By William Hill
Last Updated: 10th December 2020
Darts is a sport with an incredible history and even more incredible players. Records have been broken in spectacular style, dominance from certain players have been thoroughly publicised and the rise of the sport in the public eye is ever increasing.
With all that being said, who are the 10 greatest darts players of all time? We run through some of the sport’s greats.
10) Adrian Lewis
Adrian Lewis has been near the top of the darting ladder for what feels like forever. He became only the third man to retain the PDC World Championship after winning it for the first time in 2011. During the 2011 final, he became the first man to hit a nine-darter in a world final and overcame Gary Anderson to become victorious. ‘Jackpot’ has also appeared in the final of every PDC major tournament except the Grand Slam.
His major wins include the PDC World Championship, European Championship and the PDC World Cup of Darts. He’s finished runner-up more times than he would have wanted too, but you simply can’t question his ability.
9) Martin Adams
Many believe that we’ll never know how good Martin Adams really was as a result of his decision not to switch to the PDC on a full-time basis. However, in the BDO Adams was hugely successful. With three Lakeside world titles under his belt, three World Masters and a long fruitful career he earns a spot on this list.
8) John Part
Canadian John Part was statistically the best darts player in North America at his peak. He won the BDO World Championship in 1994 and then went on to win the PDC World Championship twice in 2003 and 2008. He’s reached many major finals multiple times, however, hasn’t won as much as perhaps a player of his quality should have.
Part has had a very inconsistent career, going from being ‘on par’ with Phil Taylor after beating him in the 2003 World Championship final to coming runner-up in five majors.
7) Dennis Priestley
Undoubtably one of Phil Taylor’s greatest rivals. Unfortunately, Taylor had the better of Priestley on many occasions but that didn’t stop him becoming extremely successful. He became the BDO world champion in 1991 and then PDC world champion in 1994.
Priestley lost to Taylor in all four World Championship finals. In the 1996 final defeat to Taylor, Priestley averaged an incredible 101.4, with both men the only players to average 100 or more in World Championship finals until Raymond van Barneveld in 2007.
6) Gary Anderson
The greatest Scottish darts player of all time, Gary Anderson, has won the PDC World Championship twice (2015 and 2016). He fell short during his time in the BDO, only reaching the World Championship final once in 2003, but since making the step to PDC he’s upped his game, winning the World Cup of Darts last year among other successes.
Anderson also holds the record for most 180s in a match, with 22, and the highest losing average in a world final (104.93).
🎯 The greatest darts player ever is ________
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) December 8, 2019
5) John Lowe
John Lowe was the first ever darts player to win the World Championship in three different decades. A professional that had mastered his crafts and stayed away from the glamour of being successful, Lowe will be remembered for winning the BDO World Championship in 1979, 1983 and 1993 as well as the World Masters in 1976 and 1980.
Lowe has also been accredited with hitting the first televised nine-darter in 1984.
4) Eric Bristow
The ‘Crafty Cockney’, Eric Bristow, will forever go down in darting history. During the 70s and 80s he was the best in the business and became a household name. Bristow is a five-time BDO World champion and won all five in the 80s. Bristow was also extremely dominant in the World Masters where he won five between 1977 and 1984 – an incredible achievement. He reached the PDC World Championship semi-final in 1997 but came up just short.
Unfortunately, ‘dartitis’ was Bristow’s undoing, halting his career. A true legend of the game, Bristow was awarded the MBE in 1989 and sadly died in April 2018.
3) Raymond van Barneveld
A true fan favourite, Barney is one of the most decorated darts players in the world on both sides of the darting divide. He has won the BDO World Championship four times and won the PDC World Championship in 2007. As well as this, he has two UK Opens, a Grand Slam of Darts and a Premier League title to his name.
His PDC World Championship win in 2007 was against Phil Taylor and that has been labelled on multiple occasions as the best darts match ever played.
2) Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen had been tipped to be the ‘darts prodigy’. He threw a televised nine-dart finish and won the World Masters title within four years of his debut, which are both world records. The current world number one has won three PDC World Championships, a World Masters, two World Matchplays and five World Grand Prixs all while only just turning 31, and also won the UK Open earlier this year. He still has a huge career ahead of him and no doubt will be remembered as one of, if not the best, darts player ever to stand at the oche.
1) Phil Taylor
With 16 World Championships, Phil Taylor is the most decorated and the best player of all time. He’s also picked up the World Matchplay 16 times and the World Grand Prix 11 times. Six Premier Leagues and Grand Slams are also noteworthy mentions, but he’s already blown every other player in history away with his accolades. He’s also appeared in a record 14 consecutive World Championship finals from 1994-2007.
‘The Power’ also came runner-up in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2010 and will forever be a household name. If you asked someone who wasn’t a fan of the sport to name a player, Taylor’s name will be the first on their lips.
Taylor is the best the sport has ever had but, with Michael van Gerwen on rapid rise, how long will it last?