Snooker is regarded to have been invented in India by British Army officers in the later half of the 19th century. Its highest governing body is the World Snooker Association, founded in 1968 in the United Kingdom. Snooker is a no-contact cue sport played on a table covered with a green cloth, with pockets situated at the four corners and two more at the mid-side lengths of the table. The sport has IOC (International Olympic Committee) recognition, but is not included in the Olympics.
Today, snooker is popular in many of the English-speaking and Commonwealth nations. It has become one of the most popular sports in China over the years, but has not got the same amount of attention as tennis or even golf around the world. Top professional snooker players with class and skill are attaining huge career earnings from the game, but are virtually unknown outside countries where snooker is popular.
So, how much do the top snooker players really earn in a year? Here is a list of the top 10 highest-earning snooker players in the 2013-14 season.
10 Mark Allen - £98,869 ($163,880 USD)
Mark Allen is a Northern Irish professional snooker player who won the 2004 World Amateur Championship. In June 2009, Allen won the Jiangsu Classic in China, his first professional title after entering the Main Tour in 2005 and reaching the elite top 16 three seasons later. He reached his first ranking event final at the 2011 UK Championship. Allen's highest break to date is 146, and he has compiled 183 century breaks. The 27-year-old left-hander earned £98,869 in the 2013-14 season. He is ranked 10th in the current Snooker World Rankings.
9 Mark Davis - £116,096 ($192,440 USD)
Mark Davis is an English professional snooker player, often referred to by his nickname "The Battler From Hastings". He won the Benson and Hedges Championship in 2002, and the win earned him an appearance at the Masters. The 41-year-old won the Six-Red Snooker World Championship three times in 2009, 2012 and 2013. His highest break to date is 143, and he has assembled 109 century breaks. Davis is ranked 14th in the current Snooker World Rankings. He earned £116,096 in the 2013-14 season.
8 Joe Perry - £116,716 ($193,470 USD)
Joe Perry is an English professional snooker player, often referred to as "The Gentleman", "The Fen Potter" or "The Man From Sicily". He turned professional in 1991, and climbed the rankings steadily to reach the elite top 16 for the first time in 2002. He finished runner-up in the 2001 European Open. Perry's highest break to date is 145, and he has managed 124 century breaks. He is ranked 15th in the current Snooker World Rankings. The 39-year-old is making £116,716 in the 2013-14 season.
7 John Higgins - £129,793 ($215,140 USD)
John Higgins is one of the most successful players in the modern history of snooker. He turned professional in 1992, and has to date won 25 ranking titles. His major achievements include winning four World Championship titles in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011, three UK Championship titles in 1998, 2000 and 2010, and two Masters titles in 1999 and 2006. Higgins' highest break is 147, and he has compiled 530 century breaks to date. The 38-year-old is ranked 12th in the Snooker World Rankings. His earnings for the 2013-14 season is £129,793.
6 Stuart Bingham - £154,998 ($256,920 USD)
Stuart Bingham was the 1996 English Amateur and World Amateur Champion. He turned professional in 1995, and has 1 ranking title under his belt. He won the 2011 Australian Goldfields Open and the 2012 Premiere League. His highest break to date is 147, and he has assembled 156 century breaks. Bingham is ranked 7th in the current Snooker World Rankings. The 37-year-old has earned £154,998 in the 2013-14 season.
5 Ronnie O'Sullivan - £166,514 ($276,010 USD)
Ronnie O'Sullivan is an English snooker player, turned professional in 1992. He has 25 ranking titles under his belt and is the reigning World Snooker Champion. He is also the youngest player ever to win a professional ranking tournament. His major accomplishments include winning five World Championship and four UK Championship titles along with five Masters and four Premiere Leagues. O'Sullivan is ranked 24th in the current Snooker World Rankings. His highest break to date is 147, and he has compiled 724 century breaks. The 38-year-old's earned £166,514 for the 2013-14 season.
4 Marco Fu - £173,203 ($287,010 USD)
Marco Fu is a snooker player from Hong Kong, turned professional in 1998. He beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final to win the 2007 Royal London Watches Grand Prix. He also won the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open. Fu's highest break to date is 147, and he has compiled 301 century breaks. The 36-year-old has won 2 ranking titles in his career, and is ranked 9th in the current Snooker World Rankings. His earned £173,203 for the 2013-14 season.
3 Mark Selby - £272,569 ($451,810 USD)
Mark Selby is an English professional pool and snooker player. He turned professional in 1998, and has 3 ranking titles under his belt. The former world number one was the 2006 WEPF World Eight-Ball champion. His major accomplishments include winning the UK Championship, the Shanghai Masters and the Welsh Open. Selby is ranked 2nd in the current Snooker World Rankings. His highest break to date is 147, and he has a compilation of 297 century breaks. The 30-year-old's earnings for the 2013-14 season is £272,569.
2 Ding Junhui - £307,880 ($510,340 USD)
Ding Junhui is a Chinese professional snooker player, turned professional in 2003. With 9 ranking titles under his belt, the 26-year-old is China's most successful player ever in the sport. He is the youngest player, after John Higgins, to win 3 ranking titles. Junhui is a prolific break-builder with 147 being his highest break, and a compilation of 319 century breaks to date. He is ranked 3rd in the current Snooker World Rankings. His earnings for the 2013-14 season is £307,880, making him the second-highest earning player.
1 Neil Robertson - £341,306 ($565,750 USD)
Neil Robertson is the highest-earning snooker player in the 2013-14 season with winnings of £341,306. He stepped forward into the top professional ranks in the 2006-07 season and won the 2010 World Championship title, becoming the world number one later in the same year. Robertson has 9 ranking titles under his belt, and is the only Australian to have ever won a ranking event. He is regarded as the best snooker player Australia's ever had. The 31-year-old left-hander has compiled 289 century breaks to date, with 147 being his highest break. He is currently ranked 1st in the Snooker World Rankings.