Thursday, 31 January 2019

Players Championship 1/2

Some interesting players skipping the events. Cadby we basically knew, Adie is maybe a bit of a surprise, Darren Webster definitely is, Killington and Harrington, maybe they're thinking they're too far off retaining and off the pace and will scale things down in 2019, who knows. The odd ones are Jamie Hughes and Niels Zonneveld - both new tour card holders, both won it direct on day 1. Now maybe they've booked exbos, have prior personal commitments, who knows, it does seem slightly odd though.

The upshot is that Koltsov, Prins, Todd, Rafferty, Edhouse, Carroll and Burton are in. I'm mostly interested in seeing how the players who didn't win a Challenge Tour event do - Koltsov, Edhouse and Burton we all know should be legit, and Carroll's screaming out one hit wonder and won't get anywhere, but the others are interesting for various reasons so we'll see how they do.

I note that Barney's entered - that he's recognised to enter and get a start for the season is a good sign, the only problem is that he's nowhere near a seed, so there's a one in three shot that he gets an awkward draw in the first round, but hey, what can you do.

Odd that Gary Anderson's still in it, but has withdrawn from the Masters. Nice to see that he's correct in where the priorities lie!

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Challenge Tour round 1 is done

So we know what our countback order is for the first 14 (!) Pro Tour events of the year - Edhouse has first dibs, then whoever wins this final between Koltsov and Prins, Burton, then Carroll, with Rafferty and the loser of this final being some order of 5th/6th, Todd, Lynskey and Taylor following with Gilding and Askew the younger closing out a tie for 10th.

There's naturally been some conversation on Twitter regarding the length of the days of these - it's a bit long, but it's nothing new. Darren Johnson brought up the point previously and Jason Marriott's made the point on Twitter (although he's seemingly in a different time zone, a 15 hour day as he quotes would see you finish at half one in the morning - it's still a long day in fairness so we'll forgive him that).

There's a few things you can do here. The first is to stop pissing about waiting for the first event to finish to start the second. From the last 32 stage, you've got 16 boards (and rising) available doing absolutely nothing. They literally wait until the first one is over before starting. It takes five matches to play out the rest of the tournament - if you get 5 matches in on each of those 16 boards, you've eliminated 80 players. That's nearly a third of the field! That'll eliminate a serious amount of time. If this is a Dart Connect limitation then fair enough, but I can't believe they wouldn't be able to run two tournaments concurrently, you just need a bit of flexibility in scheduling - giving everyone in the last 32 of event one a first round bye if possible and moving their matches to the end of the board isn't difficult.

Secondly, you could always reduce the number of events and increase the prize pool in each of them. I think trimming it to two events would be a bit much, but you could get it down to three quite easily - on day one, just play down to the last 64 on the second event, and play that to its conclusion on day two. Combine this with the first idea and you could make a heck of a lot more progress and be done with the day in a reasonable amount of time.

One thing to think about if you went down the second route, and something I think I've suggested before, is to run the two events concurrently - play the round of 256 of the first event, then play the round of 256 of the second event, then repeat for the round of 128 for each. While you've got a bit more waiting around between your first 2-3 games compared to if you win, at least you don't have the situation where if you lose your first game in the first event, you're then waiting for five hours to play again, and if you lose your first two games you can get home/back to the hotel an awful lot quicker. Or, if you stick with four events on a weekend, you can play the last 32 onwards in parallel, or close to it - you're always going to get some backlog if players are still alive in both events, but I'd have thought you'd be able to trim a good chunk of time off.

Koltsov won that final, I don't know his residency situation so it'll be tough to say how many of the Pro Tours he can actually play. We'll see. On to the Dutch Open we go.

A bit more on the UK Open etc

One thing that occurred to me yesterday, which makes the UK Open reforms even worse, is that players who attempted Q-School, who last season would have been associate members and need to play the UK Open qualifiers (at least they all did a couple of years ago, I think last year it was just the top half that could play them?), now cannot - they're now eligible to play the Rileys' qualifiers. So not only are there now half as many, we now have the likes of Jim Williams, Scott Waites, Kevin Painter, Paul Nicholson, Stephen Burton, Wes Newton and anyone else that doesn't have a tour card and wasn't amongst the top 16 of the Challenge Tour from last year that don't. It kind of takes away from the idea that anyone can roll up and maybe make a run if the fields for the qualifiers are potentially full of major winners, major finalists and other high quality players that wouldn't have been in last year, it's just going to be a full member and top end of the Challenge Tour circlejerk. Plus Paul Hogan and Alex Roy, obviously.

