Thursday, May 30, 2019


Last night was my last league night of the Spring season, but hopefully not my last night playing on Game of Throwns, which is quite a fun team, if not high ranking in the stats.  There is one more (make up) match next week but I am unavailable to play and then playoffs occur in the ensuing weeks, which Game of Throws will not be a part of.

My performance during this season, which is my return-to-darts season, has not been without some excellent outings.  A Ton-80, and several strong games in general, including one cricket that contained two 7-counts.  Last night's match was not one of them however.  I did not crash and burn, but still, it was merely a meh outing.

Here is how the meh-ness broke down: I played two singles, winning but one, and I played in five doubles matches winning but two.  All of my wins were cricket, and I did not win a single 01 game all night.

We started off with the team 801 game in which I hit no tons, only ever hit a single triple 20, and missed a 78 out, leaving 40 for my captain, who took it out next turn.

Next up I lost a singles 401 game against one of their better players, Dave, in which I hit my one solitary Ton for the night, then proceeded to spent six rounds missing my out shots until he took out his.  My outs have been quite weak this year.  Before fall season starts, I need to find my way back to my old can't-miss-the-doubles self of previous seasons.

Next up I won a cricket match against Graham, who is not a bad darter in his own right.  It went like this: I opened with four 20's, getting ahead in points early, and for the most part I stayed ahead in points this game.  Later I had a 5-count in the 17's and pretty much did not miss the bulls, hitting a double bull to win the game in my last round.  There were no goose egg rounds for me at all and I had a 2.7 MPT that game which was quite welcome.  This game may have served to restore some confidence for me.

Next up I lost two doubles 501 matches with John and then Dani.  During those games I hit no tons and missed my outs, although in the second game I opened with an 85 and hit one other Triple 20 in the game.  These games were quite lackluster for me.  I need to do better with my 60's and my doubles.  Perhaps over the summer my practice routine can be "Modified Around the Clock".

Next up I played three doubles cricket games, one each with all of my (three) teammates, and the only loss was the last one that I played with Ryan and it was a doozy.  The first with John went like this: I opened with 2 20's and didn't have any high mark rounds for the entire game.  I also didn't have any good egg rounds either, and in my last two rounds hit three bulls for the win.  It was a close game but we just barely out-darted them.  My cricket match with Dani was about the same.  A win, but not because I wowed anyone.  We eked out that win.  My last cricket with Ryan, a loss, was a fun game.  The final score ended up being 406 (them) to 318 (us) and while I was strong on bulls that game, it wasn't enough to overcome the opponent's strong play.  They were on fire, we were not.

These were the darts I brought with me:

The intention was that the Unicorn chrome plated brass torpedoes would be the set I broke out for the team game, but between playing the team game first, and doing lousy with the Colonials during warm up I decided to spend the Colonials on the team game and let the Torpedoes be my alternates for the night.  It was a good call.  I threw some decent rounds with them.  The Nobu's were my mainstay, as usual.

I may be invited to play in a "best of" singles tournament at the end of play offs but I am not completely certain about that.  If not, so long spring season!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Hand Eye Coordination is Sleep to Sleep

I am blogging this mostly because I do not want to lose track of this video.  I came across it because I was looking for some tips on how to get good at the speed bag, but encountered a gem inside it as a bonus.  The guy in it claims that hand eye coordination is something that builds up slowly and requires a period of rest between sessions to have any improvements.  Hand eye coordination, he asserts, is not something that is gained minute to minute or hour to hour, but rather day to day, or sleep to sleep.

I am assuming this applies to all hand eye coordination activities, not just speed bagging. I am hoping to applies to darts and I will soon find out.  I have reduced my practice routines to just a few minutes a day, focusing on the 60's, the bulls, and if time, 5 randomly determined doubles.  So my routine is typically to hit five of the Triple-20, five bulls (inner counts as one for the purposes of this exercise), and whatever my slew of 20-sided dice tell me to hit in the double ring.

I hope the dude is right!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Book: How to Play Darts

This book is quite the gem.  At first blush it would seem that the book is somewhat outdated as it opens with a discussion of equipment that is no longer in vogue or is simply impossible to find and then proceeds to describe the "hockey" as 8 foot removed from the board.

The book itself is quite small.  It is the height and width of a regular paperback book, more or less, and is only 64 pages.  It seems larger in the hand because the pages are a thick paper, and though paperback, has a sleeve for the cover.

The book quickly had the collector in me salivating.  It describes the dartboard scene as something that is highly regional, with dartboard makers all over the countryside, supplying handmade dartboards to pubs in exchange for drink, and what's more, each regions dartboard was potentially different to varying degrees.  Someday I would like to take a 2 month vacation to England during their garage sale season (if in fact the have such a thing) and just scour the countryside for old darts equipments!

Take a look at the above pic.  On the left there is a board I have only ever even seen described in this book.  Trebles that consist of small rings within the number bed?  Fascinating!  And on the right you see a typical "Fives" board, but this one is drawn with some extra weird little rounded space carved out of the 5 bed, which I have never seen before (and I have seen many Fives boards) and which the author does not describe.  Also of note.  Already in 1937 some boards were being made paper-wound and these drawing suggest that perhaps the boards that served as models for these pages were paper boards themselves.  How do I know?  Because I have never seen a bristle board with a triangle shaped wire hanger at top!

I am also delighted to read that as of the writing of this book (1937) there were already "an infinite number of patterns of brass darts".  The earliest catalog in the Unicorn Books of Darts page is from 1950, and in those catalogs you can see that Unicorn was quite imaginative and from its very earliest days, and I think that this book validates that.  Still, I'd love to see pictures of the following darts mentioned in the book:   "Treble Ring, Plain Ringed, Long Barrel, Octagon, Hexagon, Three Threes, Match, Sporting League, etc., etc."  It is possible that these are names of darts from another maker, obviously, as even in the 1950 unicorn catalog I do not see reference to any of these save the Hexagon, and the ringed ones, but rings were (and continue to be) a ubiquitous pattern on darts.

Also interesting to encounter old darts terminology as well.  "off the island" referred to a dart that missed the scoring area completely, and "leg and leg" referred to a tied best of three match.  There was also the use of the word "Up" in 01 games that I do not grok.  The author calls 501 "501 Up", and mentioned 301 Up, and maybe a few others.  What does that mean?

Lastly, the author covers the "required officials" for a darts match: Referee, Score Announcer, Score Checker, Score Marker, and each team supplied their own Recorder (for the club record book).  He doesn't go into any detail about what these officials did during a match but I would love to see it in action.  I wonder if the author was not being a bit tongue in cheek in this section.

The games covered in the latter portion of the book are:

Exactly the same as described in The Little Red Book

This is the same as Scram but you have to call your shots, and slop doesn't count.

This is the most physical, bar-roomy, game of darts I have ever heard of. Any number can play and you throw three darts per round.  It is played in 5 rounds, highest score takes the kitty, if there is one.  Elsewise, the loser can provide refreshments all round.

Round 1: Three darts at the board.  On a per dart basis, add anything over 20 to your score.  So if you hit 3 single 15's you get nothing, but if you hit 2 single 15's and a triple 15, you get 25. One the dart hitting the triple scored.

Round 2: Three darts with the players opposite hand.  All hits, in their entirety, count towards your score.

Round 3: All three darts thrown together (in a "splash").  All hits added to score.

