Top 10 Best Snooker Players of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Ronnie O'Sullivan

Without a doubt, Ronnie O'Sullivan is the most talented player the world has ever seen! Great names from the past include Joe Davis, Ray Reardon, Alex Higgins, Steve Davis, and Stephen Hendry, all brilliant and dominant in their time. However, every sport continues to evolve to the next level, and snooker is no exception. Ronnie has another gear that his opponents simply do not have. Unfortunately for them, he finds it when the pressure is at its most intense. A very rare gift indeed.

The majority of sportsmen succumb to nerves in big moments. This never happens with Ronnie. He loves and craves that pressure cooker! This is a sport requiring the steadiest of hands, the lightest of touch, and a calmness of mind underneath those Crucible lights. With thousands of mesmerized fans just yards away and many millions watching around the world, Ronnie continues to produce the best and most sublime snooker. Few can do it when it really matters, but this man adores and needs those moments! Despite his rather relaxed point of view, his glorious unrivaled ability does all the talking for him.

Snooker is a sport that has erupted into all corners of the globe. There are far more incredible players than in previous decades, especially from China, yet Ronnie remains "the one" to beat! He is still the guy everyone wants to watch. There's a reason for that! Will he be surpassed one day? Probably. The same as Usain Bolt's records will fall. But these things won't happen for a long, long time.


2 Stephen Hendry

Although Ronnie O'Sullivan is the most exciting, entertaining, and arguably the most talented professional snooker player in history, or at least in the professional or modern era, I would still say seven-time World Champion Stephen Hendry is the greatest to ever play the game. He was truly the master, a brilliant champion with an aura of invincibility who could finish off a frame in one visit. An incredible break builder, and of maximums and centuries, who, alongside O'Sullivan, has such amazing statistics.

Hendry's influence and impact on the game, and on the generations who've followed, must also mention Steve Davis in the 1980s, will stand the test of time.

The perfect player, and a great bloke too, so it seems, with a cracking sense of humor off the table. The King of The Crucible, Stephen Hendry.

Comment written by Chris Wilson, a snooker fan.

3 Steve Davis

Steve Davis undoubtedly set the bar in snooker. He could have had seven world titles if he hadn't missed that infamous black against Taylor. That said, Hendry was somewhat fortunate that White bottled his final frame against Hendry in the World Championship Final. We're really looking at narrow margins here.

For me, Davis is the best all-around player, as he was undoubtedly the master tactician of the sport. Football managers could only dream of such consistency, and bookmakers feared his seemingly unbeatable reputation. Davis was, and still is, one of the best ambassadors for snooker and for sport in general. He is legendary and a true inspiration to many. A knighthood for him is well deserved and long overdue.

4 Alex Higgins

"The one true genius snooker has ever produced" - Steve Davis. Alex is the best snooker player there has ever been. He is the most gifted, the most unique, and the most flamboyant.

He is largely responsible for what snooker became in the 80s and is definitely responsible for the increase in quality over the last 30 years. Every professional snooker player of today grew up wanting to be Alex Higgins. Jimmy White learned from him, Ronnie O'Sullivan idolized him, and Judd Trump reads about him.

He is the creator of modern snooker. He is the reason Steve Davis had to be so consistent. He is the reason Stephen Hendry came through so young. He is the reason we have Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump. He was a genius, and sadly, like most geniuses in the world, he couldn't handle it.

The fact will always remain, if you could play any snooker player from any era, if you could watch any player from any era, it would always be Alex Higgins. Ronnie O'Sullivan made a 5-minute 147, which is amazing, but in my opinion, Higgins was capable of that. Could Ronnie have made that 69 in '82? I see it as more unlikely.

I agree Ronnie is an amazing talent, but the best way to sum it all up is this: If Ronnie O'Sullivan played Alex Higgins, he would win 9 out of 10 matches. But that one match that Higgins won would be the one worth watching. He was pure, uncontrollable genius!

5 John Higgins

Definitely, without a doubt, a top three player of all time. Even O'Sullivan, who is the best player ever, said that this man is the second toughest player he has played behind Hendry, and he has played them all.

He's definitely worth his place at the top table. Probably fourth behind O'Sullivan, Hendry, and Davis. Maybe even a place behind Higgins and White if we're to go by natural raw talent, but with his haul of silverware, he's certainly a top five.

Agree he is the most complete snooker player. And tremendous longevity - 19 years between his first and most recent world championship final in snooker's most competitive era.

6 Joe Davis

Joe Davis, a 15-time World Champion, is arguably the greatest-ever promoter of snooker. Without him, it is doubtful that snooker would have survived as a pastime, much less become a global sport. It is worth remembering that had Joe Davis not stopped competing in the World Championship, which he himself invented, in 1946, there is evidence that he likely would have won another 20 times.

The game was different back then, largely because the equipment was much more unreliable, and the techniques relied upon by modern players were simply impossible. In addition, the modern player benefits from the experience of earlier players, most notably Joe Davis, and professional coaches. Furthermore, Davis wasn't just a snooker player. He was also a billiards champion for years. This fact strengthens the case for Joe Davis to be ranked #1.

