Darts: a game where participants compete with one another by throwing small arrow like devices at a target that is round and has numbers and sections and an inner bull with an outer bull and so on. Darts now refer to the standard game with a specific bristle board design and a set of rules. Rules that are general to the game and rules that govern games like, “501,” “301,” and “Cricket.”

Darts is a traditional pub game that was and is commonly played in the United Kingdom as well as other places in Europe and across the pond here in the America’s.

Wikipedia tells hits history in a terse form, i.e., “The dartboard may have its origins in the cross-section of a tree. An old name for a dartboard is "butt"; the word comes from the French word but, meaning "target". In particular, the Yorkshire and Manchester Log End boards differ from the standard board in that they have no treble, only double and bullseye, the Manchester board being of a smaller diameter, with a playing area of only 25 cm across with double and bull areas measuring just 4 mm. The London Fives board is another variation. This has only 12 equal segments numbered 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10 with the doubles and triples being a quarter of an inch wide.”

There have been a variety of darts created over the years but the most common today is the tungsten dart. There are electronic darts but for this blog and for my efforts in tossing darts I remain a steel dart fan and enthusiast. I am recommending a book for novice darters but only because it appealed to me and my studies and rest assured most of the dart books out there are outstanding. In short, find one if this one does not fit your needs and get it. I can tell you when I started to play over twenty years ago, before I laid down my darts in 96, I tossed darts for several years without knowing some very important and critical mechanics, etc., of the dart game. As I take up once again my steel darts I have found a fountain of information to help make the game both enjoyable and competitive. Enjoy, diddle for the middle and let the darts fly!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

DART ARTS: Cricket

Dart Arts Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

“Cricket is one of the most well known dart games in the USA. It's the 8-ball of the dart-world -- everybody knows the object of the game.” - Josef Burger, http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~bolo/darts/cricket.html

To my mind, the art of the cricket darts is a challenge and frustrating gambit of strategic tactics that make the game a discipline. A discipline of points and numbers, i.e., in Cricket the dart’ist must close out a set of numbers before his or her opponent. Sounds bit easy doesn’t it yet when you find out the “Rest of the Story” you find that once you close a number every dart thereafter in that number is a score, until your opponent closes out that same number. 

The Mark: when you hit three darts in the number’s singles pie; when you hit two darts in the double ring; or when you hit just one dart in the triple ring you have closed that mark. Depending on how the three darts land, i.e., single pie, double ring or triple in any number of combination you can close a mark and accumulate points. 

The idea is to close out all the marks, i.e., 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15 and bulls. In this game once points comes into play you have to close out your marks while equaling or exceeding the points accumulated by your opponent. 

If you are real good and a bit lucky you can play a solid game of Cricket 8, i.e., close out the board faster than your opponent in just 8 darts tossed, i.e., T20, T19, T18, T17, T16, T15, D25 and 25. Yep, easy isn’t it yet it ain’t that easy. Hitting anywhere else on the board results in a missed opportunity to win in a perfect 8 dart game or at least as close to a perfect game as can be achieved. 

STRATEGIES: You should build your own game, your own strategies and stick to that in order to play well and win Cricket. A good strategy could be to close the 20’s and score points. Many of the more aggressive Cricket players do that because it puts you into the “Following mode” where you have to switch to the next number to close and start scoring your own points. Once you begin scoring you can always leave the third dart to use in closing the number your opponent is using to score on you, it all depends. 

Once you equal them in points or exceed their point level you can go back to using one, two or three darts to close other numbers. I like to, when possible dependent on the skills of my opponent, is to score with at least one dart while continuing to close with the other two. Again, it depends and here is where you begin to realize that strategies and tactics are much more involved in Cricket than in the ’01’ games. 

Here is a link that provides other examples of how to play Cricket and remember that it is critical to the dart arts discipline of the Cricket Match to find your own game and stick to it. A couple of personal points:
  • Don’t follow your opponent, always play your own game - stick with it.
  • Don’t get caught up in the bull chase.
  • Point the heck out of your opponent especially if you are spot on in targeting your numbers.
  • When you can, disrupt the chain of thought of your opponent, try shifting to bulls somewhere along in the game. Cricket aficionados like to follow a pattern of 20’s, 19’s, 18’s, 17’s, 16’s, 15’s and Bulls except in situations where a need to shift to another number say to score big so when you shift to the bulls and hit them solid it sometimes can distract the adversaries mental game.
    • I once was far behind in a match so I shifted to the bulls then  hit them consistently scoring big causing a far superior dart’ist to chase me. Granted, I finally made a rookie mistake and he pounced to finally kick my keister to win the match but you get the point. If I had been a bit better dart’ist I could have outscored my opponent allowing me to go back and start to close those numbers closing the door to scoring for my opponent.
  • Remember, scoring high off the oche line means your opponent has to shift to a scoring mark and often is force to split tosses between points and closing. Switching targets for what ever reason can be boon or bust you out of your game on. 
  • Remember, being behind in Cricket, or any other ’01’ game for that matter, does not spell the end, you can still win the match and game if you play your darts right. Keep the pressure going to keep your opponent off his or her game!
  • Remember about “Chasing;” it is reactive and in any conflict or competition your actions are superior to a reactive state of mind and darts. Your are reacting to what the other person is doing and it is better strategy and tactics to force your opponent to react to your darts. Chasing often requires split darts, don’t split your darts. Get in control, play your own game regardless. Create breathing room so you can play your own game consistently. 
  • Remember, if you have greater accuracy on certain numbers you may want to jump on them and close them out quickly so you can point up. If your opponent is a better dart’ist, try this and throw them off their game. Many dart’ists have certain expectations of the game and how most play it, so throw a monkey wrench into the game and play on!
  • If your opponent is a really solid consistent dart’ist make sure you play to your level. In some cases in lieu of aiming for the treble ring, aim for the larger pie so three in the bed close out that number. If you miss by small margins you have a 50-50 chance of hitting a treble or a double and remember, you can hit to either side lower numbers as well - be careful but be adventuresome too!
The referenced site, see link above, has a lot of very good information on the game and that will assist you in laying a foundation of strategies and tactics that will win those Cricket matches, so go for it and “Game ON!”

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