THE 2018 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals begins on Friday, with Michael van Gerwen bidding for a fifth title in six years - live on ITV4.

The event will take place from November 23-25 at the Butlin's Minehead Resort in Somerset, featuring the leading 64 stars from the 2018 Players Championship Order of Merit following this year's 22 one-day ProTour events.

The tournament offers a £460,000 prize fund, including £100,000 to the winner, with Van Gerwen beginning the defence of his title against Matthew Edgar.

“I want to play really well in this tournament like I always do and I am coming to win, nothing less,” said Van Gerwen, who has won the Players Championship Finals for the last three years in succession.

“I didn't play well in my last match but there is nothing I can do about that now. I never let the last tournament affect this one whether I won or lost.

“It's the last big TV tournament before the Worlds so it would be nice to play really well and put a bit more fear in my opponents and I will make sure I do everything right to give myself the best chance.”

Top seed Ian White will face Scott Taylor in the first round, while newly-crowned Grand Slam of Darts Champion Gerwyn Price meets Krzysztof Ratajski.

Gary Anderson (PDC)

Number two seed Gary Anderson will take on Alan Tabern, fourth seed Peter Wright will play Spain's Toni Alcinas and World Champion Rob Cross will face Alcinas' World Cup partner and Spanish number one Cristo Reyes.

A clash between Daryl Gurney and Robert Thornton will see two former World Grand Prix champions collide, Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson will meet in an all-Australian tie, while Dutch pair Jeffrey de Zwaan and Jelle Klaasen will face off.

World number seven Mensur Suljovic has withdrawn from the event, and has been replaced by the next non-qualified player from the Players Championship Order of Merit, Benito van de Pas.

Play will be split across two stages on the opening two days, before Finals Day on the Main Stage, while the weekend will also feature the PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship final on Sunday evening between Dimitri Van den Bergh and Martin Schindler.

Televised coverage of the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals will focus on the Main Stage, while play on Friday and Saturday on Stage Two will be available on PDCTV-HD for all subscribers worldwide.

Butlin's Weekend Break Packages are available through www.bigweekends.com, which include accommodation and tickets for all six sessions of darts.

2018 Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Schedule of Play
Friday November 23

First Round
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)

Main Stage
Jeffrey de Zwaan v Jelle Klaasen
Max Hopp v Steve West
Keegan Brown v Mensur Suljovic
Adrian Lewis v Adam Hunt
Simon Whitlock v Kyle Anderson
Daryl Gurney v Robert Thornton
James Wade v Ross Smith

Stage Two
Brendan Dolan v Michael Barnard
Josh Payne v Ryan Searle
Nathan Aspinall v Martin Schindler
Gabriel Clemens v Andrew Gilding
Ryan Joyce v Steve Lennon
Mervyn King v Simon Stevenson
Stephen Bunting v Richard North
Mickey Mansell v Madars Razma
Dave Chisnall v Jamie Lewis

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Main Stage
Ian White v Scott Taylor
Gary Anderson v Alan Tabern
Rob Cross v Cristo Reyes
Krzysztof Ratajski v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright v Toni Alcinas
Michael van Gerwen v Matthew Edgar
Michael Smith v Vincent van der Voort

Stage Two
Jermaine Wattimena v Stephen Burton
John Henderson v Joe Cullen
Jonny Clayton v Mark Webster
Ricky Evans v Jan Dekker
James Wilson v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Danny Noppert v Rowby-John Rodriguez
Chris Dobey v Ron Meulenkamp
Darren Webster v Jeffrey de Graaf
Steve Beaton v Kim Huybrechts

Saturday November 24
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)

Second Round
Main Stage

Gurney/Thornton v Payne/Searle
Wade/R Smith v Aspinall/Schindler
Chisnall/J Lewis v Dobey/Meulenkamp
Cross/Reyes v Joyce/Lennon
G Anderson/Tabern v Whitlock/K Anderson
Van Gerwen/Edgar v Brown/Suljovic
Wright/Alcinas v Hopp/West

Stage Two
Bunting/North v Mansell/Razma
Wilson/Van den Bergh v Clemens/Gilding
De Zwaan/Klaasen v Evans/Dekker
Wattimena/Burton v D Webster/De Graaf
White/Taylor v Dolan/Barnard
Noppert/Rodriguez v King/Stevenson
M Smith/Van der Voort v Clayton/M Webster
Beaton/Huybrechts v Henderson/Cullen
A Lewis/Hunt v Ratajski/G Price

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Third Round
Main Stage

4x Games TBC

Stage Two
4x Games TBC

Sunday November 25
Afternoon Session (1245 GMT)
Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (1900 GMT)
Semi-Finals
Final

Plus PDC Unicorn World Youth Championship Final:
Martin Schindler v Dimitri Van den Bergh
Best of 11 legs. To be played between semi-finals and final of Players Championship Finals.

Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals
Prize Fund

Winner: £100,000
Runner-Up: £40,000
Semi-Finalists: £23,000
Quarter-Finalists: £12,500
Second Round Losers: £8,000
Last 32 Losers: £5,000
First Round Losers: £2,500
Total: £460,000
Nine-Dart Finish Bonus: £5,000

Format
First Round: Best of 11 legs
Second Round: Best of 11 legs
Third Round: Best of 19 legs
Quarter-Finals: Best of 19 legs
Semi-Finals: Best of 21 legs
Final: Best of 21 legs