Players Championship Snooker: Information and a Potted History

Getty Images/Dean Mouhtaropoulos
Initially played for one edition in 2004, the Players Championship returned to the professional snooker circuit in 2016 under a different format and has remained on the calendar every season since.

In its current guise, the Players Championship features just 16 players, and the only qualification route is via the one-year ranking list – cumulative prize money earned from that respective season’s ranking events. Former champions Ronnie O’Sullivan (for the 2020 event), Neil Robertson (for the 2023 event) and Shaun Murphy (for the 2024 event) have all been unable to defend their title the following year as they weren’t in the top 16 of the one-year list at the time.

Seeding for the event is based on the one-year list. For example, the number one seed plays the number 16 seed in round one, number 2 plays number 15, 3 plays 14, etc. Since the 2019 edition, the Players Championship has been the second leg of the three-pronged Players Series. 

The Players Championship has always been a world ranking event, including in 2004 when it wasn't a restricted field and featured a tiered draw with traditional seeding using the world rankings. 

Venues in Glasgow, Llandudno, Preston, Southport, Milton Keynes (behind closed doors due to Covid-19), Wolverhampton and Telford have hosted the competition. 

Please note, the Players Championship is different to the former professional ranking event the Players Tour Championship Finals held between 2011 to 2016. 

Players Championship Snooker: Most successful players, stats, stories, best finals 

To date, the nine completed editions of the Players Championship have yielded seven different winners, with only Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump claiming the title more than once. 

O'Sullivan achieved that feat first and is the only player to successfully defend the crown. 'The Rocket' recorded back-to-back 10-4 final victories against Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Against Robertson, O'Sullivan painted one of professional snooker's most iconic moments when he compiled his 1000th career century on the sport's top level - a benchmark never reached before - in the tournament-winning 14th frame.  

The memorable and joyous scenes aptly took place at the Preston Guild Hall, the same venue where O'Sullivan famously won the 1993 UK Championship as a 17-year-old.

Credit: Getty Images/George WoodCredit: Getty Images/George Wood
Credit: Getty Images/George Wood | Getty Images/George Wood

O’Sullivan (2018) and Trump (2020) are the only top seeds to have claimed the title. 

John Higgins conjured up one of the most dominant title victories in ranking event history during a very special 2021 Players Championship campaign. 

'The Wizard of Wishaw' whitewashed Jordan Brown 6-0 in the opening round before crushing Mark Selby by the same scoreline in the quarter-finals - remarkably only allowing his opponent to score a total of seven points throughout the entire contest. 

Higgins' incredible winning streak continued as he led Kyren Wilson 5-0 in the last four, although he eventually lost a frame in a 6-1 victory. 

A blockbuster clash with O'Sullivan in the final was next, and Higgins did not let up as he registered three century breaks for a 10-3 title success. It meant that Higgins had relinquished just four frames during the entire event in Milton Keynes against that season's most in-form players. 

On their way to the title, Robertson crafted four century breaks in the 2022 final, and Murphy made five in the 2023 showpiece.

Jimmy White's emotional triumph at the inaugural Players Championship in 2004 was his 10th and, to date, last ranking event title. It was his first since the 1992 UK Championship. 

Players Championship Snooker: Roll of Honour, Locations, Winner's Prize

2004: Jimmy White 9-7 Paul Hunter (Glasgow, Scotland) | £82,500

2017: Judd Trump 10-8 Marco Fu (Llandudno, Wales) | £125,000

2018: Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-4 Shaun Murphy (Llandudno, Wales) | £125,000

2019: Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-4 Neil Robertson (Preston, England) | £125,000

2020: Judd Trump 10-4 Yan Bingtao (Southport, England) | £125,000

2021: John Higgins 10-3 Ronnie O'Sullivan (Milton Keynes, England) | £125,000

2022: Neil Robertson 10-5 Barry Hawkins (Wolverhampton, England) | £125,000

2023: Shaun Murphy 10-4 Ali Carter (Wolverhampton, England) | £125,000

2024: Mark Allen 10-8 Zhang Anda (Telford, England) | £125,000

Players Championship Snooker 147 Breaks 

A maximum 147 break has yet to be made at the Players Championship. 

The highest break in the tournament’s history, so far, is a 146 which was constructed by eventual winner Mark Allen during the 2024 event. 

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