THE big names are back at the Barbican as this year's Betway UK Championship roars to life today.

One of snooker's Triple Crown events, the UK Champs boasts prize money of £850,000, with the winner taking home an astonishing £170,000.

Little wonder then that the likes of world number one – and defending champion – Mark Selby and five-time winner Ronnie O'Sullivan are among the leading contenders.

Selby won the title for the second time when he beat O'Sullivan 10-7 in the 2016 final. He starts his campaign with a first-round clash against Basen Eltahhan tomorrow evening.

O'Sullivan, meanwhile, begins his tournament during Thursday's evening session when he faces young Welshman Jackson Page.

Local favourites are also in action, with York's Ashley Hugill meeting Scotland’s Anthony McGill tomorrow morning, and Pickering potter Paul Davison going head-to-head with two-time UK champion Mark Williams in his opening contest 24 hours later.

Today's highlights include afternoon encounters for Marco Fu and Ding Junhui, who face Nigel Bond and Leo Fernandez respectively.

This evening's best of 11-frame battles include John Higgins' match with fellow Scot Chris Totten, while their countryman Stephen Maguire takes on Yuan Sijun.