Round 4: While blindfolded, the players gets spun around three times by his opponents and then reoriented towards the board.  Then, he throws three darts, singly, at the board and any hits go towards the score.

Round 5: Each player faces away from the board with their heels on the oche and throws three darts through his legs at the board.  Any hits count towards score.  Highest score wins!

In this book the game of Soccer is far more complicated than in the Little Red Book. I have read it twice now and I am not sure I completely understand it.  Basically, it goes like this:

  • The players spin a coin to determine who starts on ODD and who starts on EVEN (sides).  
  • The loser of the spin goes first.  
  • The object of the game is to be the first to score a number of goals (five goals, say).  
  • You score goals by hitting the bullseye (inner or outer, both count as a single goal).  
  • The trick is that in order to have a shot at the goal you have to have three successful passes.  To do that you must hit three of your side's numbers (odd, if that's what you got, even otherwise).  
  • If you hit three of the same number that is a foul, and the other team gets a turn.  
  • If you get three successful passes, then next turn you can spend three darts trying to get one or more goals.
  • After each goal, the teams switch sides. Odd becomes even, even becomes odd.
  • If your last dart ends up in a number of the other side, then the other teams gets to play.
  • Your team keeps playing until either a goal is scored, you end a turn on the opposite side, you miss the board entirely, or foul the ball.
  • If all three of your darts hit into the opposite teams numbers then that is a free shot at the goal for them and they get to spend three darts trying to hit a goal without having to get three successful passes.

Tip the Tanner
This is an odd one, and a game that can only be played on a board that has a wire spider since it involves slipping coins under the wires.  One player elects to be the banker, and the others are all buyers.  The banker places a sixpence under any wire he chooses and then the other players have to pay him a penny per three darts to have a shot at it.  If you knock the sixpence out of the board you get to keep it.  With American coinage, we don't have any coins that are six times the value of another coin, but we do have several that are 5 times the value of another coin.  So you could place a quarter under a wire and the buyers would pay a nickel per round, or a nickel under the wire and charge pennies, etc. Seems like a silly game to me, but might be fun to try.

This game another in which you must earn the right to score by hitting something on the board.  In this case it is the single seven, or any two or three numbers that total to seven exactly.  If the player has one dart left to score with he must shoot for score, and then the next round start over again with trying to hit a seven.  If playing partners it works exactly the same as if it were a two person game.  In this game, doubles and triples count as singles.  What is unclear is how many darts do you get to score with? The book makes it clear that if you spend 2 of your three darts getting the seven, then you may score with your last dart but that next round you start all over again.  However, if you hit the seven with your first dart, do you then get the remaining two darts to score with?  The book also makes it clear that if you spend all three darts getting your seven then next round you can score right away... but with your entire round or just the first dart, or what?  The game sounds like it might be fun to try but the rules are unclear at best.

Doddlums (or Table Skittles)
They say you learn something new everyday and this is what I learned today.  Apparently there is a fascinating pub game I have never heard of before in England called "Table Skittles".  If I ever go to England I will seek out a game and play it.  This dart game is apparently modeled after that other non-dart game.  It goes like this:

  1. Players take turns throwing three darts
  2. Doubles and triples count as singles in this game
  3. Each turn you have three "swings at the skittles" and the object is to score in increments of 9.
  4. Any number hit over 9 is a miss.
  5. Any number hit that pushes the current total over 9 is a miss. So if you are sitting on 3, and then hit a 7, the seven is a miss but the 3 still counts.
  6. A perfect score in a turn is to hit three 9's, for a total of 27.
  7. Some examples:
    1. if you hit 9, then 9, then 7, your score is 25
    2. if you hit 8, then 3, then 9, your score is 8, but
    3. if you hit 8, then 3, then 1, your score is 9  (make sense?)
    4. if you hit 4, then 5, then 9, your score is 18
  8. You play to exactly 101.  In your last turn, if a dart pushes you over 101, that dart is ignored, but the entire round is not a bust.  So if you have 95 when you start your turn, and hit a 6, you win.  If you were to hit a 3, and then 2, and then 7, the seven is ignored, but the 3 and the 2 count and your score becomes 100.
  9. In this game you can tie, so after the first person hits 101 exactly, all other players that are within range have one opportunity to also reach 101.

Round the Clock
Another game where doubles and triples count as singles!  All numbers but be hit in numerical order, and the 25 and 50 are optional.  The interesting twist here is that each score registered earns an extra dart.  So if you hit the 1, the 2, and then miss the 3, your turn is not over.  You retrieve your darts and keep throwing because you have earned two extra darts.  And if those two darts also score?  Yup, you get to keep going.  This seems like it is very similar to 8-Ball in pool because you could run the board without your opponent ever throwing a single dart.  This also makes winning the cork (or the coin spin?) exceptionally important!  A variation mentioned in the book is to have to hit the doubles instead of the singles (which is how we normally play here).

Handicap Round the Clock
In this game, you only play the numbers 1 thru 10, and each number is shot at in numerical order, advancing numbers each round.  So in round one, all players aim at the 1 bed, scoring anything they hit in that bed alone. If you miss the 1's entirely you score nothing for that round, but move on to 2's next round anyway.  If you miss any of the higher numbers (8, 9, 10) in those rounds you tally your score and stop playing.  Once all ten rounds are over, the player with the highest score wins, even if it is a player who missed the 8's or the 9's and had to stop playing.

Shove Ha'Penny
In this game, any number of players can play and only the numbers 1 - 9 are used, with an optional "W" (stands for "Woozle" (which means bullseye)). Each player must get three hits in each number to win and the first to do so wins, but each player also has one opportunity to tie after the first player completes their numbers.  There is no score in this game.  The interesting twist with this game is that if you score more of a number than you need to, you shove the extra scores to the right on the scoreboard.  So if you accidentally score five 1's then the two you do not need are given to the player who comes after you.  If he only needs one, then the remaining extra goes to the next player who needs it.  The one catch is that you cannot receive the winning mark.  You must throw your own winning dart.  The game seems very socialist to me.

Two variations are given in this book. One variation is exactly like the game Captain Everson describes in his book.  The second variation is very similar to the first, with the exception that only one player can win a hole, and once that hole is one the play moves on to the next hole.  The player wins the most holes wins.  What's a little bit unclear, however, is how one wins a hole.  The book seems to imply that all that is needed is for a single dart to hit anywhere in the number.  Seems a bit too easy.  I like Captain Everson's version better.

The author presents three variations of this game, and none of them are the cricket we know and love from American dart leagues.  Rather it is a darts game modeled loosely on the field game of Cricket (an ancestor of American Baseball).  Some people know this dart game as "Wickets and Bats".

In all variations, the players take turns being the bowler or the batsman.  Of the bowler he must get a number of wickets, and during that effort the batsman does his best to accumulate score.  The variations all have to do with what constitutes a wicket, how many wickets are needed, and how one accumulates score.  Once all the wickets have been scored the players trade roles.  High score wins the game.

Variation 1:  
3 wickets must be scored.  A wicket is any double or triple.  A batsman may score on anything other than a double or triple, including the bull, but if he hits a double or triple his round is over.

Variation 2:
10 wickets must be scored. A wicket is a bull.  A batsman can only keep whatever he score above 40 in each round, including bulls, doubles, and triples.

