Snooker World Championship 2018

The profile of snooker today has never been better.  The sport emerged from some bleak times at the turn of the millennium and through some clever marketing and a load of new global events the sport is enjoying popularity not seen since the 1980’s.

In spite of all the new Snooker available today the World Championship still lives up to its name and is without doubt still the leading snooker tournament. In terms of expectation, prize money and prestige there is no better event.  Established over 90 years ago in 1927 the tournament, along with the Masters, has helped to not only preserve but popularise this great sport.

With live coverage on the BBC the Championship attracts large audiences and a lot of bets too.  The online betting markets now available for snooker are bigger than ever, particularly live in-play, and this means online bookmakers are running promotions for the event.  Latest offers are shown below with more information about the tournament further down the page.

Latest Snooker World Championship Offers

Coral
World Champs First Daily Bet Money Back
The first bet each day (1/5+) refunded if you lose, up to £10, no minimum stake
10Bet
Snooker WC – £5 Free Bet Per Ton
Bet £10+, If your player loses get £5 free for each 100 break they score
William Hill
Snooker 5+ Multiple Bet Insurance
Refund if 1 lets you down in all 5+ accumulators, low min odds just 1/5+
888 Sport
Snooker World Championship – £5 Free Daily
Bet 5 x £10 on live markets (1/5+) in one day and get a £5 profit boost
Vernons
Deciding Frame Money Back up to £50
Biggest refund of all bookie if your player loses in a decider this year
Betfair
Best Price on Selby and O’Sullivan
Guranteed best price from Betfair for all pre-game bets placed on either player

Snooker World Championship

The World Championship is held over 17 days in April and May each year at Sheffield’s famous Crucible Theatre where it has been held since 1977.  Players must compete in five matches to win the title, with an increasing number of frames each round.

The winner can earn £375,000 (or more for hitting high or 147 breaks), and of course achieve a place on the winners board alongside the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and Alex Higgins.

Qualification Format

All players in the top 16 world rankings receive automatic qualification, the remaining 16 places are made up from qualifiers.  All players raked 17 and below must enter the first qualifying round and must then win three best of 19 frame matches to gain a spot at the World Championship.

Those who reach the final 32 are guaranteed minimum prize money of £16,000.

Championship Format

Round Best Of (frames) Number Players Prize Money (£)
One 19 32 16,000
Two 25 16 25,000
Quarter-Finals 25 8 37,500
Semi-Finals 33 4 75,000
Final 35 2 375,000 / 160,000

Highest Break – £10,000, 147 Break (Rolling) – £5,000

The Championship format has not changed much since 1982. Thirty two players compete in a series of knockout matches over 17 days.

Schedule – 21st April to 7th May 2018

Date Morning (From 10am) Afternoon (From 2:30pm) Evening (From 7pm)
21st April 1st Round 1st Round 1st Round
22nd April 1st Round 1st Round 1st Round
23rd April 1st Round 1st Round 1st Round
24th April 1st Round 1st Round 1st Round
25th April 1st Round 1st Round 1st Round
26th April 2nd Round (1pm) 2nd Round
27th April 2nd Round 2nd Round 2nd Round
28th April 2nd Round 2nd Round 2nd Round
29th April 2nd Round 2nd Round 2nd Round
30th April 2nd Round (1pm) 2nd Round
1st May QF QF QF
2nd May QF QF QF
3rd May SF SF SF
4th May SF SF SF
5th May SF SF SF
6th May Final Final Final
7th May* Final Final Final

* Bank Holiday in the UK

About the Snooker World Championship

Pre-Modern Era, 1927 to 1968

The first Professional Snooker Championship was held in 1927 in Birmingham, following on from the English Amateur Championship which had run since 1916, won by Joe Davis.  Joe dominated the sport at this time winning every single championship up to and including the 1946 title.

During the early years the competition was in fact mainly about billiards with snooker played as a sideshow by the then leading billiard players.  A lack of prize money along with long games and little chance of victory meant the early championship was shunned by players.  In 1931 just two players competed, Joe Davis and Tom Dennis.

In 1935 the fortunes of the competition began to change.  Thurston Hall in London became its home for five years from 1935 to 1940 and the tournament was given greater prestige incorporating the word ‘World’ into the title.  Growing popularity caused the first qualification to be introduced in 1937 however the championship was suspended from 1940 for the duration of WWII.  Thurston Hall was destroyed by a parachute mine in late 1940 and never hosted snooker again.

Following the war the tournament continued and was extended to two weeks becoming a financial success for both organsiers and players.  Joe Davis won £1,800 in 1946, significantly more than the £6 he won in 1927, following this win Joe retired undefeated.

The Championship continued to grow and with Joe Davis out of the way it was the turn of his brother Fred (whom Joe had defeated in numerous finals) to dominate.  Fred Davis won 8 finals from 1948 t0 1956.

John Pullman won the title in 1957 after which no championship was played until 1964.  The event returned as a series of challenge matches and Pullman won 7 consecutive titles (multiple titles each year) up to and including the 1968 championship.  During this time two matches were held in South Africa in 1965.

