* Prices may differ from that shown
After all the indulgences of the Christmas holidays, just as we dare to think of New Years resolutions, getting in shape and the like, for the people of Britain, there's still one more particular peculiarly British TV sporting tradition to savour and enjoy.
Oh yes, tis the season of World Darts!
I ask you, what better way to feel better yourself whilst sprawled out on the couch trying desperately to stuff extra chocolates into your over filled guts, than to tune in to watch hour after hour of sharp-eyed, waddling supremos chucking tiny metal spears at a colourful board?
But if proof were needed of the astonishing appeal of this sport, just take a look at the crowds watching these events. I kid you not; there are huge arenas packed full of hundreds of tables, all awash with pints of foamy gubbins, the halls packed with thousands of merry punters dressed in all manner of comedy attire, there for the flimsiest of sporting reasons.
~~~~Its a bulls eye!~~~
For the uninitiated (come on, what have you been doing with your lives?), the basic rules of the game are simple enough. Each player starts on a score of 501, and throws darts at a board with the numbers 1-20 spread out in sectors around the board. There's chances to score bigger, by hitting little segments in each number, potentially doubling or tripling your score, (mmm starting to sound like playing scrabble with arrows) , so the most you could score in one attempt is a whopping 180 (with 3 treble 20's).
You basically have to finish on a double, and the goal is to "check out" your 501 in the fewest darts possible to win each "leg". Each player has their own favourite method of checkout - and rest assured these guys are not just physically blessed in the beer gut department, they also have to be wizards in the Maths department , having to quickly calculate how many points they have remaining.
The fancy pants way to finish is of course with the 50 point bullseye right in the middle of the board, but if you miss it could be costly and ruin your chances of checking out quickly.
~~~~From Pub to Olympics?~~~~
But enough about the ins and outs of scoring, lets just glory in the spectacle of two sweaty fellas, alternately chucking bits of plastic and metal at a wagon wheel whilst being cheered on by a multitude of baying boozing spectators who can frankly see no more than the view of their well honed derrieres.
Just to give it that added intrigue, like in Boxing believe it or not there are actually two rival world darts ( I say world - let's be honest the vast majority are from the British Isles, but you do get a smattering from Holland and Northern Europe, plus the odd American and Australian) organisations in operation. The Professional Darts Corporation is now universally accepted as being the best championships, mainly because of the vast sums of money pumped in by Rupert Murdoch's Sky TV Broadcasting, it attracts the best players. Yet one man, the mighty Phil "The Power" Taylor (oh yes it's a must to have a nickname), has remained dominant and reigned supreme on no less than 14 separate occasions as World Champion (Stop press he's just made it 15!)
Just like with boxing, they have the added razzamatazz, as each player walks on to their own signature theme tune surrounded by a bevy of beauties as they take to their stage. The poor relation, the WDF (World Darts Federation) still shows on good old BBC TV, a bit more like watching the standard down your local pub, but in any case the good news is the two events run back to back so you can enjoy a 15 day festival of darts all through the holiday period.
Will it ever achieve its destiny to become an Olympic sport - who can tell?
One thing's for sure , watching those guys under the spotlight, handling so much pressure is always going to be compelling viewing. In the words of one of British TV's most committed commentators, the mighty Sid Waddell who has watched this stuff for 20 years or more with schoolboy levels of enthusiasm, "you can get Shakespeare on BBC two, but you can't beat the darts for drama"!
Many people think this game can only be played by large men who love to spend time in the pub and drink and throw their darts at a board. However this game requires a lot of skill, and superb hand and eye co-ordination, something which is hard to gain.
Each player has 3 darts, made up of a shaft, stem and flight, and they aim to try and get the highest score with the 3 darts and finish on a double, usually playing the traditional 501 game. The quickest you can finish this game is with 9 perfect darts, something which is amazing to watch.
Over the last 20 years or so, this game has hit the highs of the sports world and the money available to be won in this game now, is massive.
Sky Sports have realised this and now host the Premier League of Darts, on every Thursday night, starting in February and lasting to May. This is a different style of darts, with it just being the first to 8 legs, and if it finishes 7-7 then 1 point is gained by each player, forming a league format which then leads into a knockout stage.
Phil "The Power" Taylor is the only player ever to have won the title of the Premier League, however the likes of Raymond van Barneveld and james Wade might be looking to try and change this soon. However Taylor, is probably the best darts player we will ever see, and is also shooting high averages.
Huge money can be won in the darts world, and with Taylor and Barneveld having some superb games over the last few years more and more people are getting into darts and with youngsters such as Jelle Klaasen breaking through, the future for darts looks very promising.
