The biggest prize in Darts, the PDC World Darts Championships, returns to the Ally Pally in December 2023. Tickets for this event sell out fast, and it is likely to have a vast German contingency amongst the many thousands of fans that attend this Christmas event.
Darts has grown fast globally and is now one of the mainstream sports featured on Sky Sports and other sports TV channels. However, as any fan of the sport will tell you, a night at night is like no other sports event as the fans play their part in the party atmosphere. Fancy dress is a big part of this part, and don't be surprised to see a group of nuns rubbing shoulders with the Mario Brothers, Aliens, Zippy, Big Bird and the Christmas Grinch! Sanata also tends to pay a visit during this festive in what is billed as the biggest party in town, which lasts two weeks!
From December 15 to January 3, dart fans and the best players worldwide will take over the Alexandar Palace. Ninety-six players compete for a share of the £2.5M prize money. The winner wins a life-changing sum of £500,000.
Players have qualified via the PDC Order of Merit and various events that have been held all over the globe. The top 32-seeded players enter the event in round two. That is not to say round one features any duff players, as the event is highly competitive and expect some upsets. The set format favours the more experienced player, as most dart events are played in a matchplay format. Fans will again be hoping for a nine-dart finish, the holly grail in darts, and this year, there could be more than one as several perfect legs have been hit in recent events. Fans looking for new ways to bet and pick up some introductory bonus offers should look at non gamstop bets on justuk for the latest offers.
Michael Smith is the defending PDC World Darts Champion and is currently ranked world number one by the PDC Order of Merit. His recent form has been mixed, but the World Championships tends to bring the best out of him. A recent change of dart sponsor from Unicorn to Shot darts has had a few pundits say he is still getting used to his new darts. Michael, however, says his new darts are fine and working well for him.
Whether Michael will feature in this year's final is yet to be seen, but there will be some tough competition ahead.
One of the most experienced players in the World Championships, Michael van Gerwen, has won the World Championships on three separate occasions and has been a runner-up on a further three. In fact, Michael was runner-up in the 2023 final, which featured what is considered the best leg of dart ever.
Both Michael van Gerwen and Micheal Smith were on a nine-dart finish. Gerwen missed double twelve for the leg. However, Smith clinched it with a perfect nine. Some say this was the turning point in the match.
Gerwen will be one of the bookies' favourites for his fourth title. But with mixed fortunes in the run-up to these events, others may think this is not his time.
Gerwyne Price, in recent years, has always been one of the players that is likely to take the title. The former 2021 PDC World Champion suffered an onslaught from the fans in last year's competition, and the player then repaid them in kind by wearing a pair of ear defenders. Never has this been seen before, but the player is a bit of a Marmite character. You love him or hate him, not much for the middle ground. However, there is no doubt that he can succeed, and if the crowd leaves him alone, he is a player who is likely to go far in this competition.
More bets are likely to be on what the player will wear and what darts the player will use. What is likely is several different costumes and several different sets of darts! His wife, Jo, is behind Snakebite's wonderful, colourful creations, and he always lights up the oche.
It would come as no surprise if Peter had yet another set of darts made for the World Championships. However, it has worked in the past and could work again. Peter currently ranks second in the PDC Order of Merit, and a win at the World Championships would propel him back into the number one sport.
There are too many to mention, but a host of players are certainly in contention for their first or, in some cases, another World title.
A rejuvenated Gary Anderson is certainly one that needs to be mentioned, as well as Nathan Aspinal, Luke Humpries, and Ryan Searl. Expect them all to be in the mix towards the end of the tournament.
Raymond van Barneveld returns as the 29th seed. However, although he has more experience than many, he is unlikely to be this year's winner.
The two women, Fallon Sherrock and Mikuru Suzuki will also have the crowd's backing. Fallon famously won two rounds in the 2021 World Final, beating Ted Evetts in the first round and remarkable the eleventh seed Mensur Suljović. No fluke here. Fallon has won against her male counterparts many times, the most recent in the Grand Slam of Darts in November 2023.