Snooker for 2018 has kicked off with the 2018 Championship League, for the Group 1 stages - as it was last season won by John Higgins.

This is the first of what is going to be a packed second half of the 2017/18 season, as the road to the Crucible reaches a climax.

Already, there's been 27 events in total, both non World Snooker and World Snooker events which have seen the calendar jam-packed as players hustle to win and enter as many tournaments as they can possibly can.

The Masters kicks off in a week's time, as 16 of the best snooker players battle to win one of the Major Triple Crown events at the Alexandra Palace, and all eyes will be on Ronnie O'Sullivan as he seeks to defend and win an eighth Masters title.

What's coming up

The Masters at the Alexandra Palace from the 14th January to the 21st January.

2018 Championship League - Group 1 - 4 stages run from today to the Thursday the 11th January. It is the 11th staging of the event which has seen Judd Trump win it three times.

There is to be a Pro-Am held in Italy towards the end of January and that will then swiftly bring us into February where...

The 2018 German Masters will be held.

Anthony Hamilton is the defending champion after spectacularly winning his maiden title last season - joining the likes of Mark King et al as he saw off Ali Carter in a thrilling final.

Snooker Shootout in Watford.

Middle of February and the action sees players in London for the one off bit of annual fun as the Shootout provides fans with an insight into how players deal with shot clocks and literally having to think on their feet.

This contest enables fans to let off steam and players to assess their own performances and techniques in fast-thrilling one frame tussles.

The Coral Snooker Shootout runs from the 8th to the 11th February at the Watford Coloseum.

World Grand Prix

A few days after and it's the World Grand Prix - another of Snooker's big events - and it's from the Preston Guild Hall.

Last season it was Barry Hawkins who beat the Welshman Ryan Day in a hard fought 10 - 7 battle - as Day this season eventually went on to lift his maiden title in the Riga Masters.

The World Grand Prix, sponsored by Ladbrokes, runs from the 19th to the Sunday the 25th.

Finally for Feb/March...

We see out February with the Welsh Open, the fourth and final leg of the Home Nations series - which saw Stuart Bingham lift the Ray Reardon trophy in Cardiff last season.

The Welsh Open is now one of Snooker's prestigious events in the calendar, running since 1992 and Stephen Hendry winning the first edition and runs from the Monday 26th Feb to the Sunday 4th March.

After that, that means there will be just 38 days until the start of the World Championship qualifiers in Sheffield, which run from the 11th to the 18th April.

You can search for tickets to top quality events like these by going to the World Snooker website...

Also, want to get into snooker? Watch top pro Anthony McGill teach you some useful basics, here...