The Evolution of 147 Breaks in Snooker: From Rarity to Record-Breaking Feats

Updated: 7738 Snooker

Explore the fascinating rise of 147 breaks in snooker since the 1980s, from rare occurrences to astonishing records. Delve into the players who dominate this feat and revisit the historic first televised 147 break. Get ready for some snooker magic!

The Evolution of 147 Breaks in Snooker: From Rarity to Record-Breaking Feats
Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

15th April 2024 - Noppon Saengkham makes the 202nd 147 in Snooker

Noppon Saengkham gains his 2nd career 147 in the qualifying rounds of the World Championships playing Andy Hicks in turn, recording the 202nd official 147 break in snooker.

In Snooker, achieving a 147 break is a rare and remarkable feat. This article explores the world of maximum breaks, where players must pot all 15 reds followed by blacks and then the remaining six colours in sequence. We delve into the players who have made the most 147 breaks, with Ronnie O'Sullivan at the top of the list with 15. We also highlight the first-ever televised 147 break, accomplished by Steve Davis. Additionally, we examine the growth in frequency of 147 breaks since the 1980s and the fastest recorded maximum breaks. Get ready to be amazed by the skill and precision of these snooker legends!

Exploring the World of Maximum Breaks in Snooker!

🏆🚀 Delve into the rare and remarkable feat of achieving a 147 break. From Ronnie O'Sullivan's record-breaking 15 to Steve Davis' historic televised 147. Discover the growth in frequency and the fastest recorded maximum breaks.

A volume that has seen 202 officially recognised 147 breaks recorded by 15th April 2024 when Noppon Saengkham made his second career 147 and the first in the World Championships of 2024 at the fourth round qualifying stage when playing Andy Hicks

 The first 147 was by the legendary Steve Davis. Coincidentally, Davis' was also the first 147 made in a televised match. Mark Selby's first ever World Championship final 147 in 2023 at the Crucible already seems a lifetime ago as the 189th.

There were earlier 147s

Murt O'Donoghue made a 147 in Australia in 1934 witnessed by 133 spectators and Joe Davis scored another in 1955, but this article focuses on when 147s were officially recognised in professional competition

Most Recent 147s - 2023/24 Season - Who Scored the Last 147 in Snooker?

With Sean O Sullivan scoring the first of the season, being the 190th Maximum in snooker history the countdown to the 200th is complete - Follow the 147s this season as we count them down to find out who grabs a landmark maxi.

15th April 2024 (202nd) - Noppon Saengkham kept his cool to grab the first maximum of the World Championships 2024, and his 2nd career maxi against Andy Hicks in qualifying.

18th March 2024 (201st) Zak Surety thrilled the Yushan crowd with the first 147 in the final stages of the tournament ever, and it was his first professional 147 too, playing against home favourite Ding junhui it wasn't enough for him in a 3-5 reverse and Ding progressed.

29th February 2024 (200th) - Joe O'Connor writes his name in history with the 200th 147 break to be made in professional snooker, with his first career maxi in the Championship league in a match with Elliot Slessor.

18th February 2024 (199) -Gary Wilson scored his fifth career maximum in a stunning performance against John Higgins in the Welsh Open, his first since 2021. The 147 came just 7 days after John Higgins became the oldest player to make a maximum in snooker.

10th February 2024 (198) - John Higgins becomes the oldest player to ever score a 147 break in snooker when hitting the maximum in the Championship league, just 4 days after Kyren Wilon had made the 197th in the same event. It is Higgins' 13th career 147.

6th February 2024 (197) - Kyren Wilson secures his fifth career 147 by grabbing a maximum break in the Championship League in a game vs Tom Ford. The break gave him a 2-1 lead and he won the subsequent frame to win the match.

12th January 2024 (196th) - Mark Allen made his 3rd career maximum break against Mark Selby in the quarter Final of the 2024 Masters. He gained the third frame after losing the first two and went on to proceed to the semi finals winning 6-5

8th January 2024 (195th) - Ding Junhui records his seventh career maximum at Alexandra Palace in the Masters playing Ronnie O'Sullivan. Remarkably it is his first since 2016 in the Welsh Open against Neil Robertson

7th December 2023 (194th) - Shaun Murphy becomes the first player to ever make a 147 break in a shoot-out match against the clock. Scoring the maxi in the first round against Bulcsu Revesz (a). In doing so The Magician achieved one of the fastest 147's in snooker history in a time of 7 minutes and 24 seconds. This maxi was also Shaun's second of the season and 8th of his career, after scoring his 7th back in February against Daniel Wells in the Welsh Open.