I was going to post before the Challenge Tour yesterday, but couldn't due to some weird internet issue - we've got two in the books, with Stephen Burton winning the second, and Shaun Carroll, someone who I've never heard of, winning the first. That puts these two in pole position to get positions in the Pro Tour on countback - how many spots there are in the first few is up in the air, you'd assume most would play the first few, but Cadby may still not be eligible, Barney shouldn't give them a miss but probably will, Suljovic often misses some of the early ones? Burton's got a slight edge in that he got to the last 16 in event one, while Carroll crashed out very early in the second, but they're both already out of event three (Burton at the last 64, Carroll nowhere), so there's possibilities for others to come through - it'll probably take a win, but Mick Todd got a semi final and a quarter final, the finalists (Rafferty and Lynskey) obviously have a good chance given the hugely top heavy nature of the prize pool, Todd's still alive right now but Rafferty lost in the last 32. I'll do a quick post of anyone within a grand of the top 5 after event 3's done I think.

Asian Tour weekend 1 is done, Paul Lim having a win in event two and was runner up to Royden Lam in event one, a high quality final where all of the last 8 legs were finished in five visits or better. Kevin (is that Kai Fan?) Leung got the final in event two, adding to a quarter final in the first event. Ilagan made two semi finals, Suzuki got to the last 16 both times, Christian Perez made two quarters, just a bit of a surprise to see neither Asada or Malicdem do much of anything.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Q-School results analysis

So I've crunched the numbers:


Here I've taken every leg that the 28 tour card winners played at Q-School, shoved it all in and worked out the points per turn, then split things out by how quickly players were finishing legs. Where we have something like FRH 1-8, here I have grouped the players who are ranked between 1 and 8 in the FRH rankings, after filtering out players that don't have a tour card, to give an idea as to where player's relative Q-School results place them in relation to players already on the tour.

A couple of words of caution here. For a lot of the players, particularly those that won a card outright, there is going to be a limited sample size, so I'm not expecting Hughes obliterating everyone over the course of one day to be representative of what he would be able to do across a whole season, although we've certainly seen both when he's been in the BDO and in patches last year that he can do this sort of thing for a bit in this case. Probably got to say the same for Baker and Ward, but McGeeney did reach the final the day before he won the card outright, so there's a bit more of a sample there, and as Kevin Barth said on the recent installment of the Checkout podcast (at least if my German's still in decent working order), it's never been the floor form that's been the problem with Mark, so this may well be closer to the mark than we think.

Secondly, it's not unreasonable to think that players who have won a card are going to be outperforming what they would do over a larger sample. While there's some muppets in the field, there's a heck of a lot of good players, and as such the only way many people are going to be able to win a card is to put in a performance towards the top of their range - it's very possible that a lot of card winners, even those that have done so on countback, have just run like the sun over one day of Q-School and will get found out over the course of a whole season. Just go and look at Eddie Dootson (amongst others) from the 2018 installment.

Some other darts stuff has been happening - while it seems like a big number in terms of cash money, the DRA throwing a ~£20k fine at Gerwyn Price, rather than actually banning him for any length of time, seems like a completely pointless action given he won six figures in that event. We've had some of the Eastern Europe qualifiers for the Euro Tour, we know what Koltsov and Sedlacek can do, and ought to be alright (Sedlacek I was a bit unsure about, but looked to do alright in Q-School, as well as in the worlds), but we've also seen Pavel Jirkal grab two shots at it - he wasn't bad in Q-School either, although I don't know a lot about him, so getting a couple of chances ought to be interesting, particularly ahead of the Prague event later this year, getting used to the European stage will come in handy.

I've also just seen that Chris Kempf has had something on Q-School posted up on the PDC website earlier today, although that's just looking at conventional averages and a guess at checkout percentages, so while it's interesting for the casuals, it's not really that useful to project anything.

