Over the past few weeks, the darts press has been dominated by two primary themes. One has been the all too familiar story of Michael van Gerwen powering his way towards yet another title. The other has been our sad farewell to another legend, Eric Bristow, who dominated the game in a way almost identical to that of MVG back in the 1980s.
With such incredible top names dominating the darts’ scene and with darts becoming more popular than ever on television, more and more people are putting money on their favourites to win. However, when players such as van Gerwen and Taylor dominate the sport, it doesn’t always pay to bet on the favourites as there’s not much to be gained from that. To get more from the game, people have started using better and more sophisticated darts betting strategies.
So now, let’s doff our caps to MVG, the Crafty Cockney, and others who have made the oche their own over the years and were, in their pomp, pretty much guaranteed to be odds-on favourites at any bookie. To ask who is the greatest ever is a question that will always have some subjectivity to it. But we can, at least, have an affectionate look at some of the main suspects.
Let’s start with the man of the moment. Right now, MVG is simply the best darts player on the planet. It’s been twelve years since he exploded onto the scene, winning the World Masters as a teenager in 2006. Over recent years he has seemed nothing short of unstoppable. However, the scary thing for his competitors is that he hasn’t even turned 30 yet.
To date, van Gerwen has twenty-three PDC majors to his name and more minors than you can count. Just how good could he go on to be? Nobody can say for sure, but he has the talent to continue his domination for a long, long time. After all, if he follows in Phil Taylor’s footsteps and keeps playing till the age of 57, he’s got another 28 years in him.
Until van Gerwen got up to his tricks, most in the darts world felt that Phil, The Power, Taylor was a force the likes of which we had never seen before and would never see again. Taylor is a man of understatement, who has always let his darts do the talking, and the following three words say it all: sixteen world titles.
Throughout the nineties and noughties, he dominated the game in a way that had never been seen before and remained a force to be reckoned with right up until his retirement. But while he was certainly the best player of his era, van Gerwen’s domination could be even more comprehensive.
Greatness isn’t all about titles and statistics, though. Ask someone who doesn’t follow sport to name a snooker player and they’ll say Steve Davis, even though Hendry and O’Sullivan have greater records. Ask them to name a darts player, and the chances are they’ll say Eric Bristow.
The Crafty Cockney entered our hearts, and our living rooms, right as the sport gained popularity in the early 80s – and at the same time, incidentally, as Davis was dominating the green baize. His professional career was cut short by dartitis, but he still dominated the game in the 80s every bit as much as Taylor and van Gerwen have in more recent years.
The Dutchman arguably had more success than anyone on both sides of the great PDC and BDO divide. He has five World Championships to his name and was arguably the greatest non-British player of all time... until another Dutch player threw his name into the equation.
After completely dominating the BDO in the late 90s and early 00s, he made the transition to the PDC specifically to prove himself better than Taylor. The 2007 PDC final is often called the greatest darts match of all time and it was Barney who came out on top. Ultimately, Taylor had the longer run of success, but there and then, van Barneveld was at the top of the world.
John Lowe is another name that would be familiar to darts fans back in the day. However, his success spanned over thirty years and he was the only darts player to ever win three World Championships in three separate decades - a huge achievement by anyone’s standards. Not only this, but he was also the very first player in the history of darts to achieve the sought after nine-dart finish on live television - all the way back in 1984.
Lowe was mainly on the darts scene in the 1970s and 1980s but managed to win his final World Championship in 1993, when many believed he was past his best. This is a player with a huge amount of skill which was reflected in his many achievements. It would therefore be unfair not to mention ‘old stoneface’ as he has proved to be one of the most significant players in the history of darts.
|PDC Main Events|
|World Ch'ship||2014, 2017|
|World Matchplay||2015, 2016|
|World Grand Prix||2012, 2014, 2016|
|Grand Slam||2015, 2016, 2017|
|Premier League||2013, 2016, 2017|
|European Ch'ship||2014, 2015, 2016, 2017|
|UK Open||2015, 2016|
|Players Ch'ship Finals||2013, 2015, 2016, 2017|
|The Masters||2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|Other tournament wins|
|Gleneagle Irish Masters||2008|
|Killarney Pro Tour||2012|
|Northern Ireland Open||2005|
|Open Holland||2006, 2007|
|WDF Europe Youth Cup||2006|
|World Cup of Darts||2014, 2017|
|World Darts Event||2006|
|European Tour Events|
|Austrian Darts Open||2013, 2017|
|Dutch Darts Masters||2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018|
|European Darts Grand Prix||2016, 2018|
|European Darts Matchplay||2015, 2017|
|European Darts Open||2013, 2016, 2018|
|European Darts Trophy||2016, 2017|
|German Darts Championship||2015|
|German Darts Grand Prix||2017, 2018|
|German Darts Masters||2015, 2016, 2017|
|Gibraltar Darts Trophy||2015, 2016|
|World Series of Darts Events|
|Dubai Darts Masters||2013, 2014, 2015|
|Perth Darts Masters||2016|
|Shanghai Darts Masters||2016, 2017|
|Singapore Darts Masters||2014|
|US Darts Masters||2017|
|World Series of Darts Finals||2015, 2016, 2017|
|BDO Major Events|