The 147 Everyone Thought was Impossible

Shaun Murphy defied the belief of just about everyone when he achieved the near-impossible task of a 147 against the shot clock in the shoot-out with no more than 15 seconds, and then just 10 seconds per shot allowed to record his 8th career maximum and one of the fastest in history.

19th November 2023 (193rd) - Xu Si becomes the 7th Chinese player to score a maximum break after Ding Junhui (6), Liang Wenbo (3), Zhou Yuelong (2), Zhang Anda (2), Cao Yupeng (1) and Xiao Guodong (1). He knocked in a 147 in the 2nd frame of his UK Championship qualifier against Ma Hailong to go 2-0 up - This break came just 7 days after the previous 147 from countryman Zhang Anda in the International Championship. It's the second 147 he has been involved in in 2023, although on the receiving end in March when Thepchaita Un-Nooh scored his career this in the German Master Qualifying.

The 147 also places him halfway to landing the £147,000 bonus for hitting 2 x 147 breaks in the triple crown events this season - Guess he'll be trying hard for another now!

Youngest Player to Score a 147 for 3 years

Xu Si at 25 years and 299 days is the youngest player to score a professional 147 since Zhou Yuelong scored his second career maxi aged 22 years 318 days against Peter Lines in the Scottish Open in December 2020

12th November 2023  (192nd) - Zhang Anda makes his second career 147 in the International Championship, 53 days after Ryan Day did the same in qualifying - The frame gave him a 2-1 lead in the final, although he lost the next frame to go into the first session break 2-2. Anda was also the first player to score a 147 and win the tournament it was scored in since Judd Trump in the Turkish Masters in March 2022.

19th September 2023 (191st) - Ryan Day made his 4th career 147, and his second in this calendar year, when beating Mink Nutcharut in the International Championship qualifiers. He gained the maxi in the 4th frame, and won the next 66-14 on the way to a convincing 6-1 match result to progress to the next round.

28th July 2023 (190th) - Sean O'Sullivan scores his first 147, the 190th in history, and the first of the 2023/24 season against Barry Hawkins in the European Masters qualifying

No. Date Year Player Age Opponent Event Days since previous147 Won Event?
190 28 July 2023 2023 Sean O'Sullivan 29 Years 90 Days Barry Hawkins European Masters (Q) 89 No
191 19 September 2023 2023 Ryan Day (3) 43 years, 179 days Mink Nutcharut International Championship (Q) 53 No
192 12 November 2023 2023 Zhang Anda (2) 31 years 322 days Tom Ford International Championship 54 Yes
193 19 November 2023 2023 Xu Si 25 Years 299 Days Ma Hailong UK Championship (Q) 7 No
194 7 December 2023 2023 Shaun Murphy (8) 41 Years 119 Days Bulcsu Revesz (a) Shoot Out 18 No
195 8 January 2024 2024 Ding Junhui (7) 36 years, 282 days Ronnie O'Sullivan Masters 32 No
196 12 January 2024 2024 Mark Allen (3) 37 years, 324 days Mark Selby Masters 4 No
197 6 February 2024 2024 Kyren Wilson (5) 32 years 45 days Tom Ford Championship League 25
198 10 February 2024 2024 John Higgins (13) 48 years 268 days Fan Zhengyi Championship League 4
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To date, no fewer than 78 players have recorded a maximum break and with this in mind, we are now going to see who the kingpins are when it comes to recording 147s:

Top 10 Players to Make 147 Breaks

- 🏆 Ronnie O'Sullivan: Holds the top spot with 15 maximum breaks, with his last one made in 2018.

- 🥈 John Higgins: Comes in second with 13 maximum breaks, and his most recent one was achieved in 2024.

- 🎱 Stephen Hendry: With 11 maximum breaks, Hendry last recorded one in 2012.

- 🎯 Stuart Bingham: Bingham has made 9 maximum breaks, and his latest one was in 2022.

- 🌟 Judd Trump: Trump has 8 maximum breaks to his name, and his most recent one was also made in 2022.

- 🎩 Shaun Murphy: With 8 maximum breaks, Murphy's last was in the shoot out in December 2023

- 🌟 Ding Junhui: Ding has made 7 maximum breaks, with the most recent one achieved in 2024.

