The phenomenal rise of Luke Littler onto the PDC darts scene has been one of the most remarkable stories in the sport in recent times. With a runner-up effort on his PDC World Championship debut in 2024, ‘The Nuke’ sparked massive new interest in the action at the oche.

While the likes of Littler, Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith and Luke Humphries are among the new brigade of famous dart players, they all have a long way to go to reach legendary status. They all may be front and centre of darts right now, but who are the best darts players of all time?

Who are the best dart players of all time?

Darts became a household sport in the 1980s when now legends of the game were strutting their stuff and making it look straightforward. Ever since, some fantastic players and intriguing characters have graced some of the biggest stages, including Alexandra Palace and Lakeside Country Club, to compete in tournaments such as the World Championship and World Matchplay.

Below, we look at some of the most famous dart players who have deservedly carved out a place in history.

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor

The title of the greatest darts player ever will likely never be taken away from Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor. Never has there been such a dominance in the sport over a sustained period. For more than 30 years, he remained the player to beat.

Arguably, the pinnacle of his astonishing career was scoring eight consecutive PDC World Championship titles. After winning the BDO World Championship twice, Taylor then lost in his first-ever PDC World Championship Final appearance in 1994. However, he returned the following year to gain the title and kick off his staggering streak. ‘The Power’ remarkably reached the final of the World Championship for 14 consecutive years. Taylor’s record of 16 career World Championship crowns stands alone, and he ended his career with an incredible 85 major titles.

Eric ‘The Crafty Cockney’ Bristow

Eric Bristow was part of the huge wave of dart players who appeared on TV screens in the 1980s. Bristow was a former world number one who also won the World Championship five times. His haul of major titles was 22, and he is fondly remembered as one of the greatest dart players to grace the oche. Bristow’s last appearance in the World Championship came at the turn of the century, after 23 consecutive years of appearing in the draw.

Part of what made Bristow a legend among even the most famous dart players was his personality, as he was never short of self-confidence. Bristow was never afraid to engage in a bit of gamesmanship to put off opponents, even if it meant having the crowds turn against him. He would thrive on the atmosphere, and his consistency to back up his gamesmanship throughout a very competitive era of the sport more than earns Bristow his place on the list.

John ‘Darth Maple’ Part

Canadian John ‘Darth Maple’ Part, whose walk-on tune was ‘The Imperial March’, is the greatest darts-thrower to come out of North America. He landed the BDO World Championship on his debut, a groundbreaking result in 1994.

Cementing his place among the most famous dart players, Part would go on to add two PDC World Championship titles to his name during his career and became just the second-ever player seeded outside the top five to win it. Part holds some other great records, such as being the first non-UK and non-European to win the PDC World Championship, and he became just the fifth player of all time to win at least three World Championship titles.

John ‘Old Stoneface’ Lowe

Going back to that great decade of darts, the 1980s, John Lowe was the counterpoint to Bristow’s big, bold personality. Lowe was stoic, rarely showing emotion as he would launch his darts, and his nickname alludes to that. While he didn’t have a big personality like Bristow, Lowe is easily one of the best dart players in history, winning 15 majors throughout his career, and he was a former world number one.

‘Old Stoneface’ created one of the most famous moments in darts history in 1984, when he recorded the first televised nine-dart finish during the World Championship, a tournament he went on to win. This was the second of three World Championships that Lowe won, each remarkably coming in a different decade.

Raymond ‘Barney’ van Barneveld

Raymond van Barneveld is on the list because he was a multiple World Champion. He is among a very small club of players to have won the World Championship on at least five occasions and was also one of the players who can still be seen on the circuit.

‘Barney’ didn’t rise prominence until the late 1980s, winning the first of four BDO World Championship titles in 1998. His one and only PDC World Championship came in 2007 when he defied the odds to beat Phil Taylor in one of the greatest finals of all time. As one of the best dart players of his generation, Van Barneveld single-handedly raised the profile of darts in his native Netherlands.

Michael ‘Mighty Mike’ van Gerwen

MVG is the greatest of the modern-era dart players. He stepped out from the shadow of Phil Taylor to become the face of the sport. At the age of 17, Van Gerwen stormed his way to the 2006 World Masters, during which he also landed a nine-dart finish.

It wasn’t until 2012 that his stock started to rise, and his presence was firmly felt in the game. He won the World Grand Prix that year, and two years later, he claimed his first World Championship title, adding two more before the turn of the decade. Van Gerwen has produced astonishing periods of dominance, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since Taylor, such as winning the World Grand Prix, Premier League and Players Championship at least six times each in just over a decade.

William ‘The Magpie’ O’Connor

Irishman William O’Connor has competed on the PDC ProTour since 2011, and his career highlight was a run to the final of the PDC World Cup of Darts in 2019. O’Connor and Irish teammate Steve Lennon lost the final to Scotland but scored some big underdog successes against England and the Netherlands.

‘The Magpie’ achieved his greatest individual success at the 2022 UK Open, reaching the semi-finals. He has also been to the quarter-finals of the Players Championship Finals.

Daryl ‘SuperChin’ Gurney

Daryl Gurney is a World Grand Prix and Players Championship title winner. A familiar face around Premier League Darts, ‘SuperChin’ is a popular p/layer on the PDC circuit. The Northern Irishman has twice knocked on the door of reaching the pinnacle of the sport, with quarter-final World Championship exits in 2017 and the Premier League semi-finals in 2019.

Ireland may not have produced a darts champion to date, but Gurney looks like one of the players most likely to break the Emerald Isle’s wait for one.

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