Besides major tournaments like the PDC World Championship, Q school in darts is one of the most highly anticipated and engaging tournaments in the darting calendar. Why is that?
Q school in darts is the qualifying tournament that allows players to realise their dreams and compete in a tournament that allows you to earn a PDC tour card. This essentially earns you professional status and means you can play in the world’s biggest tournaments (also meaning you can compete for the biggest prizes).
This is surely every dart player’s dream regardless of what your playing standard and the fact that the tournament is open to anyone means that there’s always the hope that you too can join the tour.
For all the hype though, just what is darts Q school? Q school in darts is a qualifying tournament for players to earn professional status and compete in the PDC tour with winners receiving a PDC tour card. The tournament is held annually in the UK and Europe and takes place over 4 days and is open to anyone over the age of 16 that pays the entry fee.
Read on to learn more about this exciting tournament and to see what the entry requirements, playing standard, and chance of actually progressing through this tournament are for the average player. You never know, playing in this tournament could be something that means your name will be appearing on next year’s PDC player rankings…
What Is Darts Q School
The Professional Darts Corporation qualifying school (Q School) is a tournament held every year for over 4 days, which gives darts players the chance to aim high and try to win a place on the PDC circuit.
This allows you the opportunity to play against the very best players in the world and put them in with a chance of earning some of the £14 million on offer – surely every darts player’s dream!
With Q school, however, the competition is stiff. It’s full of players who have previously played at the highest level and have lost their PDC tour cards meaning they will be desperate to regain their status. You’ll also have the hungry up-and-coming new generation of talent so this is the most difficult qualifying process any aspiring player can enter.
Also, remember if you are thinking of trying to join them, this doesn’t come free. An entrance fee of around £450-500 could be a loss you might want to consider, but nevertheless, the rewards and prestige of winning a place on the circuit make this worth the risk.
How Does Darts Q School Work
The qualifying school is played over 4 days, each day the tournament pits players in a straight knockout where the winner of each day’s event earns them a tour card.
If you’re not successful on day 1 you can still earn the right to earn one on any of the following days and because you earn ranking points depending on where you finish each day, your cumulative points total may well be good enough to win you a tour card, as the players who top the points table also gain cards.
How to You Qualify for Darts Q School
To compete at Q school you must be over the age of 16 on the day of competition, the first stage of the event is a three day randomly drawn knockout, there are no seeds involved, despite the difference in standards between players and the final four players from each of the previous 3 days will go to compete on day 4 at the final stage.
What is the Qualification Process to Get a PDC Tour Card in Q School
To earn the right to win a tour card, you must win one of the daily events to go through to the final knockout stage where 128 players then play straight knockout games over 4 days to see who wins their cards.
Players receive one point per win from the first full round and the points accumulated in legs won and leg difference will advance them if they are level on points.
Who Competes at Q School
Whilst it’s every darts player’s dream to play on the PDC circuit next to their dart heroes and compete at the highest level (also giving players to opportunity to earn a living through darts), in reality, the competition is fierce.
There is a relatively even split across the event between amateur players looking to break onto the professional circuit alongside former pro players that have recently lost their tour cards. This means that the standard to compete at Q School is the highest level you can compete in other than actually playing on the professional circuit.
It’s through exceptional circumstances someone will come through the ranks to make their dream come true. The reality is that seasoned professionals will always be at the head of the queue to return to the top.
Based on ranking points gained during the season, players with high ranking points are exempt from qualifying until the final stage knockout as are those who lost their card last season on the PDC circuit, leaving the rest to fight out the first stage event to see who advances to the 128 player final stage knockout.
Players who win on each of the 3 days will receive tour cards for 2 years and put them in a position to gain ranking points in various events throughout the season. Players who fail to win a tour card will become members of the PDPA and can compete on the PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour to play in events designed to see them gain points and hopefully maximum experience at the top level.
Q School Darts FAQ
Below, we’ve put together some general questions around Q school. We’ll be expanding on this list over time but also check out the video below. Pro player Matthew Edgar talks you through some of the ins and outs of Q school from someone who’s experienced it first hand.
Can Anyone Enter Q School Darts
Whilst anyone over the age of 16 can enter qualifying school because there is a fee of around £450 to enter.
The qualifying tournament usually only attracts seasoned professional darts players and experienced league players as the standard as you would expect is extremely high, but there is at least the opportunity to match yourself at the highest level if you think you are capable of playing against the very best.
Some people enter it just for the experience and the darts Q school is open to any player provided you are over the age of 16 and pay the entrance fee.
What are the Q School Averages in Darts
As you would expect from players of the highest level averages are very high, not forgetting some of these players were winning major tournaments, for example, the 2021 top average was from, none other than Raymond Van Barneveld at 94.62.
So, it goes without saying in that sort of class you would be hard pushed as an entry-level darts player to even take a leg off one of these players! Indeed a darts average of 60 plus would be the very least to give yourself a chance if you were considering entering.
Some players registered 40-60 dart averages at previous tournaments, however, to truly be competitive you need to have a minimum darts average of around 80.
Where is Q School Located
The qualifying school is held at different venues.
This year was in Milton Keyes, last year was Wigan and there will be another venue for 2022 depending on the Covid requirements. The venue chosen will hold all four days of the competition so if you’re a player competing who is not local, it may be necessary to make arrangements for accommodation and transport.
When is Darts Q School
This year’s event is to be held in Milton Keynes in February held across 2 blocks on Feb 8-10 and 11-13 before the final stage is Feb14-17, this is a different date to the one set and due to concerns over the number of participants at the venue, to comply with covid regulations.
Darts Q school is a great concept, it gives players an opportunity to test their current playing ability against some of the best amateur and former professional players and the main benefit is of course the opportunity to earn a PDC tour card.
Q school gives all players an opportunity to become a professional player and compete for the highest honors along with the opportunity to make a living from the sport.
Held annually over a 4 day qualifying period, anyone that competes at Q school has the opportunity to earn their PDC tour card. Just keep in mind that the competition is at a truly advanced level so players will not only need to maintain a strong average in the tournament, they’ll also need to hold their nerve in this incredibly competitive tournament.
For further details or if you are looking to apply and play in Q school, check out the official Q school tournament page here.