Analysis

Who has won the World Snooker Championship?

Credit: Getty Images/George WoodCredit: Getty Images/George Wood
Credit: Getty Images/George Wood | George Wood/Getty Images
Full list of champions and the players who have won the most world titles

Professional snooker’s biggest tournament has been in existence for nearly a century, with the sport’s original superstar Joe Davis winning the inaugural crown at Camkin’s Hall, Birmingham in 1927. 

During the early decades of the blue riband event, many elements were inconsistent, with differing formats, length of matches, number of entrants, tournament duration and a plethora of venues hosting the spectacle.  

The event organisers – who helped lay the foundations for the success it is today - faced struggles, including an internal one in 1952 when effectively two world titles were played for, and lack of interest between 1958 to 1963 which temporarily shelved the competition. 

However, the World Snooker Championship found a magic formula in 1977 when it moved to the intimate and atmospheric Crucible Theatre in Sheffield where it has stayed ever since. 

For a look at the evolution of the World Snooker Championship – including tournament formats - please visit our ‘Potted History’ here.

Full list of World Snooker Champions by year: 

  • 1927: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1928: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1929: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1930: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1931: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1932: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1933: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1934: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1935: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1936: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1937: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1938: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1939: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1940: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1946: Joe Davis (England) 

  • 1947: Walter Donaldson (Scotland) 

  • 1948: Fred Davis (England) 

  • 1949: Fred Davis (England) 

  • 1950: Walter Donaldson (Scotland) 

  • 1951: Fred Davis (England) 

  • 1952: Horace Lindrum (Australia) & Fred Davis (England) 

  • 1953: Fred Davis (England) 

  • 1954: Fred Davis (England) 

  • 1955: Fred Davis (England) 

  • 1956: Fred Davis (England) 

  • 1957: John Pulman (England) 

  • 1964: John Pulman (England) - two title wins 

  • 1965: John Pulman (England) - three title wins 

  • 1966: John Pulman (England) 

  • 1968: John Pulman (England) 

  • 1969: John Spencer (England) 

  • 1970: Ray Reardon (Wales) 

  • 1971: John Spencer (England) 

  • 1972: Alex Higgins (Northern Ireland) 

  • 1973: Ray Reardon (Wales) 

  • 1974: Ray Reardon (Wales) 

  • 1975: Ray Reardon (Wales) 

  • 1976: Ray Reardon (Wales) 

  • 1977: John Spencer (England) 

  • 1978: Ray Reardon (Wales) 

  • 1979: Terry Griffiths (Wales) 

  • 1980: Cliff Thorburn (Canada) 

  • 1981: Steve Davis (England) 

  • 1982: Alex Higgins (Northern Ireland) 

  • 1983: Steve Davis (England) 

  • 1984: Steve Davis (England) 

  • 1985: Dennis Taylor (Northern Ireland) 

  • 1986: Joe Johnson (England) 

  • 1987: Steve Davis (England) 

  • 1988: Steve Davis (England) 

  • 1989: Steve Davis (England) 

  • 1990: Stephen Hendry (Scotland) 

  • 1991: John Parrott (England) 

  • 1992: Stephen Hendry (Scotland) 

  • 1993: Stephen Hendry (Scotland) 

  • 1994: Stephen Hendry (Scotland) 

  • 1995: Stephen Hendry (Scotland) 

  • 1996: Stephen Hendry (Scotland) 

  • 1997: Ken Doherty (Republic of Ireland) 

  • 1998: John Higgins (Scotland) 

  • 1999: Stephen Hendry (Scotland) 

  • 2000: Mark Williams (Wales) 

  • 2001: Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) 

  • 2002: Peter Ebdon (England) 

  • 2003: Mark Williams (Wales) 

  • 2004: Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) 

  • 2005: Shaun Murphy (England) 

  • 2006: Graeme Dott (Scotland) 

  • 2007: John Higgins (Scotland) 

  • 2008: Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) 

  • 2009: John Higgins (Scotland) 

  • 2010: Neil Robertson (Australia) 

  • 2011: John Higgins (Scotland) 

  • 2012: Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) 

  • 2013: Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) 

  • 2014: Mark Selby (England) 

  • 2015: Stuart Bingham (England) 

  • 2016: Mark Selby (England) 

  • 2017: Mark Selby (England) 

  • 2018: Mark Williams (England) 

  • 2019: Judd Trump (England) 

  • 2020: Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) 

  • 2021: Mark Selby (England) 

  • 2022: Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) 

  • 2023: Luca Brecel (Belgium) 

    2024: Kyren Wilson (England)

There was no event between 1941 to 1945 due to World War 2. 

