The Players Championship returns to Butlins in Minehead for its eighth installment in 2015 with the worlds top 32 darts players according to the Order of Merit in attendance. A £300,000 prize fund with £65,000 going to the winner and a not too shabby £35,000 to the runner-up makes the 2015 Players Championship a lucrative tournament for darts players, so expect plenty of twists and turns along the way in an action packed weekend.
The tournament which commences on Friday 27th November is played in a knockout format culminating in the final on Sunday 29th November. There are no second chances in the Players Championship and there have been a few big names exiting the tournament early over the years, allowing outsiders to make it to the latter stages.
Phil Taylor won the innaugural competition which was sponsored by Coral in 2009 and has gone on to record a further two victories. The Power hadn't lost a Players Championship final until Michael van Gerwen prevented him from winning a fourth title in 2013, though the big two were not involved in last year's deciding game. Van Gerwen was knocked out by Terry Jenkins in the second round and Taylor was beaten by Gary Anderson in the quarter finals, before the Flying Scotsman went on to win his second major PDC title after beating Adrian Lewis 11–6 in the final.
2015 Players Championship Betting
There has been a power shift in darts and gone are the days when you could simply lump on Phil Taylor and count on him to do the business, but this can still be considered good news for punters as anyone wanting to back 'The Power' will be able to do so at more generous odds than in years gone by.
Having appeared in 4 of the competition's 7 finals to date, Taylor has by far the best record in the Players Championship, but failure to make the Premier League play-offs earlier this year will have created doubts among even his most ardent of supporters.
Michael van Gerwen beat Phil Taylor 11–7 in the 2013 final and has leading claims again this season, though his early exit in 2014 will have left favourite backers with a bad taste in their mouths.
Gary Anderson has the second best record in the tournament's history with last year's victory adding to his previous runner-up effort in 2011. The Flying Scotsman shouldn't be underestimated then, but other previous runners-up such as Robert Thornton, Mervyn King and Kim Huybrechts will probably need to up their game to reach the same stage again.
Raymond van Barneveld suffered a shock early exit in 2012 at the hands of Steve Beaton, was knocked out by Phil Taylor at the quarter final stage in 2013 and got no further than the first round last year, when he was beaten by fellow countryman Michael Van Gerwen. Barney certainly has the pedigree to win the 2015 Players Championship, but his record in the tournament leaves a lot to be desired as he's yet to even make it to the final.
James Wade is another player yet to make the last two, but has been enjoying his darts recently and has the calibre to succeed having previously won eight PDC Premier events.
Wes Newton had a relatively easy passage to the semi-finals before running into Adrian Lewis last year as the Jackpot made his first ever appearance in the Players Championship final. Lewis is a big hitter who can be difficult to unnerve when getting into the groove, so any promise in the early rounds could prompt a gamble on the big man.
Dave Chisnall is yet to win a PDC Premier event and was unlucky to draw Lewis in the first round last year. However, Chizzy surprised a few pundits to make the final four in the Premier League and you'd imagine it wont be long before he breaks his duck on the big stage.