No. Player Number Most recent
1 Ronnie O'Sullivan 15 2018
2 John Higgins 13 2024
3 Stephen Hendry 11 2012
4 Stuart Bingham 9 2022
5 Judd Trump 8 2022
5 Shaun Murphy 8 2023
7 Ding Junhui 7 2024
8 Tom Ford 5 2019
8 Neil Robertson 5 2022
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Perhaps unsurprisingly, the man who is currently top of the list when it comes to 147s is none other than Ronnie O’Sullivan. Seven times he has become World Champion, and 15 times, he has managed to record a maximum break.

Considered the greatest to have ever played the sport, O’Sullivan finds himself two clear of Scottish star John Higgins. With that being said, Higgins's most recent maximum was only as recent as February 2024; his counterpart has been waiting since 2018 to add to his tally. 

These two are just a trio of men who have reached double figures for earning maximums. The other member of such lofty company is Stephen Hendry, with 11.

🔝 Legends and Rising Stars: The Race for Maximum Break Glory! 🎱🌟

🎱🏆 Ronnie O'Sullivan, the unrivaled master of maximum breaks! With 15 to his name, he's the all-time leader.💪🌟 Just behind is John Higgins with 13, and Stephen Hendry stuck with 11.⚡️ Excitingly, the next generation is rising, as Judd Trump boasts 8, Kyren Wilson notches 5, and young Zhou Yuelong, at just 22, already has 2.🔥

However, any chances of the Scottish pair sharing 12 maximums look somewhat unlikely when you consider that Hendry’s last 147 was back in 2012, and only fleeting appearances have occurred in the past few years. 

Suppose these three are considered the greats of the game. In that case, there is also the next generation of stars on the table, and this is reflected by the likes of Judd Trump and Kyren Wilson who have made eight and 5 maximums respectively and Zhou Yuelong 10 years even their junior at 22, who has racked up a brace already.

Unleashing the Magic: Multiple 147 Breaks in Snooker!

These 33 players on the list have all achieved at least two 147 breaks. 🎯💪 Once you've tasted perfection, it seems to become a bit easier. It does leave some 43 additional players who have made just the one so far.

The First Televised 147 Break

Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In January 1982, snooker player Steve Davis made sporting history by constructing the first maximum break in tournament play. This milestone moment put snooker in the spotlight and solidified its growing popularity on British television. Davis, with his clean-cut image and talent, became the sport's ambassador, appealing to both middle-class and working-class audiences alike. With the help of manager Barry Hearn, snooker expanded commercially, reaching new heights of success with endorsements, TV appearances, and even a pop song. Snooker had officially cemented its place as a mainstream sport.



Fun 147 Snooker Fact

Had it not been for a cameramen lunch break, John Spencer, would have been the first televised 147 three years earlier, however, he still managed to be present when Davis made history as the opponent.

Most 147 Breaks in Snooker

To date, Ronnie O Sullivan has made more professional 147 breaks in snooker than any other player amassing 15 maxis so far. His first came on 21st April 1997, aged 21 years and 137 Days against Mark Price in the World Championships, which also goes down in history as the fastest ever made. (See Below) His latest 147 came in the English Open on 17th October 2018.

Interestingly, O'sullivan has made his 15 maximum breaks against 15 different players, the shortest spell between them was 8th November and 15th December 2007 with just 37 days between the Northern Ireland Open and UK Championships, whilst the longest is 1661 days from the World Championships, whilst right now is the longest span since his last.

The table shows each and every 147 Ronnie has made

List of Ronnie O'Sullivan 147 Breaks

No. Date Age Event Days Between 147s
1 21 April 1997 21 years, 137 days World Championship  
2 29 January 1999 23 years, 55 days Welsh Open 648
3 13 October 1999 23 years, 312 days Grand Prix 257
4 5 April 2000 24 years, 122 days Scottish Open 175
5 17 October 2001 25 years, 316 days LG Cup 560
6 22 April 2003 27 years, 138 days World Championship 552
7 8 November 2007 31 years, 338 days Northern Ireland Trophy 1661
8 15 December 2007 32 years, 10 days UK Championship 37
9 28 April 2008 32 years, 145 days World Championship 135
10 20 September 2010 34 years, 289 days World Open (Q) 875
11 26 August 2011 35 years, 264 days Paul Hunter Classic 340
12 2 March 2014 38 years, 87 days Welsh Open 919
13 4 December 2014 38 years, 364 days UK Championship 277
14 3 April 2018 42 years, 119 days China Open 1216
15 17 October 2018 42 years, 316 days English Open 197
28/05/2024 2050
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Youngest Players to make a 147

Benutzer:Bill da Flute, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Few people could give you the age of the youngest player to make a competitive 147 in snooker, much less tell you who it was. Furthermore, fewer still would be able to say or spell the name of Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon, who achieved the feat at the Rhein-Main masters on 22nd October 2010 at 16 years, 312 days..

