In the sport of snooker, a century break refers to scoring 100 points or more within one turn 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. It must be done during one break (turn at the table). Points for a foul shot by the opponent do not count in a player's break.
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.
Under exceptional circumstances, it is possible to score a break of 155. Should a player come to the table after a foul shot by the opponent and is unable to hit both sides of any red ball, he may nominate one of the colours as a red. Under these circumstances, it is possible to pot 16 reds and blacks, plus 27 points for the six remaining colours, totalling 155 points.
To score a century, there must be at least ten reds (or nine in a free ball situation) on the table when the player comes to play. If there are nine reds, then the most that can be scored is 99 points (9 x 8 + 27 = 99).
- The seven-time former world champion Stephen Hendry holds the record for century breaks in tournament play, having made over 700.
- Hendry also holds the record for making the most centuries in a single match, compiling seven during the final of the 1994 UK Championship. During this match, Hendry compiled six centuries in a span of eight frames.
- Hendry holds the record for the most centuries in a season, making 52 in the 1995/96 season.
- Hendry holds the record for the most century breaks made in a single event having made 16 centuries during the 2002 Embassy World Championship.
- The quickest recorded century break in tournament play was by Tony Drago. In the 1996 UK Championship, he took just 3 minutes 31 seconds (211 seconds) to score a hundred.
- 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.
- Only two players have made four consecutive centuries in a match: John Higgins in the final of the 2005 Grand Prix and Shaun Murphy at 2007 Welsh Open.
- Ronnie O'Sullivan holds the record for making the most centuries in a best-of-9 match compiling five centuries to beat Ali Carter 5-2 at the 2007 Northern Ireland Trophy. O'Sullivan is the only player to win a match by making a century in every single frame that he won.
- List of snooker players with over 100 century breaks (a "century of centuries")
- Maximum break