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Nick Berry at DataGenetics has one of those dream jobs you never knew existed: Nick is an expert in data analytics, specialized in the online gaming world. In his recent blog post "A geek plays darts" [datagenetics.com], he demonstrates his interest in gaming, statistics and visualization by diving into the world of dart strategies.

In short, the blog post attempts to solve the question of determining the most optimal location on the board for players with different skill sets in darts: when one is not well experienced in playing darts, he might need to aim for not the highest scoring region, but for a large expanse where there are more "middle of the road point" values.

Statistically, the probability of a where a dart lands is based on a target and standard deviation, which in itself depends on the skill of the darts player: a good darts player has a low standard deviation, and the shots will be closely clustered around their intended objective. When the according skill-based Gaussian curve is swept over the board, the expected score for each possible aiming location can be calculated and represented. In the resulting visualizations, color is used to represent the expected score. In some bullseye graphs, 3D is used to provide a better idea of the according score distributions.

Nick also describes a method to estimate one's own scoring performance. It thus turns out that when you succeed in throwing half the darts inside the outer bull of the board (so with a accuracy of about 2cm), then you are (statistically) a hard player for any amateur to beat.

See also "Don't try for the triple 20 - Where to aim if you are bad at darts" (PDF).

Thnxk Stan!