I have to be honest as far as a spectator sport goes darts has to be one of the more boring sports to watch, admittedly apart from the ocal pub league that a former boyfreind used to play in I have no actual experience of watching darts live but the sight of the crowd at either the Lakeside Tavern or the othr major events leaves me with absolutely no doubt that it is something I would not enjoy attending.
As for my own attempts at darts well I'm blessed with no natural ability and I'm happy to hit the board rather than the wall with my darts rather than worrying about the actual treble twenty.
The basic game of darts involves two playes who each have three darts, the idea is to be the first one to get down from 501 points and you must finish on a double. The circular board is divided up into 20 segments with values from 1 to 20, within each segment there are three areas, at the tip there is the double value area, in the middle a thin strip which earns treble points and the rest is a single score, the segments are divided by wire and in the centre is the bullseye the inner red zone is worth 50 points and the outer green zone is worth 25.
As a game to play in the pub it can be fun but you do not see many darts boards these days, I guess the health and safety crowd and the need to cram people in have put paid to that, plus the game can be frustrating to play as well.
Profesionally it is mostly played by fat blokes with naff nicknames.
Darts has its roots in Medieval England. Many historians believe that the game of darts as we know it today evolved from archers shortening their arrows and throwing them at the bottom of wine barrels. When these barrels were in short supply, the archers improvised and used the cross-section of some medium sized trees. It is easy to see how this may indeed be true, as the cross section of the tree provided the rings and the cracks provided further segmentation. Indeed, so popular was this early game of 'darts' that Henry V111 enjoyed the game regularly (when he was not killing off his wives I presume).
It was around 1900 that the rules, board and darts began to settle into basically what they are to this day. Evolving slightly over time, until about 1945 when a standardised clock board was brought into being which has been used ever since.
Darts has come an awful long way since those days. It used to be seen as nothing more than a 'pub game', and beer-swilling men with stomachs as large as their egos, cigarette in one hand, darts in the other, would play the game in the seedy and darkly lit pubs around the country.
Since those days it has grown in popularity, with leagues being organised, and competitions taking place on a regular basis. Then in 1954 a National Darts Association was formed which organized various championships.
Two professional darts organizations prevailed, The British Darts Organization, founded in 1973, and The World Darts Federation which was founded three years later. Then, in 1992 a breakaway organization was formed which, today, is known as the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).
These various organizations hold their own unique tournaments, although the PDC tournaments offer the most prize money and therefore attract the best players.
Darts was first televised as early as 1962, and in 1970 ITV televised the famous ' News of the World' Championship.
I personally prefer the darts from these earlier years as they seemed to have much more colourful characters such as Eric Bristow and Jocky Wilson. Of these, I thought pint-sized Jocky Wilson was by far the most entertaining to watch. This contoversial Scottish coal delivery man, won a Butlin's dart tournament which convinced him that he had a future in darts and was a means for him to escape the poverty of his Scottish upbringing, so he turned professional.
Jocky was often seen during his matches, drinking back the beer and the lager in vast quantities, and almost always had a cigarette in his nicotine-stained hand. He would, amazingly enough, pull his darts out of the board with cigarette still in hand, which would often stain the board with his cigarette ash!!!
Totally and utterly controversial, Jocky was banned for punching referees. and was often unsteady on his feet due to the large intake of alcohol. He released a record in 1989 called 'Jocky on the oche' which only sold 850 copies, (851 if they forgot to count my copy!).
He had the world at his feet, winning The World Darts Championship on two occasions, and never failing to at least reach the quarter finals during his thirteen year stint in the World Championships.
He never officially announced his retirement, he just simply faded away into obscurity, leaving behind the prestige, money and glamour for a one-bedroom flat in his home town of Kirkcaldy, living off benefits and eventually becoming a total recluse. How the mighty can fall!!!
Modern day professionals seem rather bland in comparison to those heady days of Jocky & Co. Of course, Phil Taylor, as a 14 times World Champion, deserves a special mention because of his pure brilliance, but he doesn't seem to have any character about him which would bring him to life.
Plenty of commentators have enthralled viewers over the years with their great and professional commentaries, none more so than Sid Waddell, whose quotes and commentaries often had me 'rolling in the aisles'.
Here are a few of his most memorable:
"Jockey Wilson . . . What an athlete."
"That was like throwing three pickled onions into a thimble!"
"Well as giraffes say, you don't get no leaves unless you stick your neck out"
"That's like giving Dracula the keys to the blood bank"
"As they say at the DHSS, we're getting the full benefit here."
