A nine-dart finish is a perfect leg in the sport of darts, using only nine darts, the fewest possible, to check out from 501. It is notoriously difficult to achieve, even for the game's top professionals. It is considered to be the highest single-game achievement in the sport, similar to a maximum 147 break in snooker or a 300-point game in bowling.
- 1 Methods of achievement
- 2 First televised nine-darter
- 3 World Championship nine-darters
- 4 Most prolific nine-darters
- 5 List of nine-darters thrown in televised matches
- 6 Statistics
- 7 Nine-dart-finish prize money
- 8 Women's nine-darters
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
Methods of achievement
A single game of darts (known as a leg) requires a player to score exactly 501 points, ending with either the bullseye or a double. Each shot consists of exactly three darts, and 60 is the maximum that can be scored with any one dart. Thus 180 is the maximum score from a shot, and nine throws are the minimum necessary to win.
Although many other combinations are possible, the traditional nine-dart finish requires a score of 60 (treble 20) with each of the first six throws: that is, with the first two shots of three. That leaves 141 to score on the final shot (of three darts), known as the outshot.
This outshot is traditionally performed in one of three ways:
- treble 20 (60), treble 19 (57) and double 12 (24)
- treble 20 (60), treble 15 (45) and double 18 (36)
- treble 17 (51), treble 18 (54) and double 18 (36)
Another way is to score 167 with each set of three darts, scoring a perfect 501 total, in the following way:
- treble 20 (60), treble 19 (57) and bullseye (50)
By throwing each dart of a shot to a different place on the board, this eliminates the chance of any dart being deflected by an already thrown dart into the wrong scoring area but it is usually seen only in exhibition matches, as in tournaments, players are inclined to aim for the treble 20, only switching to the treble 19 for a cover shot.
Arguably the most difficult nine dart finish would be 180 (3×T20), 171 (3×T19), and 150 (3×bullseye) – owing to the difficulty of getting all three darts in the bullseye: it is the smallest double on the board.
A nine dart finish is also attainable in games which require a double to start scoring (a double-in; such games are thus termed double-in double-out with the existing double-out requirement). In such games, throwing for double 20 first can lead to a maximum score of 160 with the first shot, leaving the thrower commonly requiring 180 then 161 (T20, T17, bullseye) with their remaining six darts, though other outshots are possible. It is worth noting that in these games, only throwing for double 20, double 17, or bullseye to start the leg can result in a nine dart finish.
The total number of different ways of achieving 501 with nine darts is 3,944, of which 2,296 finish with the bullseye, 672 end on D20, 792 on D18, 56 end on D17, 120 end on D15, and 8 end on D12.
First televised nine-darter
The first televised nine dart finish was achieved at the MFI World Matchplay on 13 October 1984 by John Lowe, who used the third method (with the T17 first, then T18, D18) above as his outshot after scoring two maximum 180s. For this he received a prize of £102,000, and he went on to win the whole event. This nine dart finish was not broadcast live, nor was Paul Lim's nine dart finish at the 1990 Embassy World Championship. The first ever live broadcast nine dart finish was performed by Shaun Greatbatch against Steve Coote in the Final of the Dutch Open on 3 February 2002, while Phil Taylor achieved the first live nine-darter broadcast on British television during the 2002 World Matchplay.
World Championship nine-darters
The first player to manage the outshot in the World Championship was Paul Lim on 9 January 1990 against Jack McKenna. He favoured the first method of those listed above for his outshot. Lim won a £52,000 bonus for the feat, which was more than the eventual tournament winner Phil Taylor who received £24,000 for becoming World Champion.
Even with two versions of the World Championship in operation, Lim's achievement was not repeated for nearly 19 years until 2 January 2009, when Raymond van Barneveld became only the second person to achieve the feat and the first since the split in darts. The finish came against Jelle Klaasen at the quarter-final stage of the 2009 PDC World Darts Championship at the Alexandra Palace, and he claimed a £20,000 bonus prize (having rolled over from three previous tournaments since Phil Taylor's nine-darter at the 2008 UK Open). On 28 December 2009 he repeated the feat at the 2010 PDC World Darts Championship during his second round clash with Brendan Dolan netting him a £25,000 prize.
