Professional darts, much like soccer or “football”, is a game that is far more popular in the European and Asian markets than here in the United States. While you can find both soft tip and steel tip dartboards across the United States at some bars and restaurants, in Europe and parts of Asia, it far more common.
Steel tip darts are the mecca of darts in these markets. The best players in the world are all-steel tip players and these are the leagues and events that draw the most crowds and support. A simple YouTube search of some major steel tip tournaments and leagues that are televised in Europe and Asia and you will see just how popular this game is.
While there are of course American dart players that play at the top leagues like the PDC, they are no match when it comes to European players. In this list of the 10 best dart players of all-time, you will quickly see where the majority of the best darts in the world come from and to this day are still located.
10. Martin Adams
Thanks for the enquiry. Managers contact details below. pic.twitter.com/AQaHJcqSns
— Martin Adams (@wolfiedarts) July 16, 2019
Martin Adams is an English professional darts player who, to some dart followers, might be a controversial player on this list. The reason being, Adams never played in the PDC full-time, instead, he spent most of his career playing in the BDO.
Despite not being a PDC regular, Adams had a very successful career that is still going to this day. He is currently a top-20 ranked player in the BDO. Over his career, he has won eight BDO majors, including three World Championships.
9. Adrian Lewis
— Adrian Lewis (@jackpot180) June 2, 2017
Adrian Lewis is an English darts player who has had a very up and down career. Although he is still just 35-years old, the best of his career was nearly 10 years ago. He won back-to-back PDC World Championship titles in 2011 and 2012. He was at the top of the darting world during the early 2010s but hasn’t had much success of late.
Lewis was also the first person to hit a 9-dart outer in a World Championship final. While his best years appear to be behind him, Lewis is still young enough that the second surge in his career is certainly possible. Titles aside, Lewis has also finished runner-up in a lot of big tournaments in his career. Unfortunately for him, he has had to play during some of both Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen’s best years.
8. John Part
John Part is a Canadian darts player that has won two PDC World Championships in his career. On top of that, he also has around 100 career tournament titles. Part was one of the best players in the world during the 90s and early 2000s. However, the reason he doesn’t have more titles in his career is because of Phil Taylor.
Part was able to compete with Taylor many times during his career. As good as Part was, he finished runner-up too many times in his career which is what keeps him from being higher on this list.
7. Dennis Priestley
— Dennis Priestley (@denpriestley180) July 16, 2015
Dennis Priestley is an English darts player who was one of the founding members of the PDC. Now retired, Priestley won just one career PDC World Championship. He also has two BDO major titles. Like Part, Preisetly also finished just short of winning a ton more titles in his career. Why? Phil Taylor.
Priestley and Taylor were the biggest rivals in darts for much of the 90s. Priestley lost to Taylor four times in the World Championship finals over five years. So while the dominant Phil Taylor had his number throughout most of Priestley’s career, he was still one of the best players of all-time.
6. John Lowe
John Lowe is a retired English darts player. One of the founding members of the PDC, Lowe has been playing darts since 1966. While his success in the BDO (five major titles) didn’t quite translate to success in major PDC events (zero major titles), he was still one of the best darts players the world has ever seen.
He was the first player to win the BDO World Championship in three separate decades. He was at the top of the darting world in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. One of the most famous Lowe moments was when he became the first player in darts history to hit a 9-dart outer on television.
5. Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson is a Scottish darts player. Currently ranked in the top 10 in the PDC, Anderson has two career BDO major titles and two PDC World Championship titles, which he won back-to-back in 2015 and 2016. Anderon has also won the Premier League twice in his career (2011 and 2015).
Anderson has the fourth-most World Championship finals appearances with four. Considered one of the highest scorers of all-time, Anderson is one of the best 180 hitters that the darting world has ever seen. He has the record for the highest average in a World Championship final as a loser with 104.93, which is the fifth-highest final score of all-time. When Gary Anderson is on his game, he is capable of taking down Michael Van Gerwen or anyone else with his high scoring averages. He has the most career 180s in a single match with 22.
4. Raymond van Barneveld
Raymond van Barneveld is a retired Dutch darts player. van Barneveld was one of the most successful and well-liked darts players of all-time. In his career, van Barneveld won an incredible 15 BDO major titles, including four World Championships. He won the PDC World Championship in 2007 and the Premier League in 2014. He also won back-to-back UK Opens in 2006 and 2007.
Had it not been for Phil Taylor, “Barney” would have had an even more amazing career with more titles. His 2007 World Championship win over Taylor is regarded as the best dart match of all-time.
3. Eric Bristow
Eric Bristow was an English darts player. He won 10 career BDO majors, including five World Championships. He was the king of darts during the 70s and 80s and was a fan favorite with his play style. Had it not been for injury, Bristow would have enjoyed a much longer and successful career.
However, while his career was still going on, he was the most dominant player in the game. One of darts pioneers, Bristow died just a few years ago from a heart attack while attending a Premier League Darts event.
2. Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen is a Dutch darts player. For now, van Gerwen is the second-best darts player of all-time. However, if he can stay at the pace he has so far in his career, van Gerwen may be able to take over the top spot in the darting world, something thought impossible as recently as five years ago.
“MVG” is still just 31-years old and is already one of the most successful dart players of all time. He has 36 career PDC premier event titles. Part of those 36 titles includes three World Championships, two World Matchplay, five World Grand Prix, five Premier League, and three UK Open titles.
Not only does MVG win the biggest tournaments, but he also wins them multiple times. Aside from the Champions League, he has won every major PDC event at least twice. Hands down the best darts player in the world right now, MVG could be at the top of the darting world for another 10 or 20 years. No darts record is safe as long as MVG is still playing.
1. Phil Taylor
Hands down the greatest darts player of all time at this moment, Phil Taylor, is a retired English darts player. While you can argue other names on this list and where they rank (aside from MVG), Taylor is a unanimous choice as the greatest darts player of all time.
Phil Taylor has an unprecedented 79 career PDC major titles. Among those, he has won the World Championship 14 times (including eight in a row), World Matchplay 16 times, World Grand Prix 11 times, Premier League six times, and the UK Open five times.
In 25 career appearances, Taylor has made 19 World Championship finals. For comparison, MVG has only made the finals five times in 13 appearances. Taylor has dominated the darting world from 1990 when he won his first career title until his retirement in 2018.