Variation 3:
10 wickets must be scored.  The wickets are the doubles 1 - 10 (in order). A batsman may score anywhere on the board except the currently needed double, which gets him out.  He keeps all the points he scores during the round.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

League Didn't Suck Last Night

In fact, I'd say it was more good than bad, personally, but now that I think on it, it could not have gotten too much worser for the team as a whole.  We were walloped 17-4.  But it was nice to be back in Coopers playing darts again.  For years and years that was my teams' home bar and I even took the time to seek out a plaque with my name on it up on their trophy wall.  Seems like many of them have gone missing.

The night started off exactly right.  I got there an hour before play started to warm up, have a drink, and relax.  Several of the opposing players were there and one of them, quite a good darter, was down for playing some old school warm up games.  First we played Golf, exactly as described in Captain Everson's book, and then we played a game of Halve It, as described in The Little Red Book of Darts, except as you can see from the score board, we played with 12 targets instead of 11.  Both games were fun to play, and I enjoyed meeting the opposing player in this way as well.

As mentioned, the team didn't do well over all but I did mostly okay.  I would like to have hit more tons, but I did hit a decent amount of 60's over the night, and the highlight of the night was a cricket win that contained two 7-mark rounds.  I played two singles games, a 401 and a cricket, and won them both.  I also played four doubles matches, two 501 and 2 cricket, but only won one of those: a cricket with Henri.

My only singles 401 was against Jeff and it was a good one.  I opened with a Ton, hit four triple-20's during the game, and eventually took out 12 by going: miss outside, single 6, double 3.  To my credit though, I hit the double 3 with my first shot at it.  I remarked to my opponent that I couldn't remember the last time I hit a double 3 on purpose, and outside of practice that is certainly true!

My only singles cricket was also a good game, a win against Dave.  We were both playing well, and in fact he had a 5-count in the 19's early in the game but I was able to out shoot him, barely, for the win.  I didn't have any spectacular rounds in the game, but it ended with a score of 180-168, and I had a 2.1 average for the game.

Doubles mostly sucked.  My first doubles 501 was with Dani, and other than opening the game with an 85 I threw rubbish, including several misses at the out.  They out-darted us plain and simple.  My second doubles 501 was with Julia and that was also a loss.  In that game I hit a late Ton but it wasn't enough to catch us up.  Out-darted again.

My first doubles cricket was with Henri and it was a fine game, and a win.  We started slow and got in the hole fast.  Henri and I both threw goose eggs in our first rounds but the other team did not.  However, at about mid-game I hit a 7-count in the 19's catching us up in score, and in my penultimate round I hit another 7-count: triple 16, triple-15, single bull, which caught us up in numbers and gave us a good shot at the win.  Next time I was up I hit a double bull for the win.  Here is the last 7 Mark:

The last doubles cricket was with Chris, and a loss.  Both teams seemed spent by that time.  As a testament to this, they beat our 1.1 MPR with a 1.2!

The darts I brought with me last night:

The Nobu's and the Coppers were my mainstays, swapping between them freely throughout the night.  They both threw decently well.  The Hammerheads didn't come out until the team game, and I did not throw any tons with them.  One interesting occurrence in the night was this:

Another dart came in behind it and drove the flight into the Twin Grip stem, partially splitting it.  The wonderful thing about this collision, and Twin Grips in general, is that all I needed to do was remove the flight, rotate it 90 degrees, and put it back on the stem.  Just.  Like.  New.  Of course one more such collision and the flight will be completely spent, but that's quite all right.

Over all a good night out playing darts :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Thank You Steve Coote (#46)

Years ago when I was more active in the online dart forums I received these darts, which are Steve Coote's 21 gram signature Datadart, as a gift from the man himself as a thank you for being active in his online community.  They have proven true for many years, and I have to be honest, I do not think this is the first maximum to come off these darts either.  The Ton-80 below came in practice. Lately I have been working mostly with my Nobu's but from time to time I pick up another set (usually chosen completely randomly by a throw of dice) and throw a quick 301 to break the practice up some.  Especially if the 60's are few and far in between.

Practice lately has been worrisome to me.  The 60's are indeed few and far in between and worse, my groupings are not very tight.  Sometimes my throws are so scattershot that I wonder if I have forgotten how to throw a dart entirely.  But last night I also hit a faux max (in addition to the genuine Ton-80 pictured above), and better: the three 60's were sequential.  Two were the last two darts in the previous round, and I plucked out my initial 1 or 5 or whatever it was and gave it another toss and hit the 60 again.  These are the small encouragings that keep me going, I guess.

The Coote's above are wearing medium standard condor flights.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Tiny Dart Kit

Historically I have always brought two sets of darts, at least, to a league match because if I felt like I wasn't throwing one well, I would haul out the other set and throw it for a while.  A system that has always worked well enough for me, being a B+ average player for most of my darting life.  The problem of course is that all the experts say to not do that.  And furthermore, it feeds into the notion that it is the brush, not the artist, and that there really is music inside a piano.

This week I went to league, as far as I know for the first time ever, with but a single set of darts.  My Nobu's.  My performance was mediocre, but the temptation was not there to go to a different set of darts and I guess I did well enough.  On thing I do very much like about bringing one set with me, and what's more, bringing just the Nobu's is that I can fit everything I need into a small container:

The container originally held small round-end thumb tacks, but it happens to be a smidgen longer than a medium length Twin Grip stem and the Nobu El-C points.  The container fits a sharpener and the barrels with ample room to spare.  I also cut up an old clamshell for some other random product into a couple of slim flight sleeves and two of those also fit into the little box.

The only problem is that there was still too much room left over.  So I cut up a little bit of foam and placed it into the bottom of the box and now the contents do not rattle.  I like my little dart kit, but I think it could be slimmer.  I will eventually replace the round Unicorn sharpener with a slimmer fish hook sharpener, and maybe ditch two of the three spare stems and try to find a small container to fit it all.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Match 3 Held a Max and a Win

League was wonderful last night, like with a Capital-F.  Not only did my team win its first match all season long, but we won it in the most spectacular fashion possible:  my captain, quite a darting competitor, stepped to the oche in the Team 801 game with 118 left.  She proceeds to hit: Triple 20, Double 4, Double Bull for the out and the win, not only of the game, but that was the deciding game in the match.  We won the night 11-10, and I can tell you that victory tasted sweet on the palettes of an otherwise winless team :)

My night got off to a smashing start.  I played a warm up game against my captain before the match started of DIDO 301 and she was down to 48 before I ever got on, but I was able to drop the score quickly and take out 16.  That gave me enough confidence to carry me into the match, and I must say, if I'd never got on in that game, I might have been bothered come match time. Might have.

I played two singles matches in the night, winning both, a SIDO 401 and a Cricket.  I also played 5 doubles games: 2 SIDO 501 (a win and a loss), and 3 Cricket (2 losses and a win). Over all I won more than I lost, but I think my performance was mostly lackluster with two notable exceptions.

My first 401 was against their Captain, and while I hit my 45th lifetime ton-80 early in the game, it took me 18 darts to get the score down to 30, and then 27 fucking darts to reduce that 30 to an out of double-2.  That includes an embarrassing 4 busts in a row with 13 remaining (which I think all were single 5, single 18 for the bust).  But I won.  I call this an A-to-C game because in the space of one game I go from A League caliber play to C League caliber play.

My singles Cricket match was a win, but it was an unspectacular B League effort for both of us. No nice rounds for either of us.