On 23 December 2012 at the 2013 PDC World Darts Championship, Dean Winstanley hit a nine-dart finish in the third leg of the third set in his second round defeat to Vincent van der Voort. Another nine-dart finish at this Championship was achieved by Michael van Gerwen in his semi-final victory over James Wade in the third leg of the fifth set. The leg after the nine-darter (the fourth leg of the fifth set) van Gerwen hit another eight perfect darts but missed the last dart at the double to achieve consecutive nine-dart finishes. Both shared the £15,000 prize.
On 14 December 2013 at the 2014 PDC World Darts Championship, Terry Jenkins and Kyle Anderson both hit nine darters in their first round matches against Per Laursen and Ian White respectively. Unusually, both players lost their matches.
On 30 December 2014 in the third round of the 2015 PDC World Darts Championship, Adrian Lewis hit his second World Championship nine-dart finish and his third overall. He lost the match 3–4 to Barneveld.
On 2 January 2016 in the semi finals of the 2016 PDC World Darts Championship, Gary Anderson hit a nine-dart finish to defeat Klaasen 6–0 to reach his 3rd World Championship final. He would then go on to defeat Lewis 7–5 in the final to retain his title and become only the 4th person to successfully retain his title after winning it for the first time.
Most prolific nine-darters
Phil Taylor has achieved this feat more than any other darts player on television, having done so 11 times. The first came on 1 August 2002 during a quarter final tie against Chris Mason, at the 2002 PDC World Matchplay in Blackpool. It was the first live-televised nine-dart finish on British television, and Taylor received £100,000.
Despite having achieved the feat a record 11 times, Taylor has never hit a nine-darter in the World Championship, missing a chance on the outside wire of double 12 in his last match in the 2018 Final.
The youngest player to throw a televised nine-darter is Michael van Gerwen, who hit the perfect leg in the semi-finals of the 2007 Masters of Darts tournament in the Netherlands. The event was screened live in the Netherlands. Van Gerwen was just 17 years, 298 days old at the time. The Dutch youngster scored 174 (T20, T19, T19) and 180, then checked out 147 with T20, T17, D18. Van Gerwen's nine-darter was the first live televised nine-darter that did not start with two 180s. Van Gerwen has since hit four more televised nine-darters.
The 2007 International Darts League became the first televised tournament to witness two nine-darters when Phil Taylor's 9-dart finish against Raymond van Barneveld was matched the following day (9 May) by another perfect game from Tony O'Shea against Adrian Lewis.
In the Second Round of the 2008 Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton, James Wade hit his first televised nine-dart-finish against Gary Anderson. The event was shown live on ITV4, making it the first time a nine-darter had been seen live on free-to-air television in the United Kingdom. Wade lost the match 10-8.
Mervyn King hit his first televised nine-dart finish in the 2009 South African Masters on September 2009 against James Wade — he became the first player to hit a televised nine-darter outside of Europe.
On 24 May 2010, in the Premier League final against James Wade, Taylor made history by being the first player to ever hit two 9-dart finishes in a single match. These were his seventh and eighth nine-dart finishes. On 10 February 2017, Michael van Gerwen became the second player to hit two 9-dart finishes in a match, in a 2017 UK Open qualification event against Ryan Murray.
Brendan Dolan became the first player ever to hit a nine-darter in a double-in double-out game. He did this in the semi-final of the 2011 World Grand Prix against James Wade on 8 October 2011. He opened with double 20, before hitting successive treble 20s (160, 180) and then finished on 161 with T20, T17 and a bullseye. He later changed his nickname to "The History Maker" to reflect his feat.
In October 2014 at the 2014 World Grand Prix, James Wade followed soon after by Robert Thornton became the first players to both hit a nine-darter in the same match. This tournament was double-in double-out, meaning the 2nd and 3rd televised double-in double-out nine-dart-finishes were hit in the same match. This also makes James Wade the only man ever to have hit a 'standard' nine-darter and a double-in double-out nine-darter.
