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The Best BDO Darts Players of All Time (Lakeside Legends)

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The British Darts Organisation (BDO) has been home to some of the most talented and legendary darts players of all time.

The original organisation for professional darts, the BDO laid the foundation for the sport we know and love today. 

Through decades of competitions and the iconic Lakeside World Championships, we’ve been treated to some great darts and even better players. 

Today, we want to look at some of the legends to have come through the BDO ranks.  

We’ve therefore made a list of the best BDO darts players of all time, read on and see if you agree with our rankings…

ALSO READ – The best players to never win a World Championship (BDO & PDC)

Best BDO Darts Players of All Time

10. Richie Burnett

Achievements:

  • World Champion (1995)
  • World Masters Champion (1994)

Richie Burnett emerged as one of the brightest stars in darts during the 1990s. 

In four years, Burnett made it to three World Championship finals and even though he could only win one of them (1995), his efforts placed him top 10 in terms of finals appearances in the BDO. 

He also made it to four other Majors finals during that period winning the Winmau World Master and British Matchplay. 

Admittedly, Burnetts career was short in the BDO so it was 50/50 whether or not to have him on the list but for the accolades in such a short period of time, we decided he deserves the spot!

9. Ted Hankey

Achievements:

  • 2-time World Champion (2000, 2009)
  • Finders Masters Runner-up (2004)

Ted Hankey is one of the most flamboyant and recognizable characters in darts. 

The ‘Count’ was known for his theatrical entrance and distinctive playing style.

He could captivate audiences but this was typically for both the good and the bad…

He is one of the most well known and arguably the original pantomime villain in darts. There are multiple clips of him arguing with players and fans alike but our favourite moment was of course this:

Hankey clinched the BDO World Championship twice, first in 2000 and again in 2009, cementing his place in company of the few players to win multiple World Championships. 

No doubt, Hankey was a great player but his BDO legacy is one of ability AND personality. 

8. Bob Anderson

Achievements:

  • World Champion (1988)
  • 3-time World Masters Champion

Bob Anderson enjoyed a distinguished career marked by consistency and excellence. 

In an almost 30 year career, his pinnacle moment came in 1988 when he captured the BDO World Championship. 

Much like Burnett, Anderson had a purple patch which came in the late 80’s (a time with prime Bristow and Lowe).

Alongside his World Championship win, he won three World Masters titles in a row, the first person to do that and only matched by Martin Adams in the following years. 

Anderson had some success in the PDC following the breakaway of leagues but overall, he was most successful in the BDO and will go down as one of the best. 

7. Trina Gulliver

Achievements:

  • 10-time Women’s World Champion
  • Multiple other major titles

Trina “Golden Girl” Gulliver is an iconic figure in women’s darts, renowned for her unparalleled success in the BDO. 

Trina was arguably the first female to achieve fame in darts and really opened the sport up to future growth. 

With an incredible ten World Championship titles to her name, Gulliver dominated the women’s game for over a decade. No one in either the mens of women’s game comes close to her tally in World Championships.

Her consistency, focus, and sportsmanship have made her a role model for aspiring female darts players around the world. 

Beyond her World Championships, Gulliver has also secured numerous other major titles alongside an MBE solidifying her status as the most successful female player in BDO (and all darts) history. 

6. Jocky Wilson

Achievements:

  • 2-time World Champion (1982, 1989)
  • British Open Champion

Jocky Wilson was a true character and a beloved figure in the world of darts. 

His two BDO World Championship titles in 1982 and 1989 are highlights of a career filled with memorable moments. 

Known for his gritty determination and unorthodox style, Wilson’s performances endeared him to fans around the globe. 

He quite literally loved the game and was quoted saying “darts is life”. He was arguably everything that made the game in the early years. 

Pictured with pints and cigs on and off the stage, Wilson was relatable to so many back in the day and his victories on the oche have to see him go down as one of the best the BDO had to offer. 

5. Phil Taylor

Achievements:

  • 2-time BDO World Champion (1990, 1992)
  • Numerous other titles in PDC

Before becoming a legend in the PDC, Phil “The Power” Taylor started his illustrious career in the BDO. 

Winning the World Championship twice in 1990 and 1992, Taylor showcased his immense talent and set the stage for what would become an unprecedented career. 

Known for his extraordinary precision and competitive drive, Taylor’s early successes in the BDO were just the beginning. He only qualified for the 1990 World Championship as a 125-1 unseeded outsider but won it!

His transition to the PDC saw him dominate the sport like no other, making him arguably the greatest darts player of all time.

