The PDC Players Championship Finals is a three-day event featuring the cream of the crop from the season's toils at the oche, and we've got everything you need to know about the penultimate competition of the calendar year.
A total of 64 players will toe the oche in a bid to land a share of the increased £600,000 prize fund and the field is decided by the rankings on the PDC’s Order of Merit.
There’s always a fantastic atmosphere at the Butlin's Resort in Minehead and we are likely to see plenty of thrills and spills along the way.
Michael van Gerwen has made this tournament his own down the years, winning it seven times from only 14 appearances in the event.
However, MvG had to settle for runner-up honours in 2023 with Luke Humphries fighting back from 9-5 down to record a 11-9 victory and build on his recent wins at the World Grand Prix and the Grand Slam of Darts.
The Players Championship Finals have become a feature of the November darts calendar. The 2023 event will be held from Friday 24th November to Sunday 26th November.
The first-round will be played across a bumper opening session on November 24, with Saturday’s double session shining the spotlight on the second and third rounds.
The first two days of action whittle the 64 player field down to just eight arrowsmiths and the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final are played over afternoon and evening sessions on Sunday 26th November.
The Players Championship Finals are held at the Butlins Resort in Minehead. The holiday venue first staged the event in 2012 and it has been the home of the tournament since then. The 2020 renewal was moved to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, but it returned to Minehead the following year.
The event had previously been held at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet and the Doncaster Dome, but there’s nothing quite like a weekend at Butlins.
All the action can be watched via the bet365 live sports streaming service, while the tournament will be shown live on ITV4. The event will also be broadcast on PDC TV.
The Players Championship Finals is a straight knockout featuring 64 players. The first two rounds are contested over the best of 11 legs; the third round and quarter-finals are best of 19 legs, with the semi-finals and final contested over 21 legs.
The total prize money on offer at the Players Championship Finals is £600,000 with the winner getting £120,000.
The runner-up gets £60,000 while semi-finalists and quarter-finalists receive £30,000 and £20,000 respectively. Players who reach the last 16 receive £10,000, players who reach the last 32 reach £6,500 and players knocked out in the first round receive £3,500.
The Players Championship Finals were first introduced into the PDC’s darting calendar in 2009 to serve as a culmination of the numerous Pro Tour events that are held across the season. Phil Taylor lifted the inaugural crown and since then the tournament has continued to grow.
Michael van Gerwen has been the dominant force in this event. The Dutchman has won the competition seven times and finished runner-up on one occasion.
MVG lifted his first crown in 2013 and then followed that up with titles in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2022. Mighty Mike’s trophy haul came from a total of 14 appearances in the tournament.
However, the Green Machine saw his title taken away from him in 2023 with Luke Humphries, the season’s form man after wins at the World Grand Prix and the Grand Slam of Darts, recording a thrilling 11-9 victory in the final. Van Gerwen did, however, hit a nine-darter.
Taylor has collected three Players Championship Finals victories and the Power beat Robert Thornton in the final of the first renewal of the competition.
Gary Anderson, Kevin Painter, Paul Nicholson, Daryl Gurney and Peter Wright have won one title each, while Adrian Lewis and Mervyn King have both lost in the final on two occasions.
There have now been four nine-dart finishes at the Players Championship Finals. Alan Norris was first in 2016 against Michael Smith.
Van Gerwen threw the other three, firstly in the last 32 in 2019 against Adrian Lewis, then again in 2022 against Rob Cross in the final. Mighty Mike repeated the feat in 2023 in the final against Humphries, although it was not enough for him to avoid defeat.
|118.52||Michael van Gerwen v Ross Smith (2023)||6-1|
|112.27||Josh Rock v Gabriel Clemens (2023)||3-6|
|112.05||Dirk van Duijvenbode v Ryan Searle (2022)||10–9|
|111.58||Phil Taylor v Raymond van Barneveld (2013)||9–2|
|111.12||Ian White v Scott Taylor (2018)||6–2|
|110.62||Gary Anderson v Christian Kist (2014)||6–5|
|110.02||Gary Anderson v Jonny Clayton (2018)||10–4|
This is an interesting event as the rankings, and therefore the draw, are decided on the results of only the 2024 PDC Players Championship series events.
Those 30 tournaments are held across the season, the latest in the first week of November, and the major televised events are not included in the seedings.
Van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price are always likely to be at the front of the market, especially the Green Machine given his dominance in this event.
Humphries is the defending champion and after a scintillating 2023 campaign, he is likely to figure prominently in the betting.
Newly-crowned European champion Wright failed to qualify for this event and that indicates the competitiveness of the tour. Michael Smith has a poor record in the event, having made only one quarter-final from 12 appearances, which would temper enthusiasm about him.
Josh Rock is a player likely to be towards the front of the betting as Rocky is one of game’s brightest prospects and he tends to thrive in the Players Championship series.
Gary Anderson has enjoyed a rejuvenation on the floor this term and the Flying Scotsman, who is a two-time world champion, may be another strong contender at Butlins while Damon Heta, Rob Cross and Nathan Aspinall will be others to consider.