Friday, January 6, 2012

Percentage Darts

In my opinion there are four things you need to be a competitive dart player. One of those things is to be a good counter . I have seen a lot of games lost because a player has lost count or has a poor understanding of what is the best way to finish in certain circumstances depending on how many darts you have in your hand.
There are some ways to finish that give you a greater percentage chance of finishing than others. Any finish is good when you hit what you are going for it is when you miss that there is a problem. Percentage darts is choosing a finish that still gives the possibility of a finish even if you miss.

An example might be finishing 17 by hitting a single 9 and then a double 4. This way gives you a higher chance of success if you miss with your first dart than if you go the single 1 double 8 route. Going for single 1 you might miss and hit a single 18 or 20 meaning you are bust and cannot throw your last two darts. If you go for a single 9 and hit a single 14 or 12 you still have an out option with the remaining two darts because you have not busted.

On the top right hand side of this page is a link to Finishing ways which gives quite a few options for three dart finishes based on percentage chance of success.

In watching the PDC world championships just recently it was interesting to see some of the options the top players took. I would regard myself as an above average counter but not exceptional. I still loose my way occasionally and don't really start counting much until I am 270 or below. I noticed with Simon Whitlock as example that he was counting from much further out. I watched him quite a few times when starting a leg throw a single 20, triple 20 and then triple 17 to leave 370. He obviously is trying to leave a number that will break down with two more 100 scores to leave the finish of 170 and the possibility of a 12 darter. You probably need this advanced counting at that level where your opponent may have thrown first and is probably going to finish in 15 darts. You need a 12 darter to steal the leg against the throw.

On a few more occasions I saw players left with 302 throw for the triple 18 rather than triple 20 when they had three darts. They might hit a single 18 and then a triple 18, then a triple 20 to score 132 to leave 170. The option of staying on the 20 and getting 140 only leaves 162 and not a finish. Of course a 180 leaves 122. Perhaps they see it as a better percentage option to go the triple 18 route. Three triple 18's scores 162 and leaves 140.

There was a few times I saw players with two darts left and a finish of 61 or 65 remaining go for the 25 and double 18 or 25 and double 20 route. Each time they went for it with those last two darts they hit the bulls eye meaning they could not finish with the last dart. If they had gone the single 11 or single 15 bull route they would still have had a shot at the double. I have noticed that Phil Taylor when left with three darts and a finish of 61 or 65 does not throw for the 25 to leave a double. He in the times I have watched him will go for a triple and then double giving himself the option of a single, a single and a double. He seems to be the only one who does that. One thing I have noticed in practise to finish on 61 and 65 with three darts and going the 25 double route if you miss the 25 and hit a single you have to pause to think where the second dart goes and it is not automatic. So perhaps going Phil Taylor's way makes shot selection more automatic when you hit the single instead of the triple because you know what is coming next and you stay in your rhythm and throw without pause or thought.

Another thing that I thing is important to be a good dart player is technique. Every single player who plays darts throws in a unique and individual way. No two players throw the same though in good players there tends to be some basic things they all share. The body does not move much on the ochre as an example. They are well anchored in their stance. In watching the PDC final between Andy Hamilton and Adrian Lewis there were I think two contrasting styles. Andy Hamilton I thought had a more deliberate style what I would call a push. Phil Taylor throws a bit the same. While Lewis was more flowing and has what I would call a stroke. Gary Anderson throws similar. They were on stage throwing for about three hours. Prior to going on stage and playing they would have practised for a similar amount of time. The thought crossed my mind that the way Andy Hamilton threw would be more tiring on the arm and shoulder muscles than the way Lewis threw. There looks less energy used in the throw of Lewis. Both played below the level they had earlier in the tournament. In my mind I wondered if Lewis had a throw that did not tire as much as Hamilton and was this the advantage he had. Though Taylor throws similar and it does not seem to bother him.


  1. Hey Arrow miss what are the other 2 things that make up a competive darts player

  2. Dedicated practise and a good mental technique.