The very first world darts championship was held back in 1978 at a time when the game was just starting to grow beyond the pubs and clubs of Great Britain and become a mainstream sport. Great personalities had helped darts transition more easily to our TV screens and popularity built steadily from that point.
Much has happened in the 40 years that have followed and now, the annual PDC World Championship is watched by millions across the globe. Currently held in Alexandra Palace in North London, the event is one of the highlights of the festive season with early rounds starting in mid-December followed by the crowning of the new World Champion on New Year’s Day.
Darts is also a sport that has become important for the betting community but what do you need to know when betting on the PDC World Darts Championship?
The very first world darts championship was held in Nottingham in 1978 and won by Leighton Rees who beat John Lowe by 11 legs to 7 in the final. The tournament switched to Stoke the following year and continued unbroken for many years but an infamous split in the game at the start of the 1990s has left us with two distinct codes.
The BDO – British Darts Organisation – continues as the original governing body but the PDC – Professional Darts Corporation – has the best players and the biggest tournament so for the purposes of this round up, we will focus on the PDC.
In the wake of the split, the very first PDC World Darts Championship was held at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet in 1994. Dennis Priestley went on to claim that first trophy, beating Phil Taylor 6-1 in the final, and a new era had begun.
Phil Taylor had already won the BDO version of the World Championship in 1990 and again in 1992 and he responded to that 1994 defeat by dominating the game for several years. The man they call ‘The Power’ took his first PDC title a year later and went on to win the trophy for the following seven years.
It was an incredible run of eight victories and in the years that have followed, Taylor has now taken the PDC World Title on no fewer than 14 occasions. Phil announced that the 2018 championship would be his last but he leaves a huge legacy on the game along with a record that will take some beating.
Phil Taylor’s last PDC World Title came in 2013 and since then, the trophy has been shared between two men. Mighty Michael Van Gerwen claimed his first crown in 2014 and then, the Flying Scotsman Gary Anderson went on a run of two consecutive victories.
Van Gerwen won again in 2017 and is likely to start as favourite for many years to come but with the Taylor era finally coming to an end, the PDC World Championship is now a more open event than it has been for some time.
The most active long term bet involves staking on the tournament winner and for the PDC World Darts the markets are open some way in advance. In fact, as soon as the current year finishes, it’s likely that in some cases you will see prices being declared within 24 hours.
Like any form of ante post betting, taking a punt some way ahead of the event comes with risks as you’ll be unaware of any injuries or loss of form that occur along the way. On the other side of the coin, the odds can be more favourable so you can assess whether you want that early bet.
You can, of course, take an Each Way bet as opposed to a straight win and as the event draws closer most bookies will also release a To Reach the Final option.
Other Tournament Bets
Within a darts tournament there are certain events that you can bet on and for the PDC, these will include the 9 dart finish. As the game improves, these are getting more common but they don’t always happen so options are available.
Similarly, the prices in the 170 maximum checkout market are also getting shorter while some bookies are removing them altogether but you can still find isolated bets.
Lower ranked players will go through a series of qualifying rounds before they can book their places at the PDC World Championships in December. Once the final field is confirmed, 72 players in total will appear at Alexandra Palace for the main event.
At the first stage, there is a preliminary round where 16 players face each other and the winning eight players will progress to the first round proper. 64 players are now left and from this point there is a set of straight knockouts all the way up to the Final at the start of the New Year.
This is the format for 2018 and although it may be subject to change in future years, it’s been in place for some time.
For each of those games, bookmakers will publish markets for the match result plus all the usual side options that you would associate with darts betting.
Correct match score and correct score for each set will therefore be listed along with a range of markets that are linked to 180s. Who will hit the most maximums, what will the total amount 180s be and who will be the first to hit one.
The PDC Worlds are also a time for some more obscure bets to come in so you should be able to back the colour of the segment on the board that finishes the first and last leg.
It’s also a time when the bookmakers get very competitive in terms of their prices and there should also be more offers and promotions when the PDC version of the world championship rolls into town.
We’ll keep you updated with the best of those as they land but whether you’re a casual darts bettor or someone who has always taken the sport more seriously, the PDC World Championship is a time to get involved with the best prices, the best offers and the biggest range of markets.