Few events coming up - there's some Challenge Tour action this weekend, some Nordic/Baltic events as well, then the week after we've got the Dutch Open and a meaningless PDC exbo. Then we can start getting down to the real meat of the PDC tour.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Brief aftermath from Q-School

God I thought Durrant had fucked it up

Strong selection of names coming through. Duzza obviously, quite a few from Lakeside such as Baker, McGeeney and Whitehead, Hughes got in, Pallett was more than deserving, then we've got quite a few players who've been in and around who are sticking about, coming back after a couple of years in the wilderness, and with Gavin Carlin, a complete unknown more or less.

Quite a few have got to be gutted to miss out - Ashton and Williams were really close, Menzies just couldn't quite get over the line, Painter just needed that last win at any point, while Stephen Burton was looking great after three days but those one or two wins on the last day didn't come. It's the Challenge Tour next weekend, so great chance for everyone to get back in action and fill up the rankings.

Some people who surprised me with how they didn't do were Gilding, who had just the one good day, Waites, who ended up way down the rankings, and I also thought McKinstry might have had a better go at it. I know Caven's been on a downward spiral but I thought he'd at least have got a point... god knows what's happened to Dean Reynolds' game as well, hard to say whether him taking the card he had a couple of years ago would have made him even worse. Got to give props to the six players who played all four days and didn't win one leg, I won't name names but someone has to do it I guess.

I'm going to look at what the card holders did at Q-School and compare to various levels of players in the FRH rankings. Obviously we're going to have small sample size issues, and they may be a bit biased as your average player is going to be playing towards the top end of their game if they did win a card, but it might be instructive.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Tungsten Analysis 2018 Awards

Before I kick off, quick congrats to Jamie Hughes and Harry Ward for getting their cards today, Hughes being one that I thought would have got the card, Ward not so much, but a 103 average against McGeeney in the final round isn't shabby in the slightest, more than 90 in every other round bar the first where he played someone I'd beat so got no help with the conventional average. Quite a few familiar names going deep, quite the surprise that Durrant went out so soon, still plenty of time though.

Thanks also to Scothead180, Sudsii13, adiboier, Tugritz and Hudd24 for their thoughts on these as well, always appreciated and gives a bit more to think about, but without further ado, 2018:

Best single tournament performance

Nominees - Nathan Aspinall, World Championship, Mikuru Suzuki, BDO World Championship, Adam Smith-Neale, World Masters, Dave Pallett, UK Open

Winner - Gary Anderson, World Matchplay

This was the first one I thought of, and was unanimously picked by Reddit contributors as well. This was the event where Anderson was at his peak and was, for a short while, considered by many to be the best in the world. Getting through two former world champions in the first two rounds, three overtime games, the only game that wasn't extremely close was the semi final against the guy that eliminated Michael van Gerwen. Aspinall's run was remarkable from the point he knocked out Gerwyn Price, Suzuki, barring two mutual dodgy legs against Prins, dominated the BDO worlds in a way that nobody has done in the past, Smith-Neale claiming the World Masters having come all the way through from the opening rounds before beating all of McGeeney, Warren, Williams and Durrant is simply life-changing, while Pallett was able to take plenty of nice scalps in the UK Open in a run to the semi final.

Match of the season

Nominees - Gary Anderson v Joe Cullen, World Matchplay, Nathan Aspinall v Michael Smith, World Championship, Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson, Grand Slam, Adam Smith-Neale v Glen Durrant, World Masters, Gerwyn Price v Paul Hogan, UK Open

Winner - Gary Anderson v Mensur Suljovic, World Matchplay

It somewhat backs up Anderson's award of the best single tournament performance that two of the best matches of the year get nominated, I found it hard to separate the final and the quarter final, mainly because Cullen's ability to stick in there seemed a lot more unlikely than Mensur's, but it was the majority pick and it was the final, you can't really say no to a final going all the way. Elsewhere, early up we had a repeat of a match in the same venue from 2017, with Price and Hogan going all the way, Price playing possibly the best darts he's played all year but Hogan stuck with him, Price/Anderson wasn't quite the same standard, but it certainly wasn't bad and had all the drama you could ask for, Smith-Neale against Durrant was a fascinating game where you kept thinking that Glen would pull away, but Adam kept hanging in there until he got over the line, while in a World Championship that didn't have too many highlights, the semi final between Smith and Aspinall was threatening to be one-sided but Aspinall kept up the darts that had got him this far to make a real exciting game of it.