Thanawat took the title from Stephen Maguire, the Scot being the previous youngest, making his first just 15 days after his 19th birthday on 28th March 2000 at home in the Scottish Open, beating Ding Junhui, who had achieved the feat aged just 19 years 288 days at the Master in 2007.

Ronnie O'Sullivan was 21 years old when he made his first 147 on no bigger stage than the World Championship in 1997

147# DATE PLAYER AGE EVENT
74 2010 Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon 16 years, 312 days Rhein–Main Masters
37 2000 Stephen Maguire 19 years, 15 days Scottish Open (Q)
55 2007 Ding Junhui 19 years, 288 days Masters
44 2001 Shaun Murphy 19 years, 94 days Benson & Hedges Championship
10 1991 Peter Ebdon 20 years, 282 days Strachan Open (Q)[87]
9 1991 James Wattana 20 years, 364 days World Masters
20 1997 Ronnie O'Sullivan 21 years, 137 days World Championship
94 2012 Jack Lisowski 21 years, 150 days UK Championship (Q)
65 2008 Liang Wenbo 21 years, 238 days Bahrain Championship (Q)
67 2008 Ding Junhui (2) 21 years, 259 days UK Championship
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🏆 Youngest Snooker Superstars

🏆🎱 Sean Maddocks: Guinness World Record holder for youngest player with a maximum break! 🌟 At 15 years and 90 days, he smashed the record previously held by O'Sullivan. 👏 Judd Trump also nailed a 147 at 14, but not an officially recognized feat. 🙅‍♂️ Ding Junhui holds the TV record at 19. 📺

Oldest Players to make a 147

John Higgins became the oldest player to make a 147 break on 10th February 2024 at the age of 48 years and 268 days when knocking in his 13th career maximum in the Championship league, knocking fellow class of '92 alumni Mark Williams off the top, who had held the record since his 147 in the English Open in December 2022, aged 47 years and 20 days. Higgins is also the third oldest, with his 12th career maximum in 2021, whilst Robert Milkins has also 'recently' got into the veteran 147 list when scoring his last in the German masters 2023 when 46 years and 334 days old

147# DATE PLAYER AGE EVENT
198 2024 John Higgins (13) 48 years 268 days Championship League
183 2022 Mark Williams (3) 47 years, 270 days English Open
184 2023 Robert Milkins (3) 46 years, 334 days German Masters
167 2021 John Higgins (12) 46 years, 90 days British Open
174 2022 Stuart Bingham (9) 45 years, 308 days Gibraltar Open
159 2020 John Higgins (11) 45 years, 165 days Championship League
157 2020 John Higgins (10) 45 years, 80 days World Championship
175 2022 Graeme Dott (2) 44 years, 334 days World Championship (Q)
180 2022 Marco Fu (5) 44 years, 273 days Hong Kong Masters
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Fastest Ever 147

DerHexer, Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-sa 4.0, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Ronnie O'Sullivan, known as "The Rocket," holds the record for the fastest 147 snooker break. Achieved in just 5 minutes and 20 seconds during the 1997 World Snooker Championship, this remarkable feat had a significant impact on the sport. O'Sullivan's performance set a high standard for aspiring players, emphasizing speed, accuracy, and strategy in snooker. Many players still now strive to replicate his playing style to improve their performances.


First 147 break in the Shoot Out

Whilst Ronnie O Sullivan achieved the fastest 147 in a little over 5 minutes, no one in snooker thought there could possibly ever be one achieved in the snooker shoot-out with the 10 minute frame limit offering double the time. However, on 7th December 2023 in the first round Shaun 'The Magician' Murphy achieved just that, taking just over 7 minute to provide the ultimate entertainment to the snooker world - Whilst it was a full two minute longer than O'Sullivans, the conditions could not be more different with the racous crowd and the added pressure of having just 15 second reducing to 10 second per shot time limit and a total of ten. Muprhy says, hold my beer and clear the table with 2 minutes and 40 second left on the clock - Incredible! Watch the full 147 below


147 Breaks at the World Championships

In what must rank as one pinnacle of a snooker player's career, there have been just 14 occurrences of a 147 break at the snooker World Championship Finals up to the end of the 2023 season. However, the ultimate was Mark Selby scoring one in the final in 2023. Here is the complete list of World Championship maximum breaks.

