The draw for the opening round of the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship has been made.
Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor will face the winner of American No.2 Gary Mawson and Philippines national champion Juanito Gionzon, who face each other in the preliminary round.
Taylor – who is 8/15 favourite to win his 16th world title – will begin his defence on the opening night of competition on December 16th. If Taylor comes through his first clash, he could face 2008 champion John Part who has Per Laursen or Boris Krcmar in his opener.
Elsewhere, 8/1 second favourite James Wade will begin his assault on the title with a first round game against Spaniard Antonio Alcinas who is making his first appearance on the Alexandra Palace stage.
The 2007 world champion, Raymond van Barneveld (12/1), will be looking to end his disappointing season on a high and begins with a game against England’s James Hine.
World No.4 Simon Whitlock (12/1) will face Wales’ Steve Evans and No.5 seed, Adrien Lewis (25/1) will play Tony Eccles.
Meanwhile, Steve Beaton – who produced one of the shocks of the year by beating Taylor in the quarter final of the Grand Slam of Darts a fortnight ago – will face debutant Mark Hylton.
The first round of games will take place from December 16th-23rd, with the winners returning after a break for Christmas.
A £10 bet on Gary Anderson to win the World Championship pays out £120. New customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.