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Top 10: best maximum 147 breaks in snooker

Players have been compiling them for decades, but what are the best maximum 147 breaks in snooker?

As of December in 2023, there have been 194 maximums in professional competition on the main tour.

All of them have been special considering the difficulty involved, but even so, there have been a number of 147 breaks that have stood out above the rest.

When and where they were constructed, under which pressure-cooker situations, and with what degree of style and finesse are all important aspects to consider.

Some of your favourites might not make the cut, so let us know your opinion in the comments section below.

This, however, is the SnookerHQ.com top ten list for the best maximum 147 breaks in snooker history.

10. Ronnie O’Sullivan

vs Mark King in the 2010 World Open

Having compiled a record 15 maximum 147 breaks, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ronnie O’Sullivan has contributed a few of the best in history.

Playing Mark King at the 2010 World Open, O’Sullivan audaciously asked referee Jan Verhaas about the maximum break prize near the start of his visit in the third frame.

Upon learning that there was only £4,000 on offer for the tournament’s high break, an unhappy O’Sullivan proceeded to pot all the reds with blacks before clearing from yellow to pink.

Hoping to underline his point to the authorities regarding the lack of a proper bonus, O’Sullivan initially refused to pot the final black before finally slamming it down the pocket after being urged to by the referee, much to the adulation of the paying fans.

9. James Wattana

vs Tony Drago in the 1992 British Open

Before O’Sullivan rocketed his way into the history books with the fastest 147 breaks, there was James Wattana.

The Thai-Phoon actually had the honour of being the early pace-setter in this department thanks to his super effort at the 1992 British Open.

Wattana’s maximum in just over seven minutes was an amazing achievement, but any sense of joy quickly turned to sorrow.

Immediately after beating Tony Drago en route to a place in the final, Wattana discovered that his father had been murdered by gunshot in Thailand.

8. Marco Fu

vs John Higgins in the 2022 Hong Kong Masters

Once a consistent member of the top 16 and a regular presence at the business end of tournaments, by 2022 Marco Fu had already been struggling for several seasons.

But an invitation to play in the Hong Kong Masters that year inspired the former world number five to roll back the years on home soil.

Fu was eventually denied glory by O’Sullivan in a close final, but in the penultimate round he upset John Higgins with a 6-5 scoreline.

In the decider amid a frenzied atmosphere and with more than 6,000 fans inside the arena, Fu clinched victory with a spine-tingling 147 break.

best maximum 147 breaks
Mark Selby receives congratulations from referee Brendan Moore. Photo credit: WST

7. Mark Selby

vs Luca Brecel in the 2023 World Championship

There have been several 147 breaks in finals over the years, and some of them rank even higher on this list.

But to produce the perfect frame in a World Championship final is something very special indeed.

In 2023, Mark Selby reached his fifth title decider in ten Crucible editions and was ultimately denied a fifth success in Sheffield by an inspired Luca Brecel.

However, the Leicester man’s moment of magic during the second session will live long in the memory, a display that raised the roof at the sport’s most iconic venue.

6. Stephen Hendry

vs Ronnie O’Sullivan in the 1997 Charity Challenge

The 1997 Charity Challenge final between Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan is widely considered among the best showdowns for silverware ever.

Hendry compiled a hat-trick of century breaks to establish a seemingly commanding 8-2 advantage.

O’Sullivan stormed back with three tons of his own to level the tie at 8-8, forcing a tantalising deciding frame for glory.

Typically unfazed as the undisputed best player in the world of the decade, Hendry duly orchestrated an incredible 147 break to convincingly prevent his opponent from a late snatch and grab.

5. Ronnie O’Sullivan

vs Ding Junhui in the 2014 Welsh Open

At the 2014 Welsh Open, O’Sullivan was looking to quickly wrap up victory as he played Ding Junhui in the final.

Already in front by five frames and with just one more needed to triumph in the event for a third time, O’Sullivan got in early and began to coast to the winning line.

The Englishman has clinched a match victory with a 147 break on six occasions – including in a decider against Mark Selby at the 2007 UK Championship.

But this one arguably represents the best of those, and it certainly features one of the best shots – a magnificent left-handed deep screw on the 15th red to land perfectly on the black.

4. Cliff Thorburn

vs Terry Griffiths in the 1983 World Championship

By 1983, snooker and its flagship tournament had become synonymous with the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Fast forward 40 years and Selby’s previously mentioned maximum would bring the total number of 147s at the famous venue to 14.