My first doubles 501 was a nice win with Julia, but it was unremarkable.  My second 501 with Dani was a loss on the other hand but yielded back to back 100's for me.

Doubles Cricket was a mess.  My first game was a loss with John and it was a combination of them playing well, and us not hitting anything we aimed at (for the most part).  The second loss was with Julia, and pretty much the same story.  It is worth noting that their best player, Jeff, schooled us in both games.  He is a mighty fine shot.

My one Doubles Cricket win was with Dani, and while we outshot the other team, there were no spectacular rounds for anyone in that game.

The team game was a win, and storied.  Dani took out 118 for the game win and the match win as mentioned above.  I hit nothing remarkable in that game.

But on the whole, it was a fun night.  I am certain my 3-dart averages went down in both 01 and Cricket but I don't care.  The Ton-80 made the night.

Hit My 45th Max in League

Last night was a fun and good night which I will chronicle later.  For now, I will just say that my 45th lifetime Ton-80 came in a SIDO 401 game against the opposing captain in league last night and I could not be happier.  This is the first Maximum I have hit in almost six years:

To be fair though, I have played very little darts in that time so I couldn't expect much.  Still, 5 years 8 months (2062 days to be exact) is quite a dry spell :/

This Max came off the 19 gram Nobu's dressed in medium Twin Grip flights, and smooth poly coal cracker flights.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Bar Player's Guide to Winning Darts

I have read this one before, a long time ago, when first getting into darts.  I don't remember if I got a lot out of it at the time, but having reread it recently I decided to jot a few things down.  The book is short, like 120+ pages with lots of pictures.  Nothing in it is overly complex, it unquestionably aimed at the novice player, and can be read in the space of an hour and a half, tops.

Interesting (to me) tidbits:

The author's home bar is the Fox and Hounds Irish Pub in Brandon, Florida.  Just outside of Tampa, I could easily swing by it on the way to a relative's house next time I am in Florida.

I always wondered why old wooden darts were called "Widdies".  As it turns out, they are called such because there is a company in Philadelphia called the Widdy Dart Board Company.  I guess only some of the old wooden darts are properly called Widdies!  Some day I will visit to them and ask for a tour.

The author quips that "you cannot outspend your opponent to gain victory" which is deliciously true.  I love it that a guy shooting $300 designer darts from Japan, supplemented with every conceivable technology built into the dart, can be bested by a person shooting a $3 set of brass darts. You absolutely cannot buy an edge in this game.

The author does what I have always done:  brings two sets of darts with him when he goes out to play (presumably in tournaments and league nights).  I have always done this, usually alternating between the sets throughout the night but I am going to stop this practice.

At one point he states that only the barrel matters.  As long as your barrel fits how you hold the dart and is the weight you are most comfortable with, everything else is "fluff".  I disagree.  Darts have to be properly and carefully configured.  The size of the flight matters and so does the length of the stem.  Misconfigure a dart and even the most perfectest barrel will not fly right for you.

Through league play he learned the same hard lesson I learned: carry chalk and dry erase markers with you to league night.  The bars WILL NOT FUCKING HAVE THEM.  Sadly though, in the Seattle league we have moved to an electronic (cloud based) scoring system.  It has its conveniences, of course, but is an extraordinary departure from darts tradition.

The author superglues his flights to his nylon stems.  I was blown away when I read that, but he has vision issues so it is understandable.

He states that when your darts land in the board they should end up angled up slightly.  I disagree.  They should be completely perpendicular to the board and not angled in any direction.  They should hopefully be mostly invisible to you when you are aiming your next dart.

One thing he says that I like a lot, and which I think I have mostly failed to do in my time as a dart player is that, in practice, a player should endeavor to cultivate the best ratio of speed to accuracy he can.  In other words, your darts should be delivered strongly and quickly to the board, while not sacrificing accuracy.  I know I don't through hard enough.  I need to be less weak-wristed in my throwing and cultivate a strong delivery.  I have actually been working on that lately but it is hard after so many years to change your throw.  But I am convinced that is the next step in the improvement.  According to the author, this will more likely than not involve cultivating a "snap" at the end of your delivery, and it is this snapping of the dart the provides the speed to board.  An old workmate of mine has this naturally and he is a good player.

He also states that there are no bad numbers on a dart board.  Depending on the game this is absolutely true.  In Cricket however, most of the numbers are not used, and in any 01 game, every single is important (usually while setting up out shots) and every double is important (you never know where you will have to go out), but I seriously cannot think of a use for some of the triples. When would you ever need to throw a triple three, for example?

When it comes to discussing the most common games, 01 and Cricket, I find aggravation and also delight.

First he asserts that 301 is the world's most oft played game and I heartily disagree with this.  The world's most oft played game has got to be SIDO 501.  That is the mainstay of all tournament and league play outside the US.  Not 301.

He also asserts, not once but on four separate occasions, that to win Cricket, in addition to having closed all the Cricket categories, you must have more points than your opponent.  This is false.  You may consider this quibbling on semantics but I consider that statement to be not only inaccurate, but potentially misleading to a new player.  In reality, to win a game of Cricket, you must have closed all of the cricket numbers, and not have fewer points than your opponent.  That's right.  You can have the exact same number of points as your opponent, and still win, so long as you have closed your numbers and he has not.  He is not the only author to commit this error.  Many have, and it is frustrating and aggravating every time I see it.

Another quibble I will make is on terminology.  He refers to the act of hitting all three of the required hits in a bed and then still being able to score on them as "closing" the bed.  I believe this is also inaccurate terminology.  If you hit your three marks on a bed and your opponent has not, I believe this is more correctly referred to as "opening" that bed.  As in, the bed is open for scoring until your opponent closes it.  once both players have hit their three marks in a bed, only then may it be referred to accurately as "closed".  It is worth noting that while I am not the only one who believes this, not everyone agrees.  Wikipedia does, however :)

The author also shows an incorrectly written Cricket scoreboard.  He shows the score of '18' written next to the 18 bed on the score board instead of the top of the scoring column where it should be.  This is misleading for a couple reasons.  First, it make it seem that extra scores in a bed are to be written next to the bed.  This is not the case.  Points should be tallied in a score column.  Second, it does not make it clear that points are totaled as you go in the game not tallied in the end.  For example, a newbie player might look at that picture and wonder "So, if I get an extra 15, do I write '15' next to the 15 bed?  Or add it to the 18 and write it somewhere else?"

The book introduces, to my utter delight, a variation on cricket that I had not seen before called "Texas Cricket" in which you include Doubles, Triples, and "Colors".  The doubles and triples means that you need to hit three of each to open or close that category, and "Colors" means that you need, in one round, to plant your three darts into three different colored beds.  I think this is interesting because it requires hitting a triple or a double to get at least one of the colors.  If you only need to hit three of the same color you could aim at the fat singles and get it easily.

I also like it that the author covers Cutthroat Cricket, as most books do not.  It is an excellent barroom variation for when you have three people and wanna play darts.  Essentially, you give points away instead of keeping them, and lowest score wins.  In a similar vein, he also provides the best description the American Dart Game that I have ever seen in a book.  Usually the focus is exclusively on the British game.

He says "Abel slew Cain again."  Pretty sure it is the other way around, bro.

I love the darts ladder idea.  If I were in pubs more, or if I had my own place, I would totally set one up.

