PHIL Taylor has dominated darts as a colossus of the game for the past decade and more. His place in the history of the game is assured as he has topped the standings year after year by achieving results against anyone who threatened his hegemony.
Many have tried, few had come close until the 15-time world champion was knocked out of last year's competition and suffered a crushing loss to Potteries rival Adrian Lewis in the opening fixtures of this year's competition.
Can Taylor rally as the tournament, boasting a new sponsor, online gaming giant 888.com, moves onto Nottingham, Belfast and Exeter? Or is the final curtain finally looming for a man who has been the dominant force in 888 Premier League darts betting markets for years?
Opening round results suggest Taylor may finally be on the wane, but predictions of his demise may be premature as Taylor has consistently topped the standings in PDC events since the start of the century and will be desperate to prove this is merely a temporary dip in form.
There are several players desperate to stake their claim to his crown. Indeed, such is depth of playing talent that Premier League darts bets can be both varied and profitable, which highlights the ability of the likes of Lewis, Gary Anderson, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Simon Whitlock and Terry Jenkins.
There are 14 rounds of fixtures to be played before the grand final at Wembley Arena, and with 10 players vying for the top spot, there will be plenty of 888 Premier League darts betting opportunities throughout the spring as the competition heads north to Manchester and Glasgow, then returns south for fixtures in Brighton and Cardiff.
Premier League of darts betting on individual matches, as well as on who will finish where in the final league placings, has enjoyed a boom in popularity. Punters now frequently look for tips and odds on which player will have the highest average or best finish, as well as the odds on Taylor to win the tournament outright.
The success of the competition has been staggering, a factor which persuaded 888.com to get involved as sponsors for a second time this year, and UK online bookmakers have been quick to get in on the act, offering a number of free bets to the predictor making an initial foray into the world of online Premier League darts 2011 betting.
As one sports writer said: "The schedule has become one of the highlights of the darts year and given all the matches are shown on Sky, live Premier League darts 2011 betting is exploding into life. I’m looking forward to the series of fixtures in the industrial centres such as Sheffield, Birmingham, Newcastle and Liverpool.
"Phil Taylor has been the man for so many years, but maybe, just maybe, his crown is starting to slip a little, offering hope to his PDC rivals and providing an added incentive to those mindful of staking a Premier League darts bet.
"There is endless cope for darts Premier League betting. The cast list changes from week to week, so mix and match your Premier League darts bets depending on form and fancy.
"The pace of the competition means results come in fast and furious, guaranteeing that live Premier League darts betting will become increasingly popular, especially as the internet enables the savvy predictor to react quickly when making his Premier League darts bets.
"A lot of the tips on offer will be based on whether Taylor can make a rapid comeback and reach the final stages of the 888.com Premier League. I have a feeling that by the time the competition reaches its penultimate leg in Bournemouth, he will have proved once again that he is still the king of darts’ Premier League betting. Punters contemplating Taylor’s status may fancy using a free bet from an online bookmaker if this is their first look at online Premier League darts 2011 betting, but they should be ready to react rapidly as the tournament unfolds.
"Picking the tournament winner is the obvious and immediate attraction of 888 Premier League darts betting, but the nature of the competition highlights how much scope there is for Premier League of darts betting. Given the television and other media interest in the event is growing every year, live Premier League darts 2011 betting is undoubtedly going to be one of the big hitting events of the year – another factor which will suit 888.com.”
888.com Premier League dates
February 10, O2 ARENA LONDON
February 17, CAPITAL FM ARENA, NOTTINGHAM
February 24, ODYSSEY ARENA, BELFAST
March 3, WESTPOINT ARENA, EXETER
March 10, MEN ARENA, MANCHESTER
March 17, SECC, GLASGOW
March 24, THE BRIGHTON CENTRE
March 31, CARDIFF INTERNATIONAL ARENA
April 7, ABERDEEN EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE CENTRE
April 14, SHEFFIELD ARENA
April 21, NIA, BIRMINGHAM
April 28, ECHO ARENA, LIVERPOOL
May 5, BOURNEMOUTH INTERNATIONAL CENTRE
May 12, NEWCASTLE ARENA
May 19, WEMBLEY ARENA, LONDON