Ahead of Wednesday's start of the Summer Series, PDC stats man Christopher Kempf takes a look at the averages by round of the PDC's top ten at Players Championship events.
New Tour Card Holders in the PDC build their way up toward the top 64 one £500 or £750 prize at a time - the amount earned for each of the first three - and next two - matches won in a floor event, respectively.
The semi-final stage tends to be where the elite players come to the fore, and it is here where the serious money is won.
Win a semi-final, and earn a massive £3,000; win the final and another £4,000 is yours. With so much ranking money at stake in the last rounds of a floor event, which players boost their averages accordingly?
Because of the structure of the tournament draw in floor events, the top eight seeds can not meet until the quarter-finals; a player such as Michael van Gerwen losing in the first four rounds would represent a substantial upset.
Appropriately, given his world number one position, Van Gerwen was eliminated at the quarter-final stage in six of the 17 Players Championship events since 2018 which he did not win.
The three players at the top of the world rankings are also the three players (among the top ten) who save their best performances for the final match, aiming to capture the most additional winnings by throwing the fewest darts.
Over the past two and a half years, no player has averaged as high as Van Gerwen, who surpasses his usual output of 99.72 points per visit by 2.62 points when contesting a final.
Peter Wright's improvement in finals (3.00 points above his average in all matches) is even more dramatic, considering that his finals opponents average 99.16 - the toughest opposition faced by any of the top ten in multiple finals.
But Gerwyn Price, who appears to be something of a finals specialist, beats Van Gerwen with a 3.13 improvement relative to his normal performance. The Welshman has shown no particular propensity to score more or less heavily in any particular round except in finals, and in fact holds two of the four highest finals match averages since the beginning of 2018.
It's worth mentioning Nathan Aspinall's output as well - in each of the three most lucrative rounds of Players Championship events, Aspinall boosts his performance well above the 94.17 average typical of his overall results.
Considering his opponents in these rounds are usually the PDC's heavyweight performers, the fact he manages to keep his averages on level pegging with his opponents' from the quarter-finals through to the end of the tournament is impressive.
Similarly, occasional floor tournament participant Gary Anderson's push to the final begins with the round of 16, where the Scot averages 102.44 - more than any other top ten player in any round. In semi-finals he surpasses even that, with 103.74 - 5.52 points above average for him, and more than seven points clear of his opponents.
Michael Smith has featured in three of the last 60 Players Championship event finals (losing two of them), and those two losses in which he averaged in the mid-80s bring his overall finals average down to 88.26.
But in the most important matches of the floor tournaments, Smith underperforms his opponents as well as his average standard. In semi-finals, for instance, no top ten player averages less than Smith's 95.01.
And while Simon Whitlock averaged 101.47 in a 2018 semi-final (his only one of the past two and a half years), he lost it 6-1 and thus he is the only one of the current top ten not to have reached a Players Championship final since 2017.
With a place in the World Matchplay on the line, players not currently in the top 16 must displace the elite to claim the substantial prizes earned by finalists.
They will need to play like them, too; of the past 60 Players Championship events, only two were won with a final average of less than 90. And, with the top players tending to raise their standard even further in finals, it will take great courage to earn the biggest prize rewards.
Written by Christopher Kempf, PDC Statistical Analyst.
Follow Christopher on Twitter @ochepedia.