147 # Year Player Opponent
2 1983 Cliff Thorburn Terry Griffiths
12 1992 Jimmy White Tony Drago
17 1995 Stephen Hendry (2) Jimmy White
20 1997 Ronnie O'Sullivan Mick Price
46 2003 Ronnie O'Sullivan (6) Marco Fu
51 2005 Mark Williams Robert Milkins
62 2008 Ronnie O'Sullivan (9) Mark Williams
63 2008 Ali Carter Peter Ebdon
68 2009 Stephen Hendry (9) Shaun Murphy
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The First 147 at the Crucible

By David Muscroft - http://cliffthorburn.ca/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=127602275

The first 147 break to be made at the Snooker World Championships was made by Canadian Cliff Thorburn and also went down in history as the second officially recognised professional maximum 467 days after Steve Davis gained the first. Playing Terry Griffiths, the Welshman had fouled giving Thorburn 4 points to start and with a fluke to get things going, Thorburn won the frame 151-0 with countryman Bill Werbeniuk peeking around the divider. He made only one more in 1989 in the Mathroom league versus Jimmy White

The First v The Fastest

✨Thorburn's 147 may have been the first at the crucible 🎱, but its 16+ minute completion time was eclipsed 🕛 by Ronnie O'Sullivan's record-smashing speed 🚀


2024 World Snooker Championship Betting Odds

You can even bet on whether a player will make a 147 at the world championships, although the odds will not be so great such are the frequency these days. Online bookmakers offer odds on the World Championship year round

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147 Breaks in Snooker by Decade

Another way to measure whether 147s are getting easier to make is the frequency in which they were recorded, and the best way to measure this is by offering a year-on-year breakdown of official maximum breaks.


- 1980s: 

A total of 7 maximum breaks were scored during this decade, with the minimum days between breaks being 18 and the maximum days between breaks being 1389. On average, a maximum break occurred every 373 days.

- 1990s: 

This decade saw an increase, with 26 maximum breaks achieved. The minimum days between breaks was only 2, while the maximum was 679. The average frequency improved to one maximum break every 150 days.

- 2000s: 

The frequency continued to rise, as 35 maximum breaks were recorded during this decade. The minimum days between breaks decreased to just 1, and the maximum days between breaks reduced to 350. On average, a maximum break occurred every 99 days.

- 2010s: 

The most prolific decade so far, with 86 maximum breaks achieved. The minimum days between breaks reached zero, indicating back-to-back maximum breaks on occasions, and the maximum days between breaks reduced further to 300. The average frequency significantly improved, with a maximum break occurring approximately every 44 days.

Decade 147's Scored Min Days Between Max Days Between Average Frequency
1980s 7 18 1389 373
1990s 26 2 679 150
2000s 35 1 350 99
2010s 86 0 300 44
2020s        
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Note how the wait between 147 breaks occurring has come down as sharply as the occurrence has increased. From waiting up to 1389 days in the 80s to see one, and an average of 1 per year, snooker fans can now enjoy and expect to witness one on average every 44 days, and even more than once on the same day. 

Since Kyren Wilson made his second 147 and the first of the 2020s on February 11th, fans have had to wait only 34 days on average for another, 

So we see the exponential growth in scoring maximums throughout the decades, let's see that in table form now.

147 breaks in the 1980s

🎱 In the 1980s, a total of 8 ⭐ 147 breaks were achieved.

📅 The years 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, and 1989 witnessed at least one 147 break each.

💯 The most productive year for 147 breaks in the 80s was 1988, with 2 maximum breaks recorded.

Year 147s
1980 0
1981 0
1982 1
1983 1
1984 1
1985 0
1986 0
1987 1
1988 2
1989 2
Total in 80s 8
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147 breaks in the 1990s

🎱 In the 1990s, a total of 26 ⭐ 147 breaks were achieved.

📅 The years 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, and 1999 witnessed at least one 147 break each.

💯 The most productive year for 147 breaks in the 90s was 1999, with an impressive 10 maximum breaks recorded.

Year 147s
1990 0
1991 2
1992 5
1993 0
1994 1
1995 2
1996 0
1997 3
1998 3
1999 10
Total in 80s 26
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147 breaks in the 2000s

🎱 In the 2000s, a total of 35 ⭐ 147 breaks were achieved.

