Saturday, 15 June 2019

Murphy's Law

While I'm watching seemingly everything that can go wrong go wrong (Cross missing three clean at double on three separate occasions? Busting 56 with two darts in hand?), here's some odd play that I've seen over the last couple of days:

This appears to be a pretty standard leg, but let's look at each player's third visit. Now I didn't see the game, so Durrant switching to 19's on the second dart might have been because that dart in the treble 20 was actually blocking the rest of the bed, but I'm going to take a punt and say that it wasn't. Burness cannot even leave himself a shot, so there's zero need to try to leave 170 yourself - follow the line you have on the 60. Then Burness outdoes Durrant with his third dart next shot, switching to 19's instead of 18's, so that even if he was to hit a maximum next visit, he'd leave a bogey number. It's a long shot to take out 340 in six darts, but it's a heck of a lot easier than clearing 339 in the same.

Here's an equally odd one. Beaton's fourth visit - why wouldn't you go big 19 for big 20 to leave tops when you return (which you will)? You are coming back regardless, and while I completely get the logic of going T13 to leave tops, why not just set up tops for sure, rather than leaving yourself just two darts at double next visit if you miss the T13? If you were to hit T19, it's not as if you need to go for double 11, you can just hit a big six to leave a nicer breakdown next door.

OK, he hits it and gets away with it, but Laursen's not on a finish here - why are you even going for a bull finish? Throw at the bull first. And finally, one for the old school guys:

Nothing particularly wrong with Harrington's choice of shot in his last visit, but you would have thought given his old man's phobia of the D18 breakdown he'd have drilled it in to his young'un to go T14 on 66. Actually, knowing Rod, he'd probably have gone for bull, which is the most confusing choice of shots in the world. This leg also appears to feature Ryan unable to count on 303 for bonus value.

Back later, hopefully Anderson (currently 2-2 on throw) and Clemens can ease the pain of the Cross result a touch.

Bring home the bacon

That's what we're going to have to do after an incredibly strange day in Denmark - obviously the one that hurt us hugely was Glen Durrant somehow managing to average near 11 points higher than Kevin Burness and lose, but lots of odd stuff happened elsewhere. Who'd have picked Steve Lennon not to win a leg? Who'd think we'd see a 60 average outside of Gibraltar? When was the last time we saw so many missed doubles? Let's get back to work:

Bunting/Harris - Cody was the beneficiary of that 60 average from Haverinen, whether he was just ultra nervous or simply not at this level, who knows, Harris didn't play that much better himself although taking 46 darts for the last two legs certainly dragged the average down. I'm not quite sure how Bunting keeps getting seeded for these, it's about 2-1 in his favour, this seems kind of fine, Bunting has the higher ceiling and while Harris can certainly take this one down, I think a third of the time seems about the right sort of level lacking any real data on Harris - just 26 ranked legs.

Webster/de Sousa - Jose was one of the better performers of yesterday (I think dartistik had him as the best), solid average in the mid-high 90's against Scott Taylor, a 12 dart leg with an interesting way to finish 84 (clue - he finished it with double 2) and a 10 darter ending on his favourite double 18. It might surprise the casual viewer but doesn't surprise me to see that Webster is the underdog here - de Sousa has been playing extremely solidly all year, Darren less so. The market shading it at 4/5 de Sousa looks fine, I'd maybe go slightly higher, but only 8/11 or so, certainly not enough to think there's an edge.

Clayton/Laursen - Per was one of the two domestic qualifiers and he got past Reece Robinson, just about, not a great game but one with some occasional flashes. Clayton's the next opponent and is installed as a heavy favourite, this seems entirely appropriate, some talk of Clayton lacking form but his scoring is perfectly fine, he should have more than enough additional power than Per to get home quite comfortably. 1/5's a bit too short to think about though.

Chisnall/Ratajski - Ratajski got through the Krzysztof derby comfortably enough, it was looking pretty easy at 4-0 but Kciuk did come back a little, and it's Dave Chisnall up next. I stated in the preview this'd be too close to call just based on looking at overall averages, it is fairly close but Chisnall has a small advantage, around 55/45, Ratajski's available at an alright price that I think is worth the shot, 0.25u Ratajski 17/10.

Whitlock/Aspinall - Solid showing from Nathan yesterday, ending just north of a ton on the averages with a clinical 6/8 on the outer ring. Simon Whitlock's the opponent here and is predictably the underdog given the two player's relative form, and the market appears to be correctly assessing how much of an underdog he is. I'd have set the line at 4/9 Aspinall, he's just slightly the right side of 1/2, so it's in just around the right ballpark, no real value here.

Cullen/Burness - Kevin basically won his game yesterday by winning the opening clownshow leg, Glen missing lots of doubles, hitting a big out when he needed it to break for 5-3, and then putting together a solid 14 darter on throw to ice the game with Glen having just hit a maximum to leave a two darter himself. Cullen is a very nice draw, but it's indicative of Kevin's general level of play that despite Cullen's form, Cullen's shorter than 1/3. As I've got this projecting at 75/25 to Cullen I'm not touching the game.

Gurney/Joyce - Daryl will be looking to put World Cup disappointment behind him here, and his first opponent is Ryan Joyce, who got past Perales comfortably enough, could easily have been 6-0 despite averaging south of 90. No real highlights, Joyce doesn't seem quite the player he was last year, but he might have a little bit more of a chance than the market suggests. He's 5/2 and I see slightly more than one in three wins for Ryan, I'd normally punt at this, but the model does tend to undervalue Gurney somewhat (based off of his top 5 in the PDC consistency score), so I think if I adjust a bit for that any small value there was simply isn't there.

Evans/Dobey - Chris got past Steve West 6-3, West blew this one - he had four darts to win leg 2 and two to win leg 4, that'd have made it 4-0, he then went to pieces a bit and Dobey pulled away (although Steve did have darts to win two more of those that Dobey won). Chris only averaged 89 but got away with it, and the market can't separate him and Ricky Evans. Neither can I really, Dobey's the smallest of small favourites, but it's barely 51%. Could be one of those to see who wins the bull and bet 6-5 correct scoreline.

Price/Harrington - Into the evening session we go, Ryan Harrington got past the domestic qualifier Hansen, it did go from 4-1 up to 5-4 up, but Niels then missed darts for 5-5 (albeit ones given to him by Ryan who was missing match darts as well), before Ryan fell over the line on double three. Gerwyn Price is a heck of a step up, the Welshman is 1/6 which looks close to spot on. It might even arguably be a bit shorter, I'd have gone 1/7, maybe 1/8 to put some vig in the market, not really enough to bet but seems safe enough for an accumulator.

Cross/Shepherd - Another bet killer up here, Kirk Shepherd got home in a scrappy affair against van der Voort, 6-4 with both averaging 83. Vincent was incredibly hot and cold, perhaps the worst extremes in a single match I've seen all year - the four legs he won were perfectly fine, but in the legs he lost he had 7, 5, 5, 6, 7 and 5 visits. That's a lot of darts thrown, and in four of those he didn't have a dart at double, one he only had a single shot at the bull, sure he missed a dozen in leg 9 which effectively cost him the game, but he wasn't close for the most part. Rob Cross is a step up in class, he's 1/8 and it does seem close to a value bet - I'm seeing Rob at 92%. I don't see Rob giving Kirk quite so many shots, 1u Cross 1/8.

Wright/O'Connor - Willie beat Luke Woodhouse in the opening game, not a bad game really, was tight at 4-3 but Willie was able to break in the eighth which was good enough. It's Peter Wright next, the last time they met was just last weekend in the World Cup final (which Wright obviously won given Lennon got Ireland their sole point), and the market thinks it'll be a repeat with Peter shorter than 1/2. That's frankly a bit ridiculous, O'Connor is playing far too well to be that short, he's well over 40% so 0.25u O'Connor 2/1.

Wade/Nilsson - Dennis shocked a lot of people with a 6-0 rout of Steve Lennon, an odd game with Nilsson finishing in five visits every time on the Lennon throw, but Steve not really scoring enough on the Nilsson throw, not getting a single dart to break allowing Dennis easy holds in six, seven and seven visits. James Wade will be Dennis's opponent which ought to be a step too far, James is nicely rested up and I can't see Dennis scoring quite as well as he did yesterday for long enough to really pressure. Wade's too short to really consider though.

Lewis/Anderson - Kyle got a key win in his quest to reach the Matchplay, opening up a 3-0 lead on de Decker without being troubled, that went 4-0 when Mike missed lots of doubles, Mike did then get a couple back before Anderson got home in 8. Adrian Lewis will be in for a tough one here, he's 4/7 which is ridiculous. Kyle's averaging two points higher on winning legs and their losing legs are comparable, and projects to win this one (based off the winning legs) 60% of the time. 0.25u Anderson 7/4, I'm almost half tempted to go a bit more but for Kyle's tendency to not translate statistics into results as often as he should have.

Suljovic/Clemens - Mensur starts his title defence against Gabriel Clemens, the German getting home 6-3 over Mervyn King in a weird game - he had one 12 dart leg where he started 7 perfect, averaged over a ton in the legs King won, but every other leg he won was in a pedestrian six visits. Mensur's 1/2, I think Gabriel's got a bit of a better chance than that, I'm seeing better than 40%, very similar to the Wright/O'Connor game really - 0.25u Clemens 19/10.

White/Schindler - Penultimate game sees the red hot (white hot seems too easy a pun) Ian White against Martin Schindler, who whitewashed (can't help myself) Kim Viljanen, not a pretty game with just an 85 average but it was good enough. Ian is a 75/25 favourite in the market, Schindler looks to be doing just about enough this season that it's maybe a little high (I have Martin at 30%), but Schindler's lack of results might play on his mind against a player of Ian's calibre, so no thanks.