Love the other games section, as always.  Here are the new ones I have not seen in other books (yet):

I have heard of Golf being played before but I have never seen the rules written out explicitly.  I am sure I have played a number of barroom variations but it is uncommon enough that I do not remember what they are.  Here is this book's version:  Any number of players can play, three darts per turn.  9 holes uses numbers 1 through 9 in order, and 18 holes uses the numbers 1 through 18, in order.  Lowest score wins, and you earn strokes in this manner:  Triple = 1, Double  = 2, Narrow Single = 3, Wide Single = 4, total miss = 5.  Only the most recently thrown dart counts.  So if you throw a triple with your first dart, stop there!

Double Down
Very similar to Halve It from the Little Red Darts Book.  The differences are that in this game you start with a gratuitous 40 points, and that the order of the targets is set and non negotiable: 20, 19, any double, 18, 17, any triple, 16, 15, Bull.  As with Halve It, a miss halves your score, rounding down, and you do not get eliminated by hitting 0.  Highest score wins.

Very similar to the game of the same name in the Little Red Book, with the differences being:
  1. You only use beds 1 - 7 instead of all 20.
  2. If you miss the 3 bed you lose, if you miss the 7 bed you halve your score.
Other than that the game is identical.

The book offers two varieties of Killer.  one which is exactly like the one offered up in The Little Red Book, and another which is quite interesting.  Any number of players, three darts per turn.  The first person to throw established the first standard, which is whatever he threw.  Whoever follows that person must better the standard or they have busted.  Bust three times and you are out of the game.  Last man standing wins, there is no high score in this game.  Once there is a bust, the person to follow sets a new standard, and the game proceeds as such until all but one player has busted three times.

English Cricket
This is what the Little Red Book called 'Cricket' and what I know as 'Wickets and Bats'.  The only different between this book's description of the game and that in the Little Red Book is that this books calls for 9 wickets before the players switch up, and not 10.  This book also calls for scoring to be whatever remains after 40 is subtracted, whereas the other book did not.

Small Sixes
Like basketball's 'Horse', but for darts! The game doesn't really start until one player hits the narrow single six wedge with either his first or second dart.  Once that happens, with the remaining dart(s) the player will shoot for something which will become the target. Throwing the third dart is not mandatory if the player hits something good with the first dart (like an inner bull!). Once the target is established, it remains the target until it is hit again.  Any player who doesn't hit it loses one of their three lives.  The player who does hit it must establish a new target with any remaining darts.  The game proceeds as such until last man standing.  Sounds like a fun game.

That's it!  One last thing the author says is that he is baffled that darts is not more popular.  I agree.  Seems like we would have an American televised league by now.

Friday, May 10, 2019

How to Master the Sport of Darts

I recently reread one of my favorite dart books.  It is called How to Master the Sport of Darts, by George Silberzahn.  It is not my favorite because it offers sage advice on how to play darts (though it does) but rather because of the hidden gem inside that you would never even guess at from the title or the cover: the entire second half of the book is called WYBMADIITY, and it is dedicated to American darts legends reflecting on their careers. Good stuff.

The first half of the book is aimed at those new to the sport, I think, as it offers solid advice on how to practice and how to think about darts.  I will not dwell on this part since I personally did not get that much out of it, but that is not to say that it is not worth your time to read.  After all, Mr. Silberzahn is a darts legend himself, well laden with his own accolades, and what's more, he has dedicated himself tirelessly to helping dart players all over the world become better darters through schools and online forums.

I want to spend a few moments jotting down my take-aways from the section called WYBMADIITY.  This section really spoke to me and I am so glad Mr. Silberzahn took the time to include it.  Listening to legends speak about their careers and what darts was like back in the day is immensely enjoyable and quite engrossing. I need to spend some time interviewing dart players myself!

First, throughout all of the legends I noticed a few commonalities that are worth noting:

  1. Many of them take the time to state they don't aim the dart, they just shoot it at the target. I find this funny (funny peculiar, not funny haha). I have never seen anyone, no matter how novice they were, try to aim a dart.  The very, very natural human tendency when throwing anything is to look at the target and let 'er rip.  Funny that so many of the legends felt this was important to mention.
  2. Natural vs lots of practice. Most of the legends talk about how there are two kinds of dart players:  those to whom the act of throwing a dart accurately comes naturally, and those who require tons and tons of practice to be one of the best.  Oddly, I think they break down to about half and half. This is encouraging to me.  It means that practice can get me there.
  3. Most of them mention how important it is to have good shoes!  I could not agree more.
  4. They all HATE to lose!  You will find that virtually every single legend talks in some way about their utter distaste for losing a dart game.  Many will discuss how they are still polite to their opponents but they still really, really hated to lose.  This is interesting to me and perhaps my most salient take-away.  I need to develop this, if indeed it can be developed.
  5. They virtually all, and I mean ALL, played money games.  I have personally always rejected the idea of playing for money outright, but perhaps I am wrong in this attitude. I think I can afford to lose a two-spot to a friend.

Now on to the Legends.  The numbers after each point is the page number and paragraph where I pulled the info.  I don't know why I started doing this, but I forgot to do it with some of the later legends.  I guess so if I ever wanted to go back and get more context I could.  Sounds like something I would do.

  • Hated to lose. (54.2)
  • He believes that playing for money sharpens your game. (54.5)
  • Like me, he found that eating before a match or a tournament dulled you.  I don't know if it is food coma, or what, but he and I agree on this point. (56.4)
  • He owned a bar called the Mt. Royal Inn, in NJ which became the Mecca of darts in that era (on the east coast anyway).  I would like to visit there sometime! (57.4)
  • Signature Dart: 21 and 24 gram "Diamond Back" from sponsor Fansteel,  Brass (it was a mistake not to go straight to tungsten). Later, the signature dart was the "Snake" tungsten. (59.3)

  • Again, loved to play for money. (62.1)
  • I found it fascinating that players from Philly dominated the NAODT in 1973 using wooden darts! I might have to take some Widdies to league with me hahaha. (64.1)
  • When at the top of his game used a pencil thin brass dart with solid plastic flights that weighed 16 grams. Used these for four years. "Had them made" which I don't know what that means. He also played around a lot with different darts and determined that the dart itself makes no difference. He rarely stuck with the same dart. Personally, I find this extremely validating.  I am always switching between darts. (64.3)
  • (Of course) he hated losing. (65.4)
  • This is cool: he covered his dartboard with newspaper to analyze his misses. Then, studying the scattershot miss pattern, figured out what he was going to do to correct it. (65.5)
  • When he practiced at home, his dog jumping around didn't bother him. He used this as a way to prepare for tournaments so that he could ignore distractions better. (66.1) I also had a dog that would love to hang around me while I practiced at home.  However, I always new where she was.  I was paranoid that a bounce out would hit her so I kept her behind the oche at all times.
  • "If you're not stretched to a higher level, you don't play to a higher level. Good play breeds good play. Good players make everyone around them better." (67.1) Love this quote.
  • "Darts is a repetition game, but after that it becomes a mind game. It is like throwing a 180. If you've never done it in practice you won't do it in competition. But once you do it in practice it'll come in competition." (67.2) . I also love this quote.  It is very encouraging in a way.
  • He was a slow methodical player and didn't let anyone rush him. Before each match he was going to throw 15 to 21 darts and impatience on the part of the opposing player be damned. (68.1)
  • Engaged in gamesmanship. Tried to get other players thinking about their mechanics, was deliberately slow, pulled darts one by one, excused himself to the bathroom, etc. (68.4) . This makes me a little sad to read.  I find this behavior very unsportsmanlike. Perhaps it was just that era and I shouldn't judge tho.
  • In 1975 he became sponsored by Kwiz darts (Bob McLeod was the Kwiz agent in America) and got a signature dart with his name on it but doesn't say what kind of dart it was. (70.5)