There was no event between 1958 to 1963 due to a lack of interest. 

The world title was contested on a challenge match basis between 1964 and 1968, so it could be defended more than once a year. A similar system was used in 1928 when there was effectively a separate competition to determine who faced reigning champion Joe Davis in the final. 

In 1952 there were effectively two different world events played with players deciding which one they entered. We have listed both champions.

Undefeated 15-time world champion Joe Davis was snooker's original superstar. Credit: Joe Davis Getty Images/Central PressUndefeated 15-time world champion Joe Davis was snooker's original superstar. Credit: Joe Davis Getty Images/Central Press
Undefeated 15-time world champion Joe Davis was snooker's original superstar. Credit: Joe Davis Getty Images/Central Press | Getty Images/Central Press

Who has won the most World Snooker Championship titles? 

Professional snooker can be referred to in two different eras, with the late 1960s being the divide between the two. However, the World Snooker Championship has been contested throughout both periods. 

Officially, Joe Davis has the most world snooker titles with 15. 

Davis was a trailblazer for snooker, and without his stardom, it’s possible we wouldn’t have the same professional sport we enjoy today. Incredibly, Davis remained undefeated in the World Snooker Championship, winning the event’s first 15 editions.

In the early decades of the Championship, Fred Davis – younger brother of Joe – and John Pulman both won eight world championship titles each. 

List of most decorated World Snooker Championship winners of all-time: 

  • 15 world titles: Joe Davis 

  • 8 world titles: Fred Davis, John Pulman 

  • 7 world titles: Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O'Sullivan 

  • 6 world titles: Ray Reardon, Steve Davis 

  • 4 world titles: John Higgins, Mark Selby 

  • 3 world titles: John Spencer, Mark Williams 

  • 2 world titles: Walter Donaldson, Alex Higgins 

  • 1 world title: Horace Lindrum, Terry Griffiths, Cliff Thorburn, Dennis Taylor, Joe Johnson, John Parrott, Ken Doherty, Peter Ebdon, Shaun Murphy, Graeme Dott, Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham, Judd Trump, Luca Brecel, Kyren Wilson

Credit: Getty Images/Jeff SpicerCredit: Getty Images/Jeff Spicer
Credit: Getty Images/Jeff Spicer | Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Who has won the most World Snooker Championship titles in the modern era and at the Crucible Theatre? 

With more uniformity for the World Snooker Championship, as well as interest, coverage and opportunities within the sport all on the up, snooker from around 1969 onwards is often referred to as the ‘modern era’. 

Not to decry the achievements of those that won the sport’s number one title prior to 1969, but due to the flagship event becoming bigger and having much more stability, pundits sometimes separate modern era world champions into their own category. People also use the term ‘in the Crucible Theatre era’. 

In this period, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan currently share the record for the most world championship wins with seven each. 

Ray Reardon set the benchmark in the 1970s with six world titles (his sixth coming at the Crucible), a feat that Steve Davis equalled in the 1980s. 

Hendry was the King of the Crucible in the 90s, with all his titles arriving within that decade, while O’Sullivan’s world crowns have been spaced out between 2001 to 2022. 

List of most decorated World Snooker Championship winners in the modern era: 

  • 7 world titles: Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O'Sullivan 

  • 6 world titles: Ray Reardon, Steve Davis 

  • 4 world titles: John Higgins, Mark Selby 

  • 3 world titles: John Spencer, Mark Williams 

  • 2 world titles: Alex Higgins 

  • 1 world title: Terry Griffiths, Cliff Thorburn, Dennis Taylor, Joe Johnson, John Parrott, Ken Doherty, Peter Ebdon, Shaun Murphy, Graeme Dott, Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham, Judd Trump, Luca Brecel, Kyren Wilson

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