PDC Masters

A darts tournament for the sport’s top players. Legends go head-to-head against each other to determine the true Master. Read here for more!

Estimated reading time: 27 minutes

Only the best darters can be seen at The PDC Masters darts tournament. Each year, the best 24 darters compete in this challenging tournament, right after the PDC World Darts Championship has ended.

When betting on darts, you have many tournaments from the PDC calendar to choose from. These include the PDC World Championship, the Premier League of Darts, the World Grand Prix and the Grand Slam of Darts. Now we will take a closer look at the format, history, betting markets, and top matches of The Masters.

Format – PDC Masters

This non-ranking tournament of the PDC has been organised since 2013. The format of this tournament is actually quite simple. Only the best darters from the PDC Order of Merit are allowed to compete in this prestigious tournament. From 2013 to 2020, these were the best 16 darters in the world. Since 2021, the best 24 darters are invited.

With 16 players, the format was still quite simple in the first eight years. Four rounds until the winner was crowned after the final. Remarkably, the actual ordering of the Order of Merit is also still influential. The number 1 plays against the number 16, 2 against 15, 3 against 14, and so on.

Since recently, there are 24 players who are allowed to compete at The Masters. The top eight get a pass-by for the first round, in which the highest still plays against the lowest from the remaining 16. In the second round, the top eight players enter, and the number one, for example, plays against the winner of 16-17. The first round is a best of 11 legs, the second round and quarterfinals are best of 19 legs, and the final best of 21 legs.

History – PDC Masters

This tournament was first played in 2013. Exactly the year Phil Taylor was still at a strong point in his career. In 2013, The Power won the PDC World Darts Championship, the World Matchplay, the World Grand Prix, the UK Open, the Grand Slam of Darts and the PDC World Cup of Darts. As number one seed, he also played the first edition of The Masters with a favour. In four matches, he won 34 legs and lost only seven, so the favour may not have had nearly as much influence as one might think. The semi-final against James Wade, and the final against Adrian Lewis, both ended in 10-1. His average was also fantastic over the whole tournament: 105.38.

Secretly, James Wade has been one of the best darters in the world at the PDC for about 15 years. The Englishman won almost every tournament there is at least once. Only the World Darts Championship and the Grand Slam of Darts are missing from his magnificent list of honours. In 2014, he won The Masters by beating Brendan Dolan, Adrian Lewis, Phil Taylor and Mervyn King. Especially the final against King (11-10) was blood-curdling.

Michael van Gerwen era

In 2015, The Masters moved from Edinburgh in Scotland to Milton Keynes in England. With that also came the first true reign at the tournament: that of Michael van Gerwen. After a quarter-final in 2013, and semi-final in 2014, he was unstoppable at The Masters from 2015 onwards. That year (2014) he was seeded first, and Mighty Mike lived up to benefit from it in the best way possible. In the quarter-finals, he beat Dave Chisnall in a fantastic game finishing at 10-9, with averages of 110 vs 108. In the final against Raymond van Barneveld, he stepped it up: with 112.49 average, he brushed Barney aside 11-6.

A year later, Michael van Gerwen left a trail of destruction with only English opponents. After simple wins over Stephen Bunting and Michael Smith, he faced Phil Taylor in the quarter-finals. With an 11-10 win (and a 103 average for both), he advanced to the final, where Dave Chisnall was the fourth Englishman to fall to Mighty Mike.

Michael van Gerwen continues to dominate

In 2017, Michael van Gerwen made it three in a row at the PDC Masters. The Dutchman threw an average of over 100 for four games in a row, with the former bouncer throwing 109 average in the final against Gary Anderson. The Scot had knocked out Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor earlier in the tournament, so he was certainly no pushover.

The thought Van Gerwen had must have been “Why not win four in a row?”, Vas he entered the tournament in 2018. With another four 100+ averages, he won The Masters. The final was a repeat of three years earlier, as once again Raymond van Barneveld was on the losing side of the oche. Again in 2019, Michael van Gerwen did not encounter a single moment of trouble. In the final, James Wade threw a lousy average of 87.44, allowing Van Gerwen to win 11-5, taking his fifth Masters in a row.

Scotland, Wales and England win The Masters again

To date, Michael van Gerwen remains the only Dutch winner of The Masters. In each of the last three editions, he was eliminated early and, partially as a result, no Dutchman even made it to the semi-finals. In 2020, Peter Wright became the only Scottish winner so far. He beat compatriot Gary Anderson in the semi-finals, and Michael Smith in the final.

