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Darts is one of the most exciting and unpredictable sports on the planet. The audience at live events often play a big part in that, but this is a sport that is defined by the colourful characters that inhabit it.
The rise of darts as a global phenomenon is largely down to a select group of exceptional players who have pushed the sport to its limit and provided unforgettable moments of pure sporting inspiration in equal measure. They’ve won incredible numbers of titles, made countless 9-darters and continue to dominate the sport to this day.
When it comes time to rank the all-time best darts players, we think these four should be the first name on the list.
Love him or hate him (and any self-respecting darts fan knows plenty do), you can’t deny the history. In terms of accolades, ‘The Power’ is the greatest darts player of all time.
With 16 World Championships, 11 World Grand Prix, 16 World Matchplay titles, 6 Premier Leagues and 6 Grand Slams there’s little else Taylor could have done to prove he’s the best to ever play the game. It’s not just the sheer number of championships he’s won either (sports fans know sometimes the best don’t get the trophies they deserve), but the skill and efficiency with which he would put away challengers on a yearly basis. His sheer dominance made him a household name and the player to beat at every tournament he entered.
In his prime, Taylor was such a solid bet that you could go to any of the online casinos or online betting platforms listed on OnlineCasino.co.uk and you wouldn’t find one bookie going against him.
His prickly personality, confidence and continued success may have pushed you to cheer on the underdog once or twice, but ultimately every darts fan knows that ‘The Power’ is a hard name to beat in the discussion of the greatest of all-time.
Michael van Gerwen
The only man we think can come close to Phil Taylor’s crown, and he’s not even finished playing yet.
Michael van Gerwen has been the name on darts fan’s lips for quite some time now. Ever since he won his first World Masters title just four years after his debut. Since then he’s gone on to conquer the world of professional darts, winning multiple world championships among other titles and finding himself positioned as the current world number one.
Having only just turned 30, MVG still has a huge career ahead of him but already wouldn’t be out of place as a first-round darts hall of fame candidate. 32 major PDC titles and a permanent fixture as the favourite of every tournament he enters? The future still looks bright for Michael van Gerwen.
A darts household name unlike any other in his time, Eric Bristow has to be remembered as one of the greats even when compared to modern players.
Unlike the rest of our list, the ‘Crafty Cockney’ made his name in darts throughout the 70s and 80s, becoming and household name and distinguishing himself as the best in the business at the time.
He’s a five-time BDO World champion and dominated over the World Masters in his heyday, winning five titles between 1977 and 1984. Achievements like this are why many old-school darts fans still hold Bristow up as the best they’ve ever seen to this day. In fact, only his mentee Phil Taylor might be able to claim superiority over the old master.
Injury may have hampered his performance towards the end of the career and ultimately brought an end to it, but Bristow continues to be fondly remembered as one of the great players and characters of the sport.
Raymond van Barneveld
Sometimes in sport, it’s not just about how great a player you were, but the passion you brought to it and the love you generated from the fans.
That’s not to say that Raymond Van Barneveld wasn’t a fantastic player. He may not have been racking up world championship wins until his final days as a professional, suffering a slight drop off as his career came to a close. But ‘Barney’ developed a cult following amongst the Ally Pally faithful and in arenas across the world to go with the number of major successes under his belt. Multiple BDC and PDC World championships in fact.
Fans will always remember ‘Barney’ for classic moments such as his 2007 PDC final against Phil Taylor, which is widely considered the greatest darts match of all time.
Well, there we have it. In our opinion, it’s hard to look beyond this list for 4 surefire all-time best players, but there is always room for debate in darts. New players will come along to try and shake up the darts homogamy, but we can’t see this group being toppled any time soon.