Darts World Championships

The globe’s greatest darts’ competitors will be eyeing out the record £1.8m prize money – which includes £400 000 for first prize – for the 2017/18 World Darts Championship taking place at Alexandra Palace, London from 14 December 2017 with the final on 1 January 2018. The format for this illustrious contest includes an opening night of four first-round games, followed by eight sessions over six days featuring a preliminary-round tie and three first-round fixtures played per session. Semi-finals are scheduled to take place on 30 December with a day’s breather before the New Year’s Day final. Here are the top five contenders likely to lift that coveted Sid Waddell Trophy.

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1. Phil Taylor

It’s no surprise that the list begins with England’s 16-time-winner, Phil Taylor, aka ‘The Power’. This will be Taylor’s final tournament and he’s sure to be looking for a big win to end this glittering career which has seen him placing first in 216 professional tournaments, including 85 major titles. Possibly the greatest darts’ player in the history of the game, Taylor is very at ease in the World Championships, having reached the final 14 times consecutively (1994 to 2007), winning eight consecutive titles (1995 to 2002). Taylor was the first person to hit two nine-dart finishes in one match – the 2010 Premier League Darts final against James Wade – and he has been nominated for BBC Sports’ Personality of the Year twice. A trailblazer in the sport, Taylor was one of 16 players to disassociate from the British Darts Organisation (BDO) in 1993, establishing the World Darts Council, now known as the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). Although he’s at the end of his career, he comes into the competition with a wealth of experience which cannot be underestimated during the high-pressure stakes of darts.

Current betting odds 15/2 to win

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2. Michael van Gerwen

Another very real contender for the Darts World Championship is the defending champion and current World No. 1 player, Michael van Gerwen of the Netherlands. This youngster rose quickly up the ranks, starting with the sport at the age of 13, he won his first televised dart contest by 17 years old with a nine-dart finish. However, he seemed to still be finding his way until 2012 where he went from World No. 38 at the end of the year to World No. 4 by the start of the following year. In 2013 he took his first major PDC title at the Grand Prix, also reaching the Darts World Championship final that year, taking the title at a record age of 24 by 2014. It’s been all uphill from there for Van Gerwen, who won 18 tournaments in 2015, including the Grand Slam of Darts, and 25 tournaments in 2016. After Phil Taylor, he’s already the second most successful player in PDC history and, with his fast pace, incredible momentum and natural style, he’s very likely to take the next World Champs.

Current betting odds 8/10 to win

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3. Gary Anderson

The Flying Scotsman – Gary Anderson – is a former BDO and WDF World No. 1 player and two-time PDC World Champion for 2015 and 2016, having reached the finals in 2011 and 2017 as well. The nine-time major winner is renowned for his heavy scoring and smooth throw which could easily see him sailing to the final of the upcoming champs. He might have met his match in Michael van Gerwen, who broke his 17-game unbeaten streak at the 2016/2017 World Championship, taking the Sid Waddell Trophy from him. The pair also met in the final of the Masters as well as the semi-finals of the Premier League where Anderson finished second best again. Hopefully for Anderson, he can break this spell in the 2017/2018 World Champs.

Current betting odds 11/2 to win

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4. Peter Wright

This Scotsman brings some real pizzazz to the world of darts. Nicknamed ‘Snakebite’ after his favourite alcoholic beverage, his trademark colour-changing mohawk hairstyle and incredibly detailed snake imagery – fashioned by his hairdresser wife, Joanne – have made Wright instantly recognisable on the darts’ scene. A real showman, Wright performs a sidestep dance to Pitbull’s ‘Don’t Stop the Party’ at the start of a match and relishes the response from the crowd – although certain players consider his antics unprofessional. However, he also has some skill to match the outlandish image. He was the runner-up in the 2014 World Darts Championship and is currently the UK Open Champion. He is also known for regularly trying different dart sets, tweaking weight, flights and stems even during a match. He will certainly be a colourful contender at this year’s Darts World Championship and has shown he has what it takes to take the win.

Current betting odds 15/2 to win

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5. Adrian Lewis

A protégé of Phil Taylor until 2007, English professional darts’ player, Lewis, certainly has some talent, having won the World Darts Championship twice and coming within a hair of winning the last championship during the final against Peter Wright. Known as ‘Jackpot’ after landing a $72 000 jackpot while playing in the 2005 Las Vegas Desert Classic – money he was unable to claim as he was underage according to US gaming laws – Lewis is considered a controversial player in the world of professional darts. During his World Championship debut in 2006 – in the quarter-final against Peter Manley – Lewis walked off the stage during the match, claiming Manley had been trying to upset his game while he was throwing. Two years later during another quarter-final match – this time the Holland Masters – Lewis was handed a six-month ban, four-month suspension and £400 fine after arguing with competitor, Kevin Painter. Another argument followed at the 2009 World Grand Prix, this time against Gary Anderson during the second round with Anderson accusing Lewis of entering the exclusion zone while he was playing. Lewis was unphased and went on to win the match. During the same contest the following year, he clashed with both Phil Taylor and James Wade, with controversy continuing into the 2012 World Darts Championship, again fighting with Wade. Whether it’s a tactic or Lewis just does have an aggressive character, he still manages to come away with some big wins, so he’s definitely one to watch.

Current betting odds 26/1

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All betting odds are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change.

View latest betting odds on Darts PDC World Championship.

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Darts world championships