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If you enjoy watching top darts from the comfort of your armchair or sofa and you love betting on darts, you can have four months of joy during the PDC Premier League Darts. Only the PDC’s very best players play in the Premier League of Darts. It used to be Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld. Now it’s Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, Jonny Clayton and Gary Anderson. We would like to tell you about the set-up, history, betting markets and top matches of the PDC Premier League of Darts.
Format – PDC Premier League Darts
Some PDC tournaments like the World Series of Darts can be quite complicated. The PDC Premier League Darts is actually not too bad once you know the set-up. The best four darters on the PDC Order of Merit always compete. These are the darters who won the most money in the two previous years, which is basically the ranking system for competitive darts.
Order of Merit and wildcards
In addition, four wildcards will be handed out by the PDC. Those wildcards go to players who are not in the top 4 of the Order of Merit, but who have left a strong impression in the previous year. In 2022, for example, these included Michael Smith, Gary Anderson, Jonny Clayton and Joe Cullen – numbers 5, 6, 8 and 11 on the Order of Merit. Anderson was a two-time winner, Clayton won many tournaments in 2021 and Michael Smith was a losing finalist of the 2022 World Cup.
16 playing weeks and play-offs
Just after the PDC World Darts Championship, the Premier League Darts begins, which is usually in February. For 16 weeks, every Thursday night, the eight participants play a mini-tournament: four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and a final. Each week at a different venue: often in England but also in the Netherlands, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Germany.
Each week the schedule of the tournament is also different, so that everyone can play against each other and have equal chances. Players get 5 points for the overall win, 3 points as a losing finalist and 2 points if you are stranded in the semi-finals. All matches are a best-of-11 legs, so you have to win six legs.
At the end, there is thus a ranking of numbers 1-8. The best four then play play-offs: number 1 against 3 and 2 against 4 in a best-of-19 legs. The winners of these will play the decisive final in a best-of-21.
History – PDC Premier League Darts
The tournament was launched on Sky Sports in early 2005. The idea was to be able to show top darts on television more often and thus generate more attention and revenue. In the beginning, seven players played the Premier League of Darts every fortnight, mainly in small English venues. It proved a success, as the prize pool quickly went up from £150,000 in 2005 to £405,000 in 2009.
The first tournament, which included Roland Scholten, featured matches of 12 legs anyway. As a result, in the group stage, matches were sometimes drawn 6-6. In 2006, a best-of-15 was introduced, so 8 legs were won. In those early years, the best six players of the ranking played with two wildcard players. Later it went to 10 players (four best plus six wildcards) and since 2022 it is eight players again (four to four).
From England to Scotland, Ireland, and the Netherlands
In the beginning, the venues for the group stage were only English. In time, they were joined by other British countries such as Wales and Scotland, as well as neighbouring Ireland. The venue for the final night was different the first five times, until Wembley served as the battleground three times. From 2012-2019, the play-offs were further afield in London at The O2 Arena. After Coventry and Milton Keynes, in 2022 they played the play-offs on the European mainland for the first time, in Berlin. In recent years, Ahoy in Rotterdam has also been a playing venue.
Statistics – PDC Premier League Darts
In the first years of the tournament, Phil Taylor was still supreme at the PDC. Not surprisingly, he dominated Premier League Darts for many years. The Power won the first four editions from 2005-2008 with an unbeaten run of 44 matches. In 2009, Mervyn King ended Taylor’s hegemony, but lost to James Wade in the final. In 2010 and 2012, Phil Taylor would go on to grab his fifth and sixth final wins.
From Phil Taylor to Raymond van Barneveld to Michael van Gerwen
Between 2006 and 2013, Raymond van Barneveld was in the semi-finals six times, but stranded each time. In 2011, he lost to final winner Gary Anderson and in 2013 to Phil Taylor. In 2013, however, Taylor did not win the tournament as he lost the final to debutant Michael van Gerwen. A year later, Barney would finally pick up his win, in the final against Mighty Mike.