Wattimena/Smith - We end with a clash of players who had disappointing World Cups (if not necessarily on personal results), Smith beat Beaton yesterday to end our betting night on a real sour note, both played very well. Jermaine, despite being the seed, is 2/1, that looks close to spot on according to projections so I won't be touching it.

That's the lot - we go one large odds on banker and then four games all in the 6/4 - 2/1 neighbourhood. What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, 13 June 2019

ET8 round 1 bets

As expected, the qualifier went on for quite a while, Per Laursen came through one half and we know exactly what he'll give us, and the other qualifier is Niels Jorgen Hansen, don't know a huge amount about him but he's serious enough to have played Q-School and 7/8 Challenge Tour events, so maybe he's alright. In the quali both ended up with averages varying in the 70's to low 80's which sounds about right, there's not odds up on the qualifier's games but I'm not sure I can flat out recommend betting them without seeing odds, sure, if they make it 2/7 the tour card holder and 3/1 the Dane then go for it. Let's go through what does have odds:

Woodhouse/O'Connor - Willie's a 2-1 favourite more or less, seems about right intuitively, but no, it's liking Woodhouse a bit better than that, 55/45 in favour of the Irish player. I think I'm alright with leaving it given Willie is surely at peak confidence and I think Luke's best performances may have been a bit earlier in the season.

Todd/Aspinall - No real data on Todd, Nathan's 1/5 which I'd think is fair.

de Decker/Anderson - Tough one to call this. Kyle's 4/9, he's playing great stuff, I just wish I had a bit more data on Mike, who's looked excellent in the limited stats I have on him in the senior game.

Harris/Haverinen - Cody's 3/10, I can't justify a punt at that price given how little I know about Teuvo, Cody only having made it here for the first time kind of shows he can mess things up against people who he should beat on a regular enough basis that I can't recommend a bet.

de Sousa/Taylor - 0.25u de Sousa 5/6, yep, when we've seen Scott doing things he's looked alright, but Jose has been playing a lot better than what Scott's shown over a lot larger sample, this looks very nice (Immediate edit - reduced odds to 5/6 as evens didn't appear available, still a good bet).

Justicia/Joyce - The numbers actually slightly favour a bet on Jose again, but I'm not going to go for it - Ryan I think is a better player than his figures suggest, we're only getting 2/1 and the projections are chucking out around 38%, I think it's safe enough to pass.

Kciuk/Ratajski - Avoiding, don't know enough about the random guy, apart from that he's competent enough that Ratajski at just the right side of 1/4 isn't fun.

Viljanen/Schindler - Nothing really again. From what I've seen of Kim this year I don't think that it's really good enough to beat Martin the one time out of three the line's saying we need him to do it.

Durrant/Burness - 1u Durrant 1/6, this appears to be a print money situation, Burness is less than 9% on my projections for a game of this length, so 1/6 looks good enough for a full unit bet.

West/Dobey - 0.25u West 5/4, I'm seeing this the other way around on projections. I thought it might be close, and it certainly is, but there's definitely enough of a chance here that we should bet on Steve. That the model rates him better appears to be based somewhat on consistency, but that issue isn't enough to think this would be a bad bet. Steve definitely needs this win and will surely be at peak focus.

Clemens/King - Nothing here. It's another close game, however this time my leanings align with the market, King's a best price of 5/6 and I've got him ranked ever so slightly better than that, certainly not enough to recommend punting.

Shepherd/van der Voort - 0.5u van der Voort 8/15, Vincent is playing really, really well this year, and I think this is something that needs exploiting, the model I've got is setting this at more like a 75/25 game.

Beaton/Smith - 0.25u Beaton 2/1, there's maybe just about enough edge in the market looking at past numbers (Beaton projects at 37%), but Michael was complaining of a foot/ankle issue on social media earlier today, so if that's even the slightest of problems it makes this a clear bet.

Nilsson/Lennon - Nothing here, Lennon's around 2/5 which feels right, Steve's playing good stuff but Dennis has enough about him that he will cause enough problems to make this anything but a formality.

That's your lot, good luck ladies and gentlemen.

Danish Darts Open

Draw is out - we knew van Gerwen was giving this one a miss already, so it's completely wide open. Can't remember the last time that the favourite in a PDC event was 6/1, and such is the strength in depth of the field, there's twelve players that are shorter than 20's in one place or another - with plenty of other players who are outside that bracket who have the game within them to go out and grab this title. Let's look at the draw and see what's going down:

Gerwyn Price v Ryan Harrington/HNQ2
Stephen Bunting v Cody Harris/Teuvo Haverinen
Peter Wright v Luke Woodhouse/Willie O'Connor
Joe Cullen v Glen Durrant/Kevin Burness

This might be the weakest section of the draw, if only because it's got a couple of weak seeds and a cluster of weaker qualifiers. Price ought to be a strong favourite to make Sunday, Harrington's here for a second straight Euro Tour event, but got steamrolled last time out by someone who's probably not much better than whoever the home nation qualifier is, if at all. Bunting could have a few issues with Harris, if Cody's able to get past Haverinen, who's been around the Scandi scene for a while now but is making a debut here. Wright's got a tough draw whoever he plays - it's a potential rematch from the World Cup final if O'Connor is able to get through, but counting Luke Woodhouse out based on last weekend would be a dangerous thing to do in what's a very strange choice for first match up. Finally we've got Joe Cullen, who seems devoid of form, and Glen Durrant isn't the sort of player you want to face in those situations, with Burness being over 11 points behind Glen on seasonal points per turn you can't see the Tom Kirby winner pulling this one off.

Rob Cross v Kirk Shepherd/Vincent van der Voort
Ricky Evans v Steve West/Chris Dobey
Daryl Gurney v Jose Perales/Ryan Joyce
Darren Webster v Jose de Sousa/Scott Taylor

Tournament favourite Rob Cross is in a tricky part of the draw, Vincent van der Voort is having a solid season, averaging solidly and well capable of pulling off the upset, he should get by Shepherd who's not done a great deal since regaining his tour card. Evans will have his hands full in the opening game, but who he'll play and who'd be the favourite in round two is tough - all of Evans, Dobey and West are averaging 90 or 91 per turn this season, maybe the pressure is more on West who really needs a run to force his way into Matchplay contention. Second seed Gurney has an alright game, Perales/Justicia having had one good weekend this season but nothing outside of that, while Joyce hasn't really hit the heights he did last season but should be just about good enough to beat the Spaniard. Webster's been looking vulnerable and went out early last time out, and this isn't a gimmie draw - Taylor showed what he can do in the UK Open and made a Pro Tour quarter recently, while de Sousa is scoring over 90 per turn this season, making either a tricky task for Darren.

James Wade v Dennis Nilsson/Steve Lennon
Jonny Clayton v Reece Robinson/HNQ1
Adrian Lewis v Mike de Decker/Kyle Anderson
Simon Whitlock v Mick Todd/Nathan Aspinall

Wade's been looking really good this season, and his first game will feature a World Cup player - Nilsson probably being the dog, but he did reach Sunday of the previous Euro Tour event, while Lennon has been a bit quiet in ranking events but putting up solid stats, showing how he's playing in Hamburg. Clayton ought to advance, Robinson hasn't really got out of neutral since winning his card, UK Open aside, and it's a second game where the domestic qualifier has a chance. Adrian Lewis will have a tough game - Mike de Decker has been cleaning up in the associate qualifiers, while Kyle Anderson badly needs results to get to Blackpool, the stats are top 16 level, better than Lewis, he just needs to convert to results. Finally we have one of the weakest seeds in Simon Whitlock, and while Todd was very good in the first Challenge Tour weekend, he wasn't in the second and Nathan Aspinall should easily be favoured to make the final day out of these three.

Mensur Suljovic v Gabriel Clemens/Mervyn King
Dave Chisnall v Krzysztof Ratajski/Krzysztof Kciuk
Ian White v Kim Viljanen/Martin Schindler
Jermaine Wattimena v Steve Beaton/Michael Smith

This section really shows the strength in depth of the qualifiers in this event. Defending champion Suljovic needs a result to avoid slipping down the Pro Tour ranks enough that he might not even be seeded, and it's a harsh opener - Gabriel Clemens and Mervyn King are both in the knife fight to get into the Matchplay, King probably with enough in the bank while Gabriel has work to do, there's little to separate them statistically and they are not too far behind Mensur either. Chisnall doesn't have an easy opener, facing the winner of the Krzysztof derby, hilariously placed at the end of the afternoon session so the ref will have a field day - Ratajski ought to get through, and a game against Dave would be too close to call, but Kciuk has beaten Ratajski in a big game before, so who knows? Ian White's looking for a third straight win and a fifth straight final on the Euro Tour, he's not got the worst opponent whoever it is, Viljanen is competent but probably lacks the scoring to stay with Ian, while Schindler is playing a little better than his results suggest but is certainly out of form. Finally we have Wattimena against the winner of a ridiculous opening round game between Steve Beaton and Michael Smith - Beaton's hoovering up all the qualification wins and is playing at a level comparable to someone like Adrian Lewis right now, Smith's averaging a couple of points better than Beaton per turn, and Jermaine, despite being the Dutch number 2 and despite putting up nice consistent results, is worse than either player on the numbers. If Wattimena gets into Sunday evening he'll certainly have earned it.

Bets to come later, they're only out already from a handful of bookies and we're waiting on the domestic qualifiers to finish as well, they're only playing on four boards for just short of 40 players with just a dozen games in the bag as of right now, so with multiple averages below 70 and some winning averages in the 50's, this could take a while.

