Snooker World Championship Snooker Table

Snooker World Championship

Everyone’s played snooker at one stage of their life. If you go into a bar or a games room, it’s simply instinct to pick up a cue and start whacking balls across the table, but the true game of snooker goes way beyond a bag of chips and a wager on who pots the black first.

In actual fact, snooker is a complicated game that has to be practised in order to perfect. The very best in the world don’t only know how to pot balls, but how to position balls three shots in advance, how to stop their opponent from getting a big frame, how to curve a ball in such a way that it looks magnetised. 

They are masters of their trade and they are well attuned to turning snooker into a game of chess, slowly but steadily taking out their opponent’s options until they are forced to forfeit.

The best example of this resides in the Snooker World Championship, which takes place over a single month every year. This is where the best of the best come together to demonstrate their skills and lift the prestigious Greek shepherdess trophy. It is held in the Crucible Theatre in England, with 2021’s tournament raking in over 22.5 million viewers in the UK alone. 

But how did this championship start and what makes it so special? Well, before getting into that, let’s look at how the tournament plays out and how players can rise above the ranks to world glory – without so much as a bowl of nuts in sight!

Snooker World Championship: The 101

  • Who plays in the Snooker World Championship is determined based on world rankings – with points given for every tournament throughout the year.
  • 32 players reach the Crucible every year.
  • The top 16 players in the world qualify automatically, whilst another 128 entrants have to win their place in a qualification tournament.
  • In the first round, the top 16 players are pitted against the 16 qualifiers. This is decided with a random draw.
  • This round is made up of 19 frames per match. The second and third rounds, however, consist of 25 frames that are played over three sessions.
  • The semi-finals are played out across 33 frames, with the final consisting of 35 frames overall.
  • Since its inception, the World Championship remains the most exciting and popular snooker tournament in the world, with a number of spectators travelling to Sheffield to watch the games unfold every year.

A Quick History Of Snooker World Championship

The Early 20th Century

The Snooker World Championship began nearly one hundred years ago, in 1927. At the time it was billed as the Professional Snooker Championship, and it was the first of its kind. 

Ten players entered the very first tournament, and each match was played out over three weeks, but it wasn’t exactly the showstopper event that it is now. The snooker was actually a sideshow to the main event, which was a billiards tournament played over two weeks. 

The final took place between Joe Davis and Tom Dennis, with Davis winning the first seven frames and ending up with an end result of 20-11. Being a sideshow, however, Davis himself had to purchase his own trophy to celebrate his efforts – the very same trophy that is still used today.

Although it was an added extra to a billiards event, the snooker games were met with mass enthusiasm and excitement, which led to a change to 1928’s proceedings. In the second tournament, the championship was played on a challenge basis, with entries playing against each other to get the chance to challenge Davis in the final. This was ultimately dropped in 1929, but Davis kept on dominating, and the buzz around snooker grew as spectators began to turn up just to see if anyone could take his throne.

In 1935, the championship changed its name to the World Professional Snooker Championship, owing to the fact that snooker players from around the world were travelling to take part. In 1937, qualifying was introduced to include two more entries. 

The Late 20th Century To Today

It wasn’t until after the second world war, however, that another player finally won the tournament. Not because they beat Joe Davis, however. He retired in 1946 with a streak of 15 wins on the trot, which he felt was quite enough before letting someone else have a crack.

Since then, there have been a variety of different winners from across the world, and the tournament itself hopped around a bit too. In 1975, the tournament was held in Australia, with Ray Reardon beating Eddie Charlton in the very last frame. A year later, the tournament was held in both Middlesbrough and Manchester, but it wasn’t until its move to Sheffield in 1977 that it officially found its home. 

Since that year, the tournament has consistently been held in the Crucible, with the format also finally landing into the format we know today. Throughout the 1980s, Steve Davis carried out another dominating streak – aptly living up to his surname – but on the whole, the tournament was hotly contested, with winners ranging from Scotland to Ireland and to Australia. Over the last few years, the biggest rivalries have been between Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan, who are likely to battle out once again in 2023, when the tournament returns for its eighty-fifth showing. 

Snooker World Championship: DAZN Bet’s Pop Quiz

Remember everything? No? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to get your head around it. We’ve also compiled a list of the most important details to think about before you tune into the championship this year. Starting with a question you surely already know:

Who Is The Most Successful World Championship Player?

Yep, you guessed it. Joe Davis takes the cake for this one. It’s his trophy after all. He had a winning streak of 15 World Championships in a row, making him the most dominant player in the tournament’s history.

How Many Breaks Have There Been In The World Championship?

There have been 12 maximum breaks recorded in the World Championship, with Cliff Thorburn having nailed the first back in 1983.

What’s The Record For Century Breaks In The World Championship?

The most century breaks to take place in the tournament was in 2022, where 109-century breaks were made overall.

Who Is The Youngest World Champion?

Stephen Hendry is the youngest-ever champion, having won the tournament aged 21 years in 1990.

Who Won The 2023 Snooker World Championship?

The 2023 Snooker World Championship saw some amazing feats across the felt. The first-ever champion from mainland Europe, Luca Brecel and the first-ever 147 break in the final by Mark Selby. 

How much does the winner of the Snooker World Championship get?

The total prize fund was just shy of 2.4 million, and the breakdown of the prize brackets is below:

  • Winner: £500,000
  • Runner-up: £200,000
  • Semi-finalists: £100,000
  • Quarter-finalists: £50,000
  • Last 16: £30,000
  • Last 32: £20,000
  • Last 48: £15,000
  • Last 80: £10,000
  • Last 112: £5,000
  • Highest break (qualifying stage included): £15,000

Mark Selby split the maximum break prize with Kyren Wilson who made a maximum break in the fifth frame of his first-round match against Ryan Day. They each won £27,500 as there was an additional £40,000 prize for a maximum break in The Crucible.