When Betvictor decided to sponsor four snooker tournaments during the 2019/2020 season, they cleverly strung them together meaning The European Masters, German Masters, Snooker Shoot Out and Gibraltar Open all come under one banner, the ‘European Series’, which offers a £150,000 prize to the player who earns the most money over the four competitions.
Additionally, BV massively increased the prize-money of the Snooker Shoot Out and doubled the Gibraltar Open winning prize. Consequently, this competition, which starts on Friday, features its classiest field ever but sadly, due to local coronavirus restrictions, the crowd on all days will be restricted to just 100 spectators.
There’s £50,000 to the winner which means if Judd Trump can win the competition he will also collect the ‘European Series’ title and its £150,000 cheque. Currently, with £115,000 banked, Neil Robertson has a £35,000 prize-money lead over the reigning world champion but has dropped out of the competition.
Other ‘names’ visiting Gibraltar include former world champions Mark Selby, Stuart Bingham who is also the defending Gibraltar Open champion, John Higgins and Mark Williams; but within a near-128 player field, there’s every chance we have not mentioned a single semi-finalist.
In fact, amongst the others is Scott Donaldson, the 25-year-old from Scotland who we have been flagging up in this column for the past few months. He came good last week, taking the final of the Betvictor Championship League and acquiring £20,700 in the process. He beat Judd Trump 3-1 in the semi-finals and Graeme Dott 3-0 in the final. He’s definitely a player going places.
The format: 7 x 4
The eventual winner will need to win seven consecutive matches and with each and every game being a straight race to four frames, a lot of luck will be involved. Nevertheless, it’s still Trump who tops the ante-post betting, with a sizeable gap back to the remainder.
The outright betting is a minefield probably best left well alone but I cannot help but throw some shrapnel at two players positioned at the top of the draw: Scott Donaldson (50/1) and also Mark Selby (11/2) purely because he has a bye into the second round and has plenty of back-class.