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From The Daily Mail : How to Always Win At Darts

How to ALWAYS win at darts: Expert reveals the way to use poor aim to your advantage and which sequence of numbers boosts your chances of success

  • Expert from Nottingham has explained the best strategy for amateurs
  • It uses a method devised by a statistician that takes accuracy into account
  • Those with an accuracy of 25mm should aim for treble 19 to hit treble 20
  • Players should also leave a power of two to widen alternatives if they miss

There are many variants of the game of darts, but by far the most common sees players start with a score of 501 and take turns to bring this score down.

The aim is to hit zero using as few darts as possible, and professional players can win a game in just nine darts.

However, amateurs can also improve their game, and reach zero faster, by using their poor aim to their advantage.

Graham Kendall from the University of Nottingham explains the best strategy for amateurs, and discusses whether the dart board design needs a makeover.

The aim in darts is typically to hit zero using as few darts as possible, and professional players can win a game in just nine darts. However, amateurs use a poor aim to their advantage. Graham Kendall from the University of Nottingham explains the best strategy to win every time - or at least boost your chances of success

The aim in darts is typically to hit zero using as few darts as possible, and professional players can win a game in just nine darts. However, amateurs use a poor aim to their advantage. Graham Kendall from the University of Nottingham explains the best strategy to win every time – or at least boost your chances of success

Writing on The Conversation, Professor Kendal explained how the layout of a darts board is a circle cut into 20 equal arcs, with an inner and outer bullseye at the centre, and two rings – one halfway and one on the outer rim of the circle, representing treble and double scores respectively.

The board was designed by Brian Gamlin in 1896, with the idea that by placing large numbers next to small numbers, mistakes are heavily penalised.

For example, if you aim for 20 and are off target, you will score five or one by hitting one of the arcs that lie to either side.

Similarly, 19 is penalised by inaccurate throws landing in the neighbouring arcs scoring three or seven.

IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING AT DARTS

Ryan Tibshirani, in his article Don’t try for triple 20: Where to aim if you are bad at darts, suggests that excellent players – those who throw with an accuracy within 5mm – should aim for the treble 20.

But less accurate players should take alternative strategies.

Those accurate to within 25mm should aim at treble 19.

Those accurate to only 60mm can essentially achieve the same maximum by aiming in a large spot around the centre, with the optimal spot to the lower-left of the bullseye.

A poor player aiming for treble 20 would average 10.2 points per throw, worse than the 12.8 points from just throwing randomly.

In a scientific paper detailing these findings, Tibshirani also gives a detailed description of how to determine accuracy, however a simplified method involves throwing a series of darts and recording where they fall.

For example, a person could throw three darts while aiming for the treble 20 and measure the distance between where each dart lands from the target.

The average will give an indication of a person’s accuracy, and the more darts that are thrown, the more accurate the overall result.

The difficulty is increased by the fact that the rules of the 501-down game require that the last dart thrown must hit a double.

Statistician Ryan Tibshirani wrote in his article, titled Don’t try for triple 20: Where to aim if you are bad at darts, that professional players – those who throw with an accuracy within 5mm (less than a fifth of an inch) – should aim for the treble 20.

But less accurate players should take alternative strategies.

Those accurate to within 25mm (just under one inch) should aim at treble 19, for example, close to the border it shares with the seven.

Those accurate to just 60mm (two inches) can essentially achieve the same maximum by aiming in a large spot around the centre, with the optimal spot to the lower-left of the bullseye.

A poor player aiming for treble 20 would average 10.2 points per throw, worse than the 12.8 points from just throwing randomly.

In a scientific paper detailing these findings, Tibshirani also gives a detailed description of how to determine accuracy.

A simplified version of his method involves throwing a series of darts and recording where they fall.

For example, a person could throw three darts while aiming for the treble 20 and measure the distance between where each dart lands from the target.

The average will give an indication of a person’s accuracy, and the more darts that are thrown, the more accurate the overall result.

Kendall continued that players should also try to leave a power of two each time – two, four, eight, 16 and 32 – as this score gives more alternatives should a player miss the final double.

For example, if trying to finish the game on a score of 32, they will aim for double 16. If they hit 16, then their next shot is to aim for double 8.

This is better than leaving, say, 38 but hitting 19, so now there’s an odd number remaining which requires at least two darts to finish the game.

A statistician generated heatmaps (pictured left) of a dart board to track where players of different abilities hit the board. These heatmaps suggest that professional players - those who throw with an accuracy within 5mm - should aim for the treble 20 (pictured right)

A statistician generated heatmaps (pictured left) of a dart board to track where players of different abilities hit the board. These heatmaps suggest that professional players – those who throw with an accuracy within 5mm – should aim for the treble 20 (pictured right)

Less accurate players should take alternative strategies. Those accurate to within 25mm, for example, should aim at treble 19 when attempting to hit the treble 20 (pictured)
Meanwhile, those accurate to just 60mm can essentially achieve the same maximum by aiming in a large spot around the centre, with the optimal spot to the lower-left of the bullseye (pictured right)

Less accurate players should take alternative strategies. Those accurate to within 25mm, for example, should aim at treble 19 when attempting to hit the treble 20 (left). Meanwhile, those accurate to just 60mm can essentially achieve the same maximum by aiming in a large spot around the centre (pictured right)

Given that the dartboard is more than 100 years old, Kendall also explained that there may be a better design that might improve on the original.

For instance, a better sequence for the arcs on a dartboard could include 20, 1, 19, 3, 17, 5, 15, 7, 13, 9, 11, 10, 12, 8, 14, 6, 16, 4, 18, 2.

This solution maximises the penalties to non-perfect players – those likely to hit adjacent arcs – rather than those being aimed at.

Other researchers have changed the criteria slightly.

Kendall continued that players should also try to leave a power of two each time - two, four, eight, 16 and 32 - as this score gives more alternatives should a player miss the final double. If trying to finish the game on a score of 32, they will aim for double 16. If they hit 16, then their next shot is to aim for double 8

Kendall continued that players should also try to leave a power of two each time – two, four, eight, 16 and 32 – as this score gives more alternatives should a player miss the final double. If trying to finish the game on a score of 32, they will aim for double 16. If they hit 16, then their next shot is to aim for double 8

David Percy, professor of mathematics at Salford University, arranged the numbers of a dartboard so that the risk is maximised, but in addition odd and even numbers are alternated, with different sectors offering similar risks and rewards.

At the time, a leading manufacturer of dartboards, Winmau, announced it would produce a version of this dartboard, although it has not been widely adopted.

However, while maths researchers have examined score and penalty maximisation for the game and suggestions have been made for other designs, it seems Gamlin’s dartboard from 1896 will continue to stand the test of time.

The Conversation

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3394307/How-win-darts-thanks-MATHS-using-poor-aim-advantage.html#ixzz4buyw4Eiq
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