Rankings FAQ

A Guide to the Rankings System in Snooker

First introduced in 1977, the world ranking list exists in order to provide a system by which players are seeded for tournaments on the World Snooker Tour.

Until the start of the 2010/11 season, the world ranking list was updated once annually following the World Championship. Since then however, the ranking list has been updated following each ranking event, with seeding cut-offs introduced following designated events to determine which list is to be used to seed particular events.

Further changes were introduced at the start of the 2014/15 season, when the rankings were changed from the traditional points-based system to one calculated on the basis of prize money earned at counting events.

Counting money

All prize money earned from events carrying ranking event status count towards a player’s official world ranking . This does not include money from invitational events such as the Masters, Champion of Champions or Championship League events.

John Higgins 2015 World Snooker International Championships

John Higgins won £125,000 at the 2015 International Championship

Prize money earned from high break prizes or maximum break prizes does also not count towards a player’s world ranking.

Seeded losers at tournaments receive prize money, however this does not count to their world ranking.

Exchange rates

The prize money based ranking list is calculated using British Pounds Sterling and those events which are paid in overseas currency are converted into Sterling.

Please view the prize money schedule to view the applicable exchange rates for each season.

Rolling rankings

When talking about rankings we often talk about players ‘defending’ money or ‘losing’ money, but what does this actually mean?

Since the start of the 2010/11 season, the rankings have run under a ‘rolling’ system, whereby prize money earned during the current season is added to the ranking list. At the same time, prize money earned at corresponding events more than two years previously is removed from the ranking list. At any one time therefore, the ranking of each player will comprise earnings from all tournaments during the previous two years at that time.

Mark Selby

Mark Selby

This can lead to a situation where players can drop down the rankings, despite a strong performance at a tournament. For example, if 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham were to finish as runner-up at the 2017 World Championship, at first glance he might be expected to climb the rankings on the basis of a strong performance.

In reality however, he would likely drop, as the amount that he would earn by finishing as runner-up (£160,000), would be less than the amount that he took home for winning the event (£300,000). He would therefore ‘lose’ £140,000 from his official world ranking after the tournament and so be vulnerable to those around him.

Seeding ‘cut-offs’

Although the official world rankings are updated after each completed event, the seeding lists used to determine seedings for future events are instead revised at specified points during each season. These points are known as ‘seeding revisions’ or ‘seeding cut-off points’.

The mid-season revisions during the 2016/17 season will take place following the:

  • 2016 World Open
  • 2016 Paul Hunter Classic
  • 2016 Shanghai Masters
  • 2016 International Championship
  • 2016 UK Championship
  • 2016 Scottish Open
  • 2017 German Masters
  • 2017 Gibraltar Open (for Players Championship)
  • 2017 China Open

Provisional seedings

Although the official world ranking list is the correct list to determine the world ranking of a player, often during or prior to an event we can forecast what the rankings are currently on course to be at the time of the next seeding revision. This list is known as the Latest Provisional Seedings list.

The Crucible

The Crucible

For example, prior to the 2017 China Open there will be speculation as to who will qualify for the subsequent 2017 World Championship tournament. Prior to the China Open, rankings will include money earned at the 2015 China Open, as the two-year period prior to this tournament will not have been removed at that time.

By the time of the seedings revision for the World Championship however, that prize money will have been removed from the rankings, therefore in order to calculate the latest ‘provisional’ rankings to that revision, the removal of that prize money from the 2015 China Open is already taken into account.

This provides the clearest ‘live’ picture of the current ranking and allows players and fans alike to analyse upcoming likely position changes on the ranking list.

Race to…

The above principle can also be applied to future seeding revisions, not only the ‘next’ revision. For example at the start of the 2016/17 season, it is possible to forecast who is currently in position to qualify for the Masters, despite the fact that this takes place approximately six months after the start of the season.

This is possible by taking the ranking list at the start of the season and then taking into account the deduction of all prize money earned prior to the conclusion of the 2014 UK Championship. This list would be referred to as the ‘race to the Masters’ and similar lists are often used to calculate qualification for tournaments such as the World Championship, World Grand Prix and Players Championship.

World Grand Prix, Players Championship qualification

World Grand Prix

World Grand Prix

Qualification for the World Grand Prix is determined on the basis of prize money earned during the current season only, instead of the normal two-year ranking list. For the 2016/17 season this includes all prize money earned from the 2016 Riga Masters, up to and including the 2017 German Masters.

Qualification for the Players Championship is determined on the basis of prize money earned during the current season only, instead of the normal two-year ranking list. For the 2016/17 season this includes all prize money earned from the 2016 Riga Masters, up to and including the 2017 Gibraltar Open.

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