After the Christmas break, the Darts World Championship in London is in its hot phase. Two thirds of the 96 players who started have already been eliminated, the world elite is now among themselves. We'll make you fit for the upcoming games, explain terms and provide useful and useless knowledge with our ABC for the Darts World Cup.
A for African sisal
For the first time at a PDC World Championship, there will be no throwing on boards made by Unicorn. The compatriots from Winmau replaced the English provider in January 2022. Unlike its predecessor, the pressed sisal fibers that make up the board come from Africa.
B for barrel
The heaviest part of the dart, the barrel, consists mainly of tungsten and has a significant impact on the weight. At the World Championships, the differences are between twelve (Stephen Bunting) and 32 grams (Ryan Searle). Most amateur players throw 23 gram darts. Other elements of the player's working tool are the tip in front, as well as the subsequent shaft and, at the very end, the flight.
C for Circus Tavern
The first 14 World Championships of the PDC were held in the Circus Tavern in Purfleet. At the 2007 World Cup, the venue experienced its very bad end. In the last match at the old venue, Raymond van Barneveld and Phil Taylor delivered what is probably the most dramatic endgame in history to date. The Dutchman wrestled down the serial winner in the sudden death leg of the final set. Since December 2007, the darts have been flying at London's Alexandra Palace every year.
D for dartitis
Again and again players suffer from the phenomenon of dartitis. The mental illness manifests itself in a blockage that prevents the arrow from being released in good time. Several of the World Cup starters also struggled with it during their careers, such as Mensur Suljovic, Mervyn King and Beau Greaves, who was only 18 years old.
E for one hundred and eighty
The callers shout it into their microphones, the fans show it on signs, and the players celebrate: 180 points - the highest possible result with three arrows, all of which have to land in the eight millimeter high triple field of the 20.
F like fish
Some people turn up their noses at the mention of the "big fish", but in recent years the term has become established as a description of the highest possible finish. He is "fished" via triple-20, triple-20 and the 50-point bullseye. Players have to watch out for some low numbers. 159, 162, 163, 165, 166, 168 and 169 are not playable down to zero with three darts. They are therefore called bogey numbers.
G like drinks
Alcohol consumption used to be common during matches and in front of cameras. There is now a strict ban – at least outside the player area behind the stage. Non-carbonated water is provided for the professionals on the tables.
H for origin
The players come from 28 different nations. Germany, with its three representatives, is seventh behind England (28), the Netherlands (12), Wales (6), Northern Ireland (5), Scotland and Australia (both 4). Although the home country continues to dominate, its share of 29.17 percent has never been lower. Ten years ago, the English made up 50 percent of the participants, 20 years ago the figure was even 75 percent.
I wie Islington
The majority of the players check into the players' hotel at least one day before the matches. A room that has been converted into a training room is also available here. Some participants are spending the Christmas holidays at the Islington hostel, eight kilometers from Alexandra Palace. Experiencing the turn of the year there is even the goal of many. After all, the quarter-finals are on January 1st. Then the high prices will no longer play a role. A double room is costing £300 a night this year, some pros have reported. The players have to pay themselves.
J like annual calendar
In addition to the costumed spectators and the unique atmosphere, the date of the Darts World Cup is considered the greatest success factor. The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) deliberately sought and filled a gap in the European sports calendar. Apart from the Four Hills Tournament for ski jumpers and a bit of football in the Premier League, competitions in many sports and leagues are suspended between Christmas and the New Year.
K like clothes
On stage, players are subject to a dress code. Sweatpants are prohibited, as are trousers or skirts made of denim or with a denim look. If you don't want to play in dark shoes, you have to submit an application. Headgear will only be approved if the player can claim religious or medical reasons.
L for campfire
The number of viewers has been increasing steadily since the broadcasts began in Germany. At the last World Cup, the average was 530,000. The final between Peter Wright and Michael Smith was watched by an average of 1.65 million. However, the record number dates from 2018. However, the average of 550,000 was also raised by the great interest in the final. 2.73m were there when debutant Rob Cross defeated legend Phil Taylor in his final match.
M wie Morricone
The song "Chase the Sun" from 2000 is almost as well known as the World Cup itself. The fans at Ally Pally celebrate the start of the commercial break to the sounds of the Italian band Planet Funk played by TV channel Sky. The melody, however, is much older. Film music legend Ennio Morricone wrote the piece as a soundtrack to the Italian film "Metti, una sera a cena" with Jean-Louis Trintignant in 1969.