However, there aren’t many that can top the first, and it was Canada’s Cliff Thorburn who had the honour of conjuring it.

What began with a fluked red ended with the 1981 world champion sinking to his knees, raising his cue above his head in celebration, and creating snooker history.

3. Steve Davis

vs John Spencer in the 1982 Classic

Speaking of carving history, while Thorburn’s was the first at the Crucible, it wasn’t the first 147 to be officially made in competition.

A year earlier in 1982, Steve Davis orchestrated the maiden max on television during his encounter with John Spencer in the Classic.

Sponsored by Lada, Davis’ prize was a car by the manufacturer, which was probably a satisfactory bonus at the time but has become a tale of mockery since.

Spare a thought for Spencer, whose 147 in 1979 could have been the first but was deemed to be done on a table that wasn’t officially ratified, and the television crew also missed his big moment while dillydallying on a tea break.

best maximum 147 breaks
Shaun Murphy compiled the Shoot Out break in seven minutes and 35 seconds. Photo credit: WST

2. Shaun Murphy

vs Bulcsu Revesz in the 2023 Snooker Shoot Out

One of the best maximum 147 breaks in history is also the most recent, with Shaun Murphy moving straight up into the top two on this list.

The Magician lived up to his nickname and then some courtesy of his wizardry at the 2023 Snooker Shoot Out.

Defying shot clocks and a rowdy crowd who, in keeping with the theme of the tournament, continued to chant and cheer even when he was down on his final shots, Murphy cleared up in style.

One fan encouraged Murphy not to “bottle it”. Many would have, but with adrenaline pumping, the 2005 world champion remained calm under immense pressure.

1. Ronnie O’Sullivan

vs Mick Price in the 1997 World Championship

The fastest and the greatest, the 147 break by Ronnie O’Sullivan at the 1997 World Championship will take some beating.

O’Sullivan potted all 36 balls in a record time of five minutes and eight seconds, and it seems highly unlikely that it will ever be eclipsed.

The seven-time world champion recently admitted that the reason he was potting them so quickly was because he was unhappy with his game and worried that he was going to miss.

He didn’t miss, thus producing not only one of the best maximum 147 breaks in snooker history, but one of the best sporting moments ever too.


List of official 147 breaks

(Last updated: Dec 8, 2023)

1. Steve Davis – 1982 Lada Classic
2. Cliff Thorburn – 1983 World Championship
3. Kirk Stevens – 1984 Masters
4. Willie Thorne – 1987 UK Championship
5. Tony Meo – 1988 Matchroom League
6. Alain Robidoux – 1988 European Open
7. John Rea – 1989 Scottish Championship
8. Cliff Thorburn – 1989 Matchroom League
9. James Wattana – 1991 World Masters
10. Peter Ebdon – 1991 Strachan Professional
11. James Wattana – 1992 British Open
12. Jimmy White – 1992 World Championship
13. John Parrott – 1992 Matchroom League
14. Stephen Hendry – 1992 Matchroom League
15. Peter Ebdon – 1992 UK Championship
16. David McDonnell – 1994 British Open
17. Stephen Hendry – 1995 World Championship
18. Stephen Hendry – 1995 UK Championship
19. Stephen Hendry – 1997 Charity Challenge
20. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 1997 World Championship

21. James Wattana – 1997 China International Challenge
22. Stephen Hendry – 1998 Premier League
23. Adrian Gunnell – 1998 Thailand Masters (Q)
24. Mehmet Husnu – 1998 China International (Q)
25. Jason Prince – 1999 British Open (Q)
26. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 1999 Welsh Open
27. Stuart Bingham – 1999 UK Tour
28. Nick Dyson – 1999 UK Tour
29. Graeme Dott – 1999 British Open
30. Stephen Hendry – 1999 British Open
31. Barry Pinches – 1999 Welsh Open
32. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 1999 Grand Prix
33. Karl Burrows – 1999 B&H Championship
34. Stephen Hendry – 1999 UK Championship
35. John Higgins – 2000 Nations Cup
36. John Higgins – 2000 Irish Masters
37. Stephen Maguire – 2000 Scottish Open
38. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2000 Scottish Open
39. Marco Fu – 2000 Scottish Masters
40. David McLellan – 2000 B&H Championship

