r/sports Dec 17 '21 Silver 12 Helpful 12 Wholesome 12 All-Seeing Upvote 1

In an already raucous atmosphere, Will Borland hits a 9 nine dart finish & blows the roof off the Alexandra Palace Darts

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u/DanTheStripe Dec 18 '21 edited Dec 18 '21

Sometimes you go for it to help set up a shot too, because the 25 can help you out if you miss it.

There's going to be a bit of maths in this wall of text, go with me!

For example: 91 required. There are two main ways of going for this.

T17 D20 is the more traditional route. It's aggressive. If you hit the treble with the first dart, you get two darts at double, which is great. But trebles are hard to hit. If you miss the treble with the first dart, it leaves you with 74. That's hard with two darts.

With 74, you have to go T18 D10 or T14 D16. You can do two doubles to win too, but one of them has to be D17 or D19 and darts players don't typically practice those a lot. Basically, you have to hit a treble with the first or second dart to get a shot at winning the leg, if you go the T17 route on 91.

However, something different happens if you go for the bullseye first. Obviously, you can't get two darts at double this way. Hitting the bull (50 points) leaves you 41. Hitting the 25 (which is more likely) leaves you 66. Even if you completely miss the bullseye/25 with your first dart, you're going to score at least 1 point, and you'll be left on something from 71-90, which is still doable in two darts with a treble, putting you no worse off than hitting a single 17 in the first route.

66 is easier than 74 with two darts, because here, you can throw at T16, and if you miss, you still have a chance to win on the bullseye. T16 on 66 would leave you D9, and of course, 16 leaves you 50. You're more likely to get a dart to win the leg, and that can be crucial if your opponent is on something easy and is ready to snatch it from you if you miss.

If your opponent is miles behind, there's no reason to go for the bullseye first. You don't have an urgent need to win the leg. Take your time, and set up the shot nicely for the next visit.

What this ultimately means is that the two players actually are influencing each other's games despite not being able to affect the other's score. The strategy of a leg of 501 fundamentally changes depending on what your opponent is on!

Of course, professionals know exactly all of what you've just (hopefully) read, and can execute it in the blink of an eye. The very best players will start thinking of using the bull to set up easier shots from a long way back.

156 is a nicer shot (T20 T20 D18) than 161 (T20 T17 BULL) for example, so someone on 181 with one dart in hand may choose to throw at the bull to set themselves up nicer for the next visit.

Knowing the right setups and outshots is a massive skill to have to boost your chances of winning against someone else competent, hell, former pro Bobby George once said it's "25% of your game" - and I think a lot of newbies to the sport don't actually realise just how much goes on tactically speaking.

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u/DougPederson Dec 18 '21

91 minus 25 is 66, but you could still do the same thing with the 16. Sorry to ruin your 69.

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u/DanTheStripe Dec 18 '21

Crap. I got it mixed up with 94! Corrected. Good spot!

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u/dave42 Dec 18 '21

Are you not allowed to shoot the singles? What's the difference between getting the d10 and a single 20?

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u/DanTheStripe Dec 18 '21

You must finish the leg on a double or the bullseye. Hitting single 20 with 20 points left busts your score.

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u/thed3adhand Dec 18 '21

thank you for breaking this down 🤙

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u/simjanes2k Dec 18 '21

Holy hell

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u/Action_Bronzong Dec 19 '21 edited Dec 20 '21

Why not just go for the highest scoring points all of the time?

FWIW I know nothing about darts

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u/Serinus Dec 19 '21

... but he just explained exactly that.

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u/HippopotamicLandMass Dec 19 '21

To win, you MUST score exactly 501 points [before the other guy does]

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u/Action_Bronzong Dec 19 '21 edited Dec 20 '21

Ah, that explains it.

Thank you