UK Championship Snooker 2023 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The first Triple Crown event of the snooker season begins on Saturday when 32 of the best players in the world head to the Barbican Centre in York to compete for the UK Championship title and the many riches that come with it.

Mark Allen won a pretty dramatic tournament a year ago and he has made it through to attempt to make a successful defence of the title. This field looks great though so whoever wins this week will have played some good snooker.

Recent Winners

2022 – Mark Allen

2021 – Zhao Xintong

2020 – Neil Robertson

2019 – Ding Junhui

2018 – Ronnie O’Sullivan

2017 – Ronnie O’Sullivan

2016 – Mark Selby

2015 – Neil Robertson

2014 – Ronnie O’Sullivan

2013 – Neil Robertson

The Format

The format for the tournament this year is identical to last year in that the top 16 players have been seeded through to the main draw where they will be joined by 16 qualifiers, much like in the World Championship. The first round through to the semi-finals are all the best of 11 frames. The final is the second Sunday of the event with the champion being crowned over two sessions and the best of 19 frames. The draw has already been made with the seeds placed into the bracket depending on their world ranking. One qualifier has been drawn to face each seed in the opening round.

Top Quarter

Mark Allen is the defending champion this week and he is the number one seed and in the top quarter as a result of that. The recent Champion of Champions winner will be looking to follow up his win there with another here but faces stiff competition from the other top 16 players in this quarter. They are Kyren Wilson, who Allen is seeded to meet in the quarter final, Mark Williams and one of the newcomers to the top 16 in Tom Ford.

There is a school of thought that the qualifiers will have a good chance this week given that the qualifiers only concluded on Thursday so each of them will be match sharp. In this quarter the pick of the qualifiers is the man Allen beat in the final last year in Ding Junhui, while Fan Zhengyi has already won a ranking title in his career. The other two qualifiers are yet to win at this level but are very capable in Noppon Saengkham and Jamie Clarke.

Second Quarter

The man of the season so far, Judd Trump, is the highest seed in the second quarter. Incredibly, he goes in search of a fourth ranking title win on the season and we are not at Christmas yet. He is seeded to face Mark Selby in the quarter final of this prestigious tournament but once again two other players in the top 16 will be out to stop that match from happening. They are Barry Hawkins, who has already won a tournament this season himself, and Jack Lisowski, who made the semi-finals here last year.

The four qualifiers in this section of the draw have all done well to make it through, particularly as two of them needed to play an extra round in qualifying. Pang Junxu is the highest ranked player among the qualifiers in this quarter while Jamie Jones will be looking for a big week to turn his season around. The two men who had to come through the extra qualifying round to be here are Ben Woollaston and Mark Joyce.

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Third Quarter

The former champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is scheduled to be the leading seed in the third quarter of the draw although having pulled out of the Champion of Champions recently it isn’t 100% guaranteed that he turns up for this event. If he does he is seeded to collide with Neil Robertson in what would be a particularly juicy quarter final. Robert Milkins and John Higgins are the other two members of the top 16 that would have something to say about that.

Anthony McGill has a particularly good record in the World Championship but has yet to really transfer that to the UK Championship. He’ll be looking to do that from this third quarter this week while Thepchaiya Un-Nooh was in good form in the qualifiers and will be a match for anyone while he is in the tournament. Joe O’Connor defeated Stephen Maguire to make it through and he has been placed in this quarter while Zhou Yuelong completes this part of the draw.

Bottom Quarter

The bottom quarter of the draw this week looks very juicy indeed and it is headed up by the world champion Luca Brecel who will be looking to win successive Triple Crown titles having landed the big one earlier in the year. Three top class top 16 players will be out to deny him a deep run though with Shaun Murphy a potential quarter final opponent for the Belgian. The International Championship winner Zhang Anda and Wuhan Open finalist Ali Carter complete the seeds in this section.

The leaves us with four qualifiers of which Hossein Vafaei will be dangerous to anyone he faces, as he has shown by taking Mark Selby out of this tournament in each of the last two seasons. Matt Selt is a former ranking event winner who is in this section of the draw as well while Yuan Sijun seems to be much improved these days. The other qualifier is the one man in this quarter who had to play an extra match in qualifying in Elliot Slessor.


I’ll take a couple of bets over the course of this week with Mark Williams being my focus of attention in the top half of the draw. He looks to have found a nice route through to the quarter final because Fan Zhengyi hasn’t really done it on the biggest stages like this since he won the European Masters and even that is a lower key event to this one. Williams would potentially come up against Kyren Wilson in the last 16 and he is in no form at all while whoever meets him in the quarter final is going to have to have done it the hard way. It is only the beginning of the year where Williams reminded us that he can be competitive in these Triple Crown events still when he made The Masters final. He has won the British Open this season, taking care of Mark Selby in the final which would bode well should they meet in a semi-final here. Williams hasn’t done much since he won the British Open but he went out in a decider in the English Open and to the champion at the International Championship. I think there’s more in the tank and will back it to come out here.

The champion at the International Championship was Zhang Anda and he has been playing so well this season that he is also worth backing at 40/1. Zhang didn’t just win that International Championship, he scored like a dream and took care of the likes of Ding Junhui and Ronnie O’Sullivan along the way. When you have those results in your locker you certainly don’t fear anyone and this format might suit him. Zhang has only played one match since he won in China and he arguably would have beaten Ding in that if he had started a little quicker. If Zhang plays even close to as well as he did in the International Championship this week he’ll remain tough to beat.


Back M.Williams to win UK Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 19.00 with 888sport (1/2 1-2)

Back him here:

Back Z.Anda to win UK Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 41.00 with BetVictor (1/2 1-2)