The 20th – and final – ranking event of the 2018/19 snooker season is upon us and it’s The Big One… The Worlds. The 2019 World Snooker Championship sees the very best of the best fight it out (though not literally) to decide who gets their hands on the ultimate prize in snooker. After all, there’s no greater title in any sport than ‘World Champion’, is there?
A fortnight of the world’s most prestigious snooker event is guaranteed to offer plenty of baize-based thrills n’ spills. We’ll be following all the action intently. We assume you will be too. Before it all begins and you tune in, why not get up to speed with our guide to the The Betfred 2019 World Snooker Championship…?
Where’s it taking place?
Norfolk Street in Sheffield has a famous little theatre called The Crucible. Ostensibly there to house plays and the like, it’s more synonymous with this competition than anything else. The Crucible has been the home of the Worlds since the dawn of punk, 1977. There’s nothing rough n’ ready about the place, though. It’s pristine and an ideal place to host snooker’s number one event.
When’s it on?
The first round matches kick off on Saturday April the 20th. And the competition wraps up on Sunday 6th May, when the final sees a winner from the tournament’s two best players.
The TV coverage
Just like every year, the good ol’ BBC will be on hand in Sheffield to bring us all the cue action. They’ll be showing all it all over the fortnight across BBC One and Two. Don’t fret if you’re busy on some of the days, though. The Beeb’s highlights packages in the evenings on BBC Two are on hand to indulge your potting predilections.
Can’t find a live match? Check the BBC Red Button – it might be on there. Can’t find it there either? Have a gander at the online coverage over on the BBC’s Snooker site.
Eurosport will be showing the tournament too. As will World Snooker, via their Facebook page.
The format for the 2019 World Championships is the same as ever and couldn’t be simpler. It’s a straight knockout competition with a total of 32 entrants. 16 of competitors make it there courtesy of their ranking (ie, they’re in The Top 16,), while the other 16 make the Worlds through an often quite gruelling qualification process.
There’s the First Round (best of 19 frames), the Second Round (best of 25), four Quarter Finals (25), two Semi Finals (33) and – of course – the Final (best of 35 frames). See? Easy.
The reigning champion
Last year saw something of a slight surprise as two veterans duked it out in the final. Mark Williams eventually won, beating Scotsman John Higgins 18-16 (in what was a truly epic final) to win his 21st ranking title and third world championship.
Williams had promised earlier in the tournament that if he won he would attend the press coverage nude. The Welshman was, unfortunately, good to his word…
It’s an image we could’ve done without.
The prize fund
For the first time in the competition’s history, the prize money on offer will top £2m (it’s £2,231,000, to be exact).
Here’s how it breaks down:
Last 16: £30,000
Last 32: £20,000
Last 48: £15,000
Last 80: £10,000
Televised highest break: £10,000
Non-televised highest break: £1,000
As ever, Ronnie’s the huge favourite to win and he’s always the man to beat. At 7/4 though, he’s just not backable. Judd Trump is the best of the rest and 4/1 might appeal to big stakers. But for us, we’ll look down the betting…
John Higgins isn’t having a particularly good year so far. Nor is defending champ Mark Williams. But both are wily pros that are suited to this kind of tournament. Higgins is available at 20/1 and Williams can be backed at the same price. The Scotsman is, perhaps, the second best player to ever pick up a cue (although Stephen Hendry may dispute that). So 20s is a very nice price. Form or not.
For an even bigger outside shot, why not have a tiny each-way tickle on Ryan Day? He’s made the quarters three times before, is playing well and represents top value at 66/1.
If you don’t fancy either of Higgins of Day and can find 16s or better on Kyren Wilson, maybe back the Kettering man. We always do because we love his game and we’re convinced he’s a future world champion. Who knows? Maybe this is his year…
There’s nothing quite like watching dozens of snooker matches played by professionals to make you want to remind yourself how woeful you are at the game. But still, snooker’s fun to play. It doesn’t matter how bad you are. Remember – you’re always welcome down Rileys for a few frames of snooker. Plus you can always give up and just play pool instead…