The format of the televised stages of the World Championship has remained unchanged since 1982, with the exception of a change in the semi-final format that was introduced in 1997. It has a knock-out format with 32 players, contested over 17 days ending on the first Monday in May, which is the May Day bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Of the 32 players, 16 reach the final stages automatically while the other 16 need to earn a place through a qualifying competition.

The reigning world champion receives a direct entry and is the number one seed (the World Champion is usually seeded at least 2nd for all ranking tournaments, and The Masters, for the following season). The remaining direct entries are based on the latest world rankings, with players being seeded based on these world rankings. Since the defending champion is normally ranked in the top 16, the top 16 ranked players generally receive a direct entry.

Fourteen maximum breaks have been made in the history of the tournament, Cliff Thorburn having achieved the first in 1983, and Mark Selby the most recent in 2023. Record 109-century breaks were made at The Crucible in 2022. As of 2023, 27 players have won the World Snooker Championship.

According to Wikipedia