"This lad has more checkouts than Tescos."
"There's only one word for that - magic darts!"
"Steve Beaton - The adonis of darts, what poise, what elegance - a true roman gladiator with plenty of hair wax."
"There's no one quicker than these two tungsten tossers... "
Is it a pub sport? Is it an Olympic sport as some have suggested? Everyone knows how to play but yet only a select few can truly play. The rules haven't changed so the familiarity factor is there. Somehow no matter what darts tries they cant break through the stigma that it is pub sport in the eyes of most people.
Darts has been around for a long time, with the game being invented in the 1800's so it has plenty of history behind it. Although the original format has changed to become the modern game we know, darts has a similar history to other Olympic recognised sports in terms of its development.
In the UK, for many years darts has been shown on the BBC. Back in the days when the BBC has all the major sporting coverage darts was able to grow in its popularity but it still was looked at as a sport to watch on TV on a lazy Sunday. Though the sport was fairly popular during this time, none of the players were ever fully professional to the point where they could make a good living from the game of darts.
In 1992, a breakaway organisation was formed, initially known as the World Darts Council (WDC) but shortly after known as the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC). The PDC struck a deal with Sky Sports to get their events shown and as a result were able to offer much more prize money than their rivals. For the first time, a darts player was able to fully be a professional sportsman.
Over time, the level of darts grew until the current day with the beginning of Premier League Darts and the growth of its coverage on Sky Sports. It has become a lot more glamorous and its production values are much higher than anything the BBC was able to produce. The crowds who attend these events are some of the most entertaining crowds to attend any sporting event, and anyone who has ever been to one says how much they enjoyed the atmosphere created as a result.
Darts has suffered from a drinking culture and general lack of fitness. This was evident in a comedy sketch I once saw where the commentators were describing the drinking being done by the main player while the other one relaxed by playing darts in the background. The level of competition in the PDC is improving this aspect of darts also. All the players are taking their fitness levels a lot more seriously to try to gain that extra bit of competitive advantage over their opponents. This was shown when a high profile exhibition watch was organised between PDC champion Phil 'The Power' Taylor and the BDO champion Andy 'The Viking' Fordham. Andy Fordham wasn't even able to finish the match because of the intensity of the game, which showed just how far the PDC players have jumped ahead.
Another main feature of darts is the commentators. The BBC and Sky Sports commentators couldn't be more opposite. The BBC is slow and unexcitable while Sid Waddell from Sky is unable to be calm for any more than 2 seconds. The commentating is either a love or hate for most viewers, which can either add to the enjoyment or put a viewer off completely.
As for the argument about whether darts should be an Olympic sport, there are many arguments for and against. I think it has as much right to be in the Olympics as some of the other sports already in it. How is shooting any different from darts? Is Diving really that more exciting than seeing 2 players battle over an hour until a dramatic finale? I know which one I'd rather watch.
...Is, like many things, something I got into due to my gambling habbits, and let me start this with a conotraversial statement, it's not a sport. Thats not to say it's not fun to watch or play, but by no means is it a sport. It's in the same group as Pool and Snooker, for me as opposed to sports like Boxing, Football, Tennis etc. For several simple reasons:
1 it's a skill game-This was proven in court in something i'll mention later
2 the "luck" factor of sport- Look at lets say Boxing, a lucky punch could be an equaliser, or a dodgy goal in football, a dodgy call in tennis. Thats not apparent in Darts
3 too many fatties- Im a big fan of American football, and of course they have fatties too, but those fatties can't half move. Look at Peter Manley can you really imagine him walking up a flight of stairs with out passing out?
Any now I've made my feelings on that clear lets get onto talking about the GAME. Darts has over recent years become more and more of an entertainment form, if we look at the TV schedule of darts since around December 08 we've had:
The Grandslam of Darts
PDC world Championship
BDO World Championship
The Wimmau World Masters (I might be wrong on this but I think it was on BBC)
Which whether we like it or not, is an awful lot of fatties on our telly's, but damnit it are these fatties skillful. Phil Taylors ability to win, win and win some more must be envied by everyone in a real sport, the guy collects world championships like the rest of us collect bills. Andy Fordhams Ability to lose weight must make women who write those crappy weight loss books green with envy.
The rules of darts are simple, players stand about 7 foot 9 inches away from the board and take turns to throw 3 darts at a board, trying to get the target score as quickly as possible (usually 501). The board is made up of 82 parts, with numbers 1-20 each having 2 single pieces, 1 double pieces (the outer most sections) and 1 treble piece (the inside section) and a two part bullseye (worth 25 and 50 points).
