One of the most enjoyable darts tournaments of the year is on the calendar starting this weekend. The Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton is hosting the Grand Slam of Darts from November 11 to 19.
The Grand Slam of Darts is the only ranking tournament of the year that uses a round robin format. The 32 participants are divided into eight groups of four players. After the group stage, the top two players from each group advance to the knockout stage.
Playing schedule for Grand Slam of Darts 2023 announced: Michael van Gerwen vs Fallon Sherrock highlights opening night
We are entering the seventeenth edition of the Grand Slam of Darts. The previous sixteen years produced seven different winners. Phil Taylor won the event in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014. In 2010, Scott Waites caused a huge sensation by winning the Grand Slam of Darts as a BDO player. In that final, Waites trailed 0-8 against James Wade, but 'Scotty 2 Hotty' still won 16-12.
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Raymond van Barneveld became the first Dutch winner of the Grand Slam of Darts in 2012. Later, Michael van Gerwen won the tournament in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Gerwyn Price got to lift the cup in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Jose de Sousa stumped for the title in 2020, while Michael Smith took the overall victory in 2022 and is now the defending champion.
Five players have managed to throw a nine-darter at the Grand Slam of Darts. James Wade was the first to succeed in 2008. Then it was waiting until 2014, until Kim Huybrechts threw a nine-darter in the match of his life against Michael van Gerwen.
Dave Chisnall threw one in 2015, which incidentally was the only nine-darter to fall during the group stage of this tournament. Dimitri van den Bergh decided a leg in nine darts in 2018, while Josh Rock did so during the 2022 edition.
How can I watch the Grand Slam of Darts on TV?
The event will be broadcast in its entirety in the UK by Sky Sports. The broadcasts surrounding the afternoon sessions will begin at 12:55 p.m. and the broadcasts surrounding the evening session at 6:55 p.m.
How much prize money can be earned?
The 32 participants at the 2023 Grand Slam of Darts may split a prize pool of 650,000 pounds. Each participant at the Grand Slam of Darts is guaranteed £5,000, the amount received by the number four in each group.
For the players who make it through the pool stage, there is already £12,500 in prize money waiting. This eventually rises to £150,000 for the winner of the tournament.
Players who win their group will receive a bonus of 3,500 pounds. The Grand Slam has been a ranking tournament since 2015, so the prize money won counts toward the PDC Order of Merit.
Tournament centre Grand Slam of Darts 2023: Schedule, all results, TV Guide and prize money breakdown
Preview by group
(1) Michael Smith
As world number one, defending champion Michael Smith naturally enters Group A. The weak player on paper is of course, is the inexperienced Nathan Girvan, who owes his invitation to reach the final of the PDC Youth World Championship in 2022.
From him, Smith seems to face little opposition. However, that does not apply to the other two players in this group. With James Wade and Krzysztof Ratajski, Smith has two exceptionally tough opponents. Wade recently showed good form with a final at the European Championship, while Ratajski won a Euro Tour tournament in September. Given that Michael Smith has only sporadically shown his top form since his change of darts manufacturer, Smith could easily become the shock departure early on.
(8) Jonny Clayton
Berry van Peer
After six years, Berry van Peer returns to the Grand Slam of Darts. That is the tournament where much of the darts world became acquainted with him in 2017. Van Peer was struggling with a severe form of dartitis at the time, and it was easy to see during his matches. Despite all the drama that took place on stage, Van Peer managed to qualify for the knockout stage.
Repeating that performance will be a difficult task for the Dutchman. Jonny Clayton certainly wasn't the toughest group leader Van Peer could get, but he did get two tough competitors with Chris Dobey and Josh Rock. A good result against Clayton in his first group match seems a must for Van Peer to have a real chance of a spot in the last sixteen.
(4) Luke Humphries
Dirk van Duijvenbode
The big question is how good Dirk van Duijvenbode appears at the start of this tournament. He is struggling with a major shoulder injury and made a weak impression at the European Darts Championship, where he lost to James Wade with an average of just 75.
If the situation has not improved much, Luke Humphries and Gary Anderson seem to decide between them who will qualify as group winner for the next round. Even a fit Van Duijvenbode will have his hands full with these two players, who have shown several times in recent weeks and months to be in excellent form. Steve Lennon is the fourth player in this group, but more than a supporting role seems out of the question for the Irishman.
(5) Gerwyn Price
Gian van Veen
Three-time Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price is the biggest name in Group D. He got Ryan Searle, up-and-coming talent Gian van Veen and Nathan Rafferty in his pool.
It will be Price's eighth consecutive participation in the Grand Slam of Darts. Only in 2017 did Price lose in the group stage. 'The Iceman' starts his group against Rafferty, but will then have to battle Searle and Van Veen in particular.
Beforehand, Searle and Van Veen seem to be fighting for second place. So their confrontation in the first group match seems to be of vital importance for the rest of the tournament.
(2) Peter Wright
Group E looks to be a pool with three contenders for the top two spots. What can Peter Wright do after his European Championship title? After a very mediocre season 'Snakebite' surprisingly won the tournament in Dortmund.
This tournament will be Wright's last appearance prior to the World Championship. After all, the Scot failed to qualify for the Players Championship Finals. Don't be surprised if Wright only makes three appearances at the Grand Slam of Darts, as Dave Chisnall and Stephen Bunting could just walk away with the spoils. It remains to be seen what Stowe Buntz, whose colorful attire is reminiscent of Peter Wright, can do against the world's best. The American qualified for the Grand Slam of Darts by winning the CDC Continental Cup.
(7) Danny Noppert
In fairness, this pool may be the least appealing group in terms of names. Fact is that Danny Noppert showed his class by qualifying for this tournament.
Noppert lost his invitation-only spot just days before the field was completed because James Wade reached the final of the European Championship. As a result, 'The Freeze' had to enter the qualifying tournament, which he managed to pass with flying colors.
This group should normally not be a problem for Noppert, who will face Andrew Gilding, Brendan Dolan and Haruki Muramatsu. The battle for spot two is normally between Gilding and Dolan.
(3) Michael van Gerwen
Michael van Gerwen will face Fallon Sherrock in Group G for the second time in his career at a television tournament. The first time was in the final of the Nordic Darts Masters in 2021. Back then, Sherrock surprisingly led 3-6, but the win went to 'Mighty Mike' 11-7.
Perhaps Sherrock can make things difficult for Van Gerwen again in this short format, which is over only best of 9 legs. Martijn Kleermaker and Rob Cross are the other two players in this group. Kleermaker has won against Cross before at a major and will meet 'Voltage' in his first group match. The winner of that match will normally be second behind Van Gerwen in this group.
(6) Nathan Aspinall
Beau Greaves was by far the best woman at the PDC Women's Series this season, but what can she do against the men? With her top level, she can certainly give Nathan Aspinall, Damon Heta and Ricardo Pietreczko a hard time, but how will she respond to a noisy venue? She was introduced to a similar ambiance last year at Alexandra Palace and this year at the Women's World Matchplay in Blackpool. The level she showed then will not be enough to reach the last sixteen.
Ricardo Pietreczko has emerged as one of this season's revelations. The German surprisingly won a Euro Tour tournament and regularly impresses with high averages, such as during the recent European Darts Championship.
Furthermore, with Nathan Aspinall and Damon Heta, there are two players in this pool who make a changeable impression on television. Aspinall won the World Matchplay, but flew out early at the World Grand Prix and European Championship. Heta often plays excellently on the Euro Tours, including four semifinals on the Euro Tour in 2023, but for now fails to bring his game from these stages to the majors. In terms of form, Aspinall and Pietreczko are the favorites to get through this group.