Monday, 10 June 2019

World Cup format

Nice of Willie O'Connor to take the results of the Scotland half knocking him out of the provisional Grand Slam places using the "this is fine" approach, powering through to the final with Steve Lennon, to grab the 12/13 priority as it stands, and with Peter Wright getting into the list now (nice to see Scotland finally claim the title), it's hard to see too many players who could legitimately knock one or both of them out. Suljovic could certainly threaten, but then after that you're looking at the likes of White, Lewis, Chisnall, Durrant or someone a bit more outlandish making a run to the final of one of the Matchplay, Grand Prix, Champions League or World Series finals. You could see one or two maybe doing something, but you need four to knock one of them out - and in the Champions League, it's more or less just Suljovic (if he's even able to get back in the top 8 by the cutoff) that could play there. It seems unlikely.

But to the reason for the post. There's been some talk on Twitter about how there's too much of a singles slant on things, Simon Whitlock being one player that's mentioned this (does he post if him and Anderson don't both lose their singles games to Canada?), and I think it's a fair point. I'm not the biggest fan of doubles, or of the tournament in general, but I think there's the potential to make one change that would address this, and also have the side effect of giving more players - especially from areas that don't normally get a great deal of TV time - the chance to play on a big stage. Make it three man teams.

How would you do this and keep things running in a reasonable timeframe? Here's what I'd do:

Round 1 - One game of triples, exactly the same as the current doubles except every player has to play.

Round 2/QF/SF - Three games of pairs. Teams select the order for players to sit a game out. If you've got one really good player, do you get him in early, or risk leaving it to the final game and not getting there? Tactics ahoy!

Final - Expand to seven sets, have it go:

C v C
B v B
A v A

So three sets of doubles and singles, with triples as a decider if needed. If it gets to the very end, everyone's going to have to contribute. In every round, everyone needs to contribute. It shouldn't affect timings at all, you might need to start the final session a bit earlier, which I think's doable as the format in the afternoon session doesn't exactly lend itself to long matches.

There's one pressing issue that needs addressing - how would adding a third player to each country affect the competitive balance of the tournament? I don't think it would make an enormous issue - if anything, it limits the reliance a team can have on one player (like Wattimena), and there can't be a huge number of countries that have two good players then a huge dropoff. Let's look at the teams we had this year and put up some potential third wheels - nothing scientific, I'm not going back through the rankings to work out who someone would be for certain, I'm just chucking potential names out there:

England: Cross, Smith (Wade/Chisnall/Aspinall/Lewis/whoever)
Scotland: Anderson, Wright (Henderson)
Wales: Price, Clayton (Lewis)
Netherlands: van Gerwen, Wattimena (de Zwaan)
Australia: Whitlock, Anderson (Cadby)
Northern Ireland: Gurney, Dolan (Mansell)
Belgium: Huybrechts, van den Bergh (other Huybrechts/de Decker)
Austria: Suljovic, Lerchbacher (Rodriguez)
Brazil: Portela, Valle (Rangel)
Canada: Murschell, Long (Smith, Part, Fatum)
China: Zong, Liu (anyone who can get a visa)
Czech Republic: Sedlacek, Jirkal (Benecky)
Denmark: Laursen, Heinsoe (come back to me on Thursday - Lokken maybe? Dartistik I'm looking in your direction)
Finland: Kantele, Viljanen (ULF)
Germany: Hopp, Schindler (Clemens)
Gibraltar: Parody, Lopez (Duo)
Greece: Michael, Symeonidis (Pantelidis)
Hong Kong: Lam, Leung (Shek)
Hungary: Szekely, Vesgo (Kovacs)
Ireland: Lennon, O'Connor (Cullen/McGowan/one of the kids)
Italy: Micheletti, Tomassetti (Petri)
Japan: Asada, Muramatsu (Ono, Suzuki?)
Lithuania: Labanauskas, Barauskas (Sakys)
New Zealand: Harris, Puha (Irwin surely can leave the country by then, Parry etc otherwise)
Philippines: Ilagan, Malicdem (Perez)
Poland: Ratajski, Kanik (Kciuk)
Russia: Koltsov, Kadochnikov (Dobromyslova?)
Singapore: Lim, Lim (find a third Lim?)
South Africa: Petersen, Bouwers (Scheffer, Arendse)
Spain: Reyes, Alcinas (Perales)
Sweden: Nilsson, Caris (Larsson, Engstrom, gonna need two now, thank you Magnus)
USA: Young, Puleo (Butler still active? Lauby? Gates?)

I think oddly enough that the team that would get done over most by such a change would be our beaten finalists, although that's maybe only because they're a couple of years away from some of the youngsters making a real breakthrough - McGowan could hold his own at least. I don't think any of the teams that are already strong would suddenly become unbeatable, and I don't think that it would hugely affect the balance amongst the teams with large pre tournament title equity. It'd also probably help the German team the most, given the really small gap in quality between Clemens and the current team (if you're not going to argue that Clemens is better than Schindler already), and we all know the PDC would do almost anything to boost the German market. The lower tier teams would remain that way, but if some of the middling teams get diluted a bit, maybe more would be able to pull off an upset.

It is a bit odd in that this has been one of the better World Cups I remember us having in recent years, but it's also the one which has created the most discussion. I do think there is a bit of a gap in the market for doubles tournaments (maybe they could hold a one off event the day prior to the Grand Prix - think of the puns), and I think that there's certainly big value in getting more players from around the world onto the stage. This'd possibly tie both of these together nicely. Thoughts?

Saturday, 8 June 2019


A mildly interesting question was posed on Twitter prior to the Netherlands beating 2-0, which said little more than "MvG plays Ratajski, is that a mistake from Poland?"

Let's ignore any sort of psychology issues that there might be in terms of if Ratajski were to play MvG first and win, which puts huge pressure on Wattimena and we don't know how he'd react, my gut feeling is that if it was the other way around, van Gerwen would be such a prohibitive favourite against Kanik, that it's putting all your eggs in the Ratajski to beat Wattimena basket, and you still have to win the doubles - surely it's better to align your players so that they both have a chance to win? Ratajski was 4/1 at the one bookie I looked at (stupidly long in a best of 7 format, oh well as it happens, fortunately the same book had O'Connor at 7/2, so this is fine), and while I can't remember the Kanik line (because I didn't bet it), I want to say it was about 13/8?

Annoyingly, I don't have a best of seven match set up as an option on the master computer, as there's no ranking events that use this format, so I'll use best of nine instead - it's not going to be a huge difference in the percentages (looking at van Gerwen/Ratajski first, there's a 1.15% difference in the win chances between in a BO9/BO11 game):

As played: van Gerwen 61.69/38.31 Ratajski, Wattimena 71.64/28.34 Kanik
Alternative: van Gerwen 85.93/14.07 Kanik, Wattimena 40.63/59.37 Ratajski

So, as played, the Netherlands win 44.2% of the time, Poland win 10.9% of the time, and the rest go to doubles.

If we switch it round, the Netherlands win 34.9% of the time, Poland win 8.4% of the time, and the rest go to doubles.

As it is, Poland win outright more often, which was my initial thought, but so do the Netherlands - in the alternative, we get 11.8% more games going to a decider. Poland would need to win 2.5 out of those 11.8 in order for the switch to be beneficial - they'd need to win 21% of doubles matches overall. Is this the right ballpark? It's hard to project doubles and I'm not even going to try to do so, but if you look at in both of the formats, the Netherlands win 4 times more often than Poland do, more or less, look at the van Gerwen/Ratajski singles line, then it's got to be fairly close. Naturally I think that line is crap and Ratajski is much closer, and in doubles the power of van Gerwen is roughly halved, then again at the same time the value of Ratajski isn't as much, and the second player is clearly better for the Netherlands.

Overall it probably doesn't matter much at all what order they do things in - but if we ignore the numbers, I think the best shot for the Poles was as played for reasons as alluded to straight off the bat - you are going to have to beat van Gerwen at some point, and you have a player with the ability to do so, take the punt knowing that if Ratajski doesn't win, the other guy is still live (although, in the projections, nowhere near as live as I thought he would be), and if Ratajski does win, then Wattimena has all the pressure in the world on him.

Hard to look past a Netherlands/Scotland final now, which'd put Wattimena into the Grand Slam, but for fun, type "world cup of" into the Wikipedia search box, go to the first link, and tell me how the hell Frazzles and Monster Munch have managed to win major titles? You'll be telling me Kevin McDine's back winning tournaments next...

More midway point review

As there's nothing interesting happening in the darts world except for the annual team Lim cameo and Wales/Norn Iron choking comically and Peter Wright getting a free run at the Grand Slam as a result, here's how every tour card holder is playing this year:

With there being 128 rows, Blogger's feeble image utilities simply can't handle an image of this size, so you'll just have to click onto it

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Midway point review

A couple of quick things I want to go over. First, an update on the Second and Third Division Darts - for those that missed the initial posting at the start of the season (and the season before), I'm tracking players that didn't get into the Premier League on a head to head basis and assigning them points based on how they're doing against each other - the second division is the best of the rest (based on how they did last season, how they rank in the FRH rankings, then wildcards to fill the other spots up), and the third division is just wildcards, but also only looking at players under the age of 30 at the start of the year. The current standings are as follows:

Division 2:

Ian White 11.29
Adrian Lewis 10.82
Steve West 10.00
Krzysztof Ratajski 9.25
Jonny Clayton 9.04
Dave Chisnall 8.93
Simon Whitlock 8.69
Joe Cullen 8.05
Jeffrey de Zwaan 7.27
Darren Webster 6.67

Division 3:

Nathan Aspinall 10.99
Danny Noppert 10.30
Max Hopp 9.97
Keegan Brown 9.83
Dimitri van den Bergh 9.22
Josh Payne 9.00
Luke Humphries 8.15
Martin Schindler 7.93
Steve Lennon 7.79
Chris Dobey 6.81

The players at the top may not really surprise you, although there's a few oddities - Lewis seems to have been quiet, but stuck in big wins over Clayton and Cullen back in March and hasn't really played anyone else since then apart from a close loss to White. Steve West's only played one game and that was a big enough win against Webster to give the full two points in their matchup. de Zwaan being so low looks odd, but he's lost to all of Clayton, Cullen, White (twice) and Ratajski, and only picked up wins over Webster and Chisnall. In the third, Payne has yet to play anyone, but Dobey being bottom looks an outlier. You don't think of him having a bad season, but against this group of opponents he's 0-5, with tight losses to the top two, then Hopp and van den Bergh (twice) have beaten Chris fairly comfortably.

