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World Darts Championship (PDC & WDF) Betting Offers

A big consequence of darts revival following a dismal period in the late 1980’s was the split between the older British Darts Organisation (BDO) and the newer, elite, Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). This resulted in two world championship events that would run one after another in December and January, however, the BDO went into liquidation in 2020 and there was a worry that the PDC version would be the only world championship event in darts.

The World Darts Federation created a new world championship in 2022, which returns in 2024 now referred to as the Lakeside World Darts Championship between 29 November – 8 December.

The PDC Championship, runs from early December 2024 to early January 2024 sees the world’s top PDC players compete for a prize fund of £2.5 million with £500k for the winner. Last year Luke ‘Cool Hand’ Humphries won his first world title beating the youngest finalist ever, Luke Littler (16), 7-4 in a pulsating final.

Will we see a new champion again in 2024, will Van Gerwen reaffirm himself as the player of this generation? Will Luke Littler go on and win it this year, will he become the next Phil Taylor? All the action is broadcast on Sky Sports live from Alexandra Palace in London.

World Darts Championship Betting Offers for 2024

This event has not started yet, please check back nearer the time. For other offers see our main loyalty page.

PDC Darts World Championship

PDCThe Professional Darts Corporation world darts championship has become a must watch sporting event over every holiday season. It is almost as synonymous with Christmas as a the mince pie, and a damn sight more entertaining.

If you needed evidence to show you that darts is no longer a niche sport consider that last years TV audience peaked at over 3.7 million viewers on Sky Sports alone (4.8 million watched in at some point) and there were 2.4 million viewers in Germany.

That is not quite at the same level as the 8.3 million viewers for the 1983 BDO world final but given that was on terrestrial TV and at a time when there were only four channels to watch the recent figures on paid TV are impressive.

This year promises the greatest spectacle ever for the 32nd incarnation of the title. The question is will anyone be able to stop Michael van Gerwen winning, the 35 year old clearly has eyes on being the next Phil Taylor.

Rookie Ross Cross did it in 2018 as did Peter Wright in 2020, and again in 2022, and Gerwyn Price in 2021. Michael Smith failed to do so in 2019 and 2022 but he did finally win his first in 2023 – beating van Gerwen to do so.  Luke Humphries won his first title in 2024 in exceptional form.

Will we see an upset again?  It is possible considering the quality of the field and how many first time finalists we have had in recent years.  This is especially true with Luke Littler now on the scene.  He failed to become the youngest winner in 2024 at 16 years old when he lost the final but the record for the youngest winner is MvG at 24 so he has a few years yet to get that record.

Either way its going to be lot of fun to watch s usual. Below is some information on the event schedule, format and history to get you going.

PDC Championship Format

Round Best Of (sets) Number Players Prize Money (£)
First 5 64 7,500
Second 5 64 15,000
Third 7 32 25,000
Fourth 7 16 35,000
Quarter-Finals 9 8 50,000
Semi-Finals 11 4 100,000
Final 13 2 500,000 / 200,000
9 Dart Finish 20,000

darts-wcThe PDC Championship is played in a sets format, each set has five legs, in effect it is the first player to get to 3 legs wins the set. A leg is won by the first player to throw from 501 to 0 with a double number required to finish the leg (e.g. 32 left requires double 16 to get out).

Players alternate the throw between legs to even out any advantage. The minimum number of darts required to win a leg is 9.  The first player to hit a nine dart finish during the tournament will pocket £20,000 instantly.

The tournament is made up of 7 rounds proper.

Schedule – 15th December 2023 to 3rd January 2024

Day Date Afternoon Session Evening Session
Friday 15th Dec 3x First, 1x Second
Saturday 16th Dec 3x First, 1x Second 3x First, 1x Second
Sunday 17th Dec 3x First, 1x Second 3x First, 1x Second
Monday 18th Dec 3x First, 1x Second
Tuesday 19th Dec 3x First, 1x Second 3x First, 1x Second
Wednesday 20th Dec 3x First, 1x Second 2x First, 2x Second
Thursday 21st Dec 4x Second 4x Second
Friday 22nd Dec 4x Second 4x Second
Saturday 23rd Dec 4x Second 4x Second
Wednesday 27th Dec 3x Third 3x Third
Thursday 28th Dec 3x Third 3x Third
Friday 29th Dec 3x Third 1x Third, 2x Fourth
Saturday 30th Dec 3x Fourth 3x Fourth
Monday 1st Jan 2x Quarter-Finals 2x Quarter-Finals
Tuesday 2nd Jan 2x Semi Finals
Wednesday 3rd Jan Final

About the PDC World Championship

Towards the end of the 1980’s interest in darts began to wane, competition from other live sports, a loss of mainstream TV coverage and the sports image as an unhealthy booze fuelled lads event began to damage its popularity.