In 2021, it was time for the first winner from Wales. No, it was not Gerwyn Price, because 2021 was the year of Jonny Clayton, who also won the Premier League of Darts, the World Grand Prix, and World Series of Darts that year. Mervyn King was the losing finalist, same as in 2014. In 2022, the title at The Masters went back to England for the first time since 2014. Joe Cullen beat Michael van Gerwen in the quarter-finals, and his compatriot Dave Chisnall in the final.

Statistics – PDC Masters

You might have guessed it, but Michael van Gerwen is by far the best with five final wins. Indeed, he is the only one to win this tournament more than once. Phil Taylor, James Wade, Peter Wright, Jonny Clayton, and Joe Cullen all won once. That puts the Netherlands on five wins, England on three, Wales and Scotland on one. Four players have been there for all 10 editions so far: Michael van Gerwen, James Wade, Peter Wright, and Dave Chisnall.

Mighty Mike also dominates the match averages at The Masters. The four highest averages at the tournament are all his (112.49 being the highest), as is the number seven. Van Gerwen threw a 100+ average a total of 18 times. Phil Taylor follows that up with 10 100+ averages, and then Gary Anderson closes the top three with 7 100+ averages. Van Gerwen also has the best tournament average with 106.07 in 2017. He topped 105 three times over the entire tournament, Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson once each.

Betting markets – PDC Masters

When betting on darts, there are often a number of odds (betting markets) to choose from. We explain a few that you can choose from at bookmakers all around.

Betting on PDC The Masters – outright winner

Michael van Gerwen has won the tournament five times, but failed to reach the semi-finals in the last three editions. Can he triumph again next time, or will you predict a different winner?

Betting on PDC The Masters – live betting

The matches are not particularly long, but perhaps long enough to see who throws better. Many bookmakers allow you to bet live on darts, including at The Masters.

Betting on PDC The Masters – averages and 180s

High averages are flying around your ears at this tournament, especially with Michael van Gerwen. Perhaps you can bet on a particular average for Mighty Mike or the number of 180s he throws. Alternatively you can look at another 180-puncher, like James Wade.

Historic matches – PDC Masters

2013 final – Phil Taylor vs Adrian Lewis

In 2013, Phil Taylor was still at the top of his game. The Power won seven tournaments, including the World Championship final against Michael van Gerwen. In the first edition of The Masters, he showed Adrian Lewis every corner of the oche, resulting in a 10-1 win.

2015 final – Michael van Gerwen vs Raymond van Barneveld

The first out of five times in a row that Mighty Mike won, and against that other Dutch legend to boot. Raymond van Barneveld struggled to keep up, as Michael van Gerwen threw the highest average ever in the tournament (still so far).

2020 highlights – Peter Wright

After five years of Michael van Gerwen, 2020 finally saw another winner. Peter Wright did not have to take out Van Gerwen, but he did have to take out a number of other top players: Joe Cullen, Dave Chisnall, Gary Anderson, and Michael Smith. Chisnall got a whitewash, but the final was unbelievably exciting, coming down to the final dart.

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  • How does the PDC Masters differ from other darts tournaments in terms of player selection?

    The PDC Masters invites the top 16 players based on their performances in the PDC Order of Merit. This exclusive player selection ensures that only the elite of darts compete, providing fans with high-quality matches.

  • Can you elaborate on how the PDC Masters contributes to the legacy of top players in darts?

    Players like Phil Taylor have solidified their legendary status through their performances in the PDC Masters. Taylor’s multiple titles in the tournament added to his legacy as one of the greatest darts players in history.

  • When did a player’s PDC Masters victory mark a turning point in their career trajectory?

    James Wade’s win in the 2014 PDC Masters was pivotal in his career resurgence. This victory not only bolstered his confidence but also reestablished him as a formidable force in the world of darts.

  • What is a significant upset in the history of the PDC Masters, where an underdog defeated a favorite?

    In 2017, Peter Wright’s triumph over Phil Taylor in the PDC Masters final marked a significant upset. Wright’s victory showcased the unpredictable nature of darts and how unexpected outcomes can shape the tournament’s narrative. In this case, the underdog bets drew major returns.

  • How does the PDC Masters contribute to players’ preparation for the rest of the season’s major tournaments?

    The PDC Masters is often one of the first major tournaments of the year, allowing players to gauge their form, build momentum, and fine-tune their game ahead of the more prominent competitions.

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