In snooker, a century break (sometimes referred to as a ton) is a score of 100 points or more within one visit at the table, without missing a shot. The player does this by potting red balls and coloured balls alternately. Scoring 100 points over the course of a whole frame is not a century break, as it must be done on a single turn at the table during a game. Points for a foul shot by the opponent do not count in a player's break.
Under normal circumstances, the highest possible century in snooker is 147 (a "maximum break"), composed of 15 reds, 15 blacks and the six remaining colours; yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black potted consecutively. This means that only a single century break is possible in a frame of snooker and to score it, there must be at least ten reds (one fewer in a free ball situation) on the table when the player comes to play since if there are only nine reds left, only 99 (= 9 × 8 + 27) points may be scored.
Please do not update the century counts using the Snooker.info and CueTracker websites. Snooker statistics must be sourced to a reliable source(s) (i.e. generally published by a professional organization), and fansites do not meet this criteria due to being self-published.
A "century of century" refers to a total of 100 breaks of at least 100 points each. Only 15 players had reached this milestone in professional snooker tournaments by December 2001, a total number of 42 players by October 2011 and by the end of the 2013/2014 season the total number of players reaching the milestone had grown to 52.
The first player to reach 50 centuries in a season was Stephen Hendry, with 53 century breaks from the 1994/1995 season.
Hendry achieved another 51 centuries during the 1995/1996 season. Ronnie O'Sullivan came close with 48 in the 2006/2007 season, but it was not until the 2010/2011 season when the record was finally broken by Mark Selby with 54 centuries. Prior to the 2010/2011 season—the season that saw the Players Tour Championship established—there were far fewer tournaments on the calendar, with Hendry never having the chance to contest over one hundred matches, unlike Selby did when he broke Hendry's record. Selby equalled Hendry's record at the 2011 World Snooker Championship during his second round tie with Hendry, and another century in his quarter-final match took his total for that season to 54 centuries. Selby went on to set a new record with 55 century breaks in the 2011/2012 season.Judd Trump took the record with 61 centuries in the 2012/2013 season and the record was broken for the fourth successive season in 2013/2014 when Neil Robertson overtook Trump's tally.
The first player to reach the 'century of centuries' (100 century breaks) mark during a single season is Neil Robertson in the 2013/2014 season on 30 April 2014 during his quarter final match against Judd Trump at the 2014 World Snooker Championship. In total, Robertson compiled 103 century breaks throughout the season.
The most centuries in a single match during a professional tournament is seven and was achieved by Stephen Hendry during the final of the 1994 UK Championship. During this match, Hendry compiled six centuries in a span of eight frames.
Only Mark Selby and Ronnie O'Sullivan have compiled six centuries each in a single World Championship match at the Crucible Theatre. Selby set the record in a second round match at the 2011 World Championship, which was also a record for a best-of-25 match. O'Sullivan tied it when he compiled six centuries during the final of the 2013 World Snooker Championship, setting a record for a world final at the Crucible; the record for a final previously stood at five, jointly held by Hendry (in 1997), John Higgins (1998) and Matthew Stevens (2000).
There have been five consecutive centuries in a match on two occasions. Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry made five consecutive centuries between them during the final of the 2003 British Open, and Stephen Maguire and Neil Robertson achieved the same feat at the 2009 Masters in the quarter-final. Stephen Maguire made five consecutive centuries at the 2004 British Open comprising the last three frames of his quarter final and the first two frames of the semi-final.