Friday, October 04, 2019

Game: Fifty-One

"Fifty-One" is a fun game which my friends, teammates, leaguemates, and workmates have all enjoyed immensely over the years. I have seen this game described in various dart books and there are surprisingly few variations. Most older books call the game 'Fives' and the score is counted up to 50, not down from 51. Here I lay out the rules for the game as I know it.

51 is usually played with two players but since it is a race to 0 any number of players can play with no variation in the basic rules. Each player starts with 51 points. First person to achieve a score of 0 exactly wins. The trick is, in order to subtract points, your totaled score for the round must total to something divisible by 5, and all darts must contribute 1 or more points to that total. So if any one of your darts hits a non-scoreable area, that is a bust for the round. This rule also applies to the last round. When you win the game, all three of your darts must score. Once you have a total that is divisible by 5 (leaving an integer), you subtract the dividend from your score. An example:
  • I throw my three darts and hit a 20, 1, and 19. Totals to 40, divided by 5 is 8, so I subtract 8 from my score and now I drop from the initial 51 down to 43.
  • Next round I hit a 20, 1, and 57. Totals to 78 which is not evenly divisible by 5. Thus my score for the round is 0.
  • Next round I hit a 60, 5, and the third darts bounces out. All darts must score so that round is a bust.
And so on.

A nice finish in a quick (very quick) game of 51 at work. That 145 translates into 29 score-able points. The game below occurred on Dec 20, 2010. I have no idea anymore what I was throwing in that game. Might have been my old Co Stompe Matchsticks.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Its the Artist Not the Brush

Last night's league match was wonderful.  My team lost 12-9 but I had a great night out due not only to my darts flying right, but to the friendliness of the competition.  We visited the Three Lions pub in Bothell.  Like their sister bar in Redmond, they attract not only good dart players, but super friendly ones too.  And on top of everything it was a breath of fresh air for everyone on both teams to still be sober by the end of the evening!

Here is how the evening went: I played seven games total, two singles, four doubles and one team game. I won both the singles games and three of the four doubles matches, but in the team game we got flattened like pancakes by their dominating performance.  I threw rubbish, and everyone on the opposing team stepped up and delivered.  They finished the team game with a 70+ three dart average. Quality darters, those.

My first singles match was a 401 against Niko.  I didn't hit any big numbers in the game but I was solid, hitting a single triple, but averaged 54.7 for the game, and the best part, the happiest part, was that I hit my out with my very first dart at a double. It was a 22 dart game and I finished on double 8.

My second singles game was Cricket against their best player, Doug.  A fine chap and a great dart player, but in this one I got the best of him. I had one 5-mark round, no dead rounds, and finished with a 2.4 average.  I felt strong in that game.

My first doubles game was a 501 with new teammate Chris.  He is a good addition to the team as he takes darts seriously as a sport and is probably as big a dart geek as I am.  Another fine performance in which I did not put up any big numbers other than a couple of 80ish rounds, but took out a 44 for the win with single 12, double 16. Again, it was my first dart at the double and it hit.  That felt good.  To this point in the evening, I can honestly say that I did not miss any double that I threw at :) . The streak would not continue, however.

My second doubles game was a 501 with Julia. It was a good one.  I hit 100, 100, 85, and then 84 for my first four rounds, and then, with 23 left, I missed the big 7 into the big 19, leaving 4.  The I put two darts just outside the double 2 wire, leaving 4 for Julia.  She hit it with her first dart next round. Those were my only two tons on the evening, but it was such a good evening overall I do not mind :)

My next two doubles games were Cricket, first with Cory, then with John. The first was a win.  I didn't have any impressive rounds but I only had one dead round, and Cory finished the game for us with a clean dosser.  Good on him!  The second game was a loss but we fought like hell.  It was a high scoring game, 409-322, and while I didn't have any high rounds, I only had one dead round, but we couldn't hit enough bulls to catch up when it counted.  They got that one.

I covered the team game earlier.  We lost that one cleanly.  Here is the final score sheet:


One of my favorite dart stories to tell took place when I was living in Pittsburgh and playing league there.  one day I was at a blind luck shoot with a good number of people participating.  The place hosting it was a bowling alley that had a large dart room with at least a dozen steel tip dart boards hung (permanently, not just for the shoot).  All of them were in use, as I recall, and you couldn't see one end of the room from the other for the smoke. A guy came in to play in the shoot and ended up in the barrel.  He didn't have any darts with him so he grabbed three bar darts from behind the bar and used those.  They were all brass, and none of them matched.  It was basically three random brass darts, and that is what he used.  He did not drop a single leg and won the shoot.  I told him that I thought what he did was amazing, especially given the darts he was using.  He just smiled and said, "Its the artist, not the brush."

Last night I took brass darts with me. Not for any particular reason, but just because as a darter I have been feeling "brassy" lately and I wanted to give them their "solid night out".  I do love me some brass darts, no joke.  But I wasn't trying to make a point or show anyone up who had expensive darts or anything like that, I just liked the brass ones.  So I brought them and they fucking flew for me.  I think they cost about $2 when I got them (used). You can see them below dressed in medium nylon stems and standard poly flights.


