Snooker rankings were devised way back in 1976, and they are basically used to determine the seedings and qualifications for all the major tournaments. So obviously it is vital for professional snooker players to get one of the top snooker rankings, as this means they will automatically qualify for the major titles and will gain a high seeding in them.
Surprisingly, there have only been 8 players that have been ranked 5 world snooker championship schedule at the top of the snooker rankings since their inception. The players that have managed this are Ray Reardon, Cliff Thorburn, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ronnie O`Sullivan and Neil Robertson.
If you are not in the top few of the snooker rankings it is likely that, when it comes to the major tournaments, you will have to play some qualifying rounds to gain entry into the main draw. Often, when players have been one of the top players, start to slide down the rankings and have to play in the qualifying rounds, they find it very difficult to cope with their change in status. When you are making your way up the rankings it is a wonderful feeling, but when you start on the slippery slope down it is very difficult to turn things around and gain your form and confidence again.
Before 2010, the rankings were based on how many ranking points you had accumulated in the two years previously, but since 2010 but now a fairer two year rolling points system has been put into place, which takes more account of players current form. When the system was first introduced in 1976, the only thing that was taken into account was the previous 3 years World Championship performances. So that players were given 5 points for winning the World Championship, 4 points for being runner up, 3 points for being a semi finalist, 2 points for being a quarter finalist, and 1 point for getting into the last 16.
Stephen Hendry has been at number 1 for longer than any other snooker player, with a total of 9 seasons at the top. And this included 8 successive seasons at number 1, a testament to his consistency and his stature in the game.