I'll also post up some tiers for the FRH rankings. I post these up after most weekends of events, and the methodology is in the FAQ, but for clarity's sake, we basically take all senior tour ranking money, add on the prize money someone would get if they lose the first Euro Tour game as a seed, do not remove anything due to lack of tour card status, but do not have everything count in its entirety for two years. It counts in full up until 600 days before it's two years old (so for a little over four months), then degrades at 1% every six days until, two years from when the cash was made, it's back at zero the same as the official rankings. This gives a higher priority to more recent results. So where's everyone at? Here's everyone with at least 20,000 points right now:

1m - 1.1m: van Gerwen
375k - 400k: Cross
350k - 375k: M Smith, G Anderson
300k - 325k: Price, Gurney
275k - 300k: Wade
250k - 275k: Wright, Aspinall
225k - 250k: White
200k - 225k: Suljovic, Chisnall
175k - 200k: Whitlock
150k - 175k: Clayton, A Lewis
140k - 150k: D Webster, Cullen
130k - 140k: Hopp, Bunting
120k - 130k: Beaton, Wattimena, King
110k - 120k: de Zwaan, West
100k - 110k: Henderson, Dobey
95k - 100k: J Wilson, Brown, Evans, Noppert, Ratajski, K Anderson
90k - 95k: K Huybrechts, van den Bergh, Lennon, Dolan
85k - 90k: J Lewis
80k - 85k: van der Voort, van Barneveld, Joyce, P Taylor
75k - 80k: Reyes, Payne, Klaasen, Searle
70k - 75k: Humphries, O'Connor
60k - 65k: Clemens, van de Pas, North, R Smith
55k - 60k: Durrant, Meulenkamp, Alcinas, Norris, Schindler, Dekker
50k - 55k: Thornton
45k - 50k: Labanauskas, Petersen
40k - 45k: Mansell, Pipe, Stevenson, Evetts
35k - 40k: Tabern, Rodriguez
30k - 35k: Richardson, Edgar, M Webster, Hughes, Barnard
25k - 30k: Razma, Cadby, Burton, Nicholson, Boulton, Hunt
20k - 25k: Ward, Jones, Lerchbacher, Owen, Monk, Marijanovic, de Graaf, Gilding, Edhouse, Woodhouse, Kist, R Huybrechts, Harris

As it may be of interest, there's curently 343 players listed in the rankings, although 85 of these have less than 1,000 points and a further 19 have exactly 1,000. The number of players in the rankings has stayed roughly around that area for quite a while, but in about 9 months or so I'd expect the numbers to fall, as historically you've had associates enter a UK Open qualifier and make just one cash or similar, which'll all disappear then. It won't stop lots of European associates and day members getting one European Tour cash and showing on the rankings, but it should trim things down somewhat.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

1000 not out

The more observant of you (or those who have far too much time on their hands) might have noticed that the betting tracking widget is now showing a record of 489-511 - which is exactly 1,000 bets in the bank. Just for fun, a few pieces:

For reference, roughly half the best have come since the 2018 worlds, which coincides with the introduction of DartConnect - while the first half is mostly drakking around, since then we had an amazing worlds and then had much, much more data to work with than what I'd just pulled from the European Tour and majors.

Who've we bet on the most?

That's anyone we've bet on more than 10 times, and it shouldn't be a surprise that Ian White leads the way. Who've we bet against the most?

The model hated Wade for a long, long time, so it's not too much of a surprise to see him up there. Same with Gurney really, MvG we've talked about recently, Whitlock we've been freely laying for ages. Who's made us the most profit to bet on?

Klaasen and Webster are way up there, pretty much solely based on the two biggest single wins in the records - taking Webster over Whitlock in the 2015 worlds at 3/1 for a full unit, then taking Klaasen over Taylor at 7/2 for three quarters of a unit a year later. van Gerwen's helped by a rare early Premier League bet on Gary Anderson when he was somehow odds against to win a match, which was nice. Oddly enough, and I won't put up the chart, Klaasen is also in the top five most profitable players when we're betting against him - beaten only by Whitlock, Wright and Jamie Lewis. I'd say maybe we should just bet more on Klaasen any time we do so out of general principle, but that kind of requires him to get into events where there is a market - sort it out Jelle!

Monday, 27 May 2019

The Matchplay Race

As mentioned, here's a look at how the race for the Matchplay is going. We're only going to look at the cutoff scenarios for the Pro Tour qualifiers - the top 16 look pretty safe:

16 Adrian Lewis 251,000
17 Joe Cullen 222,000
18 Stephen Bunting 206,750

That's a near 30 grand gap from Cullen to the last spot, which Cullen on current form isn't catching, and if there was some sort of miracle, Adie dropping to the Pro Tour spots doesn't affect the cutoff for the Pro Tour qualifiers. So let's go down and look at who's there.

I'm going to eliminate Evans, Ratajski, Durrant, Beaton, de Zwaan, Cullen, Hopp, Noppert and Wattimena from the discussion, they're all on 40,000 or (much) higher which, given what 17th is on and given that it needs eight players to overtake them all, isn't happening, although it's probably not mathematically impossible. So, the race for the remaining spots looks like this:

10 John Henderson 35,750
11 Stephen Bunting 34,250 (**)
12 Mervyn King 32,750 (*)
13 Vincent van der Voort 32,500 (*)
14 Chris Dobey 32,000 (*)
15 Ryan Searle 31,750
16 James Wilson 31,750
17 Ross Smith 30,500
18 Keegan Brown 30,500
19 Kyle Anderson 29,750 (*)
20 Gabriel Clemens 26,000 (*)
21 Steve West 25,500 (*)
22 Ron Meulenkamp 22,750
23 Willie O'Connor 22,250 (*)
24 Harry Ward 22,500
25 Martin Schindler 21,500 (*)
26 Josh Payne 21,500
27 Kim Huybrechts 21,500
28 Dimitri van den Bergh 21,000
29 Steve Lennon 20,750 (*)
30 Raymond van Barneveld 20,500
31 Jelle Klaasen 20,250

Here, a * indicates the player has qualified for ET8, one of the four events remaining - ET9 and PC 17-18 being the others. Bunting has two on account for him being a seed in this event. No mincash is added for anybody - so you can add a grand to a lot of players here.

Who can we cut off? I think that anyone from Meulenkamp down is probably out of the running, unless they are qualified for ET8 already. Meulenkamp is nine grand down on Wilson and Searle, so you're reliant on either winning an event, making the final of ET9, or reaching the semi of ET9 or final of PC17/18 plus doing well enough to make three grand in the other two events. That seems quite the parlay. For anyone who's in ET8 though, it's maybe not quite so outlandish - take Lennon, he's 11 grand down - something like making the ET8 quarter, qualifying for ET9 and losing to the seed, making a semi final in one of the Pro Tour events and winning his board in the other gives you £11,500, which isn't quite so outlandish an ask.

For those at the top, I think that anyone from Dobey up is probably alright. They should all be favourites to win their opening games in ET8 unless they got a brutal draw like Durrant, Ratajski, Aspinall or each other, even then, for one of them to miss out they'd have to do very little in the remaining three events and hope that multiple players do a fair bit.

Which leaves us in my eyes with ten players battling for two spots - Searle and Wilson holding on for now, then Smith, Brown, Anderson, Clemens, West, O'Connor, Schindler and Lennon looking in from the outside. You know that rolling averages graph I did for the Premier League players earlier in the month? Let's do another one.

For the sake of clarity, Smith, O'Connor and Searle all have the dotted lines. So if you look at current values, O'Connor is ahead of the bunch, as you'd expect given he's recently won an event, so while he's a fair bit down on the cutoff right now, you wouldn't put it past him to be able to do something in an event to really make up the ground. Next we have Steve West, who we've not heard a huge amount from this season, but certainly by the graph isn't exactly playing badly. Next is Keegan Brown, who's not in Denmark but already has the points on the board, then there's a grouping of Anderson, Clemens and Lennon, Anderson who was playing clearly the best of these earlier in the season but has since slid a bit at just the wrong time. Making up the rear are Smith and Searle, then a further drop to Schindler and Wilson.

How about some raw season long figures?

Anderson tops these figures, but the graph demonstrates that a bulk of these good figures come from earlier in the season, whereas O'Connor, who's just behind him, is doing it now. You've then got a cluster of four players who are within a third of a point of each other with not much to separate them, before a drop off to Searle, Smith and Schindler, with Wilson a fair bit off the pace, although I believe it was mentioned that James was playing through some sort of medical issue which may certainly explain that.

How about what they've done in terms of results this season? Let's just look at results where they've put more than 2k on the board, I don't see any real point in looking smaller than that, for one on the Euro Tour it's only a first round loss that's worse, and it's that level of result that you really need to start to push away or make inroads into a deficit.