Ideally to get 501 a top player will often try to get it in 9 darts (though they are rare it's the absolute minimum needed to win), usually going with the 180-180-141 option.
The world body
Much like boxing, theirs no single governing body in darts, theirs the PDC and the WDF (which covers the BDO among other regional body's). The PDC is seen as a far better quality of competition, and over recent years has been signing many of the WDF's best players (most obviously Raymond Van Barneveld, Robert Thornton, Mervyn King and now Andy Fordham). The players in the PDC are almost always fully pro, and the top players in it are usually considered the worlds top players, people like Barney, Taylor, Wade and King.
The WDF are the others, which most famously include the BDO, which only has it's very top players actually making it a full time job, one of it's top players Mark Webster, for example, it's a trainee plumber despite being a top 3 player.
Players in the WDF earn less, but the tournements are seen as easier as the very best players aren't in it.
Though there are competitions like The Grandslam, which by invitation, invite players from each to play in a round robin competition annually.
Darts is imo, a fun thing to watch, I don't class it as a sport, but I do class it as entertaining and skillful. Sadly the top players do seem to play each other far too regularly to make the finals entertaining, so often it's the last 16 of a competition where the best games come out.
The legal case, there was a case where a landlord was taken to court in 1908 for allowing gambling to take place in his bar, as gambling on luck games wasn't allowed in a pub. When taken to court, the pubs top player proved that it was a skill that he could hit the numbers called out by the jury.
I reckon the darts commentary on TV sounds like mathematicians having orgasms.180!!!!!!!!!!! LOL. Then you can just hear the muffled wife under the flab saying, '65 more like luv! I wonder if the darts players other halves ever ask for a kiss on the double top and three in the treble twenty.lol. Darts is not a virile sport guys and it wasnt particularly a sexy week on the BBC for its world championship coverage. Like snooker it's strictly a lazy television event, the definition of 'armchair sport', unless you're into big fat sweaty men and tattoos! You know who you are girls.
There have been some rough old birds in the audience for this year's Championship at the Lakeside and for the love of me I don't know why the BBC bother with showing darts live at prime time. It's not remotely glamorous and I almost preferred Aled Jones and Song of Praise on Sunday instead of the big final. It even delayed the new series of Top Gear!. To be fair the standard of darts crumpet has improved with the paychecks on offer after Sky's involvement and there were even one or two nice gals at the Lakeside. Ex World Champion Ted Hankeys girl was very young and quite nice, when you consider the monster truck she is dating. Maybe she can smell the money over the body odour. But with Sky on board there is at least a real fresh sense of theater to it all, if you like that sort of thing. Its believed Ronny O`Sullivans outburst over snookers lack of the X Factor was down to his enjoyment of the darts finals and the way they have embraced theatre to move the sport on.
Darts is clearly not a 'BBC sport' today and when the commentators say there's been twenty tons on the 'ochie' in the match so far they are clearly referring to the weight of the players! My old man used to say that if they don't change your footwear then it's not sport, and as we all know, the training regime for 'arrows' is ten pits and three triple vodkas, brilliantly parodied in that Not the Nine O'clock News sketch.
A darts crowd always reminds me of the people you see in chip shops, very working class and somewhat unhealthy. Have you ever seen a middle-class person in a chippy? Again is this what sport is about? Watching bits of last week's championship there were more tattoos and chunky gold jewelry on show than an illegal Irish traveler camp dog fight......... and that's just the women! It's as working-class as the ballet is middle-class, ironic, really, as the Lakeside is in Frimley Green, the heart of the leafy Surrey stockbroker belt.
Darts acrimoniously spilt in the early 90s when the best players went with Sky and their fledgling PDC organization. They staged their own tournaments, including their own world championships, deliberately held the week before the BDO event to scupper it. As Sky support the December event it has always had a much bigger prize money, and the best player the game, Phil 'The power' Taylor, winning the title last week for a 4th time. It was quite a comeback by Taylor as it looked like he would never win the world crown again after 11 victories through the nineties and early millennium, John Part and Ray Barneveld the only ones to dent his crown. The Ally Pally would be Taylor's revenge last month, seeing off Barneveld in the spiritual home of darts for that record title.
