Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
When betting on darts, you can enjoy PDC darts on television all year round. Think of all the most famous ones – the PDC World Championship, the Premier League of Darts, and the Grand Slam of Darts. In October, just before the World Darts Championship, there is always the World Grand Prix. We look at the format, history, betting markets and top matches of the PDC World Grand Prix in this comprehensive article.
Format – PDC World Grand Prix
In just about all tournaments on the PDC calendar, the concept to win is simple. You have to pop triples and eventually a double as quickly as possible. The players’ ‘muscle memory’ is mainly focused on the triple 20 and possibly triple 19. But at the PDC World Grand Prix, things go a little differently.
PDC World Grand Prix: double in, double out
In these matches the principle of ‘double in, double out’ applies. A player has to start the leg with a double so his score goes down. Throwing out the leg is also done with a double. Hence ‘double in, double out’. A method long known in darts, but little used in professional tournaments.
The top 16 of the PDC Order of Merit participate in the tournament. The top eight of these are seeded. Furthermore, the best 16 players of the ProTour Order of Merit who have not yet qualified will also play. The tournament is entirely based on knock-out. In the first round it is 2 sets won, in the second round and quarter-finals it’s 3 sets won. In the semi-finals, you have to win 4 sets, and in the final 5.
History – PDC World Grand Prix
The first edition of the World Grand Prix Darts was played back in 1998 at the Casino Rooms in Rochester, Kent, England. 16 players including four Englishmen played for the title in a knockout. The first three rounds were about 11 legs won, the final about 13. And of course Phil Taylor was the first winner, by beating Rod Harrington in the final.
Incidentally, the tournament had no sponsor for the first three editions, but was broadcasted on Sky Sports. The 1999 edition had a group stage for the only time in history. Phil Taylor managed to prolong his title after winning in the semi-final over Rod Harrington and in the final over Shayne Burgess 6-1 in sets. There was exactly the same result between the same players in 2000.
Dominance Phil Taylor
Phil Taylor has won over 200 professional tournaments in his career. Not for nothing is his nickname simply ‘The Power’. His dominance over two decades was also reflected in the PDC World Grand Prix. In 2001, Taylor lost his first match at the tournament, in the first round against Kevin Painter. Dutchman Ronald Scholten flew through the tournament with big wins, but lost the final 8-2 in legs to Alan Warriner. By the way, 2001 was the first year at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin where the tournament remained until 2019.
Phil Taylor set an impressive run of two titles every three years after 2001. The Power won in 2002 and 2003, 2005 and 2006, 2008 and 2009. Among others, James Wade was able to win the tournament once in 2007. Taylor’s victories in 2008 and 2009 saw Raymond van Barneveld suffer twice in the final. In 2010, James Wade again broke the run of Taylor, who would win his 10th and 11th World Grand Prix in 2011 and 2013.
PDC World Grand Prix: Michael van Gerwen dominates
Raymond van Barneveld would eventually never win the tournament. Between Phil Taylor’s last two titles, a still very young Michael van Gerwen won his first World Grand Prix in 2012. He was not yet high on the PDC Order of Merit at the time, but was the number one seed in the PDPA Players Championship qualifiers. On his way to the final, he beat the likes of Adrian Lewis (2), Andy Hamilton (7) and Wes Newton (6). His victory over Mervyn King saw Van Gerwen win his first major title ever.
Since that first win, the title has actually gone to Michael van Gerwen half of the time. In 2014, he won as Nr 1 on the Order of Merit and in 2016, 2018 and 2019 he also took the tournament. In 2015, he lost the final to Robert Thornton, despite an average of 6 points more. In 2020, The Titan lost to Gerwyn Price. That year, the tournament was held in Coventry and since 2021 in Leicester.
Statistics – PDC World Grand Prix
Many tournaments on the PDC calendar are dominated in statistics by two players. Tt the PDC World Grand Prix Darts, it is no different. Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen. When Phil Taylor got to the final of the World Grand Prix, he won. Between 1998 and 2013 (16 editions), he reached the final 11 times and won them all. Interestingly, in five of the eight editions he did not win, he was eliminated in the first round.
The number two on the list of winners is Michael van Gerwen. He has thus dominated the tournament for the last 10 years. In 11 participations, he reached the final six times and won five. The only other multiple winner is James Wade, who won in 2007 and 2010. In 2014, he was a losing finalist against Van Gerwen. Colin Lloyd, Alan Warriner, Gerwyn Price, Robert Thornton, Daryl Gurney and Jonny Clayton have all won once.