  • His first real dart was a 19 gram brass dart with feather flights and he stayed with it for a long time but he eventually switched to a plastic flight (which I am assuming means the plastic molded all in one). Then switched to a 22 gram dart with three ridges, which was eventually produced by Fansteel as his signature dart, but it is unclear if this is a brass or a tungsten dart. This dart was dressed in a small aluminum Accudart stem and a standard plastic flight. Never changed darts after that and throws the same dart even now! (74.1)
  • Liked to play for money. Felt it was a great confidence builder. (76/77)
  • Hated to lose but kept his cool. Tried to be a gentleman about losing. (77.4)

  • If he lost he had to get even. (84.1)
  • Signature Darts: 24 gram with aluminum stems and tear drop flights from Accudart.  Does not specify brass or tungsten, but it was 1988 so prolly tungsten.  Won NAODT with widdies! This was mentioned by another legend, how the Philly players dominated tournaments with wooden darts.  (84.4)
  • Hated to lose. Could not tolerate losing. (86.2)  I love this phraseology. It conjures the image of the body physically rejecting failure.
  • Played money matches, sometimes for big money.
  • He believes that partners requires compatibility. They can't blame each other for bad shooting. A pat on the back is good too. (89.4)
  • One of my favorite stories from all the legends reflections in this book is one Ray tells about how Circus Circus came to town and all the dart players lined up at the balloon popping booth winning all the prizes.  Eventually they were asked to leave! (90.5) I have had two instances in my life in which I have won prizes at such booths, and think on them fondly.  I was never asked to leave, but that is because I never played more than one or two games.  But still, love this story.

  • Personal note: of all the legends that have reflections in this book, I enjoyed Julie's the most.  I don't know why, but her stories really appeal to me.
  • Unlike many of the others who got their start because they were somehow associated with a bar, or a restaurant, Julie got hers because she was in the darts business from a young age. Her father owned a shop called Eagle Darts, which she eventually worked for. She has also worked for DMI and Fansteel. (92/93)
  • I love this story: When she was young, her father one day brought home a bunch of darts stuff and dumped it on the kitchen counter and announce that "Were all going to play darts". A dartboard got hung in the family room (after all, darts was now a family activity) as opposed to being relegated to the basement or the garage like most folks. What a wonderful gift her father gave her and her siblings.  What's more, as we all know, "a family that plays together, stays together". This story is so Normal Rockwell, I just love it. (93.5)
  • She says that she liked the heavier darts, and that from the beginning she threw a smooth tapered 32 gram dart. (94.1) . I would dearly love to see that dart she threw.
  • She was sponsored by Spalding in the 80s. Shot with brass until copper tungsten was available but she didn't like it due to the oxidation. (94.2) . I find this odd.  I personally absolutely love copper tungsten darts, and you would think that a player like Julie, who appreciated a smooth darts, would also appreciate the oxidation that comes with copper tungsten.
  • Didn't like to lose. Better now than before but still does not like it. (96.4)
  • I love this story: In 1975 at the tender age of 17 she won the NAODT. After she won it, she was not only interviewed but then had to go back and sit in a high school classroom and think about how she was the best dart player in all of North America. (97.4) What a feat. I won a few trophies in high school myself but never for darts (they were for debate).  I know the feeling that comes with sitting in a classroom full of people that have absolutely no idea that you accomplished something awesome. It is isolating, and exhilarating at the same time.
  • She says that we have a problem in America with how sloppily dart players dress. We need people to dress up more. (98.3) . I couldn't agree more!
  • I absolutely love this notion: She loved playing money matches, especially to prepare for a tournament. Her philosophy is that 20 dollars will allow you to decide how much pressure you want. 20 one dollar games? 2 ten dollar games? How about 10 two dollar games? (99.4)
  • Favorite story of them all:  While on a business trip to Cincinnati Ohio, Julie, seven months pregnant at the time, was cooling her heels in a bar, throwing darts casually.  She didn't have anything else on her agenda other than to kill time.  In walks a big "Texan looking" guy wearing a big Texan looking hat.  He says to the bartender: "I'm looking for a money game. I'm pretty good, and I'm looking for a money game."  Bar tender points over to the diminutive lady by boards, barefoot and pregnant, and says "she'll play you."  With dollar signs in his eyes, and an under-appreciation of his opponent, he challenges Julie to $10 a game.  She accepts.  She takes $50 off him in five straight games before he slinks off with his tail between his legs.  I may have gotten a few details wrong, but I like my telling of the story :)

  • At the tender she of 12 she got her start in darts. I looked her up on Wikipedia to learn when that might have been and was surprised to learn she was born in or about 1923, placing the start of her fascination at about 1935.
  • I found her story poignant. While still a teenager she almost won a guy's bakery right off him, ruining him and his family but in the last few darts decided to throw the game. First Lady of Darts is right: she had skill and heart. After that she lived a very full life before she ever threw a dart again, including raising three kids and burying a husband.
  • Her first sponsorship was with Kwiz who made her a brass version of her Widdie darts. How I would love to see those! Later she was sponsored by Sportcraft, who gave her her choice of Darts. She chose John Lowe tungsten darts with a 1.25" stem and standard flights.
  • As an erstwhile numismatist I appreciated this story:  In 1974 she won the Cutty Sark Open, which included a cup-style trophy.  After the win she was standing outside the building where the tourney took place with her trophy.  Along walks a guy, oblivious as passersby seem to be, and drops a dime into the trophy thinking it was a beggar's cup!  She kept the dime in the trophy as a fine memory of the event.  In 1974, the silver coin era was already 10 years in the past, but still, that dime could have been anything from a brand new shiny 1974 FDR dime to a Mercury Head dime.  I wish I could see it.  I wonder if she has a picture of it anywhere.
  • She would console the people she best because she knew how much it hurt to lose. First Lady of Darts, right there.

  • Practiced bull a lot because "if you control the bull you control the game".
  • Sometimes practiced at 8'6" so that the 8' line seemed closer.  This is a brilliant idea.  I am going to try it during my next practice session.
  • Used Silver Trim metal darts with Silver Trim flights. Unclear on the type of metal. When sponsored by Kwiz they copied the silver Trim dart and made it 15 grams and brass.  once again, I wish I could see pictures of all their favored, and signature darts.

  • Recommends moving point darts to everyone. Loves them.
  • Started the coal cracker trend (invented them?) Because he was always cutting his flights down.
  • I notice that I am starting to take fewer notes on the players!


