In 2010, the world of snooker was offered a lifeline when Barry Hearn took over the World Snooker Tour and World Snooker Ltd. Hearn pledged to breathe new life into the game and did just that. Since he took a controlling interest, there have been more professional tournaments, including 44 in the 2019/20 season. There have also been more television-friendly broadcasts, including the timed one-frame Snooker Shoot-Out tournament. What is more, thee game has seen an increase in prize money for professional events, with top payers earning millions of pounds during their careers.
That is not to say that snooker players aren't finding other ways to top up their income. Many have done just that by alternating between the snooker table and poker table. Some of the best players in snooker, in fact, have impressed at the classic card game, including Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White, Matthew Stevens, and Steve Davis. While they've each played the game in real life, today's snooker stars can, of course, apply their poker skills from the comfort of their own home by playing at an online casino. So, poker is one way that snooker players have been topping up their ever-increasing prize pots. But what kind of prize pots are we talking about?
Of course, some prize pots have been more significant than others. In 2017, snooker saw a generous increase in prize money when Mark Selby received a record prize of £375,000 after winning a third World Championship. Furthermore, during the Championships, Hearn announced that the competition’s 2019 winner would receive a new record of £500,000 from a cash pot of £2.25 million. Hearn had for a long time wanted to see snooker edge closer to golf where prize money was concerned. He said that he hoped future total prize money would reach £20 million for a season.
In 2020, World Snooker rebranded and relaunched as the World Snooker Tour (WST) as a reflection of its international’s growth over the past decade. The organization runs the global professional circuit, which features 25 events and a total prize pay of £14.6 million. In the year (2009/10) before Barry Hearn took over with his Matchroom Sport, WST hosted only six world-ranking events, with just £3.6 million in total prize money. So, prize money has certainly come a long way.
In 2019, millions of snooker fans from around the world watched the World Championship. Luckily for them, they witnessed something special when Judd Trump became the first-ever player to win prize money exceeding £1 million for just a single season.
Another area of the game that can be lucrative when it comes to prize money are maximum breaks. In 2019, the cash prize for a maximum break was £50,000 at one World Championship. A maximum break was typically rewarded from the 147s rolling pot, but as that pot was reduced to just £5,000 after a Stuart Bingham maximum at the China Open, WPBSA and World Snooker boosted the prize to £50,000.
When it comes to pool, one of the biggest pots of all time came in 2006 when the greatest player in the history of the game, Efren “Bata” Reyes, squared off against Rodney Morris. The prize on offer was a cool $500,000, which was the biggest pot that pool had ever seen. “The Rocket” and “The Magician” were playing in the World Open 8-Ball Championship, which features a prize pot of £3 million.