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William Hill Sports Betting Skip to main content. In-Play information subject to delay click here for full Live In-Play betting rules. View all our Live In-Play Events. All players in the top 16 world rankings receive automatic qualification, the remaining 16 places are made up from qualifiers. Players ranked in the world recieve seeding with the rest of the players drawn randomly.
The Championship format has not changed much since Thirty two players compete in a series of knockout matches over 17 days. The first Professional Snooker Championship was held in in Birmingham, following on from the English Amateur Championship which had run since , won by Joe Davis.
Joe dominated the sport at this time winning every single championship up to and including the 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 just two players competed, Joe Davis and Tom Dennis.
In the fortunes of the competition began to change. Growing popularity caused the first qualification to be introduced in however the championship was suspended from for the duration of WWII. Thurston Hall was destroyed by a parachute mine in late 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. 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 t0 John Pullman won the title in after which no championship was played until The event returned as a series of challenge matches and Pullman won 7 consecutive titles multiple titles each year up to and including the championship.
During this time two matches were held in South Africa in In 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 Ray Reardon won his first of 6 titles, Spencer winning again in in Sydney Australia before the legend Alex Higgins emerged to win his first of two titles aged just 22 years in Ray Reardon won the following 5 titles at various venues until in the Championship moved to its long term home, the Crucible Theatre.
Fellow Welshman Terry Grifiths won in followed by Cliff Thorburn in , seeing in a new decade that would witness snooker rise in popularity to unprecedented levels. In the championship expanded to 32 players and was won by the great showman Alex Higgins. Davis won in and before the famous black-ball final of 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.