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Joe Cullen is still counting the cost of the most expensive dart in history – and hopes to make amends by hitting a £500,000 jackpot.
The Rockstar was one arrow, worth an extra £150,000, away from winning the Premier League in his debut season on the travelling circus when he wired double 16 – his favourite checkout – with the play-off final against Michael van Gerwen locked at 10-10.
MVG stepped in to nail double 14 and snatch the £275,000 loot, leaving heartbroken Cullen to collect £125,000 as runner-up.
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That near-miss with the second-richest prize in darts, and emulating Glen Durrant in 2020 as Premier League champion at the first attempt, still haunts the Yorkshireman like the ghost train at a funfair.
No.13 seed Cullen, 33, will be the last player to join the bunfight for the Cazoo PDC World Championship's £500k winner's riches on Friday night admitting he is still not over that cruel finale in Berlin.
He said: “People ask me how I'm going to use that disappointment to spur me on in a positive way – I'll let you know when I find out!
What is the most amount of money you've lost in one go? Let us know here
“If you had offered me a place in the final before the whole tournament had started, I'd have said yes – but once you're there, you want to win. The pleasing part, if there can be a pleasing part, is that I thought the dart was in.
“It wasn't one of those where you bottle it, or snatch at it a bit. I thought it was in – and so did Michael, because he told me afterwards he was wincing when I let it go. He thought I'd nailed it, too. I think my stock rose that night, and I justified myself as a pick for the Premier League.
“Playing against seven of the best players in the world every Thursday for 16 or 17 weeks can make you or break you, and there have been a few whose form has gone the other way.
“I'll be honest: I was thinking, 'Don't let yourself down now you've got this far', but it's harder to take when you are one dart away from landing a quarter of a million quid than if you are thrashed 11-3 or 11-4.
“A few days later, wherever I was playing at the weekend, Andy Scott – who works for the PDPA (Professional Darts Players Association) – came up to me and said, 'Were you aware that was the most valuable dart in history?'
“I said, 'No I wasn't, but cheers for rubbing it in.' So it's true – there had never been a match dart in any tournament with so much riding on it. There's a bigger difference between winner and runner-up at Ally Pally (£500k and £200k), but nobody has ever missed one that valuable yet.”
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