Anderson - Pro Tour QF (3x), Euro Tour L32
Brown - Pro Tour SF, Euro Tour SF, L16 (2x), L32
Clemens - Pro Tour F (2x)
Lennon - Euro Tour L32 (2x)
O'Connor - Pro Tour Win, Euro Tour L32
Schindler - Nothing
Searle - Pro Tour QF (3x), Euro Tour L16
Smith - Euro Tour L16 (2x), L32
West - Pro Tour SF (2x), QF
Wilson - Euro Tour L16

So in terms of putting in the cashes that count, Brown has five, Anderson and Searle have four, Smith and West have three, Clemens, Lennon and O'Connor and two, Wilson has one and Schindler has nothing.

What does this all mean in terms of who's going to get the last two spots? I think you can chuck Lennon and Schindler immediately, after that I think you can make a case for anyone. O'Connor's the hardest to make a case for given the ground he has to make up, but he is playing the best of all these right now and has shown he can put the result he'd need together very recently. West's figures aren't bad and he's had some results domestically but the lack of anything whatsoever on the European Tour is a huge concern. Clemens is less than 5k back once you factor in the ET8 mincash he will get and has shown twice he can put together a tournament where he can get that type of money. Anderson and Brown are fairly similar in that they're solidly producing decent results and statistics, and it'd just need a little purple patch to get over the line, Ross Smith has shown some nice peaks in Europe, but only has the one shot to do something there and it'd be hard on the results he's been getting on the Pro Tour to really believe that he'd get enough on the board to get over the line. Wilson's one of the incumbents, but has no real results, is playing the worst and is hanging on for dear life, while Searle is at least playing a bit better overall and you'd think he'd be able to get more in the bank than both Wilson and Smith in the last three events to stay ahead of both of them, which would then require two from outside to overtake him.

Gun to my head and I'd say Searle gets one spot and Anderson gets the other, but it's so hugely dependent on Kyle getting a decent draw in Copenhagen - the difference between getting Nathan Aspinall and Teuvo Haverinen could be the difference between Kyle playing at the Winter Gardens, or shooting off to where it is winter ahead of the World Series.

Sunday, 26 May 2019


New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Michael Smith
4 Gary Anderson
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Gerwyn Price
7 James Wade
8 Peter Wright
9 Nathan Aspinall
10 Ian White
11 Mensur Suljovic
12 Dave Chisnall
13 Simon Whitlock
14 Jonny Clayton
15 Adrian Lewis
16 Darren Webster
17 Joe Cullen
18 Max Hopp
19 Stephen Bunting
20 Steve Beaton

No change whatsoever, although Price is now within 1500 points of the top 5, White's opened up a huge European Tour win sized gap over Suljovic, and Wright's staying ahead of Aspinall for now. Wattimena and King fill the spots just outside and after their decent showings there's a big drop to #23, with none of the five players immediately below playing this weekend. van der Voort is back in the top 40 and ahead of Barney for the Dutch #5 position. Glen Durrant is now just two places outside the top 50, and after his best weekend in a while Rowby John Rodriguez is back within touching distance of the top 64.

Tomorrow I'll take a poke at the Matchplay scenarios, and update the 2nd/3rd Division Darts tables which have gone unlooked at in a while

ET7 round 3 bets

Before I quickly start on yesterday, congrats to Leighton Bennett on winning the open that dartsplanet organised yesterday (and good job to dartsplanet for getting it running what sounded like successfully, these things aren't easy to sort) - hitting a nine darter in the process.

Yesterday went just about as perfectly as possible. All three of the main bets won, the flyer on Willie O'Connor being the only miss, but that wasn't anything to do with Willie - lots of things have to go right for a bet against van Gerwen to work, the main one being he doesn't average 107... apart from a poor fifth leg and the missing one dart at double in the final leg, O'Connor did nothing wrong and ended up well into three figures for conventional averages himself.

Eight games today, let's see what we've got:

van Gerwen/van Barneveld - Oh how the PDC must have wished the order was the other way around this weekend (as an aside, why do they just have two running orders, standard and reverse? I get switching between those so that MvG doesn't start the session every single event, but surely they can randomise where in the draw the 1 seed plays)! Barney got past Michael Smith, nothing spectacular here, it was purely Smith missing doubles and big numbers. It's 5/1 on Barney which really doesn't appeal. It probably does purely on the numbers (showing just shy of 25% chances), and it's going to be one of those weird crowds where van Gerwen isn't the favoured players in the Netherlands, I just don't believe that Barney believes he can win it. It's a no from me.

Chisnall/Evans - Dave got past Steve Beaton, perhaps a bit easier than expected, a weird game with quite a few breaks. Ricky saw off Danny van Trijp fairly comfortably winning the last five legs in an equivalent 6-2 victory to Dave's later in the evening. Dave is the favourite at 4/7, I think that's fairly close to correct. I might have put it at 4/9, I'm seeing Dave at slightly over a two in three shot, I don't think there's quite the edge to bet on Chisnall.

Durrant/Nilsson - Glen had the bye so just Dennis to talk about, and he got by Clayton in a weird one, Clayton put in some very powerful legs, but Nilsson was able to win all the scrappy legs, including the last one where Clayton was only able to get one dart at bull in eighteen darts, which he obviously missed. Nilsson won despite averaging over six points lower. Data on Nilsson is limited, but 5/1 on him sounds around the right ballpark, an 85 average on the Challenge Tour isn't the sort of thing that ought to trouble Durrant.

Price/Dolan - Gerwyn absolutely blitzed Ratajski, winning the first five legs all in fifteen darts or better, while Dolan was able to see off Stephen Bunting 6-4 with an equally impressive five legs in fifteen darts or better. Gerwyn is the favourite, and there's close to value - he's 4/9 and I've got him at 77% to take it on season long stats, but if we filter down to a smaller sample of the last couple of months, when Price's heater had cooled slightly, it doesn't become value at all and we start to look at Dolan as being the value bet. I'm guessing it's somewhere in the middle and neither is worth the punt.

White/Wattimena - Ian got into a real tough tussle with Mickey Mansell, it went all the way and was generally high quality, at least until the last leg where Mansell missed five match darts - helped by White missing three himself to allow the extra shots. Jermaine got past Danny Noppert, opening up a 4-1 lead before Noppert levelled, Danny was six perfect on throw in leg 9 but couldn't finish 141 in nine darts, giving Jermaine the critical break. It's yet another game where I think the line is incredibly accurate - I see it at mid-sixties for Ian to claim this, and the market has him at 4/7, so let's move on to game six.

van der Voort/Hopp - Two players here who we bet on yesterday, both coming through as underdogs - Hopp with a 6-0 demolition of Joe Cullen, while in the last game of the night, van der Voort and Suljovic was on throw through seven legs before the decisive moment, Vincent taking out 138 using the Harrington special route for a twelve dart leg with Mensur waiting on tops. Awful bit of counting in the last leg by Mensur, going 20-5-20 on 204, dunno if the lie was perfect to hit treble last dart, but with Vincent on a double you've got to surely at least leave a shot, if only so that if he misses the first two on D16 inside he can't think about busting it to return to 32 guaranteed. Market has this very close, Hopp a tiny 5/6 favourite. Sadly I have to agree again - both have had very underrated seasons so while against anyone else we probably bet them, against each other the market is probably underrating them both enough to make the line look accurate.

Wright/Whitlock - Peter was able to get past Ritchie Edhouse, opening a 3-0 lead but being pegged back and forced all the way to 6-4, an odd game, Edhouse took all the scrappy legs but he was right there several times when Wright was winning legs - averaging 97 in them. Whitlock beat Florian Hempel with probably the best darts he's played all year, three 12 or better legs, two of them breaks, wasn't a bad showing by Hempel and if he'd caught normal Whitlock he might have had decent chances to get home. This is very similar to the Price game - Wright is 2/5, and I'm getting him at 77% again. If we trim it down a touch to just April onwards, where Simon was able to make a final, Wright's win chances drop to 72%, which is very close to a correct line. I wouldn't blame anyone for going with Peter, but I can't outright recommend it.

King/Rodriguez - Mervyn was the third of our bets to get home yesterday, running out a 6-1 victor over Daryl Gurney, the highlight being an opening 11 darter, then consolidating the break with a 126 out on the bull after Daryl had missed one dart to break straight back. Rowby had a bit more of a routine game after Friday's fireworks, beating Darren Webster 6-2, only getting the two legs in fifteen darts or better. He was allowed plenty of time to miss 14 darts at double though, maybe on another day when Darren's firing properly, this one gets to 4-4. Now we finally have a bet - 0.25u Rodriguez 8/5. This could go spectacularly wrong, but there's a few things that are in our favour. First, Rowby has shown peak Rowby this weekend so we know he can pull it out. Secondly, while the master computer rates this as basically evens for all intents and purposes, we can check for consistency, as we know that Rowby's bad legs can be really bad, and not be factored into the projections. Rowby scores 93 per turn when winning and 86.5 when losing. Mervyn scores, er, 93 per turn when winning and 87.7 per turn when losing. So Mervyn is also showing up as pretty damn inconsistent - their profiles are oddly very similar this season, so I'm happy to go with it.

I might get something up for the quarters, but I'm thinking I'm probably going to watch the League One playoff final instead, so don't hold your breath.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

ET7 round 2 bets

Can we get back over +20 units lifetime today? We're needing less than a tenth of a unit of profit to do so, let's see what we can do.

