18 Nov 2015
10 Tips To Survive Your First Night At The Darts
It’s one of the wildest sporting events of the year. From mastering the most outrageous drinking games to avoiding a fancy dress faux pas (plus how to actually decipher the game itself), here’s handy 10 tips to surviving your first night at the darts...
Going in fancy dress is TOTALLY acceptable, if not completely encouraged
Darts is a great British institution, and fancy dress is a central pillar of it. In the words of @CHARACTERFD: ‘Fancy dress! A great reason to watch Darts!’ Plus you’ll only feel left out if you don’t.
Choose safety in numbers
If you’re going with a group of mates, matching costumes are a must. Not only will you significantly reduce your chances of getting heckled, but it’s much harder to be singled out if you blend into your immediate surroundings. Trust us, it’ll make it much easier to locate everyone else when you (inevitably) find yourself stumbling around at the end of the evening.
Peer pressure will most likely occur at some point in the night
There’s nothing quite like having hundreds of equally inebriated people imploring you to down your pint at the top of their lungs. The only decent thing to do is oblige them.
...and minimise the damage
If (like most of us) you struggle to neck an entire pint in one go, it’s worth hanging on to your empties and splitting every fresh drink into multiple glasses. It might sound like a lot of extra faff, but it’s a guaranteed way to ensure you never have to down a whole drink in one go.
Learn the tune to Chase The Sun
It’s the unofficial darts anthem, and a key part of the event. @calummchattie knows all about it, tweeting: ‘@harrytaylor95 and we can go in fancy dress and sing the darts tune, it'd be a great day.’ Written by little-known Italian dance group, Planet Funk, it’s the song you see fans doing the wavy-arm dance to at regular intervals during most televised darts events. Brushing up on the song before you go will help you hit the ground running with group singalongs, but by the end of the night it’s going be permanently etched into your brain forever.
@harrytaylor95 and we can go in fancy dress and sing the darts tune, it'd be a great day— Calum McHattie (@calummchattie) January 4, 2015
Swat up on football chants
Expect to hear Winter Wonderland, Hey Baby and a variety of terrace-inspired verses given a darts twist throughout the evening. Most are extremely simple to get involved with – ‘stand up if you love the darts’ – anyone? But occasionally something will crop up to befuddle the non-football aficionado, such as Manchester City’s Poznan celebration, where huge sections of the crowd turn their backs on the competitors in unison.
Choose your seat wisely
The best view of the action is (unsurprisingly) right down the front, but if you’re more interested in getting involved with the general drinking / chanting / heckling / merriment you’re better of sitting further back.
Know the rules of the game
Some would argue this is entirely unnecessary, but if you enjoy a hefty dose of genuine sporting drama, the game itself is surprisingly straightforward to follow. Each player starts with a score of 501 points which they have to reduce to 0 using as few darts as possible. The board is divided into 20 white or black sections, which are numbered 1-20 un-sequentially, and within each section there’s a green or red outer ring worth double points, and an inner ring worth treble points. The bullseye consists of an outer ring worth 25 points and an inner ring worth 50. The players alternate turns every three darts, subtracting their scores from 501 as they go. The winner is the first player to reach 0 exactly – if they end up in minus numbers they have to wait till their next turn and try again – by finishing with a double or a bull. Simple, right?
Learn the lingo
Like most sports, darts has its fair share of jargon, but you can bluff your way through most conversations armed with a few key terms. These include the oche, which is the line the players stand behind when throwing. The average, which is their average score per three darts – anything over 100 is impressive – and the magic 180, which is the highest score you can achieve in one turn by throwing three triple 20s.
Or do none of these
At the end of the day, there’s more than enough fun to be had dancing, singing and heckling, and you’ll be made to feel just as welcome doing any of these as you will be engrossing yourself in the action. The choice is yours. One thing is for sure, though, it’ll be a memorable evening!