Players Championship Finals Darts 2023 – Day 1 Tips and Betting Preview

The opening day of the Players Championship Finals will see the entire first round of the tournament taking place across two boards over two sessions of play at Butlins in Minehead as everyone in the field get their campaign underway.

We are over the best of 11 legs throughout the day so we can expect some shocks and surprises throughout the Friday action as the likes of Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith, Gerwyn Price and Gary Anderson are among those out to entertain us.

Afternoon Session

Main Stage

We have seven matches on the main stage in the afternoon with the former European champion Ross Smith being the man who will get us underway. He meets the confident Scott Williams in a good way to get the action started. Ryan Searle is the next big name onto the stage. He faces the Croatian player Boris Krcmar before the number three seed Damon Heta looks to make progress at the expense of Jules van Dongen. Gian van Veen is the latest big thing in the game and he meets the fellow Dutch player Chris Landman before Rob Cross gets his campaign underway against Cameron Menzies. Josh Rock will be looking to build on his run to the quarter final of the Grand Slam last week. Rowby-John Rodriguez will be his opening opponent. James Wade closes off the action on the main board in the afternoon when he takes on William O’Connor.

Stage Two

We have a potentially competitive match to start things up on Stage Two when Radek Szaganski takes on Ian White before Luke Woodhouse will look to make it into the second round at the expense of Simon Whitlock. Ryan Joyce could do with a decent run for some confidence this weekend. He faces Daniel Klose in the third match of the afternoon before two Belgians face off when Mike De Decker takes on Mario Vandenbogaerde. Two more continental Europeans meet after that when Ricardo Pietreczko meets Christian Kist before Stephen Bunting goes up against Mickey Mansell. The last three matches of the afternoon have Gabriel Clemens facing Connor Scutt, Dimitri Van den Bergh taking on Jim Williams and Jonny Clayton going up against Stephen Burton.

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Evening Session

Main Stage

We were meant to have the former UK Open winner Danny Noppert opening up the show on the main stage in the evening session but he has pulled out which leaves us with his replacement, Dylan Slevin, taking on Matt Campbell before the pick of the matches in the first round sees Chris Dobey facing Raymond van Barneveld. The world champion Michael Smith is third onto the stage on Friday evening. He faces Richard Veenstra before two legends of the game meet as Gary Anderson takes on Steve Beaton. The last three matches on the main board have Gerwyn Price playing Ricky Evans, Callan Rydz taking on Michael van Gerwen and Luke Humphries rounds off the show against Martin Lukeman.

Stage Two

The former Grand Slam of Darts winner Jose de Sousa will open up the show on stage two when he takes on Kevin Doets before Krzysztof Ratajski faces off against Maik Kuivenhoven. Brendan Dolan will be third onto this stage to face off against Ritchie Edhouse before the UK Open champion Andrew Gilding begins his tournament against Steve Lennon. Daryl Gurney opens up his campaign against Niels Zonneveld while Kim Huybrechts meets Martin Schindler in a competitive match. The last three games of the evening have Dirk van Duijvenbode taking on Jermaine Wattimena, Joe Cullen facing Jamie Hughes and Dave Chisnall meeting Lee Evans.


I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of the two sessions with the first of them being on a Jim Williams to beat Dimitri Van den Bergh. The Belgian has completely lost his way in recent times and comes into this match off the back of a run which has seen him win just one of his last six matches in all competitions, losing his last four. He has lost to Radek Szaganski, Steve Beaton and Boris Krcmar in that time and you would expect him to win all of those. Williams made the final of the last Players Championship event and the semi-final of another last month. Damon Heta, Danny Noppert, Josh Rcok, Kim Huybrechts and Mervyn King were among his victims in those events and I think the Welshman is value to take out a low in confidence Van den Bergh here.

The other bet I’ll take is more of a shot in the dark in the evening session as Richard Veenstra looks a little too big to take out an out of sorts Michael Smith. Smith bombed out of the Grand Slam of Darts in the group stage last week and although he posted on social media that he hit a nine dart leg in a practice session with Nathan Aspinall since then, we are seeing some weaker performances from him with these new darts. He lost to James Wade with a 92 average and didn’t even reach an 89 average in beating Ratajski in the match before. If he is off it here over a short sprint then Veenstra, who has tons of stage experience, and who took care of Jonny Clayton in the latest Players Championship event, is value to send the world champion packing.


Back J.Williams to beat D.Van den Bergh for a 3/10 stake at 2.10 with Spreadex

Back R.Veenstra to beat M.Smith for a 2/10 stake at 3.30 with Coral