After another win by Anderson, the Michael van Gerwen era finally dawned. The living legend from Brabant won the Premier League of Darts four times in a row between 2016-2019. After wins for Glen Durrant and Jonny Clayton, van Gerwen put himself permanently alongside Phil Taylor in 2022.
Taylor and Van Gerwen on top
The old GOAT and the new GOAT are practically equal in Premier League Darts statistics. Both Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen won the tournament six times, and both also lost two finals. Gary Anderson, with two wins, is just slightly better than one-time winners James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Glen Durrant and Jonny Clayton.
Van Barneveld, Taylor and Adrian Lewis are the only players to have thrown a nine-darter twice, Michael van Gerwen never. Barney, with 14 editions and 211 matches, has also played the most often for now. Van Gerwen, incidentally, does dominate the records of averages: 18 averages of 100+ in a season, highest match average of 123.40 and four of the five highest tournament averages.
Betting markets – PDC Premier League
When betting on darts, there are often a number of odds (betting markets) to choose from. We highlight some of them.
Betting on PDC Premier League Darts – live betting
At 16 nights of top darts sportsmanship with seven matches each night featuring the world’s best eight darters. If we do the maths we come out at… 112 matches for live betting darts on at the bookmakers! Then a final night with three matches for one of the three tournaments of the Triple Crown (with the PDC World Darts Championship and World Matchplay). If you like live betting on darts, then the Premier League Darts is a great opportunity for months Thursday night excitement!
Betting on PDC Premier League Darts – 180 and statistics
Darts is an activity where having done well in maths at school pays off. You have to go from 501 points to 0 as fast as possible. That principle also ensures that darts can provide many different statistics par excellence. The most important ones that are often shown are the match average and the check-out (throwing doubles). Bookmakers usually also give you the chance to bet on these when betting on darts. Who throws the highest average, the highest checkout and who scores 180 most often?
Betting on PDC World Series of Darts – toto and handicap
Of course, we don’t forget the basics of betting on sport. Who wins the match, or toto result. Every week you have seven matches to bet on. Of course, if a player is much better than his opponent, you can also bet on a handicap for better odds. Then you predict that a player will win with, say, at least 2 or 3 legs difference. And of course think about the outright odds, such as the winner of the evening or the entire Premier League of Darts.
Historic matches – PDC Premier League Darts
2010 – Two nine-darters Phil Taylor vs James Wade
Without a doubt, the final of the 2010 Premier League Darts was the best match ever of the tournament. Not only because of the excitement, but also because of an unimaginable performance by Phil Taylor. At Wembley, The Power threw not one, but two nine darters in the final and also won it 10-8.
2016 – Highest ever average of Michael van Gerwen
On the fourth night of the PDC Premier League Darts 2016 in Aberdeen, Michael van Gerwen was in blood form. His poor opponent Michael Smith didn’t stand a chance. Because van Gerwen threw an average of no less than 123.40, which is still the world record. He even started the last leg with 129.22. Check out that fantastic match of Mighty Mike here.
2022 – Michael van Gerwen wins sixth title against Joe Cullen
The most recent edition put Michael van Gerwen alongside Phil Taylor with six wins. In the final, it came down to a decisive 21st leg against debutant Joe Cullen. The Englishman was allowed to start and got a matchdart. But he missed and Mighty Mike struck mercilessly. The match was later regarded as one of the best in recent years.
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 Premier League Darts is a prestigious tournament that showcases the world’s best darts players competing against each other over several weeks. It holds importance as a premier showcase of talent and a fan-favorite event.
The “contender” is a local player invited to compete for a night, injecting unpredictability and creating moments of magic, such as John Henderson’s draw against Michael van Gerwen in 2019.
“Judgement Night” adds intensity as one player is eliminated, changing the dynamics and influencing betting strategies for the remainder of the tournament.
Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen have established themselves as dominant figures in the tournament’s history, with numerous titles between them. Although Taylor is now retired, Van Gerwen still rakes in many turnament wins, or runner up positions.
The Premier League Darts features a round-robin format where ten elite players compete over several weeks, followed by knockout rounds. This extended format ensures a consistent display of talent and excitement for fans.