Most disappointing season

Nominees - Alan Norris, Peter Wright, Justin Pipe, Ronny Huybrechts

Winner - Rob Cross

Now, let's not be mistaken here - Cross hasn't played badly, but after the debut season he had, we might have expected more in terms of results than one Pro Tour event, one World Series event and that's it, coupled with early exits in basically every major, it's not the follow up season Cross would have wanted. Norris' form in context is perhaps somewhat understandable but, World Championship aside, he's had a shocker of a year, Peter Wright might have expected to get a bigger haul than he actually did, while Pipe and Huybrechts have done very little all year, neither qualified for the worlds (Pipe was seeded last year) and both have got to be huge favourites to lose their tour cards after 2019 at this rate.

Best young player

Nominees - Beau Greaves, Jeffrey de Zwaan, Jurjen van der Velde, Dimitri van den Bergh

Winners (shared) - Luke Humphries and Leighton Bennett

I couldn't separate these two. Let's start with Luke - he claimed another three Development Tour titles, shared the overall crown with Dimitri, and has had an excellent opening senior year with a World Championship quarter final and some good floor form, while Bennett, at 13, has just won the BDO world youth and has won a senior open, playing the sorts of darts that have seen him compared with some of the biggest names ever to have played the game. Speaking of Dimitri, he retained the world youth but his senior form wasn't great, de Zwaan has skyrocketed up the rankings after a fantastic 2018 where he's made a major semi final and claimed a tour title, van der Velde has won the World Youth Masters and JDC world title, while if Greaves continues to develop at the rate she is doing, she'll be a threat to make the senior Lakeside stage next season, already making waves on the senior circuit while still too young to play the Development Tour.

Most disappointing news of the season

Nominees - Death of Eric Bristow, continued increase in poor sportsmanship and crowd behaviour, Corey Cadby from April onwards, the Tahuna Irwin situation

Winner - Everything to do with the UK Open

I can't believe how badly they've managed to mess everything up with what was my favourite tournament. Sure, the weather was beyond their control, but I can't believe that they couldn't have handled everything in relation to it - be it letting the fans in, pushing it back so all the players could get there, then for next year they ruin the concept of the event by halving the number of amateur qualifiers and letting every single Tour Card holder plus many Challenge Tour players. Eric's death was at no age and shocked the darting world, while on the oche, be it the whole Price/Anderson thing, Fartgate, the Lewis/Perales incident, everyone celebrating straight tons and crowds increasingly being disinterested in the event they've paid to see (at least in the UK), it's surely just a matter of time before there's a major incident. Cadby had a great start to the year but everything since then conspiring to stopping someone who's an arguable top 10 player competing is just sad, while Irwin's problem with not being allowed in the UK is another disappointing issue for antipodean darts.

Personal highlight of the season

Nominees - The BDO seeing sense and loosening eligibility restrictions, Nathan Aspinall's worlds run, the Asian Tour being a huge success

Winner - Ian White claiming a European Tour title

Quite a few people picked some matches (Hopp and Suljovic winning events etc), but I've been a fan of White's for a long time and he capped a great season by finally getting the stage win that he's had the game to do for a long time, it's just such a shame that the rest of the season was so bad. Being a Stockport native, Aspinall's worlds run was hugely exciting and it's great to see him making progress in the senior events, both at the worlds and by claiming a tour title, while the BDO have finally allowed us to see all of the best players against each other by eliminating most of the hurdles that were preventing their best players from trying Q-School. Finally, it's been great to see another PDC regional tour have success and bring us some great players to the worlds, it's just a shame that at the same time they've removed the only obvious place to get stage experience by removing the World Series stop in Asia.

