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How to Become a Professional Darts Player

Updated on January 16, 2011
Professional darts players compete in front of crowns like this - believe it or not, this is an arena!
Professional darts players compete in front of crowns like this - believe it or not, this is an arena!

Become a darts player and perform in arenas!

It is a matter of much debate as to whether darts is a sport but what is certain is that there is a decent living to be made as a professional darts player. Many tournaments are now televised so as well as prize money, there is now the possibility of sponsorships and endorsements which has made the first darts millionaire. Becoming a darts professional takes hours of practice over many years. The greatest player in the world, Phil Taylor, still practices eight hours a day despite already winning 15 world championships.

Darts is a predominantly British pastime with the two main professional governing bodies both being based in England. The British game is different than most of the others in the world at the moment. People generally learn to play darts in pubs and clubs. Darts leagues at this level are where most professionals learn their craft. Of course, pubs serve alcohol and darts in Britain has become synonymous with beer. It is a badly kept secret that even on stage and live to audiences of millions in Europe, many of the top players are under the influence. When you consider how to become a professional darts player, remember that to steady their arm, players drink alcohol which calms nerves. You might be at a distinct advantage if you are teetotal.!

After becoming proficient in pub leagues, a player has the option of either playing for a county or joining a circuit of qualifying competitions. Playing for a County is only possible by playing in 'Super Leagues,' recognised by the British Darts Organisation. The circuit of qualifying tournaments is a very expensive route and the player is responsible for all expenses. Ranking points are awarded for tournament performance and final placement. These points are then used for entry to live, televised tournaments. This can take years of practice and dedication so becoming a professional darts player should not be taken lightly. You will most likely lose money for several years and be forced to take another job whilst you climb the ladder.

It is worth noting that people who live outside Europe will find it very difficult to become a professional darts player as the vast majority of qualifying tournaments are based in Britain, Holland and Germany. There are however exceptions to this with several players from the USA making it to the televised World Championships. There are currently two different World Championships after a split in the early 90's created a second governing body. Both organisations, the Professional Darts Corporation and the British Darts Organisation are based in the UK. The prize money for the PDC event , televised on SKY was £1million with £200,000 for the winner.

The first thing to do is practice the professional format of 501up. This means each player starts with 501 points and has to get to zero before the other. A game MUST be finished by hitting a double - this means that if a player has 20 left, they must hit double 10. The next thing to do is join a league, usually a pub or club league in the UK and Europe or one of the city leagues in the USA. The Minuteman league in Boston has produced several professionals over the years. Many players at this stage seek out sponsors in order to pay for travel and accommodation around the world. Remember - tournaments offer ranking points which get you into televised tournaments! Sounds easy doesn't it!

A Darts Millionaire

Phil 'the Power' Taylor has broken more records than any other player who has played the game.  He has won 15 world championships and recently came second in the British Sports Personality of the Year awards.  He has won the World Matchplay eleven times and the World Grand Prix nine times.  No other player in the history of darts has had either the success or the general impact the Taylor has enjoyed.  He recently made history again after hitting two 'nine dart finishes' in the Premier League of Darts.  

Taylor was about to be honoured with an MBE from the queen in 2001 when allegations of assualt hit the newspapers.  Talylor was later found guilty by a court and the queen's honours never materialised.  This apart, Taylor is loved by millions of darts fans and his name goes hand in hand with professional darts.  A full list of his achievements can be seen at Wikipedia.

Taylor hits 2 nine dart finishes

Current champion, Adrian Lewis, hitting a nine dart finish in this year's World Championship final


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    • profile image

      Trvis Williams 2 years ago

      Where is the nearest tournament in Oregon. I want to compete.

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      Sheka, that is excellent ,you should try to get involved ,

      best from jandee

    • profile image

      DAVE 4 years ago

      No chance Sheka. You don't have the mentality for it. Sorry

    • profile image

      sheka 4 years ago doing 3_5 hours practise evry day and I had too many 180 and 140 I cant even count them and I started last year you think I can be a pro or no...and im good for the doubles

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      Just read again and it has reminded me to get some new darts before we go away for the summer months,hardly cheap where we go so a must...

      best from jandee

    • profile image

      Mike 4 years ago

      I don't fully understand that as well. No need for mens/womens darts.

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 6 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      I used to play a lot years ago. Now when I watch the Women players I am sorry I didn't go for it ,I think the women players are bad,even the young Russian and I cannot think of any reason why this should be. Sorry if this sounds bad but I would be so pleased to see some Women players to rival the men,

      best from jandee,

      (my favourite t.v is darts)

    • rupin_212 profile image

      rupin_212 6 years ago from roorkee, india

      nice content rich hub thanks..

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Rated up and Awesome. Been a while since I played darts, but I like it.

    • Malcolm_Cox profile image

      Malcolm_Cox 7 years ago from Newcastle, England

      It's amazingly hard! Like snooker!

    • rich_hayles profile image

      rich_hayles 7 years ago

      I used to think darts was easy till I got to Uni and tried my hand at it. Really appreciate the effort and time any professional sportsman puts in to practising and performing.