Bunting/Dolan - This one's priced up quite evenly, Bunting being the small favourite. Thought this might have been a bit more in Stephen's favour but the line's respecting Dolan's game I guess, Brendan having a routine win yesterday, and actually having more points per turn this season than Bunting - albeit by 0.08. This is a close one, Stephen's actually done a little better than Dolan on the legs he's won so he projects a slight favourite, but as that's what the line says anyway, next game please. Maybe see who wins the bull and bet 6-5 correct score?

Whitlock/Hempel - Probably a quick one to analyse, Florian got a nice win yesterday, Simon's not a bad seed to face, but I would think all of Whitlock's experience will get him over the line. It's a 1/3 Whitlock sort of game, I'd usually be tempted to take anyone who's got through a first round game against him, but Hempel didn't do quite enough to make me think he can put in enough of a sustained effort if he faces someone who puts up more resistance than Harrington did.

Wattimena/Noppert - Nice all-Dutch tie here, thought they might have put this one on the evening session? Jermaine's been a little bit quiet the last month or so, not playing in the last couple of Euro Tours and not winning a board on the Pro Tour in six attempts, so if Noppert plays like he did yesterday in a fun game against Harry Ward, Jermaine could be in trouble. The market actually has Noppert as the favourite, which I thought might be surprising, but then the master computer thinks 8/11 is more or less spot on, Noppie actually outscoring Wattimena this season by a point and a half a turn. Let's move on...

Evans/van Trijp - No rubber match between Brown and Evans here, as Danny van Trijp edged home mostly on the back of hitting a shedload of ton 40's. I don't think I can bet this one, Danny's not done too badly at all the two times we've seen him on the senior tour, but a quick check on his Challenge Tour and Development Tour stats and against someone decent like Evans I don't think he gets home quite enough. 11/4 feels about right here.

Clayton/Nilsson - Dennis easily routed a pretty poor Erik Hol 6-0, not a pretty game and Dennis isn't going to be able to afford quite so many missed doubles against Jonny Clayton, who's having a solid season. There's not a huge amount of data to work off, so it's mostly gut feeling and I'm thinking it's similar to the last game - 3/1 for Nilsson looks about the right ballpark.

Price/Ratajski - Wow, this is a nice game for an afternoon session on day 2. Ratajski beat Ross Smith in a high quality encounter yesterday, and meets up against Price again - they've met four times in the past twelve months, splitting the series with Price winning the biggest one in the UK Open, but Ratajski getting the most recent win and also winning in Minehead last November. The line looks more or less spot on - Price is 8/13 which implies slightly better than a 60% shot to win, the master computer says 63% so there's nothing here. Again.

Webster/Rodriguez - High quality performance from Rowby, he doesn't hit his peaks often but when he does it's spectacular. I'm taking this one off the board as I really don't know what to think about Webster and how he'll play after last Saturday, and contemplating about that one with the wild inconsistency that Rodriguez has is a nightmare - after yesterday it'd surprise nobody if he stepped up and averaged 78.

Wade/Durrant - Wade cried off, damnit. I was looking forward to this one. At least we see Glen tomorrow.

Chisnall/Beaton - Two in form players facing off here, Beaton playing arguably the best darts of his life, while Chizzy's won two titles already this year. They've not met since last June so no real form guide head to head, the market favours Chisnall a fair bit, which is testament to Dave's game given how Beaton is playing. Steve's 13/8, I'm getting him winning slightly under 40%, so we're still looking for a bet. If we can't find it on Steve, who can we find one on?

White/Mansell - Ian's going to look to continue recent European form and faces Mickey Mansell, who did just about enough to defeat Kyle Anderson and move on to today. Ian's heavily favoured, and rightly so - I've got a win chance of just over 80% for the Diamond, and he's 1/4, come on bookies, offer us something, anything!

Cullen/Hopp - Maybe we can get something here, Joe's struggled for form somewhat, and maybe even his European Tour specialty is wilting slightly having lost to McGeeney and Mark Webster in opening games the last two events. Hopp beat Aspinall in a game that went all the way yesterday and the bookies have it close to even. This game should not be close to even, Max ought to win this three times out of every five per the master computer, if Cullen can refind his European form quickly then it might be closer, but over 60% and offered odds against? 0.25u Hopp 11/10, there, finally, we have something.

van Gerwen/O'Connor - A rematch from last season's Dutch Darts Championship, where a distinctly below par van Gerwen lost quite heavily. Since then, van Gerwen's form isn't quite so stellar as it quickly became after that event, and Willie's managed to get a title under his belt. We're being offered some quite silly odds here, 0.1u O'Connor 10/1, the master computer might be on steroids a bit to think Willie claims this just over one in three, but ask yourself if Michael wins this 90% of the time?

Gurney/King - Daryl's up next, and he faces Mervyn King, who hit some nice combination outs to see off Luke Woodhouse yesterday. They last met, oddly, in this event last year where Daryl won, but King had won six of the previous seven. This line looks way off, King's playing some good stuff, 0.25u King 9/4, Daryl's ahead by about a point and a half on King per turn this season, but that's all consistency, on winning legs Mervyn's actually scoring better and thus the master computer actually gives King the slight edge. In reality it's not like that but in reality King has better than a one in three shout.

Smith/van Barneveld - Michael shouldn't have been a seed here, but he is, and faces Raymond on home soil after he disposed of Pal Szekely comfortably enough. Some nice big outs on show, and he might need to pick more of them off against someone of Smith's quality. Smith is about a 2/1 favourite in the market, and the master computer spits out the same analysis. Maybe think about the Barney punt if home soil appeals to you, and the potential of one more MvG/Barney matchup tomorrow might be on.

Wright/Edhouse - Ritchie cruised past Hendriks 6-2 late yesterday, not a bad performance but nothing truly special, and he'll need to improve a lot to really threaten Wright, who's installed as a 1/5 favourite which doesn't really look too disrespectful to Edhouse - he's played 300 legs on the senior circuit this year thanks to early Challenge Tour form and is scoring seven points per turn less than Wright, that's enough sample for me.

Suljovic/van der Voort - Last game up and we see Mensur, favourite of fans everywhere, against Vincent, who'll certainly be favourite in the Netherlands. Vincent took out Andy Boulton with a five leg spurt from 2-1 down, and is installed at 9/4 here. Honestly, I don't think van der Voort is that far behind, he's got home advantage, albeit against one of the most likable players in the game, and he's putting together enough power in his winning legs that Suljovic is only favoured on projections using those by about 5% - 0.25u van der Voort 9/4, one more for the road.

We got a few in the end - more tomorrow morning.

Friday, 24 May 2019

ET7 round 1 random thoughts

Looks like the betting was more or less break even - nice to see Florian Hempel's perseverance on trying to get onto the Euro Tour rewarded with a 6-0 drubbing of Ryan Harrington, Erik Hol on the other hand... that gave just about enough buffer room to go 2-2 when hitting on favourites, O'Connor only a slight one but Beaton was a decent bit of odds on, Kyle Anderson just missed a bunch of darts to go 5-4 up, Luke Woodhouse started a bit slowly but his clawing back effort was interrupted by Mervyn hitting a couple of very nice mid-large range checkouts on the bull, so fair play to the King on that one.

What else happened? Plaisier never really got scoring going against Brendan Dolan, was always going to be a tough ask but he only got darts at double in one leg, which says it all. Rowby John Rodriguez had a really great performance against Mike de Decker, running off six straight legs after dropping the first couple. Sounded like a great game - ten 180's between them in six legs, both averaging over 104, combined checkout percentage over 50%, Rowby even threatened a nine at one point. Nice showing by both.

Danny van Trijp was able to nick one against Keegan Brown, Danny having far superior scoring in racking up a 5-3 lead, but he was able to just get home after being broken by Keegan in leg 10 to force a decider - Brown having seven visits and still not being under 70 is kind of telling. Durrant easily dealy with Merkx, not a great game really, Noppert against Ward on the other hand sounded a lot more competitive than the 6-1 scoreline suggested. Both averaged over 103, and that was despite a comedy third leg that went to a fourth visit. Danny was both scoring heavily and clinical on finishing, including a couple of bit combo checkouts.

Steve Beaton got past Alan Norris, a bit of a tussle with a fair bit of nerves towards the end. Next game not mentioned was Ratajski defeating Ross Smith, 6-3 with a great combination of heavy scoring and not missing doubles, might be the best game you'll see with neither averaging over 100. Vincent van der Voort advanced over Andy Boulton, Andy missed chunks of doubles in a couple of legs which could easily have made it 4-4, but it is what it is and Vincent moves on to Saturday. Hopp/Aspinall went all the way to the final leg, Aspinall doing well to claw things back to there after getting into an early hole, but Hopp finished in five visits on throw to not give Nathan much of a chance when it mattered. Last couple of games were 6-2 wins, Barney got through over Pal Szekely, Pal being unable to put any sustained scoring together, but Barney was still able to hit three completely unnecessary ton plus checkouts for show. The other one was Ritchie Edhouse over Jimmy Hendriks, fairly poor showing from Jimmy who averaged south of 80 and Ritchie just did a professional job with no real fireworks.

Data's into the master computer, and we'll look at the lines in the morning.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

ET7 round 1 bets

This'll be a brief post:

0.25u O'Connor 10/11, unless I've missed some sort of injury post, I don't get how on current form this is anywhere near that close against Joyce.

0.25u Anderson 8/15, simple non-belief in Mansell and belief in Anderson, seems 80/20.

0.1u Hempel 3/1, this is pure non-belief in Harrington, Hempel came through a tough qualifier and while Harrington isn't in the tour card basement, he's not far off it.

0.25u Beaton 4/7, seeing a comparable level of edge as in the Anderson match.

0.1u Hol 9/2, I like Nilsson's game but that's way off, got to be worth a punt on home soil, only a couple of bookies offering it but if more than one is, it seems a legit line.

