155 (a maximum 147 clearance, after getting a free ball and potting a color as an additional red followed by a black).
Snooker, a cue sport that originated among British Army officers stationed in India during the latter half of the 19th century, is known for its intricate rules, tactical gameplay, and potential for high breaks. A break in snooker refers to the accumulation of points a player achieves in one visit to the table, starting from the break-off and continuing until the player fails to pot a ball or commits a foul.
The highest break that most people typically associate with snooker is 147. This is achieved by potting all 15 red balls (each worth one point) followed by the black ball (worth seven points) for each red, and then clearing the remaining colors which are potted in order: yellow (2 points), green (3 points), brown (4 points), blue (5 points), pink (6 points), and finally the black again. The sum of all these pots gives the maximum break of 147 points. This type of break is known as a “maximum” or “147”.
However, the absolute highest possible break in snooker, although extremely rare, is 155 points. This can be achieved through a very specific scenario: The opponent commits a foul on a free ball situation when no reds have been potted yet. The player is then able to nominate one of the colors as a red and pots it, followed by the black ball. This gives a total of 8 points before the standard 147 break begins. However, this scenario is so rare that it’s often not considered in casual conversation about snooker, and the 147 remains the iconic maximum.
Achieving a 147 in professional competition is a significant feat. Players who manage this during a tournament often receive special recognition and sometimes a monetary bonus. Over the years, many of snooker’s greatest players, from Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan to Stephen Hendry, have managed to achieve this perfect break, and it remains one of the most exciting possibilities in any snooker match.