📅 The years 2000, 2007, and 2008 saw the highest number of 147 breaks with 7 each.

💯 The years 2001, 2003, and 2009 had a modest number of 147 breaks, with 2 each.

Year 147s
2000 7
2001 3
2002 1
2003 3
2004 2
2005 2
2006 2
2007 6
2008 7
2009 2
Total in 80s 35
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147 breaks in the 2010s

🎱 In the 2010s, a total of 86 ⭐ 147 breaks were achieved.

📅 The year 2018 had the highest number of 147 breaks with 12, closely followed by 2012 with 11.

💯 Consistency was seen in the years 2011, 2016, and 2019, with 9 maximum breaks each.

Year 147s
2010 7
2011 9
2012 11
2013 6
2014 8
2015 6
2016 10
2017 8
2018 12
2019 9
Total in 80s 86
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147 breaks this decade

🎱 A total of 47 ⭐ 147 breaks have been achieved so far.

📅 The years 2022 and 2023 have seen the highest number of 147 breaks with 11.

💯 The years 2020 and 2021 also showed impressive performances with 9 and 8 maximum breaks respectively.

Year 147s
2020 9
2021 8
2022 11
2023 11
2024 8
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From 1982 to 1990, you can see that maximums were somewhat few and far between. The first three years of the table and 1987 recorded just one. 1985 and 1986 saw nothing at all and it would not be until 1988 where more than one was added to the history books.

Between 1982 and 1998 there were just 24 maximums taken off the table – an average of 1.41 per year but in 1999 there was something of a 147 explosion. 10 recorded in a single year, more than the five previous years put together with Hendy and O'Sullivan contributing 2 a pie

Were snooker players getting better? Were more tournaments being played? Was there a greater incentive to aim for a 147? The answer actually lies somewhere between these three factors as maximum breaks suddenly became more of a regular occurrence.

There is no doubt that snooker had evolved by the time Ronnie O’Sullivan started to truly put his mark on the sport and with a proliferation of televised tournaments towards the turn of the millennium the opportunities to perform had also increased.

The Biggest 147 prize

💰💯 Ronnie O'Sullivan's incredible maximum break at the 1997 World Championship earned him a whopping £165,000! 💸💥 He received £147,000 for the 147 itself, plus an additional £18,000 for the highest break. 🏆🎱 #SnookerLegends

World Snooker introduced a roll-over system for the maximum break prize money, the "rolling 147 prize". This meant that a maximum break is worth £5,000 in the televised stages and £500 in qualifying stages of major ranking events.

The 147 Maximum Break Trend

Another way to look at this is whether more 147s are being recorded in recent years as an overall trend and the best way to do this is by ranking the years in maximum breaks order: 

Year 147s
2018 12
2022 11
2012 11
2023 11
2016 10
1999 10
2020 9
2019 9
2011 9
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There is not a direct cascade from more maximum breaks in 2023 back to 1982 but there is certainly something when it comes to the correlation between recent years and the proliferation of 147s being recorded. 

For example, three of the five highest ranking years have been recorded in the past decade. The most ever maximums in a single year was back in 2018, when 12 were made. Four years later and 11 were made comparison. Not to overlook 2016 either as they chimed in with 10 maximum’s that year. 

If we took the last decade – 2014 to 2023 and plotted where these years finished in the rank above, we can get an even better idea of increased performance:

Year 147s Status
2018 12 Last Decade
2022 11 Last Decade
2012 11  
2023 11 Last Decade
2016 10 Last Decade
1999 10  
2020 9 Last Decade
2019 9 Last Decade
2011 9  
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Of the 10 years in the past decade, they are all found within the first 16 years of the ranking table above. To make things even more interesting, 13 of the past 14 years (2010 to 2023) are also found in the same list. 

Therefore, we can say with a large amount of confidence that we are seeing more and more maximums being made in recent years. Once again, it goes back to those three central reasons:

🚀 Increased Performance 💪

There is no argument that the strength in dept of quality among the top snooker players today is far deeper than it was prior to the first 147 being made and for arguably 20 years after that

🔥 Increased Opportunity 🌟

There are far more competitive events on the annual snooker tour these days compared with the 80s and 90s, and thus many more matches and frames to be played in which a maximum can be achieved, including a host of qualifying events for the big tournaments.