0.25u Woodhouse 7/4, mentioned I thought this'd be close, the line isn't close enough, analysis looks close to a flip.

Dutch Darts Masters preview

Here's the draw courtesy of the PDC's website:

Cross has withdrawn late so we've got an extra spot in the home nation qualifiers, which look to be pretty strong - Mandigers showed up but lost, van Tergouw lost in the last round, recent BDO event winner Toon Greebe lost as has hotly rated youngster Jurjen van der Velde, but let's talk about who's there:

1/16 section - Can't really look past van Gerwen on home soil. Then again, last year on home soil he did lose to... Willie O'Connor, who's just got the first big win of his career within the last month. Joyce wouldn't be an easy out either but it's fair to say he's not quite at the level he was last year. Possible last sixteen opponents aren't easy - Pal Szekely is making a debut here after being real close on multiple occasions previously, and qualifiers from that region are generally no mugs, but it's looking like one of Smith or Barney - surely Smith has to be favoured and would give van Gerwen a right test.

8/9 section - Chizzy could have his work cut out against Steve Beaton, Steve's current form isn't too far behind, you'd think that form would be too good for current day Norris, but Alan's been known to raise his game on a stage if needed. Ricky Evans could face Keegan Brown for the third time in Europe this year, winning the first but losing the second, the home nation qualifier is Danny van Trijp, who looked alright on his first appearance this year against Adam Hunt, but shouldn't trouble Keegan.

5/12 section - Oh boy, that's not nice for Wade. There's very few people that can legitimately compete with Wade on current form right now, but Glen Durrant is one of them, someone who I think has somewhat of a similar style of play, so could be an interesting one. Assuming Glen gets past Alex Merkx, of course. Merkx made a final in Lithuania a couple of weeks ago, so who knows. Clayton ought not to have too much trouble reaching Sunday, Nilsson occasionally has purple patches and home nation qualifier Erik Hol has been somewhat consistent on the Challenge Tour, but Jonny's a step ahead I think.

4/13 section - Nasty draw for Price as well. Ross Smith has probably cooled a touch over the last month or two, but Ratajski certainly hasn't and easily has a top 16 game statistically, if not top 10. Great first round entertainment midway through the evening session. Bunting has been doing some alright work in Europe, but Dolan seems a very tight matchup, season long stats rating them very similarly, Dolan perhaps being more consistent. Brendan would need to get past what'll probably be Wesley Plaisier (3-0 up in the final round as I type), which I think he should do.

2/15 section - Can White keep his European form going? Hard opening game if he wants to, Mansell has shown occasional bursts and despite a 2-8 record against Kyle Anderson, has won their last two, albeit last year, Kyle's numbers remain excellent but he's just not getting the result. Wattimena on home soil could be formidable, although a derby against Danny Noppert or an opening round match against the newest PDC title winner in Harry Ward isn't necessarily the nicest thing he could have drawn.

7/10 section - Another solid opening round match here. Boulton did start off the year very nicely indeed, he's dropped a touch but should still give van der Voort, who's playing the best darts he's done in a while, a decent examination. Suljovic awaits the winner, and while he should be favoured, might be a bit too far ahead of van der Voort in the markets. The other bit of this draw is explosive - we get Hopp/Aspinall for the second time this month on the European stage, Nathan won that one, will Hopp get revenge? Joe Cullen completes the section, these three could battle it out at a high level for at least a decade or more to come, and Joe will need all of the additional game he brings to the European Tour to stay in this one.

6/11 section - Peter Wright will face up against either Ritchie Edhouse, who's no longer top of the Challenge Tour rankings but is still having a very good season, or a to be determined home nations qualifier - Michael Plooy or Jimmy Hendriks. Ritchie should have enough, and can occasionally show the game needed to trouble someone of Wright's quality. Whitlock's back amongst the seeds after his good run right after he dropped out, and it's a good draw for everyone I think - neither of Florian Hempel on debut, or Ryan Harrington effectively playing out his tour card, will hate drawing each other, both would be happy getting what appears the weakest seed, and Whitlock will be happy with avoiding one of the many qualifier landmines that are out there.

3/14 section - Gurney is looking for a second European Tour title of the season, and will open up against either Luke Woodhouse or Mervyn King. Another good first round draw, King will probably draw a favourite tag on name form but the two are evenly matched up this year and playing solid darts, either one could threaten Daryl if they can put a spurt in. Finally we have Darren Webster, who was able to shake off the injury he picked up on Saturday to compete on the Sunday, albeit in a losing first round effort, how well will he actually be able to compete against either Mike de Decker or Rowby John Rodriguez? Mike's making a habit of qualifying for these and is probably in a bit more form than Rowby, but hasn't yet demonstrated the ceiling that Rowby has - although Rowby rarely shows it himself.

Bets later. I intend on doing some Matchplay scenarios and analysis on Monday after this event, it's a public holiday here so expect some analysis of the race to get into Blackpool.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

PC16 - what the heck

Plenty of weird things happened today. Let's walk through them:

1) Harry Ward won the title

Yep, that's a strange one. A very strange one. He'd had a couple of sighters before, getting to the quarter finals on two occasions, but to actually take one to the hoop came from nowhere really. Four last leg victories is ever so slightly fortunate, and a sub-90 points per turn for the tournament shows quite how opportunist this one was, running into Max Hopp in the final, who was scoring less per turn in the tournament than he was. Fair play for getting there, but you wonder if this is going to put him into some things too soon.

2) Robert Thornton has form

What the hell was Rob smoking today? A run to the semi final with a solid 92 points per turn for the event, beating van Gerwen, hitting a nine darter as well, it was only some missed doubles that prevented him from getting to the final and possibly going all the way. It's something to build on hopefully - Thornton's always had a habit of being really good for a month or so, often when there's a major tournament on, then being close to irrelevant for months on end - he is, if I read Twitter right, still outside of the provisional worlds spots.

3) Jose de Sousa is red hot

Here's your last remaining semi finalist, and it was good play from the Portuguese player, approaching 95 points per turn which is easily the highest of any of the four semi finalists, and only bettered by two players that won their board. He was a bit fortunate in who he drew, the strongest player he faced probably being Vincent van der Voort in the last 16, but with how he played, he could have faced tougher opponents and still advanced. He's got a couple of Euro Tour events coming up so can maybe build on this where the prizes can really escalate.

4) Both yesterday's finalists lost first round

This seemed odd. Darius Labanauskas ran into Ross Smith (conventionally) averaging 99, which is fair enough, but Duzza fell to Tytus Kanik, which is a bit questionable.

5) Scott Taylor? Really?

The one guy that had a UK Open run from outside the tour card holders had another solid run, winning his board by taking out Cristo Reyes, Ricky Evans (averaging 101) then Ross Smith (averaging 108), before overcoming John Henderson with another high 90 average, de Sousa would be too strong in the quarters, but it's a nice run.

New FRH rankings:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Rob Cross
3 Michael Smith
4 Gary Anderson
5 Daryl Gurney
6 Gerwyn Price
7 James Wade
8 Peter Wright
9 Nathan Aspinall
10 Ian White (UP 1)
11 Mensur Suljovic (DOWN 1)
12 Dave Chisnall
13 Simon Whitlock
14 Jonny Clayton
15 Adrian Lewis
16 Darren Webster
17 Joe Cullen
18 Max Hopp (UP 1)
19 Stephen Bunting (DOWN 1)
20 Steve Beaton

Suljovic took the weekend off, so White making the quarters yesterday was just about good enough to creep into the top 10, while Hopp's final gives him a good cushion over Bunting, who missed on both days.

Lower down the order, a double quarter final from Chris Dobey sees him rise to 26 and will certainly help with Matchplay qualification, Ron Meulenkamp, Glen Durrant, Robert Thornton and Darius Labanauskas all occupy spots in the fifties after their runs this weekend, Harry Ward is just a few hundred points off the top 80, Jose de Sousa is close to the top 90, while Scott Taylor and Ryan Meikle reclaim top 100 spots after good weekends.

We've got the Premier League final this Thursday, not that we care about it, then the Dutch Darts Masters next weekend, before a small break before the World Cup, so next weekend's the only competitive darts in nearly a month, which is a shame. Not even any BDO events to really speak of. At least we have the Development Tour during the World Cup.

Some brief thoughts on Saturday's action

Before I get into Players Championship 15, they're hosting a series of the associate qualifiers in Hildesheim this weekend for the three events that are coming up that aren't in Germany - this seems an understandable if interesting way to do it, it's naturally going to favour the Germans in that they don't need to travel that much for it, and it also has the effect of having a hugely increased turnout compared to some of those where they hold it the day before the event. Got to give props to Mike de Decker for getting through both of them, taking out Diogo Portela twice (sucks for him to prioritise this when he could probably have got into the Pro Tour this weekend), we also saw Cody Harris make one as well as Florian Hempel, who'll make his debut - we saw him in a lot of qualifiers the last couple of years but never got through one, but having made the German Open semi final last month (the one Leighton Bennett made the semi of), only being stopped by the in form Martijn Kleermaker, and getting through this as well, maybe he's hitting a bit of a purple patch. Averages weren't great for Florian outside of a 103 against Erik Tautfest, over 11 legs as well, looking back at the stats they were both helping each other by finishing pretty cleanly with the opponent regularly down on a two darter, nice game lads.

So to Barnsley, and Glen Durrant won his second event - notably in this one, van Gerwen was present and he beat van Gerwen along the way, a 7-2 win in the semi final. He dropped just 15 legs in the event, two whitewashes to start, then three tight 6-4 victories before the van Gerwen game, and then finished off with an 8-1 rout of Darius Labanauskas, looking at his averages it's possible he'd just ran his race by getting over Ron Meulenkamp in the semi final, although the final average is clearly affected by one leg where it took 26 darts to finish it (oddly, this was the one Darius won).