The BDO final on the BBC was between Martin 'Woolfie Adams and some unknown pub playerTony O, Shea. Ted is known as 'The Count' because he looks like Dracula (not the Tom Cruise one but the Belo Lagosi one...after a few pies). Ted won the championship b, who will remain unknown as I cant be bothered to google him. Woolfie won and has won the pot three times now, one of the greats, they say. One of the unique features of this event is pretty much any bloke off the street who plays pub darts to a high level is able to go well here if he gets the luck. The 2008 champion was one such guy, Mark Webster of Wales, the winner of this tournament over the years far more random than the proper one, six different guys winning the last seven titles. The PDC events tend to be a closed shop with smaller fields and if you have even played for a pub team and not signed up with the PDC you can't play. The BDO are as equally vicious in this battle and have split families apart over allgiances, the friendship between commentators Sid Waddell and 'Tony Bullseye' Green one of the victims.
Woolfie would clinch the title on the final and deciding set, a sweaty and red faced opponent winning the sets when he had to keep the pressure on for an exciting final. Adams picked up the trophy (which looked remarkably like the FA Cup) in front of a raucous crowd. The press and relatives room back stage was as equally beery and loud, pats on the back all around, the Mr Bling of darts himself in Bobby George there to interview Ted alongside the BBCs new Mr Noisey 'lets get younger viewers, Colin Murray.
Overall if you're a women into chunky jewelry and big fat sweaty men than it was the Chippendales up on the stage for last Sunday nights theater but if you weren't fan then it was only about the impressive accuracy of the arrows. Yes it's great that anyone who can play darts in the pub and get reasonably good can enter this tournament but it isn't sport and these guys are mostly unheard of.
As its been a fortnight of darts and snooker for the BBC, I cant write this short review without mentioning the sad death of David Vine, the front man for both shows, and Ski Sunday, of course, for most of the 1970s and 80s. Vine is not the guy you think he is by looking at the familiar TV images and warm manner. When I read 'Belly & Bullseyes', the autobiography of the now rebel PDC darts commentator Sid Waddell, I was amazed at what a character Vine was, always up for a late night session and not afraid of the ladies, often breaking into song with Tony Gubba at BBC events. He knew his way around whiskey and the places Terry Venables drank and lived a full life and fair play to him for that.
Darts is one of those sports, which you don't think of as a sport. You think of it as the game you always play at the pub with a pint of beer. However, darts is featured on TV with the championships and there really is a skill to playing it.
The darts board is attached to the wall so that the bulls-eye is 1.73 metres away from where you are standing on the ground. There are different games you can play and you can even make up your own such as taking turns to hit each number numerically until you get to 20.
The standard game is simply a competition to get from 501/301 to zero exactly by hitting sections on the board, which are worth different points. There are numbers round the side, indicating the number of points for that arc. The arcs are split with smaller sections on the outside and in the middle. The outside section is worth twice as much as the number and the inside section is worth three times as much. Therefore, hitting the inner section on 20 would score you 60.
It is a really exciting game and great for a laugh. You don't get all sweaty doing it, don't need to change into sports gear and it's fun and easy to play! It's hard to get the knack of throwing the darts for a certain area at first, but practice makes perfect. The only drawback is the potential danger of playing darts around others - you are throwing potentially deadly weapons!
Thanks for reading
for what the game of darts involves, there is a substantial amount of money to be made if you can make it pro!
come every january i get the darts bug when the world championships commence at frimley green. i have been a fan of darts for years and am inspired to play when watching the tournament, yet once its over i fail to keep my enthusiasm to play. it takes dedication to get to a high standard and its no fun practising alone. you need a couple of mates to play with.
what i love about darts is anyone can play it, although there are certain sterotypes which appear to have survived over the years.
bobby george is a british icon let alone a great darts legend!
and then you have andy fordham - when was the last time you watched a sporting event where a 30stone man collapsed on live tv and had to be stretchered off to hospital? and now that he lost all that weight his story is even more remarkable.
darts seems to get a bad press in general sporting terms probably because fat middle aged balding alcoholics shouldnt be classed as sportsmen in their eyes. i think its a shame that darts is yet to be classed an olympic sport but hopefully it will be 2012 and we will have a decent shot of a medal when we host the games!
I have been playing darts for a good few years now (ok, about 7, but I'm only 19 so that's over a third of my life!), and I am going to try to convince you that darts isn't just about lager louts passing their seemingly endless times at a pub burning 20 calories a day at a so-called "sport"!
Darts is a game that you can play on your own, or with more than one player. There are very many variants of the game that you can play, and a lot more that you can make up. In competition play, the most popular "modes" of play are 501 and the less common 301.
Darts is a social game that can be learnt by anyone. The idea is that you have three darts, and by throwing them at a board, you get certain points for getting the dart into certain areas. Smaller areas like "doubles", "trebles", and "bullseye" have higher points.