List of nine-darters thrown in televised matches
As of 23 November 2019, 53 televised nine-darters have been achieved by 25 different men, 33 of those 54 hit two 180s and finished with a 141 check-out. Only 3 have been double-in double-out. English players have achieved a total of 30 nine-darters, 11 have been achieved by Dutch players, four by Scottish players, three by Australian players, two by Belgian players and one nine-darter has been achieved by players from Singapore, Canada, and Northern Ireland.
|1||13 October 1984||John Lowe||Keith Deller||MFI World Matchplay||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T17, T18, D18||£102,000||Freddie Williams||Dave Lanning|
|2||9 January 1990||Paul Lim||Jack McKenna||BDO World Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£52,000||Martin Fitzmaurice||Tony Green|
|3||3 February 2002||Shaun Greatbatch||Steve Coote||Dutch Open||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T15, D18||Steve Nicolas||Albert Mantingh|
|4||1 August 2002||Phil Taylor||Chris Mason||World Matchplay||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£100,000||Russ Bray||Sid Waddell
|5||5 June 2004||Phil Taylor (2)||Matt Chapman||UK Open||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||501 bottles of
|Bruce Spendley||Stuart Pyke
|6||12 June 2005||Phil Taylor (3)||Roland Scholten||UK Open||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||501 bottles of
|Bruce Spendley||Dave Lanning
|7||23 March 2006||Raymond van Barneveld||Peter Manley||Premier League Darts||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Bruce Spendley||Sid Waddell
|8||17 February 2007||Michael van Gerwen||Raymond van Barneveld||Masters of Darts||T20, 2 x T19; 3 x T20; T20, T17, D18||€10,000||Russ Bray||Leo Oldenburger
|9||8 May 2007||Phil Taylor (4)||Raymond van Barneveld||International Darts League||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Opel Tigra Twin Top||Bruce Spendley||Leo Oldenburger
|10||9 May 2007||Tony O'Shea||Adrian Lewis||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Opel Tigra Twin Top||Bruce Spendley||Leo Oldenburger
|11||9 June 2007||Phil Taylor (5)||Wes Newton||UK Open||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£20,000||Russ Bray||John Gwynne
|12||17 November 2007||John Walton||Martin Phillips||World Masters||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£2,000||Nick Rolls||Tony Green
|13||6 June 2008||Phil Taylor (6)||Jamie Harvey||UK Open||3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12||£25,000||Russ Bray||Stuart Pyke
|14||20 November 2008||James Wade||Gary Anderson||Grand Slam of Darts||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Bruce Spendley||Stuart Pyke
|15||2 January 2009||Raymond van Barneveld (2)||Jelle Klaasen||PDC World Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£20,000||George Noble||Nigel Pearson
|16||27 September 2009||Mervyn King||James Wade||South African Masters||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£10,000||Russ Bray||John Gwynne
|17||13 December 2009||Darryl Fitton||Ross Montgomery||Zuiderduin Masters||2 x T20, T19; 3 x T20; 2 x T20, D12||Rab Butler||Jacques Nieuwlaat|
|18||28 December 2009||Raymond van Barneveld (3)||Brendan Dolan||PDC World Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£25,000||George Noble||Stuart Pyke
|19||29 April 2010||Raymond van Barneveld (4)||Terry Jenkins||Premier League Darts||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Bruce Spendley||John Gwynne
|20||24 May 2010||Phil Taylor (7)||James Wade||T20, 2 x T19; 3 x T20; T20, T17, D18||George Noble||Sid Waddell
|21||24 May 2010||Phil Taylor (8)||James Wade||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||George Noble||Sid Waddell
|22||5 June 2010||Mervyn King (2)||Gary Anderson||UK Open||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£5,000||George Noble||John Gwynne
|23||17 July 2010||Raymond van Barneveld (5)||Denis Ovens||World Matchplay||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£5,000||Paul Hinks||Sid Waddell
|24||3 January 2011||Adrian Lewis||Gary Anderson||PDC World Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£10,000||George Noble||Different
(2D or 3D format)[nb 2]
|25||16 July 2011||John Part||Mark Webster||World Matchplay||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£10,000||Paul Hinks||Sid Waddell
|26||31 July 2011||Adrian Lewis (2)||Raymond van Barneveld||European Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Paul Hinks||Stuart Pyke
