PDC's most clinical finishers on the 15 most common checkouts revealed

Michael van Gerwen

Ahead of the return to live action, PDC stats man Christopher Kempf takes a look at the 15 most common checkouts attempted by the world's top ten and their success rates.

Checkout success of PDC top ten

Some questions in statistics can only be answered after an eye-watering amount of data collection.

In order to gather up enough attempts at particular checkouts to make meaningful comparisons between darts players, several years of data recording is required.

And even with four and a half years of data on our side, we can still only look at a few of the most frequently-attempted checkouts; finishes like 139 and 79 do not occur often enough to be worthwhile in analysis.

Drawing from as much data as can reasonably be collated, the below table shows the current top ten players' completion percentages on the 15 most commonly attempted checkouts in darts.

It is no surprise that Michael van Gerwen tops the list on many of these finishes, as a byproduct of his half-decade of dominance.

His proficiency on 170 checkouts is especially striking, however - over the period in question, Van Gerwen has landed more than three times as many "big fish" as any other professional.

With an 8% completion rate over more than 500 finishes, MvG is as likely to check out from 170 as the average PDC professional is from 121. With three darts to clean up a missed bullseye (25 checkout), the world number one can win a leg about as often as most other players would given three clear darts at double.

Nathan Aspinall stands out as one of the world's premier sharpshooters on doubles; he leads the top ten players with three darts at doubles eight and four, and breaks 80% accuracy on tops.

Two of the players most dependent on tops to win legs, Michael Smith and Gerwyn Price, come in just barely under 80% on their 40 finishes; but while Price nearly equals van Gerwen's accuracy from 32, Smith manages to take out only 62% of his.

The Shanghai master is Rob Cross, who leads the top ten with 11 checkouts in 45 attempts on 120. However, he is perhaps surprisingly not the best with three darts at double 18; James Wade, Gary Anderson and Van Gerwen are all better bets with three darts at 36.

One of the strong points of Wade's game is his first-class ability to take out small combination checkouts between 40 and 100. Of the world's top ten, Wade is the only one to complete a majority of his 80 finishes, and is among the best in completing nearly 70% of his 60 checkouts.

While Van Gerwen may have the edge with three darts at Wade's favourite double, at 79.95% Wade completes nearly four out of five 20 checkouts, nearly tying MvG's 80.38%.

Appropriately, Wade is the only player among the top ten not to complete a higher percentage of his 40 checkouts than his 20.

Anderson, a notoriously capable finisher on tops, is much less at ease on double ten; for every 100 attempts of each of 40 and 20, Anderson is likely to have 11 or 12 more successful 40 finishes than 20 finishes.

Indeed, Anderson's completion percentage for a 60 checkout is actually higher than for a 20 checkout; giving Anderson two darts at double 20 is more dangerous for his opponents than giving him three at double ten!

With data available from floor events thanks to DartConnect, we can gather larger samples of players' checkout attempts than ever before, but still we can only hope to approximate their true accuracy on any finish.

Written by Christopher Kempf, PDC Statistical Analyst.
Follow Christopher on Twitter @ochepedia.