There are 20 numbers on a dartboard, 1-20, each with their own single, double, and treble area. Say if you hit a 12, and it landed in the smaller treble section of the segment - you get 36 points for that dart. If you ever wondered why 180 is such a shout on TV it is because it is the maximum 3 dart score you can get (treble 20 + treble 20 + treble 20). Also the bullseye is made from two rings, a smaller one and a bigger one. The bigger (outer) ring is worth 25 points, to the inner's 50.
Hitting the trebles, doubles, and bullseye's is no easy feat. The bullseye itself is about the size of a 5p coin. Trebles are about 2.5cm x 1cm in area, and doubles are about 5cm x 1cm in area. In darts, misses of just 1mm can determine a win or a loss of a championship.
The number 501 corresponds to the number of points that a player has to reach exactly to win a "leg" (like a frame in snooker). Using your darts, you take turns throwing three darts each to try to get to 0. However, to make it harder, you must finish off with a double. So for example, if you have only 24 left to score, you must finish with a double 12, or equivalent (ie if you hit a single 2 you then need to hit a double 11, etc) 301 is the same concept, however you start from 301 and work your way down rather than 501. Normally winning 3 legs gives you a set. But rules change variant to gender and competition. Other games can be made up and found on many websites very easily.
The dartboard arrangement is a fairly peculiar one, much like the QWERTY setting on a keyboard. Why are they arranged like this? The answer is actually similar to why the settings on a keyboard are as they are. The QWERTY setting was intended so slow typists down because when in the days of typewriters that women wrote the letters due to go to families from the army etc, they typed too fast - thus jamming the keys. So, this new system was made to slow it down. In a way, this is similar to why dartboards are arranged as they are. Say for example, if the board went 1 2 3 4 5 6 all the way round, to get a "high" number of say 15-20 minimum, it wouldn't be too hard, as you effectively have a quarter of the board to aim for.
The arrangement is credited to a man called Brian Gamlin, a carpenter from Bury. He made this design in order to punish mistakes. For example on a dartboard the 1 and 20 are next to each other - a potential 59 point difference for 2mm miss. This encouraged accuracy in the player's and hence built the skill involved in consistently hitting higher numbers. Mathematicians worked out the "perfect" arrangement for a dartboard, and apparently Gamlin's arrangement was nearly perfect - which is impressive considering that there are 121645100408832000 arrangements!
Players stand behind what's called an "oche" - this is a step or piece of wood in which the players must stand behind as to become too close to the dartboard. It used to be called "hockey" ironically, but now is called "oche" from a Flemish derivation.
In recent years, darts has become ever so popular. I love the game myself, it is just a fun thing to do - trying to beat a friend or family member - and I have to admit, is quite good to play in a pub - however I do not have the beer belly (yet...... :P) It is just a good game to play to pass time with your friends/family. There are two main organizations of darts (a bit like Rugby is split into League and Union) - we are only used to seeing one of the tournament sectors on television, where sadly the world champion (and undisputed best darts player in the world - Phil Taylor) plays in the other sector!
Although there are many tournaments around the world each year, the main one in this other sector is played in Frimley Green, the Embassy World Darts Organization is extremely popular now, with many more countries than used to taking part. In the past, only UK countries generally were recognized, however, in Holland the sport is HUGE now. Other countries like USA, Canada, Germany, and others follow darts pretty heavily now. The championships are so exciting to watch. The room hosting the tournament is HUGEEEEEEEEEEEEEE where there must be about 2,000+ people watching the two players. People dress up, put face paints on, create banners (it is like the crowd from a World Cup Football tournament) - the atmosphere is electric, and the players on stage must feel such a buzz playing, and must feel all the tension too!
If you want to play darts, it isn't that expensive to play. A dart set typically will cost you between £5-£20 - depending on the make and quality. Tungsten nickel darts are the generally good ones. And darts vary also in weight - the heavier ones being the easier ones to control.
A dartboard itself again will cost you about £15-£30 depending on the quality. Some have boards in which you can write the scores down (which I think is useful) which you write on with chalk. There is nothing else you need to play the game after that.
Darts tend to last a few months depending on how often you play. If you are a bad thrower and miss the dartboard, hitting concrete or something can damage the tip of the dart, and after time the flights can split. It's always handy to carry spare flights, shafts, and tips in case you lose or break one.
