The Next World Billiards Championship – Everything You Need to Know

The World Snooker Championship has only just been entered into the history books and already all eyes are on the next World Championship in 2023, which of course will again be played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. The current title holder Ronnie O’Sullivan was able to claim the world title for the seventh time this year, equaling the record of legend Stephen Hendry.

Snooker has fought its way into the European mainstream as a typically British sport alongside darts and is now also noticed outside the UK. The bookmakers have also discovered snooker and the most important tournaments for themselves in sports betting. Online Gambling on the winner of the tournament or even individual matches with multiple betting markets remains fascinating for fans and of course almost unpredictable, because in snooker many small cogs must fit to get a great final result.

The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and the most important tournament in the world

More and more, snooker is becoming the focus of interest for a broad world population, and this is causing the sport to spread far beyond Great Britain and the Commenwealth. Nevertheless, every year the most important tournament takes place in Sheffield, the Mecca of the snooker world with all tours and events. The best players meet and the champion is played out. There is no allocation to different venues, Sheffield is not up for debate. It simply has to take place in the Crucible, that’s what the snooker tradition wants, which is of course meaningful to the British.

A total of 32 players gather to determine the new world champion. First, 16 players are seeded for the World Championship field, while a pre-qualification determines the other 16 players. Once the field is assembled, snooker in Sheffield can begin. The World Championship title is the most prestigious prize to be won in the snooker landscape, so winning here also has a lasting impact on the world rankings. Ronnie O’Sullivan was catapulted back to the top of the world rankings after his seventh triumph and has remained there ever since. Last year’s dethroned winner David Selby, on the other hand, dropped to third position. Judd Trump, another real expert in his field, lies between the two.

The final rounds prize money for the world championship

The winner of the world championship gets 600,000 euros and can thus take the most powerful prize money on the snooker tour. The losing finalist still gets 240,000 euros. The mere qualification for the last 32 players in the Crucible Theatre, however, already brings 24,000 euros, even if the elimination is then immediately completed and no match win is pending. Interestingly, seeded players who lose their opening match in the Crucible will not be credited with any prize money for the rankings, but will very well be paid this prize money. So it’s well worth the trip to Sheffield.

The highest break in the final round is also endowed with 18,000 euros and can once again drive up the prize money. A maximum break in the final round even brings 48,000 euros into the players’ accounts, even if you have to admit that this doesn’t really happen very often in the history of the competition.

The history of the Snooker World Cup

The World Championship was held for the first time in Birmingham in 1927. The first years of the competition are inextricably linked with the name of Englishman Joe Davis, who won the title 15 times and is still the sole record holder. In the 1960s, serial winner John Pulman dominated and in the next decade, Welshman Ray Reardon was the most successful snooker player in the world. At that time, the sport was still very much confined to Britain and the Commonwealth. 

In 1977 the World Championship was held for the first time at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and the venue remained the same from then on. There were no more annual awards. The BBC then began extensive television coverage in 1978 and the popularity of the sport of snooker increased dramatically. Steve Davis won the World Championship 6 times in the 1980s and his final against Dennis Taylor in 1985 achieved the highest ratings for a sporting event on British television.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Stephen Hendry was again a Welshman at the top of the world. He met in the World Championship final four times with Jimmy White, who lost all four finals against Hendry. Thus, with a total of six final defeats, White goes down in history as one of the best snooker players without a single World Championship title. 

Currently, Ronnie O’Sullivan occupies an exceptional position, even though John Higgins and David Selby are also very successful players with four titles each. But there is a trend to see that the world top is getting broader from the 90s on and different players could win the World Championship. The only non-Brit who managed it so far is Australian Neil Robertson in 2010.

The format of the Snooker World Cup

After the 32 players are determined, they play each other in a knockout sequence according to a seed list, which then halves the number of participants per round. In the process, the number of victory frames required increases from round to round, so that players last longer and longer the further they are in the tournament. While the 1st round only requires 10 victory frames, twice as many must be won in the final with 18. The winner at the end can then rightfully call himself the world champion, since he was able to prevail in a tough tournament against the best in the world.

The curse of Crucible

An absolute peculiarity is the “Curse of the Crucible”, because since the World Cup has been held there, no player has been able to defend his title after winning it for the first time. In any case, it happens very rarely that a title is defended. Only the big names Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan and David Selby managed a title defense at all, but not after the first title.

Conclusion of the Snooker World Championship

The Snooker World Championship is a real event in Great Britain that attracts attention. But Europe has also discovered the sport of snooker in the meantime. It is to be expected that snooker can achieve an even wider spread in the world and that even more major tournaments will be held outside the UK. Increasing prize money should go hand in hand with higher awareness.