Alexandra Palace is currently playing host to the 39th Masters snooker tournament as the world’s leading players battle it out for a top prize of £175,000.
Neil Robertson is second favourite at 15/8 to defend his title behind Mark Selby heading into the semi-final stages and Shaun Murphy and Graeme Dott are also contenders.
Ahead of an intriguing weekend of snooker action, we have delved into the record books to bring you 20 interesting stats from the sport’s illustrious history.
John Spencer won the inaugural Masters tournament in 1975 by defeating Ray Reardon 9-8 on a re-spotted black in the final frame.
Neil Robertson is the only Australian player to win the Masters.
The most successful player in Masters history is Stephen Hendry, who won the event six times.
There have been 96 official 147 breaks in professional competitions, which is the maximum number of points that a player can score in a single frame of snooker.
When he won the Masters in 1976, Welsh legend Ray Reardon pocketed just £2,000 compared to the six-figure fee up for grabs in this year’s event.
Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan have 11 maximum breaks each, more than any other player in history.
Until 2011, the highest amount of prize money awarded for a maximum break was in six figures. Ronnie O’Sullivan won £165,000 for hitting one at the 1997 World Championship.
Total prize money for the highest break in a major televised tournament like the Masters is currently around £5,000.
Stephen Hendry holds the record for the highest number of century breaks (breaks of over 100 points) at 775.
China plays host to five ranking events, plus four other tournaments. As a result, snooker is now one of the most popular sports in the country.
Whenever broadcast, snooker tournaments often get audiences in excess of 100 million in China, making it more popular than football.
Beijing alone is thought to be home to as many as 1,000 snooker clubs.
The longest frame of snooker ever played in an official tournament was between Shaun Murphy and Dave Harold and lasted just over 93 minutes at the Honghe Industrial Open in 2008.
Ronnie O’Sullivan hit a 147 in just five minutes and 20 seconds in the 1997 World Championship and averaged a shot every 8.8 seconds.
Only 10 players have been ranked world number one in the history of snooker.
Widely regarded as the greatest player ever, Stephen Hendry’s career earnings are thought to exceed £8million.
Sir Neville Chamberlain is credited with inventing snooker as a way to entertain bored soldiers stationed in India in the late 1800s. The initial game consisted of 15 reds and four coloured balls (yellow, green, pink and black).
Snooker balls were originally made out of ivory.
Steve Davis became snooker’s first millionaire following his domination of the sport in the 1980s.
Jimmy White became the first left-handed player to record a maximum break at the World Championship.