Best new tour card holder

Nominees - Corey Cadby, Luke Humphries, Gabriel Clemens, Ryan Joyce

Winner - Danny Noppert

This should have been Cadby's to lose, and it was, until everything after the UK Open saw him lose it and it fall into the hands of the former Lakeside finalist, who's made a solid impression on the PDC circuit by claiming a tour title, making a major semi final, having excellent form in Europe and doing enough in combination with that on the Pro Tour to get into the Grand Prix without a full year. Humphries we've touched on during the best young player discussion, Clemens has become the third German player to have legitimate chances of winning titles and is putting up the best statistics, making the top 64 already with a tour final under his belt, and will surely continue to rise if he can sort his European Tour qualifying issues out, while Joyce knocked the worlds out of the park while becoming a feared competitor on the floor.

Most improved player

Nominees - Jim Williams, Luke Humphries, Max Hopp, Michael Smith, Seigo Asada, Michael Barnard

Winner - Jeffrey de Zwaan

It simply has to go to the player who's defeated van Gerwen in major tournaments twice, won his first senior event, made the Matchplay semi final, and could easily have done more were it not for some bad draws (on top of getting MvG twice obviously). Scary to think he's just 22 and could easily be the Dutch number 2 within a few months. Williams has pushed on nicely to being one of the top two or three players in the BDO circuit (for now) from being on the periphery of the top ten, Hopp has found a knack of turning potential into results, Smith's game has changed from one where you know he's decent to where you think he could win anything he enters, Asada has improved from someone who's occasionally dangerous to one of the top players in Asia with the peak to challenge the highest level, while Barnard has gone from being a veteran name who's done little to dominating the Challenge Tour and showing several good runs on the main tour.

Player of the year

Nominees - Michael van Gerwen, Glen Durrant, Krzysztof Ratajski

Winner - Gary Anderson

Everyone saying van Gerwen, which is understandable given he's won the worlds, but only getting the Grand Prix outside of that at a ranking major level, without completely discounting the Premier League, seems sort of average to me. Hence I'm giving it to Anderson - he won the UK Open, he won the Matchplay, he won the Champions League, he'd only be stopped by the eventual winner deep in the worlds and the Grand Slam, and he picked up four floor titles along the way. Durrant managed to claim everything outside of the World Masters, while I have to say that Ratajski's year has been unbelievable, to claim three main tour floor titles without having a tour card and without being able to play many of them at all thanks to comical scheduling conflicts is an unreal return.

That's your lot. I probably won't be back until after Q-School is done thanks to Sky scheduling an away game at Swansea in such a way that it's killing the entire weekend, but I'm planning on pulling the numbers of the new players from Dart Connect and seeing how they stacked up against each other and how that level would expect to perform.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Duzza does it again and more Q-School thoughts

Congrats to Glen for claiming a third straight Lakeside title, which will surely be his last given his Q-School entry, I cannot possibly see how he doesn't go on to win a card, so it'll be interesting to see what happens in relation to the Grand Slam - when Bunting switched, they gave Bunting a spot, but when Ratajski switched, they didn't give Ratajski a spot, I'm thinking that Glen will put himself in the picture to win a spot someway or another. We'll see, for all we know he might somehow not win a card. But I doubt it.

I had a quick convo with DartsElo1 on Twitter last week in relation to Q-School the other week, and how the draw in the Euro variant had put two highly ranked players in his rankings up against each other at an early stage (Koltsov against Jeff Smith in the last 128 lol), and how there's got to be a better way than a straight knockout and then whatever questionable method of countback they're using this year. Of course there is, and while it's all theorycrafting given I've mentioned Swiss to Barry previously and he's not interested, there's a few things to think about.

Firstly, with them having 400+ entrants in the UK qualifier this year and probably about the same last year, they really should think about holding two separate UK qualifiers. If you retain one at Wigan and hold one in, say, the Milton Keynes venue where they hold the Pro Tour, it allows for more natural expansion in the future (they're already questioning whether they need to limit the number of guests they might allow into the Wigan venue for health and safety), and by having less players in any one venue, then assuming they can have the same number of boards (I think it was 32 in Hildesheim, one would assume the same in Wigan), then you can have a deeper event whichever way you look at it. Having a second venue somewhere in the south has got to be preferable for many players as well who might be able to save on hotel bills.

So let's say that they do that, and let's say for the sake of argument that Q-School continues to grow and they have around 300 entrants per venue. How do we make it a fairer system, yet still one that's easy to administer?

