Several players have a reputation of being cool under pressure, but just who is the king of the snooker deciders?
According to the stats website CueTracker, a total of 43 players have participated in more than 200 snooker deciders in professional competition.
Let’s count down the ten nerveless competitors with the best win percentages, with some of the names probably set to surprise you.
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Now onto the top ten.
10. Graeme Dott
Deciders: 295 / Won: 166 / Percentage: 56.27%
Just about squeezing into the top ten of this list is the former world snooker champion, Graeme Dott.
As of September 2022, the Scot actually boasts the exact same win percentage as Neil Robertson, but Dott has prevailed in 166 deciders – 18 more than the Australian.
As one of the most tenacious competitors in the game, it’s hardly a surprise to see Dott feature here.
9. Robert Milkins
Deciders: 215 / Won: 121 / Percentage: 56.28%
More of a shock, however, are the next two players on this list – starting with this year’s Gibraltar Open champion Robert Milkins.
Milkins has built a reputation based more on his natural talent and speed around the table, rather than his grittiness at the business end of matches.
But the stats don’t lie, and it turns out that the Milkman does indeed deliver more often than not when it matters most.
8. Michael Holt
Deciders: 233 / Won: 132 / Percentage: 56.65%
Michael Holt is probably another player who few would have predicted to place so highly.
If anything, the Hitman has earned a standing throughout his career of failing to live up to expectations.
Yet, as it turns out Holt – who dropped off the Main Tour at the end of last season – has proven his mettle in snooker deciders on 132 occasions.
7. Mark Selby
Deciders: 339 / Won: 194 / Percentage: 57.23%
It was never a case of if Mark Selby would rank on this list, but more a case of where?
And to be honest, it’s probably a little bit of a surprise that the Jester doesn’t place higher – especially given his other common nickname as the Master of Brinkmanship.
That said, while Selby’s win percentage is good enough for only seventh here, his 194 deciding-frame victories is the third-highest overall and just one behind the next self-assured battler in this top ten.
6. John Higgins
Deciders: 334 / Won: 195 / Percentage: 58.38%
Like Selby, John Higgins is regarded as one of the best all-round players the game has ever produced, and one who has to be scraped off the table.
The four-time world champion’s total of 195 final-frame triumphs ranks behind only Mark Williams (207) in terms of matches won through deciders.
One of Higgins’ most famous deciding-frame successes was his 10-9 defeat of Williams to land the 2010 UK Championship crown.
5. Steve Davis
Deciders: 260 / Won: 153 / Percentage: 58.85%
Into the top five, and six-time former world champion Steve Davis sneaks ahead of Higgins and Selby.
Davis lost the most famous decider in the history of the sport in 1985 with defeat to Dennis Taylor in the World Championship final.
However, in general he gave as good as he got when his back was against the wall, winning 153 of 260 deciders in professional competition.
4. Stephen Maguire
Deciders: 269 / Won: 160 / Percentage: 59.48%
While Stephen Maguire is regarded as one of the feistiest protagonists on the Main Tour, his status as the fourth most prolific deciding-frame winner may surprise some.
The Scot is known just as well for his tendency to implode when things aren’t going his way, but these stats suggest a deeper level of grit within.
Maguire secured triumphs in both the 2008 China Open and the 2013 Welsh Open via deciders.
3. Ding Junhui
Deciders: 207 / Won: 124 / Percentage: 59.9%
There are many who think that Ding Junhui gives up too tamely when a tie gets close or he struggles to produce his A-game.
However, here the Chinese star lies in the top three, implying that there’s perhaps more fight in there than meets the eye.
Among those on this list, Ding has participated in the fewest final-frame encounters, but his win percentage rate of 59.9% is still impressive.
2. Stephen Hendry
Deciders: 227 / Won: 138 / Percentage: 60.79%
Stephen Hendry is one of only two players to have a win percentage rate of more than 60%.
The Scot’s most famous deciding-frame victory was in 1994 when he denied Jimmy White World Championship glory in Sheffield.
Hendry also memorably fought back from 8-2 behind to beat Mike Hallett 9-8 in the final of the 1991 Masters.
1. Ronnie O’Sullivan
Deciders: 260 / Won: 161 / Percentage: 61.92%
Another record for the one and only Ronnie O’Sullivan, who tops this list as the king of the snooker deciders with an incredible win rate of 61.92%.
O’Sullivan is rated more for his ability to steamroll opponents, but this underlines his prowess when matches get tight too.
Five of the Rocket’s 39 ranking titles have been won courtesy of deciders, but possibly his most famous close clash overall was a 17-16 semi-final defeat of Mark Selby at the Crucible Theatre in 2020.
Featured photo credit: WST