41. Nick Dyson – 2000 UK Championship
42. Stephen Hendry – 2001 Malta Grand Prix
43. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2001 LG Cup
44. Shaun Murphy – 2001 B&H Championship
45. Tony Drago – 2002 B&H Championship
46. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2003 World Championship
47. John Higgins – 2003 LG Cup
48. John Higgins – 2003 British Open
49. John Higgins – 2004 Grand Prix
50. David Gray – 2004 UK Championship
51. Mark Williams – 2005 World Championship
52. Stuart Bingham – 2005 Masters (Q)
53. Robert Milkins -2006 World Championship (Q)
54. Jamie Cope – 2006 Grand Prix
55. Ding Junhui – 2007 Masters
56. Andrew Higginson – 2007 Welsh Open
57. Jamie Burnett – 2007 Grand Prix
58. Tom Ford – 2007 Grand Prix
59. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2007 Northern Ireland Trophy
60. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2007 UK Championship

61. Stephen Maguire – 2008 China Open
62. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2008 World Championship
63. Ali Carter – 2008 World Championship
64. Jamie Cope – 2008 Shanghai Masters
65. Liang Wenbo – 2008 Bahrain Championship (Q)
66. Marcus Campbell – 2008 Bahrain Championship
67. Ding Junhui – 2008 UK Championship
68. Stephen Hendry – 2009 World Championship
69. Mark Selby – 2009 Jiangsu Classic
70. Neil Robertson – 2010 China Open
71. Kurt Maflin – 2010 PTC1
72. Barry Hawkins – 2010 PTC3
73. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2010 World Open
74. Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon – 2010 Rüsselsheim Open
75. Mark Williams – 2010 Rüsselsheim Open
76. Rory McLeod – 2010 Prague Open
77. Stephen Hendry – 2011 Welsh Open
78. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2011 Paul Hunter Classic
79. Mike Dunn – 2011 German Masters
80. David Gray – 2011 PTC10

81. Ricky Walden – 2011 PTC10
82. Matthew Stevens – 2011 PTC12
83. Ding Junhui – 2011 PTC12
84. Ding Junhui – 2011 PTC11
85. Jamie Cope – 2011 PTC11
86. Marco Fu – 2012 Haikou World Open (Q)
87. Robert Milkins – 2012 World Championship (Q)
88. Stephen Hendry – 2012 World Championship
89. Stuart Bingham – 2012 Wuxi Classic
90. Ken Doherty – 2012 Paul Hunter Classic
91. John Higgins – 2012 Shanghai Masters
92. Tom Ford – 2012 Bulgarian Open
93. Andy Hicks – 2012 UK Championship (Q)
94. Jack Lisowski – 2012 UK Championship (Q)
95. John Higgins – 2012 UK Championship
96. Kurt Maflin – 2012 Ravenscraig Open
97. Ding Junhui – 2013 Players Championship
98. Neil Robertson 2013 Wuxi Classic (Q)
99. Judd Trump – 2013 Antwerp Open
100. Mark Selby – 2013 UK Championship

101. Dechawat Poomjaeng – 2013 German Masters (Q)
102. Gary Wilson – 2013 German Masters (Q)
103. Shaun Murphy – 2014 Championship League
104. Shaun Murphy – 2014 Gdynia Open
105. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2014 Welsh Open
106. Aditya Mehta – 2014 Paul Hunter Classic
107. Ryan Day – 2014 Haining Open
108. Shaun Murphy – 2014 Ruhr Open
109. Ronnie O’Sullivan 2014 UK Championship
110. Ben Woollaston – 2014 Lisbon Open
111. Barry Hawkins – 2015 Championship League
112. Marco Fu – 2015 Masters
113. Judd Trump – 2015 German Masters
114. David Gilbert – 2015 Championship League
115. Neil Robertson – 2015 UK Championship
116. Marco Fu – 2015 Gibraltar Open
117. Ding Junhui – 2016 Welsh Open
118. Fergal O’Brien – 2016 Championship League
119. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh – 2016 Paul Hunter Classic
120. Stephen Maguire – 2016 Shanghai Masters