|27||8 October 2011||Brendan Dolan||James Wade||World Grand Prix||double-in double-out
D20, 2 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T17, bullseye
|£5,000||George Noble||John Gwynne
|28||16 February 2012||Phil Taylor (9)||Kevin Painter||Premier League Darts||3 x T20; T20, 2 x T19; T20, T17, D18||Bruce Spendley||Rod Studd
|29||17 May 2012||Simon Whitlock||Andy Hamilton||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T15, D18||George Noble||John Gwynne
|30||8 June 2012||Gary Anderson||Davey Dodds||UK Open||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£10,000||Russ Bray||John Gwynne
|31||25 July 2012||Michael van Gerwen (2)||Steve Beaton||World Matchplay||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£2,500||George Noble||John Gwynne
|32||26 July 2012||Wes Newton||Justin Pipe||3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12||£2,500||Russ Bray||John Gwynne
|33||23 December 2012||Dean Winstanley||Vincent van der Voort||PDC World Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£7,500||Bruce Spendley||John Gwynne
|34||30 December 2012||Michael van Gerwen (3)||James Wade||3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12||£7,500||Russ Bray||John Gwynne
|35||14 December 2013||Terry Jenkins||Per Laursen||PDC World Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£15,000||Russ Bray||Wayne Mardle
|36||14 December 2013||Kyle Anderson||Ian White||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£15,000||Paul Hinks||Stuart Pyke
|37||23 July 2014||Phil Taylor (10)||Michael Smith||World Matchplay||3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12||£10,000||Kirk Bevins||Wayne Mardle
|38||8 October 2014||James Wade (2)||Robert Thornton||World Grand Prix||double-in double-out
D20, 2 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T17, bullseye
|£2,500||Paul Hinks||Rod Studd
|39||8 October 2014||Robert Thornton||James Wade||double-in double-out
D20, 2 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T17, bullseye
|£2,500||Paul Hinks||Rod Studd
|40||26 October 2014||Michael van Gerwen (4)||Raymond van Barneveld||European Championship||2 x T20, T19; 3 x T20; 2 x T20, D12||£5,000||Russ Bray||Stuart Pyke
|41||14 November 2014||Kim Huybrechts||Michael van Gerwen||Grand Slam of Darts||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Kirk Bevins||Wayne Mardle
|42||30 December 2014||Adrian Lewis (3)||Raymond van Barneveld||PDC World Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£10,000||George Noble||David Croft
|43||1 February 2015||Darryl Fitton (2)||Martin Adams||Dutch Open||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Škoda Fabia||Nick Rolls||Niels de Ruijter|
|44||22 August 2015||Phil Taylor (11)||Peter Wright||Sydney Darts Masters||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Russ Bray||Stuart Pyke
|45||8 November 2015||Dave Chisnall||Peter Wright||Grand Slam of Darts||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£30,000||George Noble||Rod Harrington
|46||2 January 2016||Gary Anderson (2)||Jelle Klaasen||PDC World Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£15,000||Paul Hinks||Rod Studd
|47||5 March 2016||Michael van Gerwen (5)||Rob Cross||UK Open||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£10,000||Russ Bray||Stuart Pyke
|48||14 April 2016||Adrian Lewis (4)||James Wade||Premier League Darts||3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12||Paul Hinks||Rod Harrington
|49||13 April 2017||Adrian Lewis (5)||Raymond van Barneveld||Premier League Darts||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||Paul Hinks||Stuart Pyke
|50||29 October 2017||Kyle Anderson (2)||Michael van Gerwen||European Championship||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£25,000||Paul Hinks||John Rawling
|51||26 July 2018||Gary Anderson (3)||Joe Cullen||World Matchplay||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£45,000||Russ Bray||John Part
|52||14 November 2018||Dimitri Van den Bergh||Stephen Bunting||Grand Slam of Darts||3 x T20; 3 x T20; T20, T19, D12||£25,000||Russ Bray||Nigel Pearson
|53||23 November 2019||Michael van Gerwen (6)||Adrian Lewis||Players Championship Finals||3 x T20; 2 x T20, T19; 2 x T20, D12||Paul Hinks||John Rawling
Nine-darters in televised matches by player
The following table lists the number of perfect legs recorded by players who have scored a nine-darter in a televised match.
