The biggest and most exciting tournament in the game of darts comes to London this winter in the form of the 2020 William Hill World Darts Championship, to be held in London’s Alexandra Palace from 13 December until New Year’s Day.
The ‘Worlds’ draws the game’s best players from across the planet to London to bid for the prestigious title. They will need grit, determination and nerves of steel to make the final.
Nearly 100 (96) players will do battle for a total prize fund of £2.5m in this festive feast of darts, with the overall winner claiming £500,000. The remainder of the pot goes to the runner-up semi and quarter-finalists plus those who finished in the four previous rounds.
The winner lifts the prestigious Sid Waddell Trophy, named since 2013 after the popular commentator on the game, who had died the year before, and was himself previously a champion player of ‘the arrows’.
Waddell was celebrated for his droll quotes, such as:
You couldn't get more excitement here if Elvis Presley walked in eating a chip sandwich!
The 2019/20 event is the 27th championship to be organised by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) since the body split from the British Darts Organisation in 1992.
About the tournament
The event is one of two annual world darts championships, the second being the British Darts Organisation (BDO) World Darts Championship.
The PDC event is the highest-profile of the two and was first held in 1994.
Here are some other key facts about the championship:
- It’s been held at Alexandra Palace since 2008
- The defending champ is Dutch player Michael van Gerwen, who also won in 2014 and 2017
- British player Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor has enjoyed 14 wins in 25 appearances, last winning the Worlds in 2013
- Bookmaker William Hill has sponsored the event since 2015, while previous sponsors have included Ladbrokes
- In 2018, some 1.4m viewers saw the tournament in the UK on Sky Sports
There are daily afternoon and evening games apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. Players go through four rounds ahead of the quarter-finals on December 29, the semis the following day and the big finale on New Year’s Day 2020.
The rules of the game
Unlike, say, horse racing, you’ve probably had a go at darts yourself in the pub, or rigged up a board at home, so have some idea of the rules. But to recap:
- All PDC events play the 501 version of the game meaning the player must reach 0 from a starting tally of 501. To reach zero, each player must finish by throwing a double
- A standard-sized dartboard is used – while the oche (the distance between the toeline and the front of the board) must be 7ft 9.25 inches
- The Worlds are played in a sets format, in which players have to win a set by winning the best of five ‘legs’, or single games, before claiming the game by winning the best of three/five/seven/nine/11 or 13 sets.
- A checkout means scoring exactly the number of points remaining to win a leg
Betting on the World Darts Championship
Of course, placing a bet on this PDC event ups the entertainment factor no end, especially if you follow a particular player. So it’s perhaps no surprise that betting on darts has become increasingly popular in recent years, including in-play betting where you take a punt on a game while it’s happening, with the odds shifting as things develop.
Bear in mind players often have a ‘handicap’ – or are given odds by the bookie to give the weaker player a head start in the betting.
If you’re looking to bet this time round, here are some ways of doing it:
- Match betting – This is the staple of darts betting. It just means betting on the winner of a particular match. You can also bet on the correct set score or a match’s different legs.
- Outright betting – This is a bet on the winner of a tournament. Or you could, for example, back a particular player to win their quarter of the draw if you don’t believe they’ll progress further.
- Player-specific markets – Such as whether Michael van Gerwen will complete a Nine-Dart Finish in the championship. (This is notoriously hard, even for the best pros in the game and means a perfect leg in which, using just nine darts, you come down from the 501, the number everyone begins with.)
- Correct score – This is simply a bet on the right score in a game. It’s riskier in that it’s a hard thing to predict accurately, but the rewards are potentially higher.
- 180s bets – Clearly, 180 is the highest possible score with three arrows. You can bet on first, most or total 180 scores or the player who scores them.
Highest match checkout – A straightforward bet on what you predict will be the match’s highest checkout
- King of the Oche – Bet on one of the players to win the match, have the highest checkout and the most 180s. This typically has high odds and is a great way of backing a strong favourite.
Especially if you are new to betting on darts, it’s important to place your bet with a reputable bookmaker. Have a flutter using one of the websites we recommend.