121. Shaun Murphy – 2016 European Masters (Q)
122. Alfie Burden – 2016 English Open
123. John Higgins – 2016 Northern Ireland Open
124. Mark Allen – 2016 UK Championship
125. Ali Carter – 2017 German Masters (Q)
126. Ross Muir – 2017 German Masters (Q)
127. Mark Davis – 2017 Championship League
128. Tom Ford – 2017 German Masters
129. Mark Davis – 2017 Championship League
130. Judd Trump – 2017 China Open
131. Gary Wilson – 2017 World Championship (Q)
132. Liang Wenbo – 2017 English Open
133. Kyren Wilson – 2017 International Championship
134. Cao Yupeng – 2017 Scottish Open
135. Martin Gould – 2018 Championship League
136. Luca Brecel – 2018 Championship League
137. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2018 China Open
138. Stuart Bingham – 2018 China Open
139. Liang Wenbo – 2018 World Championship (Q)
140. Michael Georgiou – 2018 Paul Hunter Classic

141. Jamie Jones – 2018 Paul Hunter Classic
142. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh – 2018 English Open
143. Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2018 English Open
144. Mark Selby – 2018 Champion of Champions
145. John Higgins – 2018 Scottish Open
146. Judd Trump – 2018 German Masters (Q)
147. David Gilbert – 2019 Championship League
148. Neil Robertson – 2019 Welsh Open
149. Noppon Sanegkham – 2019 Welsh Open
150. Zhou Yuelong – 2019 Indian Open
151. Stuart Bingham – 2019 China Open
152. Tom Ford – 2019 International Championship (Q)
153. Tom Ford – 2019 English Open
154. Stuart Bingham – 2019 Northern Ireland Open
155. Barry Hawkins – 2019 UK Championship
156. Kyren Wilson – 2020 Welsh Open
157. John Higgins – 2020 World Championship
158. Ryan Day – 2020 Championship League
159. John Higgins – 2020 Championship League
160. Shaun Murphy – 2020 German Masters (Q)

161. Judd Trump – 2020 Northern Ireland Open
162. Kyren Wilson – 2020 UK Championship
163. Stuart Bingham – 2020 UK Championship
164. Zhou Yuelong – 2020 Scottish Open
165. Stuart Bingham – 2021 Championship League
166. Gary Wilson – 2021 WST Pro Series
167. John Higgins – 2021 British Open
168. Ali Carter – 2021 British Open
169. Xiao Guodong – 2021 Scottish Open (Q)
170. Mark Allen, 2021 Northern Ireland Open
171. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, 2022 German Masters (Q)
172. Gary Wilson, 2021 UK Championship
173. Judd Trump, 2022 Turkish Masters
174. Stuart Bingham, 2022 Gibraltar Open
175. Graeme Dott, 2022 World Championship (Q)
176. Neil Robertson, 2022 World Championship
177. Zhang Anda, 2022 European Masters (Q)
178. Hossein Vafaei, 2022 European Masters (Q)
179. Mark Selby, 2022 British Open
180. Marco Fu, 2022 Hong Kong Masters

181. Judd Trump, 2022 Champion of Champions
182. Judd Trump, 2022 Scottish Open
183. Mark Williams, 2022 English Open
184. Robert Milkins, 2023 German Masters
185. Shaun Murphy, 2023 Welsh Open
186. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, 2023 WST Classic
187. Ryan Day, 2023 Tour Championship
188. Kyren Wilson, 2023 World Championship
189. Mark Selby, 2023 World Championship
190. Sean O’Sullivan, 2023 European Masters (Q)
191. Ryan Day, 2023 International Championship (Q)
192. Zhang Anda, 2023 International Championship
193. Xu Si, 2023 UK Championship (Q)
194. Shaun Murphy, 2023 Snooker Shoot Out


Featured photo credit: World Snooker Tour

5 Comments

  1. Frederick W. Bridge

    How about Joe Davis? whom I saw play twice but I don’t know if he ever made the maximum ?

  2. Frederick W. Bridge

    I have lived in the U.S.A. since 1952 so I have lost track of Joe.

  3. Jay Brannon

    Nick Dyson has to be the most unlikely player to compile multiple 147s.

    I was in the crowd for number 67.

    Wattana had been told his dad was shot before he made the 147 and then afterwards learned he’d died. A remarkable tale.

    Fu’s 2000 maximum was the first broadcast online.

  4. Jay Brannon

    Notable current players yet to make one: Joe Perry, Anthony Hamilton, Dominic Dale and Mark King.

    Perry has compiled the most centuries (363) without making one.

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