. The single-player game portion also features 15 characters, which gradually gett more difficult. As expected, each win awards points on the leaderboard, a trophy, and gets you closer to the Hall of Fame. You can also play LAN mode (1- 4 players) or go the online multiplayer route. Finally, you can switch between 2D and 3D view, and use slow-motion replay.
8. Snooker 19
Snooker 19 is one of the most ambitious pool games for PC. Sadly, it hasn’t reached worldwide recognition. To prove our point, all 25 major real-life snooker tournaments and the top 128 snooker players in the world are officially licensed. Its career mode is exhaustive too – from the Q-School academy to, hopefully, Hall of Fame. Also, the game has true-to-life physics, and TV-style presenters, and commentary. Furthermore, you can play both online and offline, in matches or tournaments, and game modes like full snooker, 6-red ball, and Shoot Out.
Cherry Pop Games, the developer for Pool Nation, made Snooker Nation Championship, so you know you’re in for a good thing. The graphics and the overall gameplay are similar, except that the game emphasizes snooker game modes. Unsurprisingly, you can play the Career Mode with hopes of eventually lifting the Snooker Nation flaming trophy, but also 6-round offline tournaments. As with Pool Nation, there’s an online component with multiple leagues and a global leaderboard. You can also expect the same level of realism with in-game physics.
10. Sports Bar VR
Sports Bar VR was named Pool Nation VR in its early stages, so you can expect high-quality design, gorgeous graphics, and attention to detail, And, while you can play 3-ball, 8-ball, 9-ball, and Killer pool using a VR (Virtual Reality) headset, that’s not all. Because it’s a sports bar simulation, you can play billiards, ramp ball, checkers, darts, air hockey, chess, shuffleboard, and more. You can play alone, versus A.I., or online, with up to 8 other players. Best of all, you can spend the tickets you earn to unlock collectibles, skins, and objects for the bar.
Brunswick Pro Billiards reminds us of Cue Club 2: Pool & Snooker, but the graphics aren’t on the same level. Also, while you can play against A.I. in individual matches or Challenge Mode, it isn’t content-packed. Luckily, you can challenge friends over LAN, or random players via the Internet. Your online efforts are rewarded with the game currency, Brunswick Bucks, and used for visual or performance upgrades. Sadly, that’s the part most players hate. Guaranteed items are expensive, so you must gamble with the currency, e.g., enter a microtransaction scheme.
The career mode in International Snooker is the highlight, with events throughout every calendar year and global rankings, allowing you to win 15 tournament trophies and a 147 VIP cup, online or offline. You can compete in multiple venues, earn various achievements, and try 8-ball UK, 8-ball US, and 9-ball modes. AI can be sped up to 4x times in single-player, and you can replay, pause, rewind, and slow-mo any shot. The immersion is great, too. The Physics engine was custom-built, they hired Michaela Tabb as the in-game referee and voice-over, and the audience reacts to intense shots.
Casual Challenge Players Club is the only anime game title among the leading pool PC games. The game features 4 game modes. The first two are main mode (15 tables, 3 levels, 16 pockets to pocket all balls at first), versus mode (online or offline matches, first to 5 pocketed balls). If you don’t care about numbers, you can play black ball mode. If you do, but need more challenge, try “like a master” mode. You have 3 tables, but only 16 strokes. Unused strokes are the only ones available on the next table, so every shot matters.
Premium Pool Arena is among the arcade-style pool PC games whose cue system is its best suit. Described as akin to “weapon precision in FPS games”, each cue affects the ball’s power, aim, speed, and spin. Another unique thing is that you can amass collectible cards, and there are daily and weekly challenges with extra rewards. The game has a solo mode (versus AI, Speed Mode), local split-screen multiplayer, and online multiplayer, in which you can play 1v1 matches or join tournaments. The Prestige system allows collecting special badges after you reach the maximum level, so you’ll never hit a plateau.
15. Golf Pool VR
Golf Pool VR is a Virtual Reality game that combines elements of golf and pool. But not in a dark stadium or a smelly bar room, but in environments that are out of this world – literally! You can play on remote islands, at the top of skyscrapers, dark streets of megacities, glaciers, etc. But you can also make your shot from floating platforms with futuristic cities, and even the surface of the Moon. And, on top of playing solo, against AI, you can have a friend join you for a 2-player multiplayer. You can currently only play 8-ball pool e.g., blackball pool, but more game modes are in the works.
16. Pool Paradise
Pool Paradise was released in 2004. Additionally, for the first time, it features Jimmy White, a well-known pool and snooker player, as a playable character. The setting is in a beach resort, with a day-night cycle, and tables are in different huts, of varying shapes and 10 distinct sizes. You’ll encounter 30+ computer characters, 11 types of cue sport games, and 5 play modes in the game, and progress in the form of a tournament ladder. Finally, you can unlock other games such as coconut shy, skeeball ramp, and beach darts.
Flash Snooker Game is a 2D snooker and pool simulation intended for just about everyone. And we mean it! You can practice in a pressure-free environment, play matches or tournaments, or watch players from around the globe battle it out while you chat with other people. It’s not very feature-packed, and you might get sick of the green color after a while, but the physics are realistic and enjoyable. The only downside is that players who pay to unlock better cues seem to have a noticeable advantage over non-paying players.
18. World Championship Pool 2004
World Championship Pool 2004 provides access to 7 variants of the pool and snooker, including the Trick Shots competition, and takes place in 20 different venues. The game also features 20 officially licensed world-class professional players, 11 well-known 9-ball (pool) ones, and 9 leading people in snooker, although they’re exclusively male. You can not only play solo, in local multiplayer, and online, but can start playing like a pro right off the bat thanks to the game’s Aiming Aid feature.
The name of this game, released in early August 2021, says it all. You’ll play a lot of really weird pools, that’s for sure. But don’t fret – your experience with the regular pool is still crucial; the “weird” part only refers to the shapes of the table. You’ll encounter tables that look like a cross, a starfish, multiple different Tetris pieces, a triangle, a hexagon, and much more. You can try single-player, against the computer, or go online and combat strangers. It lacks leaderboards, unlockables, and an in-game shop, though. We’d also like to see more shapes added in time.
20. Maximum Pool
Maximum Pool is a forgotten, and even at the time of release, the year 2000, a hidden gem. It was made for Dreamcast and PC and had average graphics, even two decades ago. Maximum Pool has offline and online modes, but you can forget about the latter. At first boost, you can select one of 7 pool games. The funny thing? After you battle each of many computer opponents, they all make remarks about how good or bad you played. Luckily, you’ll endure being made fun of for a reason – to unlock 5 bonus games.