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The best eight darters compete against each other in the PDC Premier League of Darts. But everyone else meets in the PDC Players Championship.
Format – PDC Players Championship
Many darts betting enthusiasts like to watch the Premier League of Darts. Logically, those are the best players in the world playing a mini-tournament each time. The slightly lesser gods try to move up through the PDC Players Championship. Those are several dozen tournaments held throughout the year. The games are quite short and, starting in the quarter-finals, eventually go for 6, 7 and 8 won legs.
A ranking is kept of all those tournaments: the Players Championship Order of Merit. In other words, a ranking based on the prize money won in these tournaments. So it is a kind of derivative of the PDC Order of Merit, which is about other tournaments. The best 64 players on the Players Championship Order of Merit will play the Players Championship Finals in November.
PDC Players Championship Finals
The final tournament has a nice prize pool of £500,000. And a good ranking can help towards this tournament. In the first round, the number 1 plays against the number 64, 2 against 63 and so on. And it’s important to be sharp. Because the first and second rounds are best of 11 legs. The third round and quarterfinals are over a best of 19 legs. The semi-final and final of this tournament are a best of 21 legs.
History – PDC Players Championship
This series of small tournaments with an eventual final tournament is one of many tournaments set up by the PDC between 2000 and 2010. Other tournaments from that time include the UK Open (2003), Premier League Darts (2005), Grand Slam of Darts (2007), European Darts Championship (2008) and World Cup of Darts (2010).
A few years after the creation of the Premier League of Darts, the PDC also wanted a tournament format for more darters. Therefore, they thought it was a good idea to put several tournaments throughout mainly England on the calendar where many darters could participate. From that, they created a ranking list that was then used to create the Finals.
Phil Taylor wins alternately
The first Finals tournament in 2009 was played with the 32 best darters from the PDC Players Championship Order of Merit. The venue was Circus Tavern in Purfleet, the location of the PDC World Darts Championship from 1994 to 2007. Phil Taylor was a PDC great back then (and still remains a legend). He faced an only 19-year-old and fairly unknown Michael van Gerwen in the first round, who was seeded 32nd as the last participant. He snatched 3 legs from The Power, but had to give way. Taylor then won over Vincent van der Voort, and eventually taking the final from Robert Thornton.
Thus, Phil Taylor almost naturally became the first winner of this new tournament. In 2010, however, he struggled and lost to the now unknown Paul Nicholson, who also won the tournament (in the final against Mervyn King). It would remain the highlight of his career. Two were played in 2011: Phil Taylor won in February, Kevin Painter in December.
In 2012, Taylor would win his third title, again perfectly alternating wins and losses. That year, by the way, the tournament was held for the first time at the Butlins Resort in Minehead, where it has always been played ever since, with the exception of 2020.
Michael van Gerwen takes over from Phil Taylor
In 2013, Phil Taylor found himself in his fourth final in six editions. The Power started the tournament as the 19th seeded player. He did reach the final by beating, among others, a rather unknown Peter Wright, and then Raymond van Barneveld. Meanwhile, however, Michael van Gerwen had emerged as a very strong player at the PDC. He had already won the Premier League of Darts earlier that year.
Mighty Mike played a strong tournament and eventually beat Phil Taylor in the final 11-7. A year later, he drained Barney in the first round, but was surprised by Terry Jenkins in the second round. Gary Anderson was very strong in those years and crowned it with his first title. A revenge for the lost final in February 2011 against Phil Taylor. This time, Anderson beat Englishman Adrian Lewis in the final.
A year later, Lewis was again a losing finalist. And in that year, 2015, a fantastic run by Michael van Gerwen began. The Dutchman was in the final of the PDC Players Championship Finals six years in a row. Mighty Mike showed that he is a fantastic darter when it comes down to it. He won five of those six finals: in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020. His run was broken in 2018 by Daryl Gurney. In 2021, the title went to Peter Wright, who was too strong for Van Gerwen in the quarterfinals.
Statistics – PDC Players Championship
Since 2009, the tournament has been held 14 times, with thus two editions in 2011. And in exactly half of those, Michael van Gerwen was in the final. Six out of seven times, Mighty Mike also won. The only other multiple winner is Phil Taylor, who triumphed three times in the early years. Paul Nicholson, Kevin Painter, Gary Anderson, Daryl Gurney, and Peter Wright won once.
Mervyn King and Adrian Lewis have the disappointing statistic of having played two finals, but lost both. King, incidentally, was there for all 14 editions. Michael van Gerwen and Adrian Lewis stand on 13 participations, Scots Peter Wright and Gary Anderson on 12 each.
High averages and nine-darters Michael van Gerwen
So the Players Championship Finals have short games, but despite this, the number of nine-darters is somewhat disappointing. Alan Norris was the first in 2016, Michael van Gerwen the second in 2019. Mighty Mike, incidentally, is the record holder with 33 wins in Players Championship tournaments so far.