  • Started after he got out of the service in 1959 which prolly makes him the same age as my dad. Payed American darts for most of his early career. 
  • Even though he showed early brilliance, quickly becoming the anchor of his first team, he was dissatisfied. He set a goal to raise his average two points per year and he followed through, succeeding. 
  • The way he described his throw is very interesting and I must say, the exact opposite of the typical advice: he dipped his body down on bended knee during draw back, and then sprang forward bodily during the throw. Highly unusual!
  • I love it that he practiced every day and then went out and "hustled" darts on the weekend. This implies that not only did he love money games but that he had a strategy for tricking his opponent into thinking he might win!!
  • Interesting that they won a tournament where you had to use a "Deco" dart as of to the wooden darts they were used to. I wonder what a Deco dart is!!
  • A few of the legends talked about getting the "Yips". Danny got them and they were difficult to overcome. I don't know anything at all about Eric Bristow, but Danny implies that the Yips did him in! I have never had the Yips myself. I can't even imagine what they are like. 
  • One story I found interesting was that he was tricked into playing a high dollar first-to-26 match against Rick Ney, who was one of the best in the country at the time and ended up destroying him. Not just during that match, but his overall confidence and subsequently his career as well. That's already a sad story in my eyes, but Danny always felt really bad about killing the career of a good guy and a great player.
  • "The crowd never bothered me anywhere I played, even in England where the guys from Scotland were dropping their pants." Seriously? Who fucking does that?
  • I love it that he always played with the underdog to help them and if a friend of his got hustled he would always win the money back for him. What a great guy. 
  • He mentions a player named Rick Nye several times but I am unsure if this is a misspelling of Ney or if it really is a different player. 

Anyway.  Those are the American Darts Legends covered in this book.  I highly recommend this book.  Fascinating read!

Dart Books

I have discovered, on Beni Petris' webpage, a fine listing of books about darts and I have taken it and converted it into a google sheets document that anyone can view, here:

Needless to say I have barely made a dent.

I recall discussing the idea of books about darts with a good friend and (at the time, anyway) teammate of mine who quipped that, for most dart players, the idea of reading a book about darts is about as foreign as the idea of reading a book about drinking a beer.  To some degree I agree with him.  I recognize that I am different in that 1) I developed a love of reading at a very early age and I have always been a voracious reader, and that 2) I am not just a typical league darter.  I am a darts aficionado, and I have the collector gene, which prompts me to collect not just dart stuff, but books as well.

What really turned me on to reading about darts is not a desire to get better (although I have that desire) but rather the WYBMADIITY section of Silberzahn's book.

Happy reading!

Thursday, May 09, 2019


This statistical analysis of the game is one of the most fascinating sites I have encountered in a long while:

A leaguemate turned me on to it.  Thanks!

A Poor Outing

The second match of my 2019 Spring season was a bust, personally.  The highlights were both related to the people and the place.  The dart alley as you can see in the pic below was, if a bit narrow, beautifully done.  The next time I go though, I am going to take a toe line checker with me as I am certain the board were a tad bit close to the oche.

The second highlight was that we played against a team of friendly, fun to shoot with darters.  The food is supposed to be good too, but I didn't get there in sufficient time to get a bite to eat. That's okay though because I have gotten out of the habit of eating before a match.  Food coma!

My darts sucked.  That's all there is to say about it.  I won two games: a singles cricket, and a doubles cricket, and lost the rest.  The team game was also a win, and I scored a 100, but those points are lost forever due to a technical limitation of the software we use to score games.  But don't get me wrong; I am not sad over a measly ton, even if it was fully half of my glory points for the evening :/

My only 401 (against Steve) was a well deserved loss as I had 4 darts at the double before my opponent took it out.  It was a nice dramatic turn-around win for him though.  in our second last round I was sitting on 55 and he was sitting on 148. I whittled my 55 to 16 with 2 darts and missed the out with my third, and he scored a ton.  Then in my next round all three darts at the 16 were outside misses and he took out 48 as pretty as you please.  With 2 darts no less.  So good on him for a nice (and probably quite satisfying) win, but shame on me for so many misses at the out.

My first singles Cricket was a win against their captain, Jeff, was my only singles win.  There was nothing remarkable about the game, other than that I threw a solid 1.8 MPT and I feel that I won because I was just slightly more solid than he was that game.  I like him immensely.  Good guy.  My last singles cricket was a loss against Nick, also quite a like-able fellow and a good sportsman to boot.  The story here is simple.  He threw a good game, I did not.

My doubles matches were unremarkable.  The one win I had was with Henry and I opened with a 5 mark round on 20's and 19's.  We eked out the win but not by much.  In one of the doubles 501 losses I hit a ton and in one of the doubles cricket losses I threw quite well, but we still lost.  During that game I put up 18 marks, which I have no idea what it does to my average.

I alternated pretty evenly between the two sets of darts above throughout the match.  On top, same as last week, are the 19 gram MP Nobu's with medium twin-grip stems and smooth poly slim flights.  The bottom set are the Dagnabits, of course, with short non-spinning FitFlight stems and standard FitFlights on back.  I threw equally unwell with both sets.  Next week I am bringing a single set: the Nobus.

I am not even really sure what my problem is.  Perhaps I am expecting too much from myself at this point in my return.  Perhaps my former success in darts was the result of consistent practice over the course of years.  I have been out of league for 4 to 5 years so maybe I just need to get back to basics and practice every day.  Here is my assignment for practice over the next week:  everyday I must hit 5 bulls, 5 60's, and 5 random doubles.  Then thats it.  My shots will not be rapid fire, but rather focused and paced.  My throws will not be weak, but rather forceful.

Next week we are at our home pub.  Looking forwards to it!

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Take your time, bro.

I love this video.  Check out the 2x4 nailed to the floor for the oche.  Check out the hair doos.  I love the grainy oldness of this video, and whats more the result.  Jocky Wilson, who was ranked #4 in the world at the time, was bested by an un-accoladed "abattoir worker" who took his sweet time.  Why was Jocky throwing so fast?  It was seriously rapid fire.  It's not a race, brah!

You don't get points for how quickly you get off the oche.  Take your time.  Zone in on your target.  Empty your mind.  I appreciate Terry Downs' style.

Monday, May 06, 2019

The Little Red Book of Darts

I have had this book in my "will probably never read but it is about darts" pile for I don't know how many years, and so I finally broke it out and started reading it. On the whole, I do not recommend it unless you get it for free or for next to nothing.  The book is a scant 100 pages, mostly cartoons, and the rest is divided into: 80% dry (and very family-safe) humor, and 20% a listing of games.  For me, the humor didn't work, but then, to be fair, my sense of humor is quite different from the average dart player, prolly.  Some may find the book downright hysterical.  I found tremendous value in the section that lists out games, however.

Also, in the section pertaining to the rules of the game I found two tidbits that struck me:

  1. The book asserts that once you have busted in an 01 game, you are NOT allowed to throw your remaining darts, and in fact, it is considered rude to do so.  This is a reversal from what I have always believed, which is that the player who approached the oche with three darts is entitled to throw those three darts no matter what.  I shall have to look this up in the ADO rules and see what they say about it.
  2.  It validates the notion that is the chalker makes a mistake, it is the player's responsibility to catch it before they surrender the dart lane to their opponent, else the chalker's mistake stands.  This is quite hard for many players to swallow, and I have seen some soreness over it. But it is absolutely true.  I would take this a step further and that is: if you pull your darts out of the dart board, that means you are accepting the chalkers recording of your score no matter what it is.  Your opportunity to correct the chalker ends when you pull your darts.