In 1992 a group of 16 leading players (including all playing BDO world champions at the time) grouped together to form a new organisation with the mission to bring the sport back as a TV spectacle. The new body was initially called the World Darts Council (WDC).

To begin with WDC players played in BDO events sporting their own insignia. The BDO quickly banned this practice and even went as far as to ban WDC players from playing in BDO events.

After a long court battle lasting until 1997 the inevitable split happened with players able to choose which BDO and WDC events they wanted to enter. The WDC was renamed as the Professional Darts Corporation following the split in which it agreed to recognise the WDF as the world darts governing body and the BDO as the governing body in the UK.

pdc world championship game

The first PDC world championship was held in 1994 broadcast on Sky Sports. In its early days prize monies were lower than the BDO event but by 2002 had overtook the older format. These days the prize money and prestige of the PDC event is significantly greater than the World Darts Federation Championship (the replacement for the late BDO).

In 2025 the prize money for the winner is expected to exceed £500,000 with an overall fund of £2,500,000 for the 72 players involved.

The PDC world championship has been held at Alexandra Palace, the former home of the BBC in north London, since 2008. Prior to this all world events had been held at Circus Tavern in Purfleet (Essex).

The PDC ended their relationship with betting company sponsors that ran for 20 years up to 2022, with car buying Cazoo taking over from William Hill (sponsors from 2015-2022) for 2023.  It only lasted one year, however, with Paddy Power taking over sponsorship in 2024.

The 2024-25 tournament is the 32nd incarnation of the competition.

Previous Winners

pdc world championship previous winner

Dennis Priestley won the first ever event in 1994 with Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor as runner up. Phil then went on to win the next eight titles from 1995 to 2002 before Canadian John Part won the world title in 2003. The normal order then resumed as Phil Taylor won the next three (2004-2006) followed by Raymond van Barneveld in 2007, after switching from the BDO, and Part again in 2008.

Phil Taylor was back at the top if the world again in 2009 and 2010, Adrian Lewis won it back to back in 2011 and 2012 before Taylor won the last of his 14 titles in 2013. Since then Michael van Gerwen took the sport by storm winning at just 24 years of age in 2014 before two recent back to back titles from Gary Anderson in 2015 and 2016.  Van Gerwen won the latest battle beating Anderson in the 2017 final with a phenomenal average of 107.79.

The 2018 championship was a classic with Phil Taylor making it to the final of his very last World Championship against debutante Ross Cross, who beat Van Gerwen in a pulsating 6-5 semi.  Ross held his nerve to beat Taylor 7-2 with another huge average of 107.67.

Another newcomer made it to the final in 2019, Michael Smith, but this time the experience of Michael Van Gerwen showed through as he won his third world title 7-3, he certainly has eyes on being the biggest player of this generation.

Peter Wright finally beat MVG in 2020 to give the Scot his long awaited first title, having previously lost 10 of his 11 major finals, including to Van Gerwen in 2014.  Welshman Gerwyn Price took his first title in 2021, beating two time champion Gary Anderson in the final.  Many expect it to be the first of many for the former rugby player.

Snakebite, Peter Wright, became only the 5th player to win the world title more than once when he won it again in 2022, beating Michael Smith 7-5, who has now finished runner up twice.

Michael Smith likely thought he would never get his name on the trophy when he met van Gerwen in the 2023 final, a repeat of 2019.  This time, however, Smith was in stunning form and beat the Dutch master 7-4, that included an outstanding 9 dart leg.  Indeed, van Gerwen was also up for a nine darter in the same leg but missed double twelve before Smith hit a 141 checkout.  If you are going to beat van Gerwen you have to go big, that is exactly what Smith did.

In 2023/24 we saw something special with the rise of Luke Littler from Warrington, just 16 at the time in his first tournament.  He blew everyone away and easily made the final, including battering Rob Cross in the semi-final.  Unfortunately for him he came up against Luke Humphries in devastating form and he won the pulsating final 7-4 in the end and became another first time winner.

The excitement around Luke Littler is big and many expect him to become a World Champion soon enough and likely beat Van Gerwen’s record as the youngest winner at 24.  Many think he may go on to be the next Phil Taylor such is his talent, perhaps even better.