💰 Increased Incentive 💥

This is slightly tenuous as at its peak, £147,000 could be won for a maximum in the 1990s - That has diminished somewhat, with a perfect snooker break being only worth £40,000 since being reintroduced in 2022. In the televised stages of major ranking events, it is worth £5,000, while in the qualifying stages, it carries a reward of £500. Similarly, Players Tour Championship events offer a prize of £500 from the last 128 onwards. If a maximum break is not achieved, the prize accumulates and carries over to the next event until someone hits the 36-ball break for a maximum score.

Now of course, Saudi Arabia are upping the price money for their event, for a 167 golden Ball maximum to $1,000,000 in 2025.

147 Breaks: The Thrill That Never Fades!

🌟⬆️ While there's been an uptick in 147s recorded, their rarity remains intact, adding to the excitement! 💥🤩 Witnessing a perfect break still holds its magic – a thrilling sight in the world of snooker!

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Maximum Breaks and Game-Changing Moments

While that excitement can also be measured by maximum breaks that have also decided games. 29 of the original count of 190 have seen a sporting cherry added on top. Nine have also been the difference between victory and despair.

No. Player Tournament Year Round
1 Stephen Hendry Charity Challenge 1997 Deciding Frame
2 Mark Williams World Championship 2005  
3 Ronnie O'Sullivan UK Championship 2007 Deciding Frame
4 Ronnie O'Sullivan World Championship 2008  
5 Barry Hawkins Players Tour Championship 2010/2011 – Event 3 2010  
6 Ronnie O'Sullivan World Open 2010  
7 Matthew Stevens Players Tour Championship 2011/2012 – Event 12 2011  
8 Ding Junhui Players Tour Championship 2011/2012 – Event 11 2011  
9 Andy Hicks UK Championship 2012  
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Hendry's 147 above can be seen in our list of best snooker matches from the 80s and 90s

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Every Competitive 147 in Snooker History

If you have got this far you must love your snooker, and to save you going off to find evermore detail, we have a list of every 147 break made in snooker history.

No. Date Year Player Event
1 11 January 1982 1982 Steve Davis Classic
2 23 April 1983 1983 Cliff Thorburn World Championship
3 28 January 1984 1984 Kirk Stevens Masters
4 17 November 1987 1987 Willie Thorne UK Championship
5 20 February 1988 1988 Tony Meo Matchroom League
6 24 September 1988 1988 Alain Robidoux European Open (Q)
7 18 February 1989 1989 John Rea Scottish Professional Championship
8 8 March 1989 1989 Cliff Thorburn (2) Matchroom League
9 16 January 1991 1991 James Wattana World Masters
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147 Snooker Breaks Facts and Quiz Questions


FAQ

147 Snooker Breaks FAQs

  • Who made the first 147 Break in Competitive Snooker?

    80's legend Steve Davis was the first to achieve the ultimate 147 break in a competitive game on 11th January 1982 at the Classic, aged 24 years and 142 days, his opponent on that day was John Spencer

  • Who made the 1st 147 break at the Snooker World Championships

    Canadian player Cliff Thorburn the first 147 break at the Crucible theatre in Sheffield on 23rd April 1983, playing Terry Griffiths. It was the 2nd only 147 after Steve Davis some 467 days earlier.

  • Who was the First Player to make more than one 147 break

    Cliff Thorburn created more history in snooker by becoming the first player to make a 2nd 147 break. It took some 2613 days to achieve, coming 7 Years, 1 Month, 3 Weeks, 6 Days, after his first on 8th March 1989 against Jimmy White in the Matchroom League.

  • Who was the first player to make a 147 break three times?

    Stephen Hendry was the first player to rack up a hat trick of 147 breaks in snooker, despite not making one before Cliff Thorburn hit his second. Hendry made his first in 1992, then had to wait until 1995 to make the other pair to complete the trio, albeit coming in consecutive seasons—the second at the World Championships and the third in the following season's UK championship.

    No. Date Year Player Event
    1 11 January 1982 1982 Steve Davis Classic
    2 23 April 1983 1983 Cliff Thorburn World Championship
    3 28 January 1984 1984 Kirk Stevens Masters
    4 17 November 1987 1987 Willie Thorne UK Championship
    5 20 February 1988 1988 Tony Meo Matchroom League
    6 24 September 1988 1988 Alain Robidoux European Open (Q)
    7 18 February 1989 1989 John Rea Scottish Professional Championship
    8 8 March 1989 1989 Cliff Thorburn (2) Matchroom League
    9 16 January 1991 1991 James Wattana World Masters
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  • Who made the 100th 147 Break in Snooker?