I had the book with me because I needed to get my tires replaced before the match and I knew I'd need to hang out in the Les Schwab waiting room for a solid hour and a half.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Re-Stemming the GT's

Followers of this blog know that I have been a fan of the Bottelsen GT line of darts for a long time.  I have had several sets that predated their threading system and thus were limited to the push-in stem system that they produced for early version of the GT.  There is nothing wrong with that system, necessarily, but it is nice to have options, and sometimes the old push-in GT stems were seem a bit loose or wobbly.  Threading them was a brilliant idea on their part, and their new screw-in stem system is quite nice looking aesthetically, and feels solid when properly installed.

But I have always been a tinkerer.  Back in the day, I made several attempts to mod the GT to accommodate spinning flights, like this one, and this one. Recently I picked up a set of 23 gram smooth GT's on ebay which lacked the modern threading, and whose stems were a bit on the worn side.  Thus I started to wonder how I could improve the darts a bit :)

I started by rifling through my myriad of stems looking for anything I might cannibalize for this little project.  I came up with three possibilities:  a 2ba wire stem, a 2ba fiberglass stem ("Jet Stream" stem, maybe?),  and also a Voks stem designed for their GT-esque Javelin line of darts. The Jet Stream stem was too weak and too well glued together.  I completely crushed it trying to remove the thin stem from the plastic bits on the ends.  The wire stem, on the other hand, came apart more easily, especially with the help of a vice grips and a desk mounted vice. You can see in the pic below some of the pieces I was working with.  The thin metal piece by the ruler is the wire part of that stem extracted from its other bits.  However, neither the Voks stem nor the wire stem would fit into the end of the bottelsen dart with ease.  They both felt just a micron too wide to fit in there. So...


...I used a repointing tool to do the work.  Fortunately the Hammerhead points are 2ba as well so the point-end of the dart fits into the repointing tool backwards quite nicely, and then it was a simple matter of clamping down the new stem as if it were a point and using the impressive force of the repointing tool to "re-stem" the dart.


Same process for the Voks stems...


Below you can see a couple of pics of the three different stemmings side by side, unflighted. There is a little bit of Goldilocks, here, I think.  The original stem on the far right is too close to the barrel.  Too short.  And it is also aesthetically jarring with the black gasket and aluminum stem.  The middle stem (which was originally the 2ba wire stem) is a bit long for the barrel, and the plastic bit on the end is too big.  Aesthetically speaking it overpowers the dart it self.  The Voks stem, on the left is just about perfect.  The length is good, the color matches the theme of the dart, and the bit on the end is also quite sleek compared to the the other two.


In the end I decided to go with the Voks stems pushed into the barrels 4 mm.  It seems to be a good length and should take a smaller standard flight or a pear shape quite nicely.  How they perform over time remains to be seen.  It could be that the ever-so-slightly too-large stem diameter has stressed the tungsten barrel near to the breaking point, and an unlucky stem-first landing bounce out will cause the barrel to shatter.  Remains to be seen, but I am looking forward to putting this set of darts through their paces.  If they shatter they shatter and I will not lose any sleep over it.  The experiment was fun and rewarding already :)


I am hoping to be able to post pics of Ton-80's with these darts soon.  Stay posted :P

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Smartest Maximum?

My 49th lifetime Ton-80 came off what was billed as "the world's smartest darts".  I never had any business dealings with the guy who made and marketed these darts, but whoever it was included a few very interesting things into his dart design.


The points are spring loaded, and a fairly standard spring loading at that, however, the design of the nose is kind of nice.  These were made in the era of ugly conversion points so these, at the time, were a breath of fresh air.  The springiness of the points is a bit on the soft side though.  I happened to get this set on ebay so I did not get the case or the original stems or flights.  While the stems themselves were a standard in-between length nylon stem, the flights were a unique size and shape which I found highly, highly appealing.  They were almost the same shape as a standard flight but probably 10 to 20% smaller.  I wish I'd bough 100 of them when they were available.



Alas, the gentleman is no longer in business, so neither the darts nor the flights are readily available.  The darts are 22 grams with a fine ring going the entire length of the barrel, and they are currently dressed in short spinning aluminum flights, and pear polys. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Solid Night Out

For my darts, anyway, not necessarily for me.  I have half decided that I am going to start taking a single set of match darts with me to league nights (and other competitions) along with a disassembled backup set that I go to only in extreme need.  This is not because I think it is better to stick to a single set of darts.  I do not think that.  But rather because I have so many sets of darts that simply do not get their day in the sun, so to speak.  As such, I have (half) decided that each set of darts I have will get "a solid night out" of competition so I that I can really run their paces and they have a chance to do something nice and special, like hit a Ton-80, or hit that high-stakes out!  So this week in league I treated my 15 gram "Aviators" (I call them that because they aesthetically remind me of 1950's aviation design) to their solid night out:


The night was the most meh of meh nights you can possibly imagine in terms of my own performance, but I did enjoy throwing the Aviators all night long.  And they got some modest appreciation from teammates and opponents as well.  I saw my good buddy Richard there and I regret not being able to spend some more time with him after the match but I was developing a migraine and decided to get out of there as soon as I could.