Click to Embiggen
Now onto the good stuff, the new games I learned about in this book:


Two Players.  Take turns throwing at the inner bull (the "50") until one player hits it.  once it is hit the player now has control of the ball and can score goals.  A double (any double) is a goal.  It is now the other players sole concern to wrest control of the ball away from the opponent, else he cannot score goals.  you can only score goals if you have control of the ball.  First player to ten goals wins.

Hm.  My first thought is that at my level of play (B League) the first person to hit that coveted 50 is going to score ten doubles long before the other player can hit the 50.  This might have to be lightened up a bit so that any bull gains control of the ball.

Cricket (Wickets & Bats)

This tired old book, written a good 40 years ago, calls the game I have always known as Wickets & Bats by the name of Cricket, which as we all know is a staple of league play through out America. Here is how the book says to play Wickets & Bats: 

One player chooses to start with wickets (the bull), and the other starts with bats (scoring).  The player scoring builds the highest possible score they can before the other player hits ten bulls.  Once this is done they trade places and now the player who was throwing bulls must build a higher score than his opponent before they hit ten bulls.  The game is played until either: the person currently throwing bulls hits ten of them, or, the player shooting for score surpasses the score of the bull-shooter.

I have played this game many times to great delight.  However, the one deviation from this description is how points can be scored.  In one version I have played, you can only score points on doubles.  In another version, you can score points anywhere, but you discard your first 40.  So if you hit a 41 you score 1 point.  If you hit a 59 you score 19, etc.

Shove Ha'Penny

I have no idea how to pronounce that, although I am guessing it is a contraction of 'half penny' which probably is (or was) a coin in Britain. And I further speculate that it is called this because if you score more than you need to in this game then you give that excess to your opponent for his benefit.


I have played Fives, with a rather non-trivial difference to the rules, many times with teammates, workmates, and other leaguemates. I'll explain the variation we always use in a different post. Wait, this whole game deserves its own post. 


Two players. One is trying to close "sectors", the other is trying to score.  Once all the sectors are closed they trade places and go through this process again.  The person with the highest score wins. 

The details in the book are not rich, and I have several wonderings.  For starters, are there 21 sectors in the game, or 62?  I suppose this would depend on the appetite of the players, but my guess is that each entire number wedge is one sector, and the bull is one as well, making 21.  The book also implies that only one dart is needed to close a sector, but I think this also depends on the appetite of the players.  On the whole this seems like a fun game and I will introduce it to my teammates.

Closed Shop

Closed shop sounds interesting but in practice I don't think it will be very compelling. In this two player game, both players are trying to generate the highest score possible. Once a player scores 3 times in any bed, however, it is closed to everybody. So if I go first, hit a triple 20, a single 19 and a double 19, I have scored 117 points, and my opponent cannot use those beds to score. The best they can score on is 18's and down (or bull, which can only be scored twice).  It seems like there would come a point where, there is no way the player behind in score could catch up with low beds.

Round the Clock

This one seems a little too basic.  Any number of players can play.  You must hit a double to start scoring, and then you have to get one dart in each bed 1 through 20. First to hit the 20 wins.  Doubles and triples do not count as anything more than a single as you only need one dart in each bed to progress.  You do not play bulls in this game.

Any number of players, and highest score wins.  You go through all the beds, 1 - 20, except bull, scoring as many points as you can in that bed.  Any interesting caveat of this game though, is that if you manage to score a shanghai (a single, a double, and a treble) you automatically win, and the game is over.  Also interesting are a couple of variations that make it more challenging: 

  1. Harder variation #1: you must shanghai in order: single, double, triple.
  2. Harder variation #2: If you score zero on an odd numbered wedge (after the 1) you are eliminated from the game.

Halve It

Very similar to the pub game we all know and love called 41.  Some differences though.  Any number of players can play. Instead of playing around the entire board on doubles, you only use 11 targets that are negotiated by the players.  Could be, for example: "20's, 19's, any treble, 17's, 16's, any double, 15's, 14's, inner bull, 12's, 11's". Or anything. You go through the targets in order, one round per target scoring as much as you can in each one.  If you miss entirely, you halve your score.  You cannot go below zero, and the game is started with zero points per player.  Most points wins.


Killer reminds me of a game we used to play with billiards. Basically you have your home sector which will hopefully stay alive. There is nothing you can do to protect it, necessarily, but it is yours. Any number of players can play (up to 20), and your home wedge is determined by a throw of your opposite hand. Right handlers have to deliver a dart to the board with the left hand until it sticks in a numbered sector, in other words. Then, using your normal hand your job is to kill all your opponents' sectors before they can kill yours, last player standing wins. You earn the right to destroy by hitting your own double, then a double in an enemy sector is one kill, a triple in an enemy sector is two kills. The book doesn't say how many "lives" a player has, I would imagine that is determined by the appetite of the players. 10 would be a fair place to start!  It is not clear whether you have to hit your own double fresh each round, or if once per game is enough. Again, might be a variable determined through negotiation with the other players.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Yay! We Lost!

I am not yaying because we lost, but rather because I was in a position to either win or lose at all.  Last night was the first league match that I have played in about five years and it was a blast. I loved being on the oche again, "chalking" (they've gone chalk-less in my absence), and the general camaraderie of the night.  

We played against the Vagiants at Kate's. Both teams play out of there as our sponsoring bar, but we were the official "visiting" team and got to choose cork all night. They walloped us 8-13 but fun and merriment was had by all, so who cares?

My performance, personally, was more good than bad, I think, but I have loads of room for improvement. I hit too many low scores for my taste and ended up with an 01 five dart average just over 55.  I played three singles matches and five doubles matches, and of course participated in the team game of SIDO 801.  I dropped one of the singles matches (I should not have) and one of the doubles matches (again) but won the rest.  I did not hit any 180's but I did hit one high-ton, and two low-tons for 376 glory points on the night.  I also hit a nice 7 mark round in cricket.

My first 401 was against Joe. In that game I shot a 120, and took out 40 with my first dart at it for the win.  My second singles game was cricket against Lyle, their captain and best player.  I also won this one.  He was behind for most of the match especially after I hit a 7 count on the 17's and 15's, so he opened bulls early.  But next round after he opened them I closed them right up with two double bulls.  My last singles match was against Lyle in cricket again and he won.  All of a sudden I could not hit bulls when I needed to and dropped that one.

I played three doubles SIDO 501 games, and two doubles cricket games.  In the first 501 I took out 4 for the win, but in the second I missed an 83 out.  I hit my triple 17, slopped quite sloppily into the single 16, and then missed the double 8.  They took it out the next round.  That 83 was my one opportunity to win the game and I choked.  In the last doubles 501 I hit a 156 mid-game, and then later took out 40 for the win, again with my first look at it.

The first doubles cricket I played with Henry.  It was an unremarkable game but we won.  The second doubles cricket game was also a win but I hit only rubbish.  My partner tho had a hell of a game.  She hit a 9 count, as well as a first dart double bull for the win.  Team game was a loss.  Other than a single ton I didn't put up any numbers.  I think the team was spent by then.

These are the darts I used last night: 

I went into the night thinking the the Nobu's (top set (medium twin-grip stems with slim poly flights)) would be the primary set and I would switch to the UFO's (bottom set (short aluminum stem with standard mylar (folded) flights)) late in the match, maybe for the team game.  However, after my first cricket loss I ended up switching between the sets pretty regularly throughout the night.

Next week we travel to Redmond for a match against the Three Lions Fight Club B team. Looking forward to it!