World Snooker Championship 2021
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
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World Snooker 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 (excluding qualifiers), with an increasing number of frames each round.
The winner can earn £500,000 (or more for hitting high or 147 breaks) from a total prize fund of nearly £2,395,000, and of course achieve a place on the winners board alongside the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and Alex Higgins.
All players in the top 16 world rankings receive automatic qualification, the remaining 16 places are made up from qualifiers.
128 players ranked 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.
Players ranked 17-80 in the world receive seeding with the rest of the players drawn randomly. Players who make it into the last 80 are guaranteed £10,000, and last 48 players get £15,000. Those who reach the final 32 are guaranteed minimum prize money of £20,000.
|Round||Best Of (frames)||Number Players||Prize Money (£)|
|Final||35||2||500,000 / 200,000|
Highest Break – £15,000, 147 Break (Rolling) – £50,000
The Championship format has not changed much since 1982. Thirty two players compete in a series of knockout matches over 17 days.
Schedule – 17th April to 3rd May 2021
|Date||Morning (From 10am)||Afternoon (From 2:30pm)||Evening (From 7pm)|
|17th April||1st Round||1st Round||1st Round|
|18th April||1st Round||1st Round||1st Round|
|19th April||1st Round||1st Round||1st Round|
|20th April||1st Round||1st Round||1st Round|
|21st April||1st Round||1st Round||1st Round|
|22nd April||–||2nd Round (1pm)||2nd Round|
|23rd April||2nd Round||2nd Round||2nd Round|
|24th April||2nd Round||2nd Round||2nd Round|
|25th April||2nd Round||2nd Round||2nd Round|
|26th April||–||2nd Round (1pm)||2nd Round|
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, 50 Years From 1969 – 2019
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.
Selby beat John Higgins 18-15 in a pulsating 2017 final which swung both ways, with a late rally from Higgins was not enough to prevent Selby winning the title again, his third overall and second in a row. It was Higgins on the losing side in 2018 however in another pulsating final won by Mark Williams to claim his third title and first in 15 years.
John Higgins was also the loser in 2019, this time to Judd Trump who won the title for a long overdue first time. Revenge for finishing runner up to John back in 2011.
2020 A Very Different Year
In 2020 the world championship was in doubt due to the spread of corona virus that resulted in a shut down for all major sports. Fortunately the event was rescheduled for early August and went ahead largely behind closed doors, except for the final, where a limited number of spectators were allowed as a pilot.
The lack of a crowd produced some interesting snooker. Some players struggled to raise the bar without people in the theatre where others were able to play more freely due to the practice game type atmosphere.
This resulted in John Higgins producing a 147 break in the second round, although he lost the game. It also produced two of the best semi-finals ever, both going to a final frame decider.
It was Ronnie O’Sullivan who was able to adapt the best to the conditions, perhaps because he doesn’t care much either way about the whole situation given he plays his own game all of the time anyway. He won his 6th World title beating Kyren Wilson 18-8 in a one sided final to now sit just one title behind Steven Hendry.
2021 sees a wide open field with five, six or seven players that could comfortably win it. 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. The Crucible will continue to host the event until at least 2027.
Snooker World Championship Records and Statistics
Record Winners (Modern Era 1969-)
The table above shows players who have won the title on two or more occasions.
|Fastest 147||Ronnie O’Sullivan||5m 20s (1997)|
|First 147||Cliff Thorburn||1983|
|First Ever Winner||Joe Davis||1927|
|Current Champion||Ronnie O’Sullivan||2020|
|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|
|Best Win Rate||Ray Reardon||31.6%, 6 titles from 19 appearances|
|First Tournament||Camkin’s Hall, Birmingham||1927|
|Highest Winner Prize||£500,000||2020|
|Biggest Total Prize Fund||£2,395,000||2020|
|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 – 2019|
|Biggest UK TV Audience||Dennis Taylor v Steve Davis||18.5M (1985)|
|Most / Least Players||32 / 2||1982- / 1931|
|Current Sponsor||Betfred||2015 –|