Are you new to the game of darts? Do you believe your skill level is improving by the day? Perhaps it’s time to think about turning your hobby into a career. Competing on world stages for lucrative cash prizes is entirely possible in the world of darts.
However, you need to qualify as a professional darts player and earn your place in top darts tournaments and competitions. This is where the Q School in darts comes in.
What is Darts Q School?
Perhaps you’ve heard about the Professional Darts Corporation (PDA), a professional darts organization responsible for organizing tournaments and competitions on world stages.
PDA awards the highest honors and offers cash prizes north of £7 million each year. And one of the most popular and highly anticipated tournaments you might be interested in is the PDC Q School, or PDC Qualifying School in full.
So, what is Darts Q School? The PDC Q School is a professional tournament held in January of each year in Europe and the UK, where anyone over the age of 16 can sign up to compete for professional status and a PDC tour card.
The PDC tour card is highly prestigious among darts players because it allows you to compete on the PDC global circuit of tournaments for the next two years for a chance to win large cash prizes. These include access to prestigious tournaments like the PDC Championships and the highest-profile tournament in darts: the World Darts Championship.
What Happens at Q School?
The PDC Q school takes place over the span of four days. Its main goal is to award 32 PDC tour cards valid for the next two years. Each day holds straight knockout competitions, with the winning players from each region being awarded an automatic two-year tour card.
If you don’t win in either of the tournaments, you still stand a chance to win a tour card, depending on the points you accumulate. This is calculated by the Q School’s Order of Merit, which works as follows:
- 9 Points – Last 8 defeat
- 5 Points – Last 16 defeat
- 3 Points – Last 32 defeat
- 2 Points – Last 64 defeat
- 1 Point – Last 128 defeat
So, make sure to keep playing to earn ranking points.
At the end of the tournament, daily winners in the UK and Europe win an automatic tour card. The remaining tour cards are awarded to players in the final stage based on the Order of Merit ranking table on a pro-rata basis of the total participants from each region.
If you win a tour card, you’ll need to pay a tour card upgrade fee of £250 to the Professional Dart Players Association (PDPA) to become a full member. However, if you do not win a tour card but competed in Q School, you can still join the PDPA as an associate member and will be eligible to compete in:
- All PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour events
- UK Open Qualifiers
- European Tour Qualifiers
- Players Championship events
But if you enter the Q School but do not compete, you’ll not qualify as a PDPA member and will only play Challenge Tour events under the “Challenge Tour Only Membership.”
How Many Qualify from Darts Q School?
The number of qualifiers from Darts Q School often varies. However, eight players generally win automatic PDC tour cards each day, with the remaining spots awarded to players who rank high on the first stage Order of Merit in each region.
In 2022, for instance, more than 650 players joined the PDC Q School to compete for a chance to win one of the 32 PDC tour cards for 2022 and 2023. The event occurred from January 9th to January 15th in Europe and the UK, while darts players from other countries were allowed to choose which destination they liked to compete in.
Details regarding the 2023 Q School are still unavailable.
Can Anyone go to PDC Q School?
Yes, anyone can go to PDC Q School. You only have to be at least 16 years of age to compete. From amateur dart players to professional dart players whose PDC tour cards expire, the PDC Q School is open for anyone to apply.
How Much Does it Cost to Go to Q School?
The entry fee required for every player is £450. This includes the £400 qualifying school entry and a £50 DRA Sanction Fee. There is also a £250 tour card upgrade fee you’ll need to pay to become a full PDPA member if you qualify from Q School.
That said, there are additional costs you may need to consider. For instance, you may need transport or accommodation fees. This can rack up to a hefty sum, depending on your finances. So, consider whether it’s a risk worth taking.
Who Qualified from Q School?
An impressive list of high-profile professional dart players enter Q School. In particular, because you may find former players who have played at the highest levels of dart tournaments entering Q School to either regain their professional status or get the tour card (note that the tour card expires after two years). There are also up-and-coming dart players whose skills may be unpredictable.
In 2022, newcomers Josh Rock from Ireland and Krzysztof Kciuk from Poland won PDC tour cards, while Ted Evetts and Rowby-John Rodriguez regained their professional darts player status. Craig Steadman holds a four-time win from Q School, while dart players Fraser Patrick and Paul Davison are three-time winners.
What are the Entry Requirements for Q School?
Anyone can apply to Q School; you only need to be 16 years old or older on the first day of the event and pay an entry fee of £450 (including a £50 DRA Sanction Fee).
How Do I Apply to Q School?
Detailed information regarding items like the venue and deadline remains unavailable until around October. However, you may register your interest in participating in the 2023 UK Qualifying School here.
You’ll then receive an email in 48 hours to confirm your eligibility to participate in Q School, after which you’ll log in to gain entry to relevant events.
Check our article on MPR next and learn how to keep track of it.
A Chance to Win a PDC Tour Card
That’s all there is to it. You’ve learned everything there is to know about the PDC Darts Q School. While it’s not easy to qualify for Q School, you’ll meet former dart players looking to reclaim their professional status, as well as those looking to reclaim a PDC tour card they may have lost.
And since anyone at least 16 years of age can apply, why not give it a shot? You’ll have the opportunity to compete against top players and, most importantly, win a PDC tour card.
For information on starting your professional journey in darts in the US, check our article –how to become a professional darts player.
Sue has been playing darts since her 20’s when she played in weekly tournaments and she enjoys writing about darts. She’s also a great teacher, and she enjoys helping others learn how to play the game well. When Sue isn’t throwing darts, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
The easy way to keep track of your score is with our printable darts scoresheets. Easy to download and keep on your phone or computer or print straight off from our website. Pop your email address into the box and we'll send them straight to you.