Players Championship Snooker 2024 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The second of the Players Series events takes place in Telford over the next week as the Johnstone’s Paints Players Championship is played out with the leading 16 money earners in ranking events this season battling it out in a big tournament.

We are guaranteed a different champion this week because Shaun Murphy won this tournament last year but he has had much an indifferent season he isn’t around to attempt to defend the title so a new winner will lift the trophy on Sunday.

Recent Winners

2023 – Shaun Murphy

2022 – Neil Robertson

2021 – John Higgins

2020 – Judd Trump

2019 – Ronnie O’Sullivan

2018 – Ronnie O’Sullivan

2017 – Judd Trump

2016 – Mark Allen

2015 – Joe Perry

2014 – Barry Hawkins

The Format

One of the attractions of this tournament is that it is a long format right throughout, and after the first round we are in a one table arena. The first round through to the semi-finals are the best of 11 frames and then the champion will be determined on Sunday over the course of two sessions and the best of 19 frames. The top 16 on the one-year list have qualified for the tournament and have been placed in the draw by their ranking on that list.

Top Quarter

Judd Trump remains the number one on the one-year ranking list so he is right at the top of the draw. The winner of four tournaments this season is looking to continue a fine campaign but he might not have things all his own way. The man he beat in the Northern Ireland Open final is also in this quarter in Chris Wakelin. Trump beat Ali Carter to win the Wuhan Open earlier in the season and The Masters finalist is also in this quarter, as is the runner-up in the International Championship in Tom Ford.

Second Quarter

The second quarter is always a competitive one in any draw and that is no different in this tournament. Gary Wilson has two tournament wins to his name this season, including the Welsh Open on Sunday, and he is in this part of the draw. Mark Allen won the Champion of Champions earlier in the campaign and he is also in this quarter, as is the man who won the first ITV tournament of the season in Mark Williams. The other player in this section is Hossein Vafaei, who could setup a tasty quarter final against Williams after their clash in the World Grand Prix.

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Third Quarter

Zhang Anda had a wonderful time of it in the middle of the season when he reached the final of the English Open and then took down the International Championship a few weeks later but he has gone quiet since then. He is the main draw in the third quarter and will be up against the Scottish Open finalist Noppon Saengkham, the UK Championship runner-up in Ding Junhui and the man who won this three years ago in John Higgins who delivered one of the best performances to win a tournament from start to finish in recent memory.

Bottom Quarter

Ronnie O’Sullivan has largely won invitational tournaments this season but he has also won the UK Championship and the World Grand Prix and that has earned him the number two spot in the draw so assuming he isn’t a late withdrawal then he will line up in a very good looking bottom section this week. The European Masters winner Barry Hawkins is also in this quarter while British Open finalist Mark Selby is also here too. Zhou Yuelong hasn’t reached a final this season but he has gone well enough in the right events to be the second to last player into the draw.


It is always difficult to find too much in the way of value in a 16 runner race, especially one like this which has lower ranked players in the field too as opposed to say The Masters where the leading 16 men in the rankings qualify. The way the draw has worked out this week I do think there is too much strength in the top of the betting for an outsider to really come through and there isn’t really a section to take advantage of and get an ‘easy’ route to the latter stages.

With that in mind, I am going to go for someone who appeals higher up the betting list and go with John Higgins who I think is tracking towards a title again. I say that because he looked in decent order in the Welsh Open last week, beating Mark Allen pretty comprehensively in the quarter final, before he ran into a ridiculously good start from Gary Wilson in their semi-final. It is a bit of a concern that Higgins has been in five semi-finals this season and not won any of them but that is a positive as well. I just wonder if he runs out of steam at the end of a busy week. If he does then that shouldn’t be an issue this week as he only has to play four matches and he won’t be playing twice on the same day or anything like that. A fresher Higgins is playing very well and I think the 12/1 on him is a price worth taking.


Back J.Higgins to win Players Championship (e/w) for a 1.5/10 stake at 13.00 with William Hill (1/2 1-2)

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