The second staging of the World Seniors Darts Championship takes place at the Circus Tavern this week and our Chris Hammer brings you his tournament tips.
4pts Robert Thornton or Scott Mitchell to win the World Senior Championship at 5/2 (Sky Bet) (Click here to back it)
1pt David Cameron to win the World Senior Championship at 12/1 (General)
One of my darting bets of the year in 2022 was Robert Thornton to win the inaugural World Senior Championship at a very generous 13/2 considering the clear gulf in class and consistency between him and the rest of the field - many of whom were just competing for nostalgic reasons.
The Thorn, who won three majors in his heyday including victories over Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen in two of those finals, had only just missed out on a PDC Tour Card at Q School despite averaging around 90 over seven days of action, so he was massively sharper than everyone else before a dart was thrown.
The hype surrounding even-money Phil Taylor blinded most darts fans as Thornton waltzed his way to the title for the loss of just three sets across his five matches and ended up with a tournament average comfortably in the low 90s.
He subsequently went off favourite for the second major of the season - the Masters - but was stunned early on by eventual champion David Cameron, who also took care of highly-fancied pair Kevin Painter and Richie Howson before upsetting Phil Taylor in the final.
Thornton's disappointment didn't last too long as he'd go on to lift the third and final major at July's Matchplay, where he'd overcome Martin Adams in a thrilling semi-final in which they both averaged 92 before edging out Phil Taylor 12-10 in the final.
Even in that solitary defeat, he's always averaging between 88 and 94 which means it takes very special performances at this level to run him close, let alone beating him, and I can't see that being any different this time around.
The 55-year-old Scotsman, who has been a regular in the Modus Super Series to stay sharp, is evidently taking this competition even more seriously than he did 12 months ago because he opted to skip Q School and give up the chance to return to the PDC circuit purely so he could defend his senior titles this year.
And why wouldn't he? He pocketed £40,000 for those two titles combined and for an older statesman of the darting world, this is far easier big money comparatively than in the PDC where you have to put in a lot of long days and travelling to climb the rankings for those richer rewards.
However, it's not going to be as easy money this year.
Tournament runs from Thursday to Sunday, click here for full daily schedule
"It would be nice to win them all but the field is a lot stronger this year and it's going to take some winning," said Thornton.
If he does defend his title, then his hardest game may well end up being a second-round tie with Scott Mitchell, who heads into his World Seniors debut vying for favourtism with Taylor.
The 2015 BDO world champion lost his PDC Tour Card at the end of a disappointing season and narrowly failed to win it back at Q School last month despite averaging around 91 across his 11 matches - that was higher than 19 of the 27 who did earn one.
Last year he was averaging in the low 90s on the Pro Tour but over the course of his two-season tenure, he couldn't pick up enough results to qualify for majors apart from the UK Open and Players Championship Finals - so you have to wonder if he lacks the winning habit right now compared to someone like Thornton.
The 52-year-old from Dorset admits he did question his future in darts following the disappointment of Q School but since then he finished runner-up in one of the five Challenge Tour events he's entered and is solidly averaging around the 90 mark.
Obviously Scotty Dog has the performance levels to win this tournament and potentially make it look as easy as Thornton did if he can get past the defending champion. Why do they have to meet so early?!
I genuinely find that potential match-up so difficult to call, especially as it's only best of five sets, but I'd be confident the eventual champion comes from that game.
The rest of the top half has plenty of dangers including the current WDF world champion Neil Duff, who averaged around the 90 mark throughout his Lakeside journey back in April, while it'll be fascinating to see how Glen Durrant performs in this environment following his well-document struggles in the PDC.
Mark Dudbridge played some impressive darts at the Modus Super Series at the back end of 2022 and the same can certainly be said of Chris Mason, who rolled back the years in memorable style to reach that tournament's inaugural Champions Week back in October and narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals.
Mason has since returned to the commentary box but he'll have been practicing well ahead of his mainstream televised return and don't be surprised to see him go on a big run.
As for the bottom half of the draw, Phil Taylor is favourite to come through it but faces a very awkward opening round clash against Colin McGarry, who finished second on the World Senior Tour Order of Merit for non-major events last year behind Richie Howson to qualify this event for the first time.
The Northern Irishman also averaged in the low 90s during his run to the World Seniors Matchplay quarter-finals, where he was edged out by Kevin Painter, but the mental challenge of facing the Power on the big stage will still be a tall one even though he's not the player of old.
Taylor's average across the three senior majors last year was 84 - which was three points lower than Thornton, Adams and Cameron - but he still managed to reach two finals and will be eager to get his hands on one of these trophies this year.Cameron actually ended up with the highest overall average in the majors last year with 87.98 although it's slightly misleading considering he only competed in the Masters.
That said, he proved those performances were certainly no fluke at the Alexandra Palace in December when he averaged almost 88 during a 3-2 victory over Ritchie Edhouse in round one before upping that to 90 in a hard-fought 3-2 defeat to Danny Noppert.
He will be involved in a coin flip opener against home favourite Ritchie Howson, who he beat in the Masters semi-finals, and I'd expect the winner of that to eventually take out Taylor in the quarter-final stage - if the Power is still involved.
Howson was relatively unknown apart from the Circus Tavern locals 12 months ago but has plenty of big stage experience now to make him a genuine outsider contender at a best of 16/1.
I wouldn't put anyone off if they fancy him, but personally I'm be more keen on 12/1 shot Cameron.
Martin Adams will be expected to reach the semi-finals but Leonard Gates is arguably his biggest threat in his quarter considering how comfortable the lively American looked on the Ally Pally stage, where he gave Stephen Bunting a run for his money in a 3-1 defeat, averaging 87.
That's not to dismiss Dave Prins, who averaged 90 in his first two matches last year before the wheels fell off against Thornton, but I do see Adams using his vast and recent experience to get himself into the last four.
The World Senior Darts Championship will be broadcast in the UK on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website, app, and BT Sport.
Tickets are still available and cost between £30 and £50. For more details on ticket availability and costs then head to https://dartshop.tv/world-seniors/.