Our expert round-up of the 10 best darts players of all time.

Of course, the number of major titles someone has won will generally carry the most weight, but several additional factors can be thrown into the mix including consistency, longevity and the impact someone had on the sport and the unique pressures that brought.

 

 

Before we begin, an honorable mention to two-time World Champion Jocky Wilson, who just missed the cut.

 

 

The colourful two-time World Champion Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright can back-up his big stage showmanship with an impressive collection of major titles.

 

Having quit top-level darts for over a decade, Wright returned in his late 30s, although his maiden major triumph didn’t arrive until he was aged 46.

 

However, Wright made up for any lost time, and in 2022 he held the PDC World Championship, World Matchplay and world number one ranking all at the same time.

 

 

Adrian Lewis is one of sport’s most naturally gifted exponents.

 

From the darting hotbed of Stoke-on-Trent, Lewis was a protégé of fellow Potteries man Phil Taylor, and great things were expected of him from an early age.

 

Having served his oche apprenticeship, Lewis won the 2011 PDC World Championship aged just 25 – the youngest-ever winner at the time. In the final, he produced a 9-dart finish; a feat that had never been achieved in any world final before.

 

 

 

Twelve months later, ‘Jackpot’ joined an exclusive club by successfully defending a world title – and at his first attempt.

 

 

Equipped with a steely determination, Dennis ‘The Menace’ Priestley was the first player in history to win both the BDO and WDC/PDC World Championship titles.

 

The Yorkshireman didn’t begin his professional career until his late 30s, but within a few years he triumphed at the Lakeside, whitewashing Eric Bristow 6-0 in the 1991 final on his debut in the event.

 

A World Masters champion in 1992, Priestley moved to the newly formed WDC, where he won their first world title in 1994 after a crushing 6-1 victory against Phil Taylor in the final.

 

Later in the same year, Priestley climbed to number one in the world rankings.

 

Back-to-back World Champion Gary Anderson has been wowing crowds with his fluid style of play within the top echelons of the sport for over two decades.

 

 

‘The Flying Scotsman’ realised his world title ambition when he edged Phil Taylor 7-6 in a gripping final at the Alexandra Palace in 2015. A year later, Anderson retained darts’ biggest prize when he denied Adrian Lewis 7-5. Overall, he featured in five world finals between 2011 to 2021.

 

In total, Anderson has won 12 major singles titles, including the three most lucrative on the PDC circuit – the World Championship, World Matchplay and Premier League. He has also compiled several live televised 9-dart finishes – including one in a world semi-final.

 

 

The greatest-ever player from outside of Europe, three-time World Champion John Part holds several special darting accolades.

 

The Canadian was the first player from outside of the UK to win a world darts title when he triumphed on debut at the Lakeside in 1994, dropping just one set in doing so.

 

Part’s finest moment came in 2003, when he defeated the seemingly unstoppable Phil Taylor via a thrilling deciding set in the PDC world final.

 

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‘Darth Maple’ was the first player to win three world titles at different venues.

 

 

John Lowe was one of darts’ original superstars during its initial television boom in the 1980s.

 

With a textbook technique and an unflappable focus, Lowe’s style was in contrast with other contemporary darting heroes Jocky Wilson and Eric Bristow which often made for great sporting theatre when they squared off.

 

‘Old Stoneface’ won his three world championships across three different decades – the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. He also won two World Masters crowns.

 

In 1984, Lowe completed the first televised 9-dart finish – pocketing £102,000 for his historic feat of perfection.

 

 

The Netherlands’ five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld is a trailblazer for the prosperity of darts, having inspired a wave of new fans and players in his homeland and across continental Europe.

 

In 1998, ‘Barney’ fell to his knees as he became the first non-UK European to win a world darts championship – a title he retained in 1999.

 

Van Barneveld was involved in the sport’s greatest-ever match in 2007 when he pipped rival Phil Taylor in the PDC world final in a sudden-death leg.

 

The former postman is still enjoying a professional career that has spanned across three decades.

 

The sensational Michael van Gerwen already has 48 major TV singles titles to his name – including three PDC world championships – with scope to collect many more in the future.

 

A darting prodigy, the Dutchman won the BDO World Masters as a 17-year-old, and in the following year he struck his first live televised 9-darter.

 

In 2014, van Gerwen became the PDC’s youngest-ever world champion aged 24 – a record he still holds. ‘Mighty Mike’ – who has completed a career slam of current PDC majors – was also the world number one for a record 84 consecutive months.

 

MVG will likely finish higher up this list in the future.

 

 

If ‘The Crafty Cockney’ said he was going to beat someone or win something, most times he’d be proved right.

 

 

A genuine British sporting superstar in the 1980’s, Bristow’s darts on the oche and his mouth away from it helped shape darts and launch it into a golden era.

 

When he claimed his maiden world title in 1980, Bristow became the youngest-ever champion, aged 22.

 

He would eventually win his five world championships in the space of just seven years – becoming the first player to win multiple crowns and the first to successfully defend it; both at the same time.

 

 

There can be no argument about the Best Of All Time – it’s quite simply the record-smashing 16-time World Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor.

 

For a sport so accessible and popular as darts, his sheer dominance was truly staggering.

 

Taylor’s world title triumphs span from 1990 to 2013 – highlighting his longevity and hunger for more glory. He won eight successive PDC World Championships and reached the final 14 years in a row; pushing boundaries and setting standards, taking the sport to new levels of professionalism.

 

With more than 80 TV majors and 200 professional titles in total, Taylor is surely one of the greatest sportspeople of all time.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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