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The UK Open Darts is also known as the FA Cup of darts. What makes this tournament so special, and how can you best bet on UK Open Darts?
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. We will take a look at the set-up, history, betting markets and top matches of the UK Open Darts.
Format – UK Open Darts
The comparison with the FA Cup comes from the specific format of the UK Open Darts. At other tournaments like the PDC World Darts Championship, seeded players meet late, but at the UK Open Darts, things are a bit different.
PDC Order of Merit determines the UK Open Darts
The UK Open Darts is currently played over nine rounds. If you are high on the PDC Order of Merit, you do not have to enter the tournament until later. Darters can qualify for the UK Open Darts in different ways. The 128 best darters on the PDC Order of Merit will participate, eight qualifiers from the Development Tour and eight from the Challenge Tour. In addition, 16 darters who qualified in England through tournaments run by sports bar Rileys in the UK are also competing.
In the first round, the 16 qualifiers from the Rileys tournaments, eight qualifiers from the Challenge Tour and eight qualifiers from the Development Tour, and numbers 97-128 of the PDC Order of Merit will play.
Second round: numbers 65-96 of the PDC Order of Merit join the 32 winners of the first round.
Third round: the numbers 33-64 of the PDC Order of Merit join them.
Fourth round: the top 32 PDC Order of Merit darters finally join.
UK Open Darts: everyone can compete against each other
So there are nine rounds in total, given the number of 64 entrants in the fourth round. But the big difference with other ranking PDC tournaments is that the best players on the Order of Merit can also be drawn against each other. In other words, a completely open draw among all players in each round.
The UK Open Darts is played over legs won, instead of sets. With relatively short matches, lower ranking players also have a chance against the top athletes. Those, in turn, have to be on their guard. The first three rounds are a best of eleven legs, so darters only need to win six legs. The fourth, fifth and sixth rounds and quarter-finals are a best of nineteen, so winning ten legs is required. In the semi-final and final, it is a best of 21.
History – UK Open Darts
The tournament has been around since 2003 and has had 20 editions. The first edition in 2003 was mainly an English affair, as darts was still a growing sport internationally. It could not have been anyone other than Phil Taylor who won the first edition. In a best of 35 legs, he took down Shayne Burgess 18-8 in the final.
Phil Taylor, Roland Scholten and Raymond van Barneveld
In the 2004 UK Open Darts, Phil Taylor flew out in the quarter-finals against John Part, although he had thrown his second televised nine-darter before that. Roland Scholten, who lost to Taylor in the previous year in the semi-finals, made it far and even reached the final this time. In the final, he burst forward to a 6-1 lead against John Part. Part never came back in the match and Scholten eventually won 11-6. It is the biggest win in the Dutchman’s career.
The year 2005 became a repeat of 2003. Phil Taylor beat Roland Scholten in the semi-finals and eventually won the tournament. The Netherlands put its stamp on the tournament again in the following years, mainly through Raymond van Barneveld. In 2006, he joined the PDC and the UK Open became his first ranking tournament. In the quarter-finals, he beat Phil Taylor in a thriller of a match with 11-10, going on to subsequently win the tournament as well.
A year later, Barney and The Power faced each other again in the quarter-finals. Barney won again, this time 11-4, taking the overall victory again. Now it was even an all-Dutch final, with Vincent van der Voort as the losing finalist.
James Wade and more Phil Taylor
After three final wins in five years, Dutch success in the UK Open Darts was over from 2008. That year, Raymond van Barneveld and Vincent van der Voort fell in the semi-finals. ‘The Machine’ James Wade showed the spectators how consistent his performance could be. His tournament victory heralded another period of English rule.
Phil Taylor came all the way back, winning in 2009 and 2010, years when England delivered almost all quarter-finalists. Only in 2010, Scotland’s Gary Anderson being the odd duck in the tournament, lost the final to Taylor. In 2011, James Wade was back on the top step, in a tournament in which Barney was sent home 9-1 by losing finalist Wes Newton.
Michael van Gerwen and Scottish success too
Phil Taylor would reach the final of the UK Open Darts twice more. In 2012, Robert Thornton was the stronger contestant. The Scot won 11-5, despite an average of three points lower. In 2013, Taylor did pick up his fifth final victory with a fantastic average of 107 in the final. Only Adrian Lewis, winner of 2014, threw a higher average in the final at 109 – winning 11-1 over Terry Jenkins.
