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Play Like the Pros? Solving the Game of Darts as a Dynamic Zero-Sum Game

11/22/2020
by   Martin B. Haugh, et al.
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The game of darts has enjoyed great growth over the past decade with the perception of darts moving from that of a pub game to a game that is regularly scheduled on prime-time television in many countries including the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and Australia among others. In this paper we analyze a novel data-set on sixteen of the top professional darts players in the world during the 2019 season. We use this data-set to fit skill-models to the players and use the fitted models to understand the variation in skills across these players. We then formulate and solve the dynamic zero-sum-games (ZSG's) that darts players face and to the best of our knowledge we are the first to do so. Using the fitted skill models and our ZSG problem formulation we quantify the importance of playing strategically in darts. We are also able to analyze interesting specific game situations including some real-world situations that have been the subject of some debate among darts fans and experts.

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