    Mark Selby was the player to make the 100th 147 break in snooker at the UK championship on 7th December 2013 against Ricky Walden. Selby's 2nd maximum followed his first on 5th June 2009 against Joe Perry in the Jiangsu Classic some 1646 days later.

  • Who made the 147th 147 break in Snooker?

    Dave Gilbert famously achieved the perfect statistic of the 147th 147 break on 22nd January 2019 in the Championship league playing Stephen Maguire. It took 1872 days to reach this milestone after Mark Selby made the 100th, and 37 Years, 2 Weeks, 5 Days after Steve Davis made the first.

  • What is the shortest time between 147 breaks?

    147 breaks have been made on the same day just once in snooker history when Michael Georgiou, and Jamie Jones both achieved a 147 on the 24th August 2018 in the Paul Hunter Classic. Unfortunately they were not playing each other but Umut Dikme and Lee Walker respectively

  • How Many 147 breaks have been made at the Snooker World Championships

    At the end of the 2023 snooker season, 14 maximum breaks had been made at the World Championship finals at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Both Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry have made 3 each, whilst Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ali Carter (2008) and Kyren Wilson and Mark Selby (2023) have achieved it in the same year

Author and Contributor Information

The maximum break article was the passion project of Steve Madgwick our Editor-in-Chief, a huge snooker fan and amateur league player. Abely assisted by fellow player and OLBG Snooker Expert Darren Brett and data analyst Dan Tracey

Darren Brett

Darren Brett

Tipster competition manager

Darren has worked in the horseracing and gambling industries for over thirty years and has been writing about sport for most of that time. He has been the Tipster Competiton Manager at OLBG for over fifteen years, as well as overseeing our sister site, Grand National Guide. Darren's specialist areas are National Hunt racing, snooker and golf.

👨‍🏫 Specialist Subjects🔬📚

🏇 🏁 Darren has worked in the horse racing and greyhound racing industry for decades bringing to OLBG for the last 20 years a wealth of knowledge, creating much of our content on these sports. Darren also manages our Grand National Guide and is the go-to font of knowledge for the world's greatest steeplechase.

🎱🏆 Darren is also a huge Snooker fan attending many events every year and a regular player in his free time.

⚽ A QPR fan, Darren also follows English League football with a close eye on the Hoops games.

Dan Tracey

Dan Tracey

Data scientist and football editor

Dan Tracey is a multi-talented writer, data analyst and podcaster whose six-year career in the sports data sphere has seen incredible successes. From helping UEFA create their annual technical reports to writing articles for Sports Betting Websites including sites like TheLinesUS and Goal - there's no shortage of areas where his expertise shines through! In addition, he can be heard on podcasts lending an insightful voice as well as providing weekly betting angles - all culminating with him teaming up OLBG.com in the present day. Simply put: wherever you find angled data being crunched? You'll also likely find Dan not far behind!

👨‍🏫 Specialist Subjects🔬📚

Dan's specialist area is data; and lots of it! Wherever we need numbers to create our unique deep dive articles, Dan is our go-to. Dan is also a Tottenham Fan and a football commentator for Newcastle Blue Star

Steve Madgwick

Steve Madgwick

Editor-in-chief

Steve is our Editor-In-Chief with over 20 years of experience creating and managing high-quality sports betting content for OLBG & multiple other publications. An avid traveller, Steve has lived and worked in Gozo, Malta, and more recently Spain before moving back to the UK in 2022. Today Steve manages all content on OLBG and oversees our SEO. He was brought up with horse racing, attending tracks in the South East, most frequently, Goodwood, Fontwell and Brighton, and his knowledge of online slot games is unrivalled. 

.👨‍🏫 Specialist Subjects🔬📚

🎱🏆 Steve is first a foremost a snooker nut, with a dedicated screen in the office for ensuring every event is showing when televised. A regular visitor to The Crucible for the World Championships, his favourite players are Dominic Dale and Judd Trump having followed the latter since seeing him play aged just 11. Fascinated with Statistics and the sport in general, he is also an amateur league player with a high break of 72

⚽ A Portsmouth fan for 40 years, Steve has seen action in every Division of English football and followed his team to Europe and the FA Cup final twice. 

🏇 A former leading horse racing tipster on OLBG, those days are long gone, but he still lives for National Hunt racing and of course the Cheltenham Festival.

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