In 2014, one Michael van Gerwen already reached the semi-finals. In 2015, he crowned himself champion by beating Scotland’s Peter Wright in the final. A year later, the UK Open Darts had the same final and the same winner, but Peter Wright would get his revenge. After a victory against Raymond van Barneveld in the quarterfinals, he won over Gerwyn Price in the final. In 2018, Gary Anderson provided the third Scottish final victory, eight years after his lost final against Phil Taylor.
Another Michael van Gerwen and Danny Noppert
One of the best ‘new’ darters of recent years is Nathan Aspinall. He won the 2019 UK Open, marking his first ranking tournament. Michael van Gerwen was in his third final in 2020, against another great rival of recent years: Gerwyn Price. However, the Welshman lost again and Mighty Mike won his third UK Open. James Wade also reached three wins by winning in 2021 and in 2022 Danny Noppert became the fourth Dutch winner. Although that was with the worst final average ever, 84.82 against Michael Smith, but that should not spoil the fun for The Freeze.
Statistics – UK Open Darts
You must have found out that at this tournament, too, Phil Taylor is historically the very best. The Power won the tournament five times and lost one final. Michael van Gerwen and James Wade won all three finals they played in. Raymond van Barneveld won the tournament twice.
Scots also won the tournament three times, the Dutch seven times , and the English 10 times. Six times there was a finalist from outside these three countries, but six times they also lost the final. Incidentally, James Wade is the only darter to have been there for all editions, with Adrian Lewis always present from the second edition in 2004 onwards.
Nine-darters Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen and more
The UK Open Darts is well known for the many nine darters that are thrown. Phil Taylor threw as many as four in the first six editions. Michael van Gerwen is the only one who also threw a nine-darter more than once at the UK Open, in 2016 and 2020. In 2021, the then 22-year-old Jitse van der Wal threw a nine darter in the second round, although it was a shame that it was not televised.
Betting markets – UK Open Darts
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 most bookmakers.
Betting on UK Open Darts – nines and 180s
As mentioned, this tournament has seen many nine-darters, 15 in total. When betting on UK Open Darts, you can therefore bet on, for example, a nine-darter in the tournament, or the number of 180s per match. After all, you need those to throw ninth darters!
Betting on UK Open Darts – (live) betting on results
The matches are short in the beginning and sometimes a relatively unknown darter gets far in the tournament. That is also the charm of the UK Open Darts. You can bet pre-match on the winner, or bet live on darts.
Betting on UK Open Darts – outright
This interesting tournament has had six different winners over the past six years. Gerwyn Price was the only one to make the final twice in that time. Do you think you can correctly predict the outright winner? If so, you can grab a nice win betting on darts.
Historic matches – UK Open Darts
2006 final- Raymond van Barneveld vs Barrie Bates
We like to take a quick look at Raymond van Barneveld’s very first PDC tournament victory. Earlier in the 2006 tournament, he beat Phil Taylor, and in the final he faced the relatively unknown Barrie Bates from Wales. Van Barneveld never really got into trouble, although it can be seen that it was bloody hot in the venue!
2016 fourth round – Michael van Gerwen vs Rob Cross
If Michael van Gerwen throws a nine-darter at the UK Open, he wins the tournament. A meaningless statistic, but it applies for 2016 and 2020. In 2016, Mighty Mike succeeded in the fourth round against Rob Cross.
2017 quarter-finals – Peter Wright vs Raymond van Barneveld
Sometimes you have matches where darters push each other to great heights. The quarter-final of the 2017 UK Open Darts was one of those. Peter Wright and Raymond van Barneveld made it a high-stakes and exciting match. Wright threw an average of 110.88 and Van Barneveld 108.10. In the end, the Scot pulled the longest straw. Below are the last few legs:
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 UK Open Darts features an open draw format, meaning players from different ranking levels can compete against each other in the early rounds.
The open draw creates unpredictable matchups, leading to intriguing clashes between established players and emerging talents. This generates, at times, very volatile yet potentially rewarding betting opportunities.
The Fifth Round, often referred to as the “Last 16,” features the remaining 16 players in the tournament, with intense matches determining the quarterfinalists.
The UK Open Darts significantly influences the darts betting landscape due to its high-profile nature and prestige, and competitive matches. The open draw format introduces an element of unpredictability, making informed betting choices all the more intriguing.
The UK Open Darts serves as a platform for rising stars to showcase their skills on a major stage. The open draw format means they have the opportunity to face established players, offering valuable experience and exposure. Successful performances in the UK Open can launch young players into the spotlight and open doors for them in the professional darts circuit.