Another great plus about playing darts is that it is very good for your mental arithmetic. Often in playing you will need to add numbers, subtract them, multiply them. Although at first it may be hard, when you play for a long time you get in tune these numbers in your head and it all becomes easier, improving your numeracy skills. After a while you tend to calculate very quickly that a treble 14 + double 19 + treble 12 is 116.
Getting a 180 in play is very tough, but is very very exhilirating. In the length of time I have played I have got 7 180's which is not bad I think. When you get one, it feels like you have scored a hat-trick or you have potted a 147 in snooker - it's just something that is a big accomplishment. I photographed my first 180!!!
Talk is, that darts is being considered to be in the future Olympics. Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but I would not condone it. This is how big darts is getting now.
Anyone from almost any age can give darts a go - even if it is for 30 mins at their local pub or at home, just see what it is like - I am sure you will LOVE it - and who knows, if you get to any decent level you may find yourself playing for your pub, your town, your county, maybe even your country one day!
When people think of dart their think of over weight men in there 40's or drunken men in a pub. But darts is very good game for all ages. I started to play about 2 years ago, my dad got me into darts after he used to play a lot of darts. I can not tell you that people who play darts are not fat but darts is a very good game. If you only play for fun, it?s still a good game to take up, and although the darts in pubs thing may not be thought of as good for the sport in general, it?s a good way to socialise with people. You see dart on Sky or BBC2 at different time in the year. Phill Taylor is the best and most exciting player in the World Darts Championship even thou he lost this year in the longest game on tv but he has won 10 World Darts Championships, that saids it all. There more games in darts than 501 like around the clock which we play alot at my youth club and cricket. So dis darts and the World Darts Championship until you have watched it or played it.
Lets face it, most people wouldn’t even see darts as a sport. But it is, and a decent one at that! Of course, to become mainstream Darts must shred it's seedy, smoky pub image. You think of a darts player and you think of a middle aged man, with a pint in his hand and a beer belly hanging out of T-shirt. And I guess this still is the case, because a lot of darts matches do take place in dark, smoky pubs between local teams. But don't let all this put you off darts, because as a game it is very easy to get in to, and fun for everyone to play. Darts takes place on a board (as if you didn't know) split up in to 20 sectors of a circle, all emanating from the centre. Each strip is numbered and has four sections. Points are awarded depending upon which section the dart lands in, with the two larger sections being worth the value of the strip, and two smaller band being worth double and triple the value of the strip. Did I mention the darts? These are what you throw at the board. They consist of a sharp pointed end, a middle straight bit and a flight on the end. The players throw these darts at the board, and obviously the better player will be able to control the position where the dart lands with greater accuracy. So, put basically, how good you are at this game depends on how good you are throwing. Doesn't sound up to much does it? But surprisingly, it is! There is a certain sense of achievement to be had from becoming proficient at hurling these arrows accurately at the board. To begin with hitting the board is about all you can manage, but as the time passes it becomes possible to aim with increasing accuracy until you too can score that hallowed 180!! So, each player takes it turns to throw three darts at the board. Ask any none darts player the best way to create a game out of this, and they would surely say the first player to a certain target wins. But alas, that is not the case at all. Instead in darts
you start with a number such as 301 or 501, and you work your way down to zero. And mind you, you have to get exactly zero - not just less than it. That's not the end of it all either, as you must make it to zero by getting a double, triple or a bulls eye! Should you drop under zero then you are bust, and return to the score you had before your turn started!! Darts is fun, but it can also be very frustrating when the dart won't go where you want it to, which is a little too often!! Also try to make sure you're opponent is of a similar standard to you, because if he is much, much better then it can get rather boring indeed!! Cost wise darts is cheap, with a decent board costing around £20 and a set of darts being around a £10. And if you get sick, just put a picture of your worst enemy on it and fire away!!! Careful with young children though, as a stray dart could do some damage! Professional darts can be seen on BBC 2 at various times of the year. It ranks alongside 'Indoor Carpet Bowls' as one the best watched sports on TV (as if!!) but like snooker, has that rather addictive feel to it, which keeps you in your chair (probably by making you drowsy!!). Even if you only play for fun, it’s still a good game to take up, and although the darts in pubs thing may not be thought of as good for the sport in general, it’s a good way to socialise (and drink!!).
