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A maximum break is a fairly rare occurrence in which a snooker player plays the perfect frame – potting all 15 red balls with the 15 black balls to make 120 points and then potting the remaining colours in sequence to end up with 147 points without any misses.
Many of the bigger snooker tournaments have a pre-competition market in which bettors can predict whether there will be a 147 maximum break made during the course of the tournament. As players have become more technically proficient over time the likelihood of this happening has become greater and that is reflected in the changing odds available.
It can depend on the tournament as to whether there will be value in the maximum break bet. In the World Championships there are 128 entrants so there is obviously more chance of a maximum break at some point – especially when the better players are up against qualifiers in the early rounds.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is well known for his maximum breaks – and especially for the speed that he can complete them in – but there have been a number of players throughout history who have achieved the feat.
Although as far as betting goes 147 is the maximum break, it is possible to rack up even more points in a single frame. If a player fouls leaving the cue ball snookered a free ball is offered meaning that a coloured ball can be used as what would be a 16th red. If this is potted – plus another black ball – before the rest of the table, a 155 break is possible. This is very rare however and bets are not placed on such an occurrence.