PDC Records and Statistics

Statistic Name Number / Year
Most Titles Phil Taylor 14 (1995-02, 2004-06, 2009-10, 2013)
Most Finals Phil Taylor 19 (1994-07, 2009-10, 2013, 2015, 2017)
First Winner Dennis Priestley 1994
Last Winner Luke Humphries 2024 (1st Title)
Current Sponsor Paddy Power Since 2023/24
First 9 Dart Finish Raymond van Barneveld 2009
Highest Average Michael van Gerwen 114.05 (2017 Semi-Final)
Longest Unbeaten Phil Taylor 44 Matches
Most Tournament 180’s 914 (2024)
Most Individual 180’s Michael Smith 83 (2022)
Most Appearances Phil Taylor 25

WDF Lakeside World Darts Championship

world darts federationThe World Darts Federation (WDF) is a governing body of the sport of darts, established back in 1974 by 14 founder members.  The first member was the British Darts Organisation (BDO).  For a long time the WDF has organised tournaments alongside the PDC with the principle aim of furthering the sport of darts around the world.

From 1978 to 2020 the BDO ran a consecutive World Championship event that was usually held immediately after the PDC version.  It didn’t have the prestige or the prize money of its PDC twin but it was more open and showed a more real form of darts. Not being able to compete commercially with the PDC the BDO eventually went into liquidation in 2020 to the horror of many fans.

Without the BDO the PDC wouldn’t have existed and it was quickly recognised that without the BDO it would be far more difficult for new players to make their way through the sport.  Thankfully the WDF stepped in and took over those duties, arranging their first World Darts Championship in April 2022.

Held at the Lakeside the event was rebranded the Lakeside World Darts Championship in 2023 and moved to the week before the PDC event.  It includes the main men’s event but also the Women’s, Boys and Girls World Championship events.  It will never hold the limelight in the same way as the PDC version but it is essential to the sport of darts that a WDF World Championship event continues and is supported.

British Darts Organisation (BDO) World Championship 1978-2020

BDOThe BDO world championship went through some dark periods over the nearly half century it existed, thanks in large part to the formation and success of the PDC. Many saw this format as inferior to the PDC event and If you just looked at prize money and average player quality this is probably true.

Many true darts fans however preferred the BDO, it was after all the UK’s governing body and it is far more inclusive compared to the PDC event. The PDC event simply couldn’t exist without the BDO, this is where players found their feet and make their mark in the sport. Consequently, the BDO world title event often threw up more surprises compared to its PDC cousin.

Where the PDC event has been largely dominated by Phil Taylor, and a few others, the BDO championship was a far more open affair with 8 different winners in its last ten years. The event didn’t carry the same prize purse (£340,000 total, £100k for the winner, £35k runner-up) as the PDC version but that didn’t mean it’s any less fun to watch or any less important to the players.

The BDO world championships was broadcast on the BBC for nearly 40 years, from 1978 to 2016. From 2018 onwards the spectacle moved Eurosport as well as on sister channel Quest which was free-to-air, although that only furthered in driving its waning appeal.

In 2020 the BDO went into liquidation largely due to cumulative mismanagement.  There was no world championship in 2021 as a consequence.  The World Darts Federation created a new world championship, along with other events, to replace the lost BDO schedule in 2022.  This happened in April 2022 and became the inaugural WDF World Championship event to replace the BDO version.

WDF Men’s Championship Format

Round Best Of (sets) Number Players Prize Money (£)
First 3 32 1,000
Second 5 32* 1,500
Third 5 16 2,500
Quarter-Finals 7 8 5,000
Semi-Finals 9 4 10,000
Final 11 2 50,000 / 20,000

* 16 seeded players enter at round 2 and join the 16 winners from round 1

The WDF and PDC formats are similar, both are the best of sets events with five legs in each set (the winner of a set is the first to 3 legs). The game is won the player who gets from 501 to 0 first using a double as their last dart. Players alternate first throw to even up the content.

This tournament consists of 6 main rounds, however, the 16 top ranked WDF players are seeded straight to the second round.  Therefore, 48 players enter, the first round consists of 32 players, the 16 winners join the 16 seeded players in round 2.

In addition to the 16 seeded players the other 32 players are made up of the winners of the 12 Platinum/Gold ranked tournaments, players ranked 1/2 in regional tables, players ranked 17+ to bring the total number up to 44 and then four qualifiers.