Modern Era, 1969 – 2017

In 1969 the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association took over the running of the professional game, the tournament became a true knockout event and it was from this time onwards that event became properly competitive.  John Spencer won the first modern era title at Victoria Hall in London.  In 1970 Ray Reardon won his first of 6 titles, Spencer winning again in 1971 (in Sydney Australia) before the legend Alex Higgins emerged to win his first of two titles aged just 22 years in 1972.

Ray Reardon won the following 5 titles at various venues until in 1977 the Championship moved to its long term home, the Crucible Theatre.  16 Players now competed but it was the same old faces, John Spencer beating Ray Reardon in the final in 1977 and Reardon winning again in 1978.  Fellow Welshman Terry Grifiths won in 1979 followed by Cliff Thorburn in 1980, seeing in a new decade that would witness snooker rise in popularity to unprecedented levels.

Steve Davis dominated the 1980’s, winning his first of six titles in the decade as 13th seed in 1981.  In 1982 the championship expanded to 32 players and was won by the great showman Alex Higgins.

Davis won in 1983 and 1984 before the famous black-ball final of 1985 which saw over 18 and a half million people tune in to see Dennis Taylor beat Davis.  Regarded as the closest final of all time the match finished at twenty past midnight.  The first in a long line of late finals.

Just as Davis dominated the 1980’s it was a young Stephen Hendry who took the sport by storm in the 1990’s.  Hendry won his first title at 21 in 1990, the first of seven in ten years.  Hendry remains the record world championship winner of the modern era.

The 2000’s saw the World Championship open up like never before.  Following the dynasties of Reardon, Davis and Hendry no less than nine players have shared the Championship from 2000 to 2016, of which five have been won by Ronnie O’Sullivan.  This period has also seen a further revival in the fortunes of the WC with popularity returning to 1980’s level, partly to do with foreign influence form the likes of China.

Mark Selby won his second title in three years in 2016 beating Ding Junhui, the first player of Chinese origin to reach a final. Considering the now global popularity of the sport I’m sure it will not be long before it is won by a Chinese player.  Ding performed well again in 2017, reaching the semi final.

Selby beat John Higgins 18-15 in a pulsating 2017 final which swung both ways, Selby trailed 4-10 at one stage before winning 9 out of 10 frames to bring the game back to 13-11 in his favour.  A late rally from Higgins was not enough to prevent Selby winning the title again, his third overall and second in a row.

2018 sees a wide open field with five or six players that could comfortably win.  Both snooker and the World Championship are in rude health these days and for long may it continue.

The Crucible Theatre

The Crucible Theatre, or as most people call it The Crucible, is the most famous and iconic snooker venue in the world.  Fitting then that it has hosted the World Championship for 41 years in row now since 1977.

With a capacity of 980 it provides one of the largest largest crowds a snooker player will ever see.  The design of the multi-purpose theatre means spectators sit on three sides of the table with no one person more than 20 meters away form the table.

The grade two listed Sheffield building is a jewel in the crown for the city.  The venue was refurbished from 2007 to 2009, opening only for the World Snooker Championship.

Snooker World Championship Records and Statistics

Record Winners (Modern Era 1969-)

Player Appearances Won Runner-up
Stephen Hendry 27 7 2
Steve Davis 30 6 2
Ray Reardon 19 6 1
Ronnie O’Sullivan 25 5 1
John Higgins 22 4 1
John Spencer 18 3 1
Alex Higgins 19 2 2
Mark Williams 19 2 1
Mark Selby 13 3 1

The table above shows players who have won the title on two or more occasions.

Player Facts

Fastest 147 Ronnie O’Sullivan 5m 20s (1997)
First 147 Cliff Thorburn 1983
First Ever Winner Joe Davis 1927
Current Champion Mark Selby 2016
Youngest Champion Stephen Hendry 21y 106d (1990)
Youngest Player Luca Brecel 17y 35d (2012)
First Qualifier to Win Shaun Murphy 1995
Most Wins of All Time Joe Davis 15 (1927 – 1946)
Most Wins Modern Era Stephen Hendry 7 (1990 – 1999)
Most Runners Up Jimmy white 6 (0 Wins)
Most Tournaments Fred Davis 42 (8 Won)
Most Matches Stephen Hendry 99 (79 Won)
First/Last Non-UK Champions Horace Lindrum (Aus) / Neil Robertson (Aus) 1952 / 2010
Longest Odds Winner Joe Johnson 150/1 (1986)
First to 1000 Frames Stephen Hendry 2009
Most Frames Fred Davis 3523 (1893 Won)
Final Whitewash Eddie Charlton (beaten by John Parrott) 1992

Championship Facts

First Tournament Camkin’s Hall, Birmingham 1927
Highest Winner Prize £375,000 2018
Biggest Total Prize Fund 1,750,000 2018
Latest Finish 3:51AM (12:54AM Final) 1983 (2007)
Longest Frame 1h 14m 58s 2009 (King v Maguire)
Most Used Venue Crucible Theatre, Sheffield 1977 – 2018
Biggest UK TV Audience Dennis Taylor v Steve Davis 18.5M (1985)
Most / Least Players 32 / 2 1982- / 1931
Current Sponsor Betfred 2015-