Tenth seed Ronnie Baxter became the first major casualty at the PDC World Championship at Purfleet after losing 3-2 to Adrian Gray.
Baxter also lost in the opening round of last year's event
The Lancastrian, twice a runner-up for the BDO version of the world title, struggled to find any consistency against his 25-year-old opponent.
Gray, from Sussex, will meet either 1988 world champion Bob Anderson or Darren Webster in the second round.
Defending champion Phil Taylor beat Austrian qualifier Anton Pein 3-0.
South African Wynand Havenga knocked out 26th seed Steve Maish 3-2.
The 41-year-old finance manager from Cape Town is the first player from his country to contest the World Championship.
After prevailing 5-3 in legs in the decider under the tie-break rule, will now meet three-time runner-up Peter Manley in round two after the 7th seed defeated Dave Jowett 3-0.
"I enjoyed the match but it was tough," said Havenga. "I didn't throw like I can because of the pressure."
Another seed made an early exit when Ireland's Mick McGowan handed Matt Clark of England, ranked 31st in the event, a 3-1 defeat.
McGowan will meet Taylor in the second round, having defeated the 13-time champion in Holland two months ago.
"That's what gets us up in the morning, to play Phil, because he's the best," said the 33-year-old qualifier.
"I've been playing well all year and done okay on the circuit but this is completely different to any other tournament. It's just phenomenal."
Former champion John Part had to battle all the way before defeating Alan Green 3-2.