The WDF event includes women’s and youth matches that are played in parallel, the tables below shows the men’s draw:

Schedule – 29 November – 8 December 2024

Day Date Afternoon (From 1pm) Evening (From 5:30pm)
Saturday 30th Nov 4x First 4x First
Sunday 1st Dec 4x First 4x First
Monday 2nd Dec 4x Second 4x Second
Tuesday 3rd Dec 4x Second 4x Second
Wednesday 4th Dec 2x Third Round 2x Third Round
Thursday 5th Dec 2x Third Round 2x Third Round
Friday 6th Dec 2x Quarter-Finals 2x Quarter-Finals
Saturday 7th Dec 2x Semi-Finals
Sunday 8th Dec Final

About the WDF World Championship

The BDO formed in 1973 and was the founder member of the World Darts Federation (WDF) formed one year later in 1974. The body was established by Olly Croft and set down competition rules from the length of the throwing oche to the size, height and format of the dart board.

The BDO World Darts Championship was first played in 1978, held at the Heart of the Midlands Nightclub (Nottingham) it was won by Welshman Leighton Rees who pocketed £3,000 from a total prize fund of £10,500. The following year the event moved to Jollees Cabaret Club (Stoke) where it remained until 1984.

Eric Bristow, the crafty cockney, won his first title in 1980, and he, along with other darts personalities such as Jockey Wilson helped create a bubble around the sport.

The BDO world event was broadcast on the BBC from its inception and it was this coverage, along with some fantastic commentators and personalities that helped the sport become what it is today. In 1983 millions of people watched as a 23-year-old qualifier, Keith Deller from Ipswich, defeated the great Eric Bristow, cementing darts as part of the popular culture of the time.

Phil Taylor won the event in 1990 and then again in 1992 but not even The Power could slow the sliding fortunes of darts at the time. The split of the PDC and the ensuing court battles only served to further damage the fortunes of a sport then famed for its unhealthy image.

For many years, the BDO came to play second fiddle to the PDC Championship although I think it is fair to say in recent years the fortunes and popularity of the BDO event has increased markedly, thanks in some ways to an ever-growing international audience.

bdo world darts championship match

In 1987 the BDO World Championship event moved to the Lakeside where it has remained since. The Lakeside is often termed ‘the home of darts’ and can create a special atmosphere that in my opinion the PDC cannot compete with, literally for love nor money. True darts lovers swear by the BDO event, the PDC title is fun to watch but this is where the real darts happens and where you will find the future superstars of the game.

The 2017, 2018 and 2019 titles were all won by Glen Durrant, the Englishman becoming the first player since Eric Bristow in 1986 to win three back-to-back titles.  Bristow got to the final in 1987 but lost, meaning no one has ever won four in a row,

There was no world championship in 2020 or 2021 after the BDO finally went into liquidation. Fortunately the WDF were able to step in to establish a new Lakeside World Championship in April 2022.  The format changed slightly but largely this is a continuation of the old BDO event.  The BDO event was typically held in January after the PDC event but in 2023 the WDF scheduled the event for the week before the PDC event.  Either way the events are inextricably linked and so it is good to see them taking place in concession again.

It is simply essential to have an event open to non-elite players otherwise the PDC itself will no longer be fed by talent.  It is like having the Premier League in football without the other divisions below, it wouldn’t work.  The new WDF tournament promises to be as open a tournament as ever before and a platform for the best players to eventually move up to the PDC.

From a betting perspective you are far more likely to pick up a long odds bet to win or place in the WDF event compared to the PDC.

Change In Venue, Prize Money Shortfalls & The End Of The BDO

o2 in london venue for atp finalsThe gap between the PDC and WDF World Championship has never been more evident than it was in 2020.  While the PDC event enjoyed record viewing figures and prize money just weeks before the BDO event struggled with just 15% ticket sales, no sponsor and a prize money shortfall.

Wayne Warren, the 2020 winner, took home just £23,000, compared to the £100,000 Glen Durrant took home in 2019.  The last time the prize money was lower was when Jocky Wilson won £20,000 in 1989.  This is in sharp contrast to the £500,000 the 2020 PDC winner Peter Wright got just two weeks earlier.  The prize for a men’s first round loser was just £2000 and £500 for women, hardly even paying for the trip for many players.

The move in venue for the 2020 event did not help, moving from the home of darts where it was held from 1986-2019, The Lakeside, to the Indigo, a venue within the London O2.  This move from its traditional heartland meant many regular attendees did not go to the event, citing the high costs associated with travel and accommodation in the heart of London.  This resulted in empty tables for many matches and a flat atmosphere overall.

