Northern Ireland Open Snooker 2023 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The second Home Nations event of the season begins on Sunday when the show heads to the Waterfront Hall in Belfast for the Northern Ireland Open, an event which carries significance with tournaments running out before the cut off for The Masters.

Mark Allen gave the home crowds what they wanted last season and he will line up in the field looking to make a successful defence of the title but there are plenty of players showing good form who will want to stop him.

Recent Winners

2022 – Mark Allen

2021 – Mark Allen

2020 – Judd Trump

2019 – Judd Trump

2018 – Judd Trump

2017 – Mark Williams

2016 – Mark King

The Format

These Home Nations events have been around for a while now and while the format of them hasn’t changed, the way the arenas have been put together have. There are now just three tables in action throughout the event, which allows us to follow the action a lot easier, and there has been a qualifying round to avoid taking the whole 128 players in the field to the main venue. Some of those qualifiers have been held over and will be played on Sunday through to Monday with the main draw beginning on Monday. The tournament is the best of seven frames up to the quarter finals which are played over the best of nine frames on Friday with the two semi-finals the best of 11 frames on the Saturday and the title will be won on the second Sunday of the event over the best of 17 frames.

Top Quarter

Mark Allen looks to emulate Judd Trump this week and win his home title for a third successive time and as the defending champion he will be the number one seed here and is placed in the top quarter accordingly. If the seeding book works out then the home star will face Robert Milkins in the quarter final but Jack Lisowski is someone who will be out to stop that. We are missing some top 16 players this week after the Macau shenanigans so Ricky Walden is the other player who had his qualifying match held over.

There are plenty of household names taking to the baize from lower down the rankings this week. Stuart Bingham was one of the last men to qualify for the event and he’ll be looking to make an impression from this quarter while Matthew Selt has shown glimpses of good form this term. Fan Zhengyi is a former tournament winner in this section while Graeme Dott, Dominic Dale, Cao Yupeng and Ben Woollaston will all be hoping their best stuff comes to the party this week.

Second Quarter

Neil Robertson has spoken of the need for a rest on social media in the last few weeks but he will compete in this tournament first. He is the top seed in the second quarter and is slated to face off against Shaun Murphy in what would be a tasty last eight clash should it happen. Ryan Day will be one member of the top 16 looking to stop that from happening while Gary Wilson has also been seeded this week as he chases a spot at The Masters.

There are a few players lower in the rankings who the big names would want to avoid early in a tournament and one of those is very much in here in the form of Marco Fu. He sits in the second quarter while the Shootout champion would be another. Martin O’Donnell looks to follow up a run to the quarter final of the last Home Nations event with the other home star alongside Mark Allen, Jordan Brown, being in this quarter too. Yuan Sijun and Wu Yize are two Chinese players who could have big weeks.

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Third Quarter

Judd Trump has won the last two ranking events and he’ll be going for three in succession from the third quarter this week. Trump has won this title three times in the past so he’ll feel very comfortable in these surroundings which might be bad news for Kyren Wilson, his potential quarter final opponent. Hossein Vafaei and Anthony McGill are the other two men who are in the top 16 ranked players in the tournament in this quarter.

We have some fairly seasoned players lower down the rankings in this part of the draw. Stephen Maguire qualified for the tournament and will look to revive his best form this week while Joe Perry is also hoping for a big tournament. Michael White is another who has shown in the past that he can do some damage in these kind of events and he’ll hope to do that here. Noppon Saengkham, Sam Craigie and Jimmy White are some of the others sniffing success.

Bottom Quarter

Ronnie O’Sullivan was seeded as the number two seed this week but he has pulled out of the event in the lead up to it which leaves a huge hole in the bottom quarter of the draw. That all leaves Mark Williams as the highest ranked player in the draw and the British Open winner will fancy his chances of going deep once again. European Masters winner Barry Hawkins and the former Championship League winner Dave Gilbert are the other higher ranked players in this quarter.

Just because there is no O’Sullivan doesn’t mean that this is an open part of the draw. The English Open finalist Zhang Anda is in this quarter as is Robbie Williams while Tom Ford has been in decent form in recent times. Jimmy Robertson and Matthew Stevens know all about winning tournaments while Lyu Haotian was a semi-finalist in the Wuhan Open a couple of weeks ago. Mark Davis and Jak Jones will also be looking to go well.


I’ll go for a couple of bets this week with the first of those being in the form of Gary Wilson, the winner of the Scottish Open last season which shows that he can come through and win these titles and he has landed in a great part of the draw this week. Assuming he comes through his qualifying match then his route to the last 16 reads Lukas Kleckers and then one of Rod Lawler or Stan Moody before a possible last 16 clash with Neil Robertson who doesn’t look anything like his usual self. This draw could open right up for the Englishman and at 50/1 he looks decent value for a strong run this week.

The other bet I like comes down in the bottom quarter where I think Tom Ford is a big price at 80/1. He is in the mini-section which was vacated by Ronnie O’Sullivan and as such his path to the quarter final has already opened right up. That isn’t to say that it is easy but Ford has made the quarter final of two of the last three tournaments so he is clearly coming into a bit of form. A win this week would propel him towards the top 16 ahead of The Masters so he isn’t short of motivation and if he can negotiate one or two competitive challenges I think there is a big week in Ford here.


Back G.Wilson to win Northern Ireland Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with Coral (1/2 1-2)

Back T.Ford to win Northern Ireland Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Coral (1/2 1-2)