If we have 32 boards, then you have 64 players in play at any given time. You've got to work out how to give them play, given they're paying a monkey plus expenses each, but at the same time allow yourselves to work down to find who the best players are. They say that play is due to start at 10:30am at the latest - so let's use that as a starting point. Split the field in half at random for most of day one, so that while one pool is playing the other is on break - allows for natural meal/drinks breaks throughout the day and means you don't have quite so crowded a venue all the time. Let's call them group A and group B. Have each player play six legs against another at random. This should take no more than 15-20 minutes (especially as, if you have a straight six legs, you don't need to faff about with bulling up), so one of the two pools will take about an hour tops. Repeat the process, so after two hours, group A has played two games and twelve legs. Probably possible for the most simplicity to keep players on the same board for each game.

Now bring group B in to play in the same manner, and while they're playing you draw the third match for group A players - there's plenty of time to do this and let everyone know who's playing who, as group A has a couple of hour's break while group B is playing. Here you can start a Swiss process - players with the same number of legs won play each other, as far as is practical.

Once group B is done, if we allow a bit of extra time than what we're already saying, which seems conservative anyway, it's 3pm - give it an hour for group A to play their third match, then an hour to have group B do the same. It's 5pm, now pool everyone together for one final round of games, again matched up Swiss-style with players paired according to legs won. After this final game, you then trim down to the top 192 players - tiebreaking by strength of schedule, then sudden death legs, whatever. Those 192 return on day 2. Note how everyone's played 24 legs - which is more than the bare minimum that anyone who goes in and loses on all four days gets.

On day two, you've got three times as many players as you have board slots, so if we're saying that a six leg game takes 15-20 minutes, it'll take about an hour for everyone to play a match. So let's work to playing six games - six hours for the actual games, give it fifteen minutes between each round for administering draws, you're done by six in the evening. Trim down to 128 players after day two. Day 3's similar, except with each board only being used for two games per round, you can easily increase to eight matches in a day, then trim to 64 for the final day. On the final day, everyone's playing at the same time - so you could easily get twelve rounds of games in. Hence by the end everyone has played 30 opponents, and has an easily sortable metric - the number of legs they've won. Sort by legs, hand out tour cards, job done.

Have had a few responses to the Reddit post re: the year end awards, which is always appreciated, I'll look to get something posted up in relation to that in a couple of days before Q-School is properly up and running.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

UK Q-School

It seems as if there's an entry list on Dart Connect, let's scan through my database and list the top ranked players in terms of average points per turn to be entered on it, going down as far as 86 points:

Glen Durrant 94.53
Jamie Hughes 91.07
Scott Waites 90.32
Stephen Burton 90.16
Jim Williams 89.73
Ritchie Edhouse 88.76
Dave Prins 88.67
Lee Evans 88.48
Andrew Gilding 88.44
Dave Pallett 87.96
Darren Johnson 87.83
Kyle McKinstry 87.67
Conan Whitehead 87.56
Peter Jacques 87.21
Kevin Painter 87.05
Nathan Rafferty 87.01
Richie Burnett 86.98
David Evans 86.89
Peter Mitchell 86.83
Diogo Portela 86.69
Jason Wilson 86.65
Mike Norton 86.41
Ryan Murray 86.31
Jason Cullen 86.30
Kirk Shepherd 86.26
Paul Rowley 86.22
Joe Murnan 86.11

I don't see huge value in going down any further, there's only the 8 cards outright then whatever the split of the 18 cards on countback are - with 250+ in the Euro Q-School, it'd need 500 for the UK one to get 12, and there's more than 20 names here already.

Some other notables in are Lisa Ashton (who'd be midway on the list but I thought I'd have a 20 or so leg minimum sample), Dave Askew, Barrie Bates, Jamie Caven, Daniel Day, Adrian Gray, Robbie Green, Corrine Hammond, Deta Hedman, Andy Jenkins, Prakash Jiwa, Stuart Kellett, Aden Kirk, Royden Lam, Mark McGeeney, Mark McGrath, Colin Osborne, Chuck Puleo, Chris Quantock, Fallon Sherrock, and last but not least, Mark Walsh. That's quite the list of names, so no doubt we'll get several players come from nowhere to claim a card and confuse everyone.