Having no commercial sponsor also did not help, with the advertising agency in charge of this stating the perception that the BDO is ‘toxic’ as a principal reason for this.  The BDO were therefore forced to reduce prize payouts to players, which in turn caused some to pull out.

TV coverage is also a fraction of what it was since the BBC in 2016 and then Channel 4 in 2018 stopped showing the BDO World Championship.  In 1999 the tournament drew viewing figures of over 4 million, in 2019, broadcast on Eurosport and Quest, the figures were down over 90% to just 370,000 people.

WDF Goes Back To The Lakeside

lakeside country club home of darts

The BDO now does not exist, although fortunately the WDF thought it would be unwise to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, as without the BDO (or now the WDF) to nurture talent the PDC will eventually lose its elite pool to pick from.

Moving the event back to the Lakeside was a big step by the WDF in reconnecting with fans keen to support non-elite darts.  The 2022 event was a big success, well relative to the later days of the BDO event.  It even saw some record broken with Richard Veenstra setting the highest three-dart average (104.91) in his third round victory over Luke Littler.  Beau Graves in the women’s event became the youngest winner of a senior championship at the age of 18.

The prize fund is still low compared to the PDC event at £257,000 total.  This is allocated with £170k awarded to the men’s tournament and £50,000 to the men’s winner (£75/£25k women’s, £9k/£5k boys, £3k/£2k girls).  Still, for many of the players in the WDF events this is still a lot of money to win and offers a huge opportunity for them to step up to professional levels.

WDF/BDO Men’s Records and Statistics

Statistic Name Number / Year
Most Titles Eric Bristow 5 (1980-81, 1984-86)
Most Finals Eric Bristow 10 (1980-81, 1983-87, 1989-91)
First Winner Leighton Rees 1978
Last Winner Wayne Warren 2020
Consecutive Wins Eric Bristow & Glen Durrant 3 (1984-86) & 3 (2017-19)
Current Sponsor CT-1 Since 2023
First 9 Dart Finish Paul Lim 1990
Highest Average Raymond van Barneveld 103.83 (2004 QF)
Youngest Winner Jelle Klaasen 21y 90d (2006)
Oldest Winner Martin Adams 54y 224d (2011)
Most Appearances Martin Adams 25

History of Darts

darts how to play and rules

Darts has seen a huge rise in popularity over recent years not see since the sports heyday in 1980’s. This driven partly by better TV coverage and sponsorship but is also down to the sport has shaking off its boozy, Smokey, lad’s night out image that lingered over darts for many years.  The history of the sport however goes back way further.

The game of darts has been a staple of British and European culture for centuries, ultimately going back to the ages when throwing arrows was a far more serious life and death affair. The sport was first documented by the Greeks whose soldiers would throw spears into upended barrels as a form of entertainment between combat.

Darts as the game we know it today traces its history back to early public taverns from the middle ages onwards. The game was much more rudimentary and basically involved throwing long arrows at a slice of tree trunk fixed to a wall. It has been suggested that the natural growth rings of the trees trunks or masts used as early boards acted as a way of scoring and went on to dictate the concentric formation of the modern board.

Throwing arrows as a game was particularly enjoyed by sailors who are believed to have been responsible for propagating the game throughout the British empire and commonwealth. It is also this association with working class drinking culture that never quite went away from the sport until very recently.

The game became more refined as cork boards replaced tree trunks, the darts themselves became more fit for purpose and paper flights were invented (1898). The 1-20 number system was established in 1896 however by the turn of the 20th century tens, if not hundreds, of forms of the game existed. There were local, sometimes even tavern specific, rules on scoring, board design and throwing distance. A darts player from Manchester could not be said to be playing the same game as a player form the east end of London.

Surprisingly it was as late as 1954 that first National Darts Association was established to bring some uniformity to the game. The BDO was founded in 1973 and the World Darts Federation in 1976 and prior to the PDC split in 1992 the game enjoyed some of its greatest popularity in the 1980’s with live events on the BBC and celebrity players such as Jockey Wilson and Eric Bristow.

The sport of darts on an elite level has however seen a rejuvenation in the last ten or more years. Heightened interest overseas combined with massive new sponsorship deals, TV revenues, younger players and a younger audience and a clean-up of the games image in general has all helped create a family friendly sport that is almost addictive to watch.

The positioning of the major world title events over the Christmas period and the underlying rivalry between the WDF/BDO and PDC only serves to create more interest and intrigue in the wonderful old game of arrows.

Whichever format you prefer, PDC or WDF, I think it’s fantastic to have two world class events back to back each year, fans of other sports must be jealous.

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