What’s the highest break ever recorded in professional snooker?

Of course, the ‘maximum’ break in snooker is generally considered to be 147, comprising 15 reds, 15 blacks and all six colours. According to the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), the first officially ratified 147 break in professional tournament play was compiled by Steve Davis, in a quarter-final match against John Spencer, at the Lada Classic at the Civic Centre, Oldham in 1982. While still not exactly ‘ten-a-penny’, 147 breaks occur much more frequently in modern professional competition than was once the case; Ronnie O’Sullivan, for example, has 15 to his name.

However, under extraordinary circumstances – that is, if one player commits a foul stroke and, in so doing, leaves his or her opponent a ‘free ball’ with all 15 reds remaining – it is possible for a player to pot 16 ‘reds’, 16 blacks and all six colours, such that a break of 155 is theoretically possible. Indeed, retired English professional Jamie Cope recorded a 155 break, albeit in a witnessed practice match, in 2006. So far, the only ’16-red’ clearance over 147 recorded in professional competition was a break of 148 compiled by Scotsman Jamie Burnett, against Leo Fernandez, in the second qualifying round of the UK Championship at Pontin’s, Prestatyn. Burnett potted 16 ‘reds’, 12 blacks, two pinks, one blue and one brown and, obviously, all six colours to reach his record total.