Three Darts in the Bulls Eye on Dart Board.

Darts World Championship

It’s strange to think that, up until 1989, darts was the only sport in which it was typical of players to have a cigarette in one hand and a pint of lager in the other. While most sports were characterised by world-beating athletes and at least the occasional gym session, darts was for the outsiders. Those who were not “typical” athletes and yet extraordinarily skilled at a very particular game. 

That, after all, is what makes the sport so entertaining. It is not defined by anything but skill and talent alone. Sure, Eric Bristow might not have been able to beat Usain Bolt at the hundred metres, but he would run laps around him in Alexandra Palace.

In many ways, this remains the case. Sure, players aren’t wandering around the stage with a pint in their hand anymore – the drinking ban was affected in 1989, and the smoking ban just a couple of years before that – but it certainly remains an entirely different spectacle than anything else you would find on other sports channels. And speaking of spectacle, darts is not exactly short on it. 

While, in theory, the sport of darts should be relatively dull, it’s probably the furthest away from “dull” you can get. This is largely due to the community around darts. Spectators don’t just come to watch a game. They are actively involved in the game. Whether it’s through funny costumes, encouraging chants or simply providing the buzz in the auditorium, they have become part and parcel of what makes darts so great. 

This is no more exemplified than in the Darts World Championship. Taking place between December and January of every year, this is the tournament where the spectacle of darts is put on a show, from the incredibly talented players to the spectators alike. 

In many ways, you don’t even have to know much about Darts to tune in and engage with this one. It’s all there on show, and hardly any context is needed. But here at DAZN Bet, we’re a sucker for context. So we’re going to give it to you anyway! 


Darts World Championship: The 101

  • The PDC World Championship was founded in 1994.
  • Since 2008, it has been held in the Alexandra Palace.
  • It consists of “set-plays”, with each set won by the player who is first to three legs.
  • The players take turns to throw first in each set.
  • First- and second-round matches are best-of-five sets.
  • The third and fourth rounds are best-of-seven sets.
  • The quarter-finals are best-of-nine sets, with the semi-finals best-of-eleven and the final itself being best-of-thirteen sets.
  • The prize for winning varies, but the latest jackpot has been £2.5 million, with £500,000 going to the winner and £200,000 to the runner-up.

The Downright Complicated History Of The Darts Worlds Championship

The 1970s 

When it comes to the ultimate darts tournament in the world, there’s a bit of a complicated history. By which we mean a very complicated history. The Darts World Champions began back in 1978 as the brainchild of a man named Mike Watterson – who had previously created the World Snooker Championship. 

He went to the BDO (British Darts Organisation) with the idea, and the inaugural event took place in a nightclub in Nottingham, with ten of the top players at the time invited to take part. In 1979, the tournament was changed somewhat, moving from just a “legs” format to a “sets and legs” format, which has been the format of the championship ever since. 

The 1980s

The first two tournaments were a complete success, so much so that a number of qualifiers began to fight for their place in the years after. In 1983, a 23-year-old qualifier – relatively unknown in the Darts game – entered the venue to beat the top three players in the world back-to-back, starting with John Lowe in the quarter-final, then Jocky Wilson in the semi-final and Eric Bristow in the final. This was and still is one of the greatest upsets not only in darts history but in sporting history. 

Seems a pretty standard origin for a sports tournament, right? Well, it was until BDO dropped the ball, and things got complicated. In the late 1980s, the viewership of darts began to decline, with the game beginning to become a caricature of itself and the butt of many sporting jokes. 

The 1990s

In 1992, a number of players who took part in the Darts World Championship began to resent the way the BDO were handling the situation. In response, sixteen of them decided to form their own darts organisation, then known as the WDC (World Darts Council) but now known as the PDC (Professional Darts Council). 

This then led to two Darts World Championships taking place every year, with many proceedings taking place that meant players in one organisation could not play in the tournament of the other. This meant that, for a long time, there were two concurrent darts world champions – although it should be noted that the players of the BDO were of somewhat lesser quality when compared to the PDC.  

The 2020s

The two even managed to live in harmony after a while, but this was put to an end in 2021 when the BDO finally fell into liquidation, and the company collapsed. Now the PDC is the only Darts World Championship, with the 2022 final figures of 2,500 attendees and 2.36 million viewers demonstrating the continuing growth of the sport.

Darts World Championship legend Phil The Power Taylor

Darts World Championship: DAZN Bet’s Pop Quiz

So there you go, that’s everything you need to know. But what if you’re watching the 2023 Darts World Championship with someone who knows an irritatingly great deal about darts? Well, never fear because DAZN’s here. 

Below you’ll find our own little pop quiz containing the most important facts about the Darts World Championship:

Q: Who Won The First Ever Darts World Championship?

A: If we’re counting the BDO Darts World Championship, then the very first winner was Leighton Rees, who beat John Lowe in 1978.

Q: Who Is The Most Successful Darts World Championship Player?

A: Phil Taylor is the most successful PDC World Championship player, having won 16 World Championships overall between BDO and PDC.

Q: Who Has The Longest Unbeaten Run?

A: Phil Taylor again. Between 1995 and 2002, Phil Taylor won eight championships in a row, brushing away his competition with ease.

Q: What Was The Highest Winning Average?

A: The highest solo winning average was 114.05, won by Michael van Gerwen in 2017.

Q: What Was The Highest Losing Average?

A: The lowest ever darts average was 109.29, occurring in 2009 in a match between Warren French and Akihiro Nagakawa.

Q: Who Was The First Overseas Player To Win The Darts World Championship?

A: Of course, English players have generally dominated the Darts World Championship, but the first overseas player to win was John Part in 1994, who travelled all the way from Canada to take the crown.

Q: What Is Considered The Best Darts Match Of All Time?

A: There have been many incredible Darts World Championship matches over the years, but one that remains on everyone’s lips is the semi-final clash between Van Barneveld and Van Gerwen in 2017, with a huge combined average of 223.39.