Darts? A game of skill? Oh too right. I have a dartboard and a stepdad who happens to be pretty decent at throwing sharpened sticks. And trust me, it isn?t as easy as you think. I have had just the one 180 in about two years at darts, whilst my stepdad, who has played since a teenager has enjoyed over fifty ?ton 80?s?. But then I turn on the TV and watch in misbelieve as players are throwing 180?s scarily consistently. With as many as 20 in a game, and rarely does a player go without one, the average professional can hit pretty much whatever they are aiming for. Darts has come a long way since the time players were allowed to drink alcohol on stage. Alcohol has now been banned as officials want to rid the game of its ?boozy image?. Of course this works, until the camera turns away and looks at the crowd, all boozed up with pints in their hands, shouting encouragement to their favourite players :-) One item relating to the ?boozy image? has yet to be disposed of. That?s right, the beer bellies! Look at most players on the stage now, and you are guaranteed to find a little (or in some cases rather large!) bump under their personalised shirts. But who cares about the image of the darts players? No one really, everyone admires the skill of the game, and also the unpredictability. That?s what makes darts a great spectator sport. The atmosphere in a darts match is breathtaking in some certain matches, especially when just one dart could be the key to whether they win the game or whether they are on their way home. Unlike many other spectator sports, drink is allowed in the audience, and over the years I have seen no trouble from any drunkards in the crowds. Perhaps a thought to be a little more lenient towards crowds drinking in other sports maybe? Like chess possibly :-) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PLAYING DARTS First of all the darts. They are basically made up of three things. The shaft, which
is the barrel and the point (usually made of metals such as nickel and tungsten), the stem which is the plastic (can also be metal) part that connects the shaft and the flight (aerodynamic device). Flights come in various shapes, sizes and colours depending on which the player prefers. A set of darts will set you back around a tenner. A decent board, from the likes of Winmau will set you back around £20. The board is made up kind of like a pie chart with twenty equal sectors all emanating from the centre (the bullseye). Each sector has a number allocated to it and is comprised of two singles (big area and small area), a double, and a treble. The single is worth whatever number the sector is, double is double the amount and, yes you guessed right, the treble is worth three times the amount. In a match, each player takes it in turns to throw three darts at the board. The professionals start with a score of 501 which they must ?finish? with the least amount of darts possible. The least amount possible is the ?9 darter?. This is very rare and only a couple have been seen on TV. It is achieved by scoring 180 (treble twenty three times), 180 again, and then 141, which is treble 20, treble 15, and double 18. You must finish on a double or bullseye. Any singles or trebles or 25?s (the ring around the bull) to get you 501 or beyond is not possible. Well, its possible but it won?t win you the game, it?ll make you ?bust?. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The game of darts, as you would imagine, gets frustrating at times if it won?t go where you want it to or when it falls or bounces out of the board. But these things happen so you just have to concentrate for your next throw. That?s why many of the professionals lose, they get frustrated and virtually give up. I try to block the opponent out of my game because if I see him throwing really well, I tend to try harder. That doesn?t work because you start to overthrow and underthrow. Even
if the player is throwing the worst darts of his career I block him out as it tends to make me too laid back, which in turn makes me throw worse. Has anyone seen the game on Sky Digitals Playjam? I think its pretty cool how its set up in London with the Cockney barmaid :-) ?Fancy a game of arrows do ya darlin?? I?ll sort ya aht.? LOL. Anyway enough of me going all technical on you poor people out there, get down to your local and throw some arrows!
Darts. The old pub game still enjoyed my many. Besides, it still has a cigarette sponsored world tournament that is usually shown of terrestrial TV about Christmas time, usually on BBC2 over the Simpsons. Darts, basically is a game where you have two players, three darts each, take turns throwing is at a board from 1-20 with singles, doubles, trebles, a 25 and a bull worth 50. You start off with a high number, and what you get by throwing is taken away and the idea is to get that number down to 0, ending on a double, in the least number of darts you can. Professionals can go from 501 down to 0 in-between 9 darts to 15 darts (usually), yet beginners could go up and up that number (I’m not dissing you, yet practise makes perfick). Talented individuals that can play darts enter in leagues, and the best play in the world championships at the NEC in Birmingham - I think. Such people have included Eric Bristow and Raymond Barneveld (I hope I spelt it right). Games usually consist of a number of sets, and a certain number of legs required to win a set (usually 3 legs to a set) with the legs continuing on the last set until someone is two legs ahead. It helps if you have a steady hand, reasonably in line with the dartboard (though individuals use their own methods) and practise definitely makes perfect! Try playing in a league that fits your standard. I've won some trophies before, but it is nice to play someone slightly better than you, and to talk to pick up tips. Advantages: It is fun Involves sharp objects being hurled at cork/paper Sociable Have a game after you’ve had a few pints... Disadvantages: It hurts when you get hit by a dart Can get frustrating You need to put in the effort to reap the rewards IJC