Three nine-darters, lower averages
With the unique principle of ‘double in, double out’, you obviously don’t have 180s anyway. But it also depresses the match average, because you by no means always throw a double straight away. In the history of the PDC World Grand Prix, an average of 20 times has been thrown above 100. Not surprisingly, Phil Taylor has thrown nine of them and Michael van Gerwen four.
The highest average is by Alan Warriner with 106.45, in a 2-0 sets victory. After Gary Anderson (104.86), we find Michael van Gerwen twice (104.47 and 103.09) and very often we see Phil Taylor. Van Gerwen, incidentally, has the highest tournament average with 99.46 in 2016.
A perfect lay still gives the possibility of a nine darter, but it is difficult to switch from double to triple. Three nine darters have ever been thrown at the PDC World Grand Prix and all three involved James Wade. In 2011, Brendan Dolan threw a nine darter against him. And in 2014, Wade and Robert Thornton both threw a nine darter in their mutual duel. The method was the same for all three: D20, 2 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T17, bullseye.
Betting markets – PDC World Grand Prix
When betting on darts, there are often a number of odds (betting markets) to choose from. We highlight some of them.
Betting on PDC World Grand Prix – live betting
Many PDC tournaments are broadcast on Sky Sports. Bookmakers also sometimes allow you to watch live darts for free if you are a player. Alternatively you can follow the tournament via a darts live score site. This makes it easy to bet live on darts and thus increase the excitement for yourself.
Betting on PDC World Grand Prix – outright
Before a tournament, do you have a good idea of who is in shape and who is not? Then, in addition to betting on the winner of various duels, you can already bet on the overall winner. The earlier you do so, the higher the odds will be.
Betting on PDC World Grand Prix – nine-darter and average
In 24 editions so far, three nine-starters have been thrown. Since James Wade was there three times, you might want to pick his duels for a bet on a nine-darter. Maybe when he plays against Michael van Gerwen? In addition, you can also often bet on an average of the two darters.
Historic matches – PDC World Grand Prix
2012 final – Michael van Gerwen vs Mervyn King
Michael van Gerwen’s first major victory to his name was one that he truly had to fight for. After wins over three seeded players, the still young Mighty Mike came up against the also unseeded Mervyn King in the final. The Englishman had been a top player for many years, but never won a major tournament in the PDC. Seven lost finals, six lost semi-finals. In the 2012 World Grand Prix final against Van Gerwen, it was another ‘choke’ for King. He was leading 4-1 in sets, but lost five sets in a row: 6-4 win for Van Gerwen.
2015 final – Robert Thornton vs Michael van Gerwen
After a second title in 2014, Michael van Gerwen was again in the final of the World Grand Prix in 2015. He faced Scotsman Robert Thornton, who had thrown a nine-darter the previous year. It was to be a blood-curdling final, in which Thornton eventually prevailed 5-4. It was his second PDC major title out of four finals, after winning the 2012 UK Open against Phil Taylor.
2014 second round – James Wade vs Robert Thornton
Of course, the most historic match at the PDC World Grand Prix is the one between James Wade and Robert Thornton in 2014. Second round, but two nine darters! Unbelievable!
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 double start is a unique format employed in the PDC World Grand Prix. In this format, players are required to both start and finish each leg with a double. This means that the first dart of each leg must land in a double section on the dartboard (i.e., the outer ring of the numbered segments), and the final dart that secures the leg must also be a double.
Often referred to as “The Power,” Phil Taylor is considered one of the greatest darts players of all time. He holds numerous records in the PDC World Grand Prix, including the most titles won.
Known as “Mighty Mike,” Michael van Gerwen is another darts icon who has left an indelible mark on the PDC World Grand Prix. His ability to adapt to different formats and consistently perform at the highest level has led to multiple championship victories in the tournament.
James Wade, also known as “The Machine,” has displayed his tactical acumen and resilience in the PDC World Grand Prix. He has secured victories and showcased his ability to excel in the double-start format, earning him a place among the tournament’s best.
Iconic moments like Brendan Dolan’s first-ever televised nine-dart finish in 2011 remain etched in darts history, granting Dolan the nickname of ‘History Maker’, enhancing the event’s historical significance and the sport’s timeless allure.
Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor, and James Wade have demonstrated proficiency in adapting to the unique demands of the double-start format, consistently performing well in the tournament.
Matches in the PDC World Grand Prix are played as best-of-3-sets, leading to faster-paced encounters and often producing thrilling turnarounds and surprises.