Last night we hosted Misunderestimated at Kate's.  They beat us 11 to 10, and I do believe that is the closest my team has ever come to winning a match.  And I think the reason we lost is because I couldn't hit my fucking doubles when I needed to.  That, and I got my ass handed to me on a platter during my singles Cricket.  So here is how the match went:  I played three singles games and lost two of them; I played five doubles matches and lost two of those as well.  And I hit the winning out in the team games, which always feels nice.

My first singles game was 401 against Bill.  I didn't hit a single effing triple during that entire game, but I managed to take out my double 2 before Bill could take his out.  He had a higher average than me in that game but neither of us were on fire.  My second singles game was also a 401, this time against Jim.  That was an earned loss on my part.  I whittled the score down to 32, and then proceeded to spend 15 darts missing the doubles until Jim finally took his out.  I despaired after that game. (But I bounced back emotionally within a game or so.)  My last singles game was Cricket against Bill and he trounced me thoroughly.  I had one five marker early in the game but threw a 1.6 against his 2.6.  It was a command performance on his part and there is no question I lost because he was hot and I was not.

Doubles was more meh. I threw three doubles 501 and two doubles Cricket.  My first 501 was with Julia. I hit my only Ton of the night in that game and took out a double 6 before they could take out theirs.  It was a B League effort on the part of both teams.  My next 501 was with John and we lost.  I threw poorly, not hitting any big numbers and I missed my outs.  My last doubles 501 was with Dani and we won.  I didn't hit any big numbers in that game either but I took out a 32 for the win.

My first doubles Cricket was with John.  I started off pretty strong but then hit a slump, accumulating three dead rounds and mostly missing my bulls.  We lost but both teams sucked that game.  My last doubles Cricket was with Julia and we won that one.  I didn't hit any big rounds but I didn't have any dead rounds either.  I hit the first two bulls and the Julia hit the last one for the win which made her quite happy.  That was nice.

The team game was also anemic (for all of us) but I did hit the winning Double 8.  I have not done that in a while so that felt nice.  On the whole the evening was a poor performance on my part. Here is my winning 16:


This is the final score sheet.  I blame myself for the match loss:



Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Unicornity Questioned

The following darts are UFO's from my perspective.  They are clearly of an earlier era of darting:  fat brass barrels, push-in wooden stems, feather flights.  All of which tells me that they date back to the 60's or much, much earlier.  When I got them they came in a plastic two-piece Unicorn case which, honestly, seems like the perfect case for them in terms of length.  However, I have not been able to find either the barrels or the stems in any old Unicorn catalog.  As such, I question their Unicornness.  Unicornity?

They fly nicely.  Here you can see a nice double-double up top.  I went for a third but it miss wide:


And here are some close ups of the darts and the barrels:



Thursday, September 19, 2019

An Unhappy Ass-Handing

Last night's league match was an ass handing of the less pleasant variety.  I had fun, of course, because its darts, and I enjoy all my teammates but my darts were not flying true for me for most of the night.  At a high level, I won my only two singles games, but lost all four of my doubles games.  And while I hit 416 glory points on the night, I was not hitting the 60's at all.

My first singles game was 401 against Wanni and it was a well played game on both our parts.  Better on his part, even.  I won by taking out a 20 on my third dart at it and throw a 57.3 average.  In the game I had a single ton against hit two tons and a 61.5 average.  I have no doubt he would have won the game on the next round.  He is a good player.

My other singles game was a Cricket game against Casey.  Also a good player but in this game I clearly out shot him.  I threw a 2.1 to his 1.3, I hit one five mark round early in the game, and hit two dead rounds.  In the last three rounds I hit a single bull and a double bull to win.

My first doubles game was a 501 with Jacob.  My only good shot was a 116, and I didn't even hit any other 60+ scores. I also missed several shots at the out which is what cost us the game.  The second doubles was also a 501, but with Cory.  This time I put up no big numbers, only hit a single treble during the entire game and missed lots of doubles for the loss.  That was a C League effort through and through.

I also lost both doubles Cricket matches.  They went like this:  The first was with John.  I hit no big rounds and had three completely dead rounds at the end when we needed bulls.  Had I hit even one each round we might have won the game but we earned that loss.  The second was with Dani, and while I happily did not have any dead rounds, I didn't have any fivers either, and we just got outshot.

In the team game I hit two tons but missed my outs. Luckily a teammate did hit his so we only lost 7-14.  Given how I was playing it could have definitely been worse.



The darts I took with me were the 22 gram Harrows Bristow Power Points, and the 26 gram McCoy smooth barreled copper tungstens.  Threw better with the McCoys, but only marginally.

Next week we are hosting Misunderestimated at Kates.