18th February 2024 - Gary Wilson makes the Latest 147 in Snooker
Gary made the 199th maximum break in snooker, on 17th February 2024 in the Welsh Open. It was his 5th career maximum, when playing John Higgins who had scored his 13th maxi just seven days earlier
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 199 officially recognised 147 breaks recorded by 18th February 2024 when Gary Wilson made a 147 in a 151-0 frame score against John Higgins in the semi-final of the Welsh Open going on to win the match 6-4. 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 well underway - Follow the 147s this season as we count them down to find out who grabs a landmark maxi.
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
To date, no fewer than 77 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.
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
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
Youngest Players to make a 147
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
🏆 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
Fastest Ever 147
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 players career, there have been just 14 occurrences of a 147 break at the snooker World Championships up to the end of the 2023 season, although the ultimate was Mark Selby scoring on in the final in 2023. Here is the complete list of World Championship maximum breaks.
🎱 World Snooker Championship Preview and Form
The First 147 at the Crucible
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
|World Championship 2024 04 Mar @ 15:19 - Win Tournament
The Best Snooker Betting Sites for 2024
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
147 breaks this decade
🎱 A total of 44 ⭐ 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.
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:
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:
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.
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!
How Much Can Snooker Players Earn? Top 100 Ranked in ££
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.
Hendry's 147 above can be seen in our list of best snooker matches from the 80s and 90s
7 of the Best Snooker Matches of the 80's & 90's
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.
147 Snooker Breaks Facts and Quiz Questions
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.
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
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