Quite a few surprising runs all round - Ryan Meikle continues his development with a quarter final run, notably taking Peter Wright out early, Pete Hudson, Vincent van der Meer and Nathan Rafferty all won boards (Hudson taking out both Aspinall and de Zwaan, VvdM was able to get a win over Clayton, Rafferty eliminated both Bunting and Barney). In bad days at the office, Joe Cullen, Adrian Lewis, Mervyn King, Jamie Hughes and Corey Cadby all fell at the first hurdle - Lewis drew an in form Justin Pipe and it went 11 legs, Hughes lost to Barney by the same score, while Cadby's got to consider himself really unlucky - sure, his game against Darren Webster saw a really mediocre performance, but after the first leg against Devon Petersen in the second round, Webster injured himself and eventually withdrew while in a 5-0 hole. Devon was playing alright, but Cadby's got to look at a run of Devon, Dave Pallett then Ron Meulenkamp and think that was a great chance to put points onto the board.

PC16 draw is just out - some standout ties include Ratajski against Monk, Chizzy against Barney, a wild Darren Johnson appearing, which I assumed was a replacement for Webster but he's there against Bradley Brooks, Hopp/McGeeney could be decent, potential second straight White/Dimitri round two tie (if Ian can get past Rafferty), Hughes has Meikle on the same board as Cullen/Razma, West/Woodhouse might be a sleeper decent game, Ross Smith against Darius Labanauskas isn't bad, while Durrant is on Bunting's board, Glen has Tytus Kanik. Other possible second round ties that might be tasty are Dobey/Cadby, Wattimena/Pipe, Searle against either of the Challenge Tour heroes in Edhouse/Gilding, the Darius game winner faces either Wayne Jones or Steve Lennon. Should be a decent event, let's see who pushes on as the Matchplay race gets down to the wire.

Friday, 17 May 2019

It's coming home

Wait, it's not THAT World Cup they've just done the draw for? Oh well, that's unfortunate.

Couple of Euro Tour qualifiers are in the bank - let's look at the Euro ones first because they're smaller, nice job by Ratajski and VVDV to get there both times, got to be a bit annoying for de Zwaan to get to the last round twice and fail twice. In the UK, good god that's unfortunate for Hughes to run into Durrant and then lose to Wayne Jones in a local derby. Good for Durrant to get through twice, lower down Luke Woodhouse made it twice which could be important, Kyle Anderson made it twice as well, Joyce got there twice as well, who's been quiet a bit since last season so maybe he can get something going. Good to see that Michael Smith didn't react badly to being in these, getting there twice.

So now that I've made that World Cup reference, let's look at the draw and see how interested I am in each game by likening my interest to an ex-England player. Why not.

Gibraltar v Japan - no Suzuki, Asada and Muramatsu surely too strong. Rating - David Batty
Northern Ireland v South Africa - might be interesting if Petersen shows up and the other guy isn't awful, but probably not. Rating - Matt Le Tissier
New Zealand v Lithuania - Harris vs Labanauskas seems close, their partners might be, ought to be tight. Rating - Ian Wright
Belgium v Hong Kong - Maybe Lam shows up, but I'm guessing not. Probably going to be a mediocre boring win for the seed. Rating - Carlton Palmer
Brazil v Sweden - Supposedly the swansong for Magnus Caris? Could be a tight one, Portela may well be better than either Caris or Nilsson, but his partner probably isn't. Rating - Peter Crouch
Wales v Singapore - LIM! LIM! PRICE! CLAYTON! Rating - Steven "Starfish" Gerrard
Hungary v Germany - Szekely and Vesgo isn't the worst we've seen, but this will be fairly dull. Rating - Paul Parker
Scotland v Denmark - Ando and Wright against Laursen and Heinsoe? Rating - David Nugent

China v USA - We just don't know what might happen here. Anything might happen. Plenty of things could go wrong. It could be brilliant, more likely it'll be awful. Rating - Joey Barton
Italy v Canada - We've got two guys that can't qualify for Euro Tour events, one who I've never heard of, and then two players who aren't great, this could end up being a turgid affair. Rating - Darren Anderton
Poland v Czech Republic - This one might actually be alright. Ratajski/Kanik against Jirkal/Sedlacek? Count me in, it might not be brilliant but it should be entertaining. Rating - Jermaine Defoe
Republic of Ireland v Greece - O'Connor and Lennon may have something, but Michael and whoever isn't Michael, maybe not. Rating - Andros Townsend
England v Philippines - Ilagan and Malicdem isn't awful, but it'd require a huge fuck up from Smith and Cross you'd think. Rating - David Seaman
Austria v Russia - Lerchbacher isn't good, Koltsov is, the other Russian guy I don't know, I'm not seeing anything interesting here. Rating - James Milner
Australia v Finland - Whitlock seems awful, Anderson isn't but just seems to be failing for results, Kantele and Viljanen aren't amazing but will surely be competitive. Rating - Les Ferdinand
Netherlands v Spain - Not a bad one potentially, van Gerwen can only carry things half the time, while Wattimena is better than both Reyes and Alcinas, weird things can happen. Maybe amazing happens, but most likely we get boring commentary. Rating - Steve McManaman

Monday, 13 May 2019

Random thoughts

Thank fuck they didn't pick Barney for the World Cup and they did actually go on rankings and select Wattimena. I've said before that I care little for the event, but with the thing giving spots straight into not insignificant ranking money, it needs to be done somewhat transparently.

On the Challenge Tour. The ranking list I popped up in the previous post looks like this - won 2 events, won event (x6), then everyone else. By the time we get to the next Challenge Tour, we've already played another four Pro Tour events, and they'll have already had the entries for two more (PC 19/20 take place three days after CT 9-10/11-12 respectively). So by the time we've got to a stage where any form of consistency comes into play, they've already played two thirds of the Players Championship events.

So while I was thinking that the top heavy payout structure is unfair to those who are playing on a consistent basis and not getting Pro Tour spots in favour of those who bink one event, they're not actually playing Challenge Tour events early enough in the season to make any sort of remodelling take any effect before the season's almost done. So what can we do? I think first, you need to assume that they move some of the Challenge Tour events to earlier in the season before you think of anything - what's to stop them holding back to back weekends with the second weekend during the Masters? Sure, some players may prioritise the Dutch Open (unless, of course, they do what I suggested would be a cool idea and use the Dutch Open venue and run straight before/after while many players are already there), but you'd then have 8 events in the bank. Or swap the first Dev Tour weekend in March with the third weekend of the Challenge Tour in June.

How could we rework the prize fund? I think you need to look at both ends initially - but I don't think you can trim off a round of prize money to bump higher up levels. Players are spending a decent wedge of cash to play these, so allowing a decent percentage of the field to get some return is important. So you need to look at the top end - £2k to the winner and £1k to the runner up is 30% of the prize pool. In comparison, a Players Championship event gives 21% to the top two, a Euro Tour event pays 25%, although that does have a huge jump to the winner. Then again, the winner's cheque is less percentage wise than it is on the Challenge Tour.

I think that the players who are capable of getting to the business end of events would not completely hate lowering the prize money to the top two places a touch. If you changed the prizes to the following:

Win - £1500
R/U - £700
Semi - £500
QF - £350
L16 - £225
L32 - £125
L64 - £50

That'd have the same amount of prize money, but you get move for reaching the last 32 to the quarter finals - this'd have this shift in the top 10:

Stephen Burton 3900
Ritchie Edhouse 2700
Boris Koltsov 2375
Jesus Noguera 2125
Cameron Menzies 2000
Andrew Gilding 1775
Shaun Carroll 1675
Callan Rydz 1650
Darren Beveridge 1625
Dave Prins 1600

It's the same top ten, but in a different order - Gilding now goes up to 6th, and Rydz moves to 8th. Gilding has a final, semi, quarter and last 16 in the bank, while Rydz has a final, quarter, last 16 and three last 32 runs. Both of them seem to be better than binking one and getting either one last 32 run (Beveridge), or one last 32 and one last 64 (Carroll). It's still not going to shift Burton off the top spot - and it shouldn't, winning two should still be huge. Similar with Edhouse, he's got four last 16 or better runs. Koltsov has a semi final as well. If you're binking an event and backing it up in others, you should still be on top, but you can see after just two weekends, that it's allowing players with a bit more consistency to edge up the rankings over those with just the one decent result.

It's also making a lot of people slightly better off in the middle order - the number of players with £1k and £750 is basically the same, but if we scan down a bit more, currently 33 players have £600, which would rise to 39. 46 players have £500, this would rise to 49. 58 players have £400 right now, that would rise to 70. That £400 is an interesting one, as that's the amount you'd need to break even, pre expenses, if you played every event.

It's a pity you can't do a rolling ranking of the last twelve months - because of the way players shift on and off tour cards, it'd shaft those like Burton and Edhouse who'd just come off a tour card run.

Of course, the best thing would be to try to somehow improve the prize money throughout - if they could get to a 2000-1200-800-500-325-200-75 payout structure, which would require a 50% increase in funding (or, to put it another way, half of what they waste in holding the Masters - bin that off and you can do the same to the Development Tour as well), you still get the £2k first prize but every other spot gets a decent bump in funding to boot. Maybe I'll roll it back in 2018 and see what might have changed.

Should just mention Beau Greaves in a bit of a BDO spot. It seems as if she did the double in the Welsh Open weekend of events. By double, I mean the senior events. I wonder what odds you'd get on Greaves/Bennett against any other junior pair in the world...