N for nine-darter
It is the culmination of your own game and what all the fans at Alexandra Palace are waiting for: the nine-darter. Clearing the 501 points with nine darts means the perfect game. There are 71 different routes and a whopping bonus at the World Cup. Like last year, a sponsor has pledged £50,000 for the pro, who has performed the feat twice in the tournament. Up until the 2020 World Cup, there was still £25,000 for a nine-darter. In total, he fell 13 times at world championships, three of them last year. Phil Taylor, however, won the strangest prize. For his nine-darters at the UK Open in 2004 and 2005, sponsor Budweiser gave 501 bottles of beer each.
O how oche
Contrary to what is often wrongly described by many, the oche (pronounced ocky) does not refer to the pedestal in front of the board as a whole, but only to the throwing line, which is usually marked by a standing bar. The distance is 2.37 meters.
P wie Practice Board
A professional player never goes on stage cold. In order to be able to activate automatisms, extensive preparation is required. There are several practice boards in the catacombs of Alexandra Palace. Behind the stage is a room with two more panes. However, these are reserved solely for the players of the next match. Some participants start throwing in three hours before their match.
Q wie Q-School
If you want to play on the professional tour, you have to take part in one of the two qualification schools in January. However, the events are a bottleneck. In 2022, more than 600 players played for 32 tour tickets to be awarded. The only requirement is the entry fee of 510 euros. The entitlement to play is then valid for two years. After that, players must be in the top 64 in the world rankings to be eligible for an overtime.
R like Robin Hood
If an arrow hits a dart that is already in the board and gets stuck in it, one speaks of a Robin Hood. However, the feat does not bring points. Arrows that bounce off the target or fall out (bouncers) are also scored zero.
S like socks
Each player has their own tricks for bringing themselves back into focus during the match. Michael van Gerwen, for example, pulls his socks up again in order to be able to call up automatisms better afterwards. Rob Cross rubs his hand over his thigh in such situations. Joe Cullen has a curious ritual when going on stage. Before shaking hands with the caller, the Englishman pulls some fluff from the carpet and plays with it between his fingers. Once he gets to his table, he drops it on the floor.
T like tricks
Darts is a precision sport that requires a high level of concentration. In order to disturb the opponent in this, players work again and again with small psychological tricks. Delays in throwing or pulling out the arrows can break the rhythm and be just as annoying as acoustic maneuvers. Creaking boards on stage, sudden coughing or a few jingling coins in your pocket are welcome aids. Some even use smells. Missed personal hygiene or pronounced flatulence can become a factor.
U like Ukraine
In view of the political situation, the PDC decided to award a World Cup starting place to a Ukrainian dart player for the first time. Vladyslav Omelchenko prevailed in the national qualifier but lost 3-0 to Englishman Luke Woodhouse in round one.
V for Vegesack
The reigning German champion comes from the northern part of Bremen. At DC Vegesack, which is also the record champion of the Bundesliga that was introduced in 2003 with eight titles, the team includes the first two German participants in the PDC World Championship, Andree Welge and Tomas “Shorty” Seyler.
In 2018 Elmar Paulke switched from Sport1 to DAZN. His longtime co-commentator Tomas "Shorty" Seyler was no longer needed and canceled Sport1 for another project. An own goal, as he explains in the board show with Lutz Wöckener.
W wie Walk-on
At Alexandra Palace, each player is brought onto the stage individually from the first round by master of ceremonies John McDonald. The invasion is accompanied by a song that the players choose themselves. The prerequisite is that the legal issue has been clarified. The long-time associated “Walk-on-Girls” have been gone for four years. The PDC felt that the appearance of the scantily clad women was no longer up-to-date.
X like X factor
In Alexandra Palace there are some special features compared to other tournaments. The fans have a greater influence in the hall, which is always sold out with 3200 spectators, than anywhere else. Hardly a World Cup went by without the audience decisively influencing at least one match. Added to this is the temperature. The stage is the biggest on the circuit and also one of the hottest. Especially at the end of the sessions it gets uncomfortable on the boards above. And the Ally Pally wasp regularly annoys the players on stage. Where the insect comes from almost every year has not yet been found out.
Y for Youth Champion
The reigning Junior World Champion of the PDC is one of the favorites on his debut: Josh Rock, 18-year-old shooting star of the scene, is at least considered the world champion of the future. The age limit for the junior title is 23 years. In 2015, Max Hopp, a German, won the title. The "Maximiser" defeated Nathan Aspinall. Martin Schindler reached the final in 2018, but lost there to Dimitri van den Bergh.
Z like spectator
Unlike on stage, after England, Germany is the nation most strongly represented in the audience. More than ten percent of the cards went to Germany. Other countries that also saw increased card demand outside of the UK: the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.