Certainly, if any modern player had played him on the older equipment (pre-1973), they would likely have been trounced. On modern tables, I think he would have managed to hold his own. However, it may well have taken him a few years to adjust his game to exploit the techniques which modern players rely on.

7 Jimmy White

He will always be remembered for never winning a world title, but it would be unfair to dismiss his case for being listed up there with the best. While Davis, Hendry, and John Higgins were probably the three most successful players (until O'Sullivan won his last two world titles), I like to think of White as being in the top three most naturally talented players to ever grace the game, along with Ronnie O'Sullivan and Alex Higgins.

Not bad company to be compared with at all.

Great player. Unlucky at least twice in World Cup finals. It goes without saying, had he been more disciplined in his alcohol intake and a little luckier, he would have been World Champion. In my eyes, he was.

8 Mark Selby

The most underrated player in snooker history. This man has dominated the World Number 1 spot for the last five years. At the top of his game, not even the great and naturally gifted Ronnie O'Sullivan can beat him.

We often talk about players being 'unplayable'. On a Selby-good day, there is not a single player who can beat him. But it's not just technical ability. Selby is mentally the best player to play the game. Just when you think you have him on the ropes, he has the mental strength to come back and finish you off.

An incredible man and an incredible player. Easily in the top three, if not number one.

9 Ray Reardon

I never saw him play live, only reruns, but it's probably a bit unfair to compare players of different generations. The equipment, tables, and balls were much more cumbersome then. He should be higher placed to acknowledge his true worth of silverware.

Six-time world champion, and four places behind Judd Trump? It's pretty obvious that Dracula - an absolute legend of the game and one of its great, all-time masters - needs to be far higher than this. Top six, at the very least.

He consistently smashed Higgins and was still spectacular at 50 years old. Hendry is number one, Joe Davis number two. Reardon has to be number three. Imagine how much O'Sullivan would pout with the amount of clever safety from old Ray.

10 Mark Williams

One of only three players to win the Triple Crown in a single season (others being Hendry and Davis) - not even Ronnie has done that! Fantastic temperament and a brilliant potter of the ball. My all-time favorite player.

If we're talking about 'the best ever', then you'd have to put Hendry, O'Sullivan, Davis, and probably John Higgins ahead, but being as modest as he is, Williams would be the first to admit that. Nobody else should be placed ahead of him, though, and he has always been my favorite player to watch. A true legend of the sport.

The Contenders
11 Judd Trump

Over the next 10 years, if he maintains his increasing form and talent, he is capable of raising the bar beyond Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Trump and Rocket... Rocket and Trump... Trump is currently my number one, although Ronnie is more of a genius. Trump has been great lately!

I agree that Ronnie is the best, but Trump should be way higher than 13.

12 Neil Robertson

If you are born and learn the game in a country without any significant snooker tradition and high-class competition, and if you have to spend your whole life away from home and an environment you were used to, you have to rate the achievements of a guy like Neil Robertson, World Champion and by now a 19-time ranking event winner, far higher than those of all the British or Chinese players. Of course, you cannot just say, if he were English, he would have won twice as many titles. But you have to acknowledge that this highly ambitious but always courteous Aussie guy sacrifices a lot more than most other players. To me, no, I'm not an Aussie but Middle European, he is the most inspiring snooker player on the planet. And it's a shame that he hasn't won the Australian Sports Awards yet.

13 Dennis Taylor

Won that famous match against Davis in the world final and, in doing so, probably kick-started the massive TV audience for the sport. I think he's doing well, though, to be considered 12th in my opinion.

A real sticker of a player, but not overly blessed with talent.

14 Pankaj Advani
15 Ding Junhui

Another top-class player of the modern game along with Selby, Robertson, Trump, and Co. But it's still too soon to consider him alongside the all-time elites. Time will tell for this generation of players.

I understand when his achievement is compared to Hendry's, but it has to be remembered that tactical play in Hendry's era was superior to the current one.

Ding took Judd Trump apart in the 2013 German Masters. Cue ball control was amazing.

16 Ken Doherty

For someone who won a world championship, he should be way higher than 45.

17 Shaun Murphy

Most underrated player ever but a complete gentleman! A lesson to others?

18 Cliff Thorburn

His style of play was effective, but nowadays a similar style may put people off the game and ruin the sport's reputation.

Deserves to be ahead of any player who has not won a World Championship. Also, the first to make a 147 at Embassy. Best player to win only one World Championship.

First perfect game in a world championship backed by several accomplishments.

19 Paul Hunter

His life and snooker career were cut short! Natural talent that would have achieved so much! The River Phoenix of snooker! Lost but not forgotten. RIP.

Allure, prestigious presence! The dandy posing as a gentleman! Exquisite!

20 Mark Allen

I love watching Mark Allen play snooker. After Alex Higgins, Mark Allen is the second-greatest snooker player to come out of Northern Ireland. I would love to see him win the world title one day.

21 John Spencer
22 Eddie Charlton
23 Fred Davis

Without his brother, Fred would have won many more world titles. Always a smiling gentleman and utterly gracious in victory or defeat.

24 Joe Johnson

Also, the only modern-era player to make the final the following year after winning the World Title for the first time.

25 Tony Drago

He's better than many of the above!

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