The Masters is a professional invitational snooker tournament which along with the World Championship and the UK Championship make up the Triple Crown of the sport.
Held annually since 1975, it is the second-longest running tournament behind the World Championships.
It is not a ranking event but it is regarded as one of the most prestigious tournaments on the snooker circuit.
After starting as an invitational event for the top 10 players, the field in the Masters increased to 12 participants in 1981, and by 1983, now has 16 players competing.
Since 1984, the top 16 players in the world rankings have become the standard invitees, with the addition of two or three wild card spots in the tournament held between 1990 and 2010.
Ronnie “The Rocket” O’Sullivan holds the record for most Masters titles with seven. He is followed by Stephen Hendry with six titles.
The Masters trophy was renamed the Paul Hunter Trophy in honour of the late Hunter who won the tournament three times before passing away at just 27 years old.
In the history of the tournament, three maximum breaks have been achieved, with Canada’s Kirk Stevens making the first in 1984, China’s Ding Junhui the second in 2007 and Hong Kong’s Marco Fu the third in 2015.
O’Sullivan is the defending champion in the tournament, successfully retaining the title by defeating Joe Perry 10-7 in the 2017 final to win his seventh title last January at Alexandra Palace.
Dafabet have been title sponsors of the tournament since 2014 and will hold the title name until at least 2020.