|2||Michael van Gerwen||6||2019|
|3||Raymond van Barneveld||5||2010|
|Dimitri Van den Bergh||2018|
Nine-darters in televised matches by year
|Year||Total 9 darters||Achieved by|
|2002||2||Shaun Greatbatch, Phil Taylor|
|2006||1||Raymond van Barneveld|
|2007||5||Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor (2), Tony O'Shea, John Walton|
|2008||2||Phil Taylor, James Wade|
|2009||4||Raymond van Barneveld (2), Mervyn King, Darryl Fitton|
|2010||5||Raymond van Barneveld (2), Phil Taylor (2), Mervyn King|
|2011||4||Adrian Lewis (2), John Part, Brendan Dolan|
|2012||7||Phil Taylor, Simon Whitlock, Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen (2), Wes Newton, Dean Winstanley|
|2013||2||Terry Jenkins, Kyle Anderson|
|2014||6||Phil Taylor, James Wade, Robert Thornton, Michael van Gerwen, Kim Huybrechts, Adrian Lewis|
|2015||3||Darryl Fitton, Phil Taylor, Dave Chisnall|
|2016||3||Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis|
|2017||2||Adrian Lewis, Kyle Anderson|
|2018||2||Gary Anderson, Dimitri Van den Bergh|
|2019||1||Michael van Gerwen|
Nine-darter in televised matches by tournament
Nine-dart-finish prize money
In 1984, John Lowe pocketed £102,000 for the first TV perfect leg. With nine-dart finishes now thrown on a regular basis the reward for throwing one has decreased. Until 2013 the PDC had a rolling £400 prize-pool for a nine-dart leg. As long as it wasn't won, it increased by £400 for the next event. In 2013 the bonus stopped being awarded. For all PDC Premier events, including the Grand Slam of Darts, the PDC has a rolling £5000 prize-pool for a nine-dart leg. As long as it isn't won, the prize for hitting a nine-dart leg is increased by £5000. If multiple players hit a nine-dart finish in one premier event, the money is split evenly across all players who achieved a nine-dart finish in that event. So the prize for a nine-darter varies for every PDC premier event. In the 2015 tournament, achieving the perfect leg in the PDC World Championships would win £10,000, (in the 2014 tournament the prize was £30,000). The reward for a 9-darter during the most recent BDO World Darts Championship was £52,000.
No female darts player has recorded a televised nine-dart finish to date.
Mandy Solomons was the first woman to ever record a nine-dart finish in actual competition. It came in a match against Robert Hughes during the qualifying rounds for the 1996 BDO World Championship on 30 November 1995 at Earls Court, London. It was the first time female players were allowed to enter the qualifying rounds for the BDO World Championship. Hughes did end up winning the match 2–0 though. Soloman was also one of the first women to record a nine-dart finish in SuperLeague.
Claire Stainsby and Glen Durrant made history when they recorded the first ever nine-dart finish in mixed pairs competition at the 2013 BDO International Open in Brean, Somerset. Durrant opened up with a 177, Stainsby followed that up with a 180 to leave Durrant on 144, which he ended up taking out for the first nine-dart finish in mixed pairs competition. As a result, Claire Stansby was inducted into the BDO 9 Dart Club, thus becoming the first and so far only female to be inducted.
Ten-time World Champion Trina Gulliver revealed she has twice missed her last dart to record a nine-dart finish. One was a double 18 for $100,000 at an event in Canada and another missed double was for a car at an event in Ireland.
- Change-making problem – making particular numbers with given denominations
- Maximum break in snooker
- Perfect game in bowling
- Perfect game in baseball
- Golden set in tennis
- On 17 February 2007, the semi-finals of the 2007 Masters of Darts tournament were broadcast live in the Netherlands on SBS6, with Leo Oldenburger and Jacques Nieuwlaat providing the Dutch language commentary during Michael van Gerwen's nine-dart finish against Raymond van Barneveld. On 16 July 2007, Sky Sports in the United Kingdom showed extended highlights of the 2007 Masters of Darts tournament from 5 months earlier, with Stuart Pyke and Rod Harrington providing the English language commentary for Michael van Gerwen's nine-dart finish against Raymond van Barneveld.
- With the host broadcaster Sky Sports showing the final in both 2D and 3D, they implemented two different commentating teams. In 2D, Rod Studd and Sid Waddell commentated, while in 3D it was Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke.
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In addition, a rolling £5,000 nine-dart bonus will be on offer at all PDC Premier Events listed below, plus the Grand Slam of Darts.
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