PDC World Darts Championship & BDO WDC 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). Some fans find it annoying there are two competing organisations but there is one huge bonus that comes from this set up, two back to back world championships for darts lovers to enjoy.
The PDC Championship, runs from early December 2020 to 1st January 2021 sees the world’s top PDC players compete for a prize fund of £2.5 million with £500k for the winner. Last year the MVG lost in the final to Peter Wright, the first time the Scot has won the event, preventing Van Gerwen winning his fourth championship. Will we see a new champion again in 2020, or will Van Gerwen reaffirm himself as the player of this generation? All the action is broadcast on Sky Sports live from Alexandra Palace in London.
Just four days later the BDO World Championships begins at the at the London O2, having moved from the Lakeside, and runs from 4th to 12th January 2019. The event, shown now on Europsort (and free-to-air channel Quest), doesn’t carry the prize money (with a lot of controversy about this last year) or celebrity seen at the PDC event but nevertheless witnesses some fantastic darts from world leading players. Whichever event you prefer we’ve got all the best darts deals on this page to help you enhance your winnings at both world championships.
The 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 – 13th December 2019 to 1st January 2020
|Day||Date||Afternoon (From 12:30pm)||Evening (From 7pm)|
|Friday||13th Dec||–||3x First, 1x Second|
|Saturday||14th Dec||3x First, 1x Second||3x First, 1x Second|
|Sunday||15th Dec||3x First, 1x Second||3x First, 1x Second|
|Monday||16th Dec||–||3x First, 1x Second|
|Tuesday||17th Dec||3x First, 1x Second||3x First, 1x Second|
|Wednesday||18th Dec||3x First, 1x Second||3x First, 1x Second|
|Thursday||19th Dec||2x First, 2x Second||4x Second|
|Friday||20th Dec||4x Second||4x Second|
|Saturday||21st Dec||4x Second||4x Second|
|Sunday||22nd Dec||3x Third||3x Third|
|Monday||23rd Dec||3x Third||3x Third|
|Friday||27th Dec||3x Third||1x Third, 2x Fourth|
|Saturday||28th Dec||3x Fourth||3x Fourth|
|Sunday||29th Dec||2x Quarter-Finals||2x Quarter-Finals|
|Monday||30th Dec||–||2x Semi Finals|
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 fueled 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.
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 BDO version. In 2018 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). 2020-21 is the 28th incarnation of the competition.
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.
2018 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 Gerwen in 2014.
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||Peter Wright||2020 (1st Title)|
|Current Sponsor||William Hill||Since 2015|
|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||–||828 (2018)|
|Most Individual 180’s||Gary Anderson||71 (2017)|
|Most Appearances||Phil Taylor||25|
BDO Darts World Championship
The BDO world championship has been through some dark periods over the last 30 years, thanks in large part to the formation and success of the PDC. Many still see this format as inferior to the PDC event and If you just look at prize money and average player quality this is probably true.
Many true darts fans however prefer the BDO, it is 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 find their feet and make their mark in the sport. Consequently, the BDO world title event often throws 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 is a far more open affair with 8 different winners in the last ten years. The event doesn’t carry the same prize purse (£340,000 total, £100k for the winner, £35k runner-up) as the PDC version but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun to watch or any less important to the players.
The BDO world championships had been broadcast on the BBC for nearly 40 years, from 1978 to 2016. From 2018 onwards the spectacle remains on air and is now shown on Eurosport as well as on sister channel Quest which is free-to-air.
BDO Championship Format
|Round||Best Of (sets)||Number Players||Prize Money (£)|
|Final||13||2||100,000 / 35,000|
The BDO 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 a preliminary round followed by 5 main rounds. The BDO event includes women’s and youth matches that are played in parallel, the tables below shows the men’s draw:
Schedule – 2nd to 10th January 2021
|Day||Date||Afternoon (From 1pm)||Evening (From 5:30pm)|
|Saturday||2nd Jan||2x Preliminary, 1x First||2x Preliminary, 1x First|
|Sunday||3rd Jan||1x Preliminary, 2x First||1x Preliminary, 2x First|
|Monday||4th Jan||2x Preliminary, 1x First||3x First Round|
|Tuesday||5th Jan||3x First Round||3x First Round|
|Wednesday||6th Jan||2x Second Round||3x Second Round|
|Thursday||7th Jan||1x Second Round||2x Second Round|
|Friday||8th Jan||2x Quarter-Finals||2x Quarter-Finals|
|Saturday||9th Jan||–||2x Semi-Finals|
About the BDO World Championship
The BDO formed in 1973 and is the founder member of the World Darts Federation (WDF) formed three years later in 1976. 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.
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, but whatever happens 2020 promises to be as open a tournament as ever before.
From a betting perspective you are far more likely to pick up a long odds bet to win or place in the BDO event compared to the PDC.
Change In Venue, Prize Money Shortfalls & Difficult Times
The gap between the PDC and BDO 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.
BDO events seem at risk in the commercial age we live in, although it would be unwise to kill the goose that laid the golden egg, as without the BDO to nurture talent the PDC will eventually lose its elite pool to pick from.
BDO 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||No Sponsor||Since 2020|
|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 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 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 cleanup 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 BDO and PDC only serves to create more interest and intrigue in the wonderful old game of arrows.
Whichever format you prefer, PDC or BDO, I think it’s fantastic to have two world class events back to back each year, fans of other sports must be jealous.