Players Championship 2018 – how things stand before Gibraltar …

Here is Matt Huart (WPBSA) explaining what is at stake in Gibraltar and how the draw pans out for now … 

Race to Llandudno: Live Gibraltar Blog

8th March 2018

The line-up is now taking shape for the Ladbrokes Players Championship with just this weekend’s ManBetX Gibraltar Open to be played before the all-important qualification cut-off.

View the current one-year ranking list

View the playing schedule for the top eight players at the Players Championship

As was the case in 2017, the top 16 players on the one-year ranking list following the Gibraltar Open will qualify to play at the Players Championship in Llandudno.

Updated position as of 04/03/2018:

14th – Anthony McGill – £114,000
15th – Yan Bingtao – £114,000*

16th – Graeme Dott – £113,500*
17th – Martin Gould – £109,500*
18th – Cao Yupeng – £96,000
19th – Jack Lisowski – £94,600
20th – Joe Perry – £93,000
21st – Li Hang – £89,000

*player has not entered Gibraltar Open

Following a record fifth Welsh Open victory for John Higgins in Cardiff, the position is now relatively straightforward with just four players who can still mathematically break into the top 16 on the one-year list in Gibraltar this weekend.

Each of those players, namely Cao Yupeng, Jack Lisowski, Joe Perry and Li Hang must win the tournament in Gibraltar, with nothing less than the £25,000 first prize enough to see them overhaul 16th placed Graeme Dott for the final qualifying position.

Provisional Players Championship draw

As well as the 16 qualifiers, the order on the one-year ranking list will also determine the draw for the Players Championship, with seeds 1 v 16, 2 v 15 and so on set to meet in the opening round…

Updated draw as results stand (following the Welsh Open):

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Graeme Dott (16)

Ding Junhui (8) v Mark Allen (9)

Luca Brecel (5) v Stephen Maguire (12)

Judd Trump (4) v Ryan Day (13)


John Higgins (3) v Anthony McGill (14)

Shaun Murphy (6) v Neil Robertson (11)

Mark Selby (7) v Kyren Wilson (10)

Mark Williams (2) v Yan Bingtao (15)

This is provisional and subject to change throughout the weekend depending upon results in Gibraltar. Players with their names bolded cannot now move in the draw.

Although we already know the identities of 15 or the 16 players who will be competing in Llandudno, there is still much that can change in respect of the Players Championship draw with only three players guaranteed to remain in their current positions heading into Gibraltar.

With ninth placed Mark Allen and those below him unable to overtake eighth placed Ding Junhui however, World Snooker have been able to schedule the matches of the top eight seeds and you can view the details HERE.

A further point of interest is that Anthony McGill and Yan Bingtao are currently tied for 14th place on £114,000, with Yan ranked ahead on countback having progressed further at the previous ranking event, last week’s Welsh Open. However, with Yan not competing in Gibraltar and McGill in action, it will be the Scot who is set to move in front following the tournament on account of having played in the event.

So basically, Ronnie will face Graeme Dott first UNLESS one of  Cao Yupeng, Jack Lisowski, Joe Perry or Li Hang win the title. Anything less and Graeme stays in the draw at spot 16.

It would only take two wins for Ding to overtake Mark Selby, who hasn’t entered, which then would mean that, should Ronnie win his first match he would face the winner of Selby v Allen next. Doesn’t come much harder than that!

John Higgins and Judd Trump have not entered, which means that Luca Brecel could overtake them both: he needs two wins to overtake Trump, he needs the Final to overtake Higgins and climb to n°3. In that case, as n°3, Luca Brecel would move to the other half of the draw, with Higgins coming to Ronnie’s half.

Shaun Murphy has announced on twitter that he has withdrawn as well – he is the defending champion – so Ding is certain to climb to n°6 with three wins. He can’t overtake Luca Brecel though.

Update (09.03.2018) : Ding is marked as “No Show” in Gibraltar, so he can’t overtake Mark Selby, let alone Shaun Murphy. This means that, should Ronnie win his first match, his next opponent will be Allen or Ding.