In terms of highest averages, Mighty Mike is in the top ten only once. In 2020, he threw an average of 110.01 in the quarterfinals against Dirk van Duijvenbode. With the highest average of 111.58, Phil Taylor was merciless to Raymond van Barneveld in 2013, winning 9-2. Taylor and Gary Anderson are the only two timers in the top ten.
Michael van Gerwen did throw an average of 100+ in 32 matches. Phil Taylor (18) and Gary Anderson (15) do not even come close. Other darters do not exceed 10.
Betting markets – PDC Players Championship
When betting on darts, there are often a number of odds (betting markets) to choose from. We explain some of the ones you can choose from at bookmakers.
Betting on PDC Players Championship – (live) betting on results
64 players are competing in the PDC Players Championship Finals. The most obvious betting market when (live) betting darts is predicting the winner. You can also do this throughout the year at the various Players Championship tournaments and at the big Finals tournament.
Betting on PDC Players Championship – number of legs and handicap
The matches in this tournament can be fairly short, as it starts with best of 11 legs and later best of 19 and best of 21. You can also often bet on the number of legs in a match at bookmakers. Will it be a one-sided match or very exciting until the end? If the match is likely to be one-sided, also check the odds on winning with a handicap.
Betting on PDC Players Championship – King of the oche
A special betting market when betting on darts is the so-called ‘King of the oche’. Here, you predict whether a player completely dominates the match. He must win the match, have the highest checkout and the most 180s.
Historic matches – PDC Players Championship
2013 final – Michael van Gerwen vs Phil Taylor
This match was one of the first token matches in which Van Gerwen took over from Phil Taylor as the PDC’s eventual best player. Things were evenly matched until 6-6, when Van Gerwen accelerated and eventually distanced himself to an 11-7 victory.
2013 quarterfinals – Phil Taylor vs Raymond van Barneveld
So although Phil Taylor lost the 2013 final, he would never eventually win the tournament again. But in the quarter-finals, he did set the highest ever average in the PDC Players Championship Finals. His old rival Raymond van Barneveld was the sufferer of the 111.58 average, losing at 6-2 as many as five legs in a row to The Power.
2020 final – Michael van Gerwen vs Mervyn King
So the absolute king of the PDC Players Championship Finals is Michael van Gerwen. He still won his first four finals by a big margin. But in 2019, things got tough against Gerwyn Price (11-9). In 2020, he went all the way against Mervyn King. The Englishman already lost a final in 2010, and was keen on revenge. The match was leveled for a long time, but Van Gerwen proved to be the coolest. From 9-9 it went like this:
More Darts Events
The PDC World Darts Championship in the Alexandra Palace is hailed by many as the greatest darts tournament. The best darts players in the world will cross darts to decide who is the very best in early January.
One of the most favoured tournaments in darts is the PDC World Series of Darts.
At various locations around the world, players from the top of the PDC Ranking will compete against local players.
The Dutch Open is played according to the knockout system where the winner of each match advances to the next round. For fans of betting on darts, this is definitely not to be missed.
One of the most enjoyable tournaments on the PDC calendar is the PDC World Grand Prix. A different format, lots of excitement and unpredictability.
The Premier League Darts is an annual competition. The Premier League Darts tournament lasts from February to May and has been organised since 2005.
Ten players from the PDC compete for a share of the £1,000,000 prize pool.
At times facing each other, at times side by side. That’s the PDC World Cup of Darts, a Nations Cup featuring the best two darters from each country.
Which country has the best darts duo, and which team forms the best blend?
The Grand Slam of Darts has been an annual tournament since 2007. Qualification for the Grand Slam of Darts is through the other tournaments.
Only the winners of the other darts television tournaments qualify.
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.
The Paddy Power Champions League of Darts was an annual non-ranking darts tournament featuring just the top eight players.
Following the COVID cancellation of the 2020 tournament the tournament was quietly shelved by the PDC.
Since 2008, the European Championship Darts has been on the PDC calendar. The ranking tournament in late October guarantees top darts sportsmanship and performance every year.
The UK Open Darts is also known as the FA Cup of darts.
The comparison comes from the specific format of the UK Open Darts. At other tournaments seeded players meet late, but at the UK Open Darts, things are a bit different.
A series of countrywide tournaments taking place over a few months, in between the other championships, that culminate in a stand off of the best darters.
The PDC Players Championship events contribute to players’ overall rankings. Their performance and results in these tournaments impact their positions on the PDC Order of Merit, determining their status and opportunities in other tournaments.
Players compete in knockout-style tournaments, playing in a set format over multiple rounds. Each match is crucial, and players must perform consistently to progress deeper into the event.
Rivalries like van Gerwen vs. Price have intensified through their battles in the PDC Players Championship, captivating fans and adding extra excitement to the events.
Players like Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price, and Peter Wright have consistently showcased their prowess in the PDC Players Championship events, securing titles and high rankings.
The PDC Players Championship serves as a vital stepping stone for players to hone their skills and gain momentum. For instance, Gary Anderson’s victories in Players Championship events paved the way for his World Championship triumphs, showcasing how success in these tournaments can build a player’s confidence and form.