4. Martin Adams

Achievements:

  • 3-time World Champion (2007, 2010, 2011)
  • 3-time World Masters Champion

When you think of the last era of the BDO, one name comes to mind – Martin Adams.

Wolfie had longevity and consistency in darts like few others. 

With three World Championship titles and three World Masters victories, Adams has been a stalwart of the BDO, however, he very nearly wasn’t…

He was thwarted three times by Raymond Van Barneveld in the latter stages of the World Championship and from 1994 – 2006 would have three quarter-final placings, three semi-finals placings and a runners-up finish before finally winning it in 2007. 

He was close to being a nearly man but after that first win, a burden was lifted and he went on to win six titles in just five years. 

This earned him a place in fourth for most finals appearances at the World Championships (3 wins, 2 runners-up) and cemented his place in BDO legacy. 

3. Raymond van Barneveld

Achievements:

  • 4-time BDO World Champion (1998, 1999, 2003, 2005)
  • 2-time World Masters Champion

Raymond van Barneveld, affectionately known as “Barney,” is one of the most influential players in darts history. 

His four BDO World Championship titles are a testament to his dominance in the organisation during his prime. He’s won it the 2nd most number of times and is 3rd for total finals appearances. 

From 1995-2006 he won 14 Major titles in the BDO and holds a number of records in the World Championship (mainly for his averages which were ahead of his time).

His success in the BDO laid the foundation for an illustrious career in the PDC, where he continued to achieve great success winning the PDC World Championship on his debut campaign in 2007. 

This is also a reason he doesn’t rank higher on this list.

He was a dominant force in the BDO but he was caught between two eras so many know him as a PDC great with younger fans not even aware he played in the BDO.

Van Barneveld’s impact on darts in the Netherlands and globally is immeasurable, inspiring countless players to take up the sport. 

If he stayed in the BDO longer, there’s a solid argument he’d be top of this list – top 3 is fair though. 

2. John Lowe

Achievements:

  • 3-time World Champion (1979, 1987, 1993)
  • 2-time World Masters Champion

John Lowe, often referred to as “Old Stoneface” for his calm and unemotional personality is a legend of the game even without an eccentric personality.

A true gentleman and model professional, Lowe did just about as much for darts as any player and the majority of this was with the BDO.

His three World Championship victories, spanning three different decades, highlight his enduring excellence. 

Lowe’s achievement of the first televised nine-dart finish in 1984 is also one of the sport’s most iconic moments. 

To this day, it’s the most watched darts video on YouTube with over 15 million views. 

[WATCH] John Lowe’s HISTORIC first televised nine-dart finish

His ability to remain at the top of the game for so long is a testament to his skill, consistency, and professionalism. 

Lowe’s contributions to the sport extend beyond his titles as well being an MBE and Chairman for the PDPA. 

For sure he’s up there as one of the best BDO players of all time!

SEE ALSO – John Lowe’s best darts moments

1. Eric Bristow

Achievements:

  • 5-time World Champion (1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986)
  • 5-time World Masters Champion

Eric “The Crafty Cockney” Bristow stands as the greatest BDO darts player of all time. 

With five World Championship titles, five runners-up finishes and five World Masters victories, Bristow’s dominance in the 1980s was unparalleled. 

Known for his confidence and playing ability, Bristow revolutionised the sport with his charisma and really helped darts go more mainstream. 

He played a crucial role in popularising darts and bringing it to a wider audience and this was primarily with the BDO. 

Bristow’s influence on the game and his mentoring of future stars, including sponsoring Phil Taylor for £10,000 on the condition that he quit his job and pursued darts professionally, have left an indelible mark on the sport. 

His legacy as the greatest player in BDO history is surely unquestionable?

Summary

This was a hard list to compile for the last few places. 

Honorary mentions go to Glen Durrant and Scott Waites but in honesty, their dominance came in the late 2010’s when the BDO was officially the WDF and also on its knees as an organisation. 

Those players were exceptional so that is no slight to them, more that it’s hard to class them as ‘traditional’ BDO greats which was the aim of this article. 

Leighton Rees was also great and can be credited alongside those on this list that first brought darts to the masses on tv (winning the first BDO World Championship and also a runner-up in his title defence). 

He fizzled out after that though so it’s hard to find room for him on the list.

Overall though, the BDO has some true legends that will go down in darts history and we think we’ve got a solid 8/9 that most will agree with.

If not, let us know down in the comments below what your thoughts are👇 

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Lastly, always remember the Lakeside legends 🙌


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