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PDC: Players Championship 3 and 4 Preview

The third and fourth Players Championship events get underway in Wigan this weekend, with the great and good of the darts world fighting it out for victory.

The Format

The Players Championship events, often known as floor events, usually take place over the Saturday and Sunday of a designated weekend and the competitions are open to all PDC tour card holders.

Money earned in these competitions counts towards each players' position on the PDC Order of Merit, which enables contenders to qualify for certain tournaments and to earn enough money to retain their tour cards.

Theoretically, 128 players enter each UK-based tournament but there can occasionally be withdrawals that allow players a bye through the first round.

When Players Championships take place in Europe a field of 256 often assemble, with Tour Card holders receiving a bye through the first round.

The top-32 players on the current Players Championship Order of Merit are seeded for the draw for Players Championships and as such are the first to receive a bye if anyone drops out.

Seedings

Gerwyn Price is currently top of the Pro Tour Order of Merit and so will be top seed going into Players Championships 3 and 4. The list is based on the last 12 months of events and Peter Wright is up to second after his performances last weekend, with Jose de Sousa, Michael Smith and Jonny Clayton rounding out the top five.

Record Pro Tour event winner Michael van Gerwen, who has scooped 79 titles on the Pro Tour, is in eighth place currently, one place behind last week's finalist Ryan Searle and one in front of the winner of the first event of the year, Luke Humphries.

Players Championship 1

The opening Players Championship of the year went the way of Luke Humphries in Barnsley, as he took his first ever senior ranking title with an 8-4 win over Ryan Searle last weekend. Cool Hand was the first to win the new £12,000 title from the increased £100,000 prize fund.

Humphries averaged above 95 in all seven of his wins and missed double 12 for a nine-darter in the deciding leg of his semi-final against Daryl Gurney.

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Players Championship 2

Two of the biggest names in the sport contested the Players Championship 2 final, with reigning World Champion Wright defeating Price 8-5.

The win came just three days after Snakebite won the first night of the new Premier League format and took Wright to 43 PDC titles.

The Scotsman also reached the semi-final of Players Championship 1 so had won 12 of his 13 matches across the weekend.

The win would have been enough for Wright to leapfrog Price to become world number one if the Iceman had not progressed to the final himself.

Earlier in the day, Ian White hit the only nine-dart leg of the weekend in a 6-3 defeat to Mensur Suljovic.

Premier League experience a bonus?

The Premier League, which takes place in a different city each Thursday, pits eight of the top players in the world against each other and that high level of competition could provide them with an advantage when they return to the weekend floor tournaments.

Of the eight quarter-finalists in Players Championship 1, three were Premier League players - Jonny Clayton, Joe Cullen and Peter Wright - and the two finalists of the second event were both Thursday night regulars.

European Tour Qualifiers make for a long weekend

Many of the players in this weekend's events will have already played plenty of darts recently, as the PDC ran qualifiers for the German Darts Championship and German Darts Grand Prix on Friday, with 24 qualifying for each event.

One of the notable performances on the day was that of Danny Baggish, who became the first American ever to qualify for a European Tour event.

Highlights of Saturday's first round

The pick of the games in the first round of Players Championship 3 looks to be world champion Wright taking on Devon Petersen, who is a European Tour winner but has been scratching around for form for a little while. You can catch all the action on our Sports Live Streaming hub.

Dimitri van Den Bergh and Ian White met at the Masters recently, with the Dream Maker coming out 6-1 winner and the world number nine and world number 24 do battle once more here.

Who could dominate in Wigan

Plenty of the names mentioned above have to be respected across the weekend, but Michael van Gerwen may have been underestimated. The Green Machine demolished Peter Wright in the Premier League on Thursday before he was edged out by eventual winner Jonny Clayton and holds the record for the most Pro Tour wins.

MVG gets his Players Championship 3 journey underway against Darius Labanauskas and is a 15/2 shot to win the first day's play.

Jose De Sousa is another player that must be kept in mind, the Special One finished 2021 second on the Pro Tour Order of Merit and loves these floor events.

De Sousa faces Peter Hudson first up on Saturday and is priced up at 33/1 for victory in the first event.

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