A star-studded line-up of 16 players will descend on New York’s Madison Square Garden on Friday for the opening of this season’s third World Series event – the eagerly anticipated US Darts Masters.

Among the stars attending will be current world champion Luke Humphries as well as PDC big-name players Michael van Gerwen, Luke Littler and Gerwyn Price, while 2023 CDC Continental Cup winner Stowe Buntz is expected to be the primary flag-bearer for the USA.

Competition is certain to be stiff in the Big Apple, and with £60,000 in prize money up for grabs, last year’s US Darts Masters winner Michael van Gerwen will be determined to successfully defend his title.

What makes the US Darts Masters such a great event?

Launched in 2017, the US Masters brought a unique flavour to the World Series of Darts circuit, pitting the game’s most gifted players from either side of the Atlantic against each other over two days.

With American stars competing with their counterparts from Europe, the US Darts Masters adds an extra layer of rivalry to the proceedings.

The legendary Madison Square Garden in New York city provides the perfect setting for this glamorous competition, and with close to 6,000 darts fans expected to pack out the venue again this year, another boisterous atmosphere under the lights is anticipated.

The players to watch out for

The line-up of competitors at the 2024 US Darts Masters reads like a who’s who of the game’s A-listers. The full listing of players attending is as follows.

PDC representatives

• Michael van Gerwen
• Luke Littler
• Gerwyn Price
• Luke Humphries
• Michael Smith
• Nathan Aspinall
• Rob Cross
• Peter Wright

Michael van Gerwen heads stateside as the US Darts Masters defending champion, and after the Dutchman thumped Jeff Smith 8-0 in the 2023 final, the 35-year-old can take to the stage at the Hulu Theater with confidence again. Van Gerwen also produced the goods in the competition’s inaugural event back in 2017.

Van Gerwen defeated Englishman John Cross in the semi-finals en route to earning top billing in New York last year, and Cross returns to Madison Square Garden this month to launch another push for glory. Current world champion and last season’s beaten semi-finalist, Luke Humphries, will be determined to stand in his way, however.

Teenage sensation Luke Littler will perform in the US for the first time, and the 17-year-old wonderkid can be expected to ruffle some feathers in New York. Littler has been writing headlines in recent months for his stunning displays, which included a run to the final of the World Championship and a triumph at the Bahrain Darts Masters in January.

2023 world champion Michael Smith fell below his usual lofty standards in last year’s edition of the US Darts Masters when he was eliminated in the Last 16 by Canadian Jim Long, while Scot Peter Wright was dumped out at the same stage 12 months ago by Jeff Smith.

Indeed, Smith and Wright were the only two European players to fail to make the quarter-finals in 2023, and both players will be determined to shape up better on their return at the end of the month.

North American representatives

• Matt Campbell
• Jules van Dongen
• Danny Lauby
• Stowe Buntz
• Alex Spellman
• David Cameron
• Jeff Smith
• Adam Sevada

Last year’s beaten finalist Jeff Smith left Europeans Luke Humphries, Nathan Aspinall and Peter Wright in his wake in 2023 before his whitewashing at the hands of an inspired Michael van Gerwen. However, “The Silencer”, who is the current North American Championship holder, has been tipped by some observers to go one better in 2024.

Virginia-born Stowe Buntz, meanwhile, was a beaten semi-finalist in the PDC North American Tour earlier this month, though his 2023 CDC Continental Cup triumph last October showed his ability to perform under pressure, and the “Neon Nightmare” could be one to watch out for in New York.

Alex “The Jackal” Spellman was toppled 6-2 by England’s Luke Humphries in the Last 16 in 2023, but the 35-year-old emerged victorious from the PDC North American Tour Ranking Champion (CDC) in December last year to claim his eighth career title, and the North Carolina native could be a dark horse in the tournament.

54-year-old veteran David Cameron won the Brownsburg leg of the PDC North American Tour earlier this month ahead of Stowe Buntz and Jeff Smith, beating both opponents 7-5 in thrilling semi-final and final contests. On this form, the seasoned pro – who has 39 tournament wins behind him – could offer a threat.

Our money’s on the PDC superstars

While the home challenge in the 2024 US Darts Masters is likely to be stiff, the European stars of the PDC look better equipped to succeed in New York.

The ante-post markets show an interesting trend, with the best of the North American contingent loitering around the bottom half of the outright prices – and money has been moving in one direction for good reason.

Each of the five iterations of the US Darts Masters since its inception in 2017 has been won by a European and the continent’s representatives for 2024 are an elite stable of performers.

Attending New York in the European party this year are current world champion and world number one Luke Humphries, former US Darts Masters winners Michael Smith and Nathan Aspinall, as well as current title holder Michael van Gerwen, while three more former world champions, Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price and Rob Cross, are also part of the crew.

There is a discernible gulf in class between the PDC and North American representatives in 2024, and this gap in quality was just as evident last year when Europe produced seven of the eight quarter-finalists.

If you are lining up a flutter on the US Darts Masters, a combination of current form and the tournament’s previous trends suggests that you should focus your attention on the European entrants at the 2024 edition of the tournament.

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