BDO final preview

(2) Glen Durrant (1/3) v (9) Scott Waites (11/4)

Route to final:

Durrant - 3-0 v McGrath, 4-3 v Baker, 5-2 v McKinstry, 6-3 v Williams
Waites - 3-1 v van Egdom, 4-1 v Veenstra, 5-3 v Whitehead, 6-1 v Unterbuchner

Key stats:


Er, yes. So last year, the master computer gave Duzza a 98.5% chance of beating McGeeney, who had a match dart. This year, the master computer is giving Duzza only a 97.9% chance of beating Waites, so 0.5u Durrant 1/3 before I do anything else.

Glen's just that much better. He's lost a lot of legs because he's actually been tested - Baker did a great job of coming back from a near whitewash, Williams went toe to toe for six sets, whereas Whitehead aside, Waites hasn't really been tested - Veenstra didn't play badly, just not as good as in his opening game, and Unterbuchner was hugely disappointing. The key thing to look at here is just how many legs Waites has won where he's taken more than fifteen darts to do so. It's 38 out of 60 legs won, that's a huge percentage. Durrant is simply not going to allow Waites to get the easy legs that he's been afforded in more or less every single match. The semi final against Michael demonstrates this perfectly - of the 19 legs Waites won, he took a leg in fifteen darts (needing a 112 out mind you) in set three, then he closed out set four with a twelve darter. Every single leg that he won outside of that, he needed a sixth visit as a minimum. I'll be shocked if Durrant isn't up by at least 4-2 at the main break, and 5-1 wouldn't surprise me either, Waites only rates to hold his set on throw 30% of the time - that's less than a 3% chance of holding all three of those sets. Sure, he's got a 20% shot of breaking the Durrant throw over the course of a set, but I'm not holding my breath.

It's not quite so doom laden if I expand to use everything since 2018 Lakeside, and not just 2019 Lakeside, but even then Duzza's got a 90%+ win chance. They've both got a shot at winning their third title, but I think only one of them has a realistic case for it.

Congrats has to go out to Mikuru Suzuki for claiming the ladies' title in dominating fashion, bringing her best darts when it mattered with a 90 average and not really giving Winstanley any chance whatsoever. Congrats to anyone who was able to get on at 100/1+ when Burton tweeted out that one book did actually have lines for the title a few months back, must be nice.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

No semi finals bets

Shoved the quarter final stats into the master computer. Right now it's looking like Durrant is clearly the best player (duh), while Williams and Waites are running on close to identical stats, Scott having a tiny bit more power while Jim has a little bit more consistency. Unterbuchner's down in fourth, killing the same percentage of legs in five visits as Williams/Waites (the high 40 percent region, Durrant being above 60), and having a comparable average when losing legs (the bottom three are all within a point in the high-86 to mid-87 range, Duzza being above 90) but has only hit the one twelve dart leg all tournament, and has been given more legs than anyone else, checking over 15% of his legs in seven or more visits. Hence I'm seeing Waites as slightly better than Unterbuchner, and Durrant as solidly better than Williams. So does the market, hence no bets.

It's a shame the draw is as it is, if we could have had Glen easily dealing with Unterbuchner we could have had an all-time classic in the other semi final, so closely matched are Williams and Waites. Who knows, maybe Jim shocks the world and we get it in the final. Not really been tracking any of the ladies' stats, but that looks like it should be quite close as well and as the bookies can't separate them, there's no bet there either.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Only one quarter final bet

0.25u Williams 11/10 vs Mitchell, Scott's played two qualifiers so far and not needed to do much to beat either of them, and it shows in the stats - only seven of the 21 legs won in par, and he's scoring less than 80 on average when he hasn't won a leg. Williams by contrast is just below 50% legs in par, has hit a couple of power legs, and is generally scoring much better. There's really not much in it season long but I'm going to go for the player that's doing it in this tournament.

Nothing to note in the other two games that have lines right now (I'm assuming Durrant will be unbackable), I tend to agree with the Waites/Unterbuchner being slight favourites but not by much analysis that the lines point at. Whitehead's winning his legs a fair bit better than Waites but without the consistency that Waites has, Scott's scoring almost as well when losing as when he's winning, if Conan can score like he did in the back end of the McGeeney match then it might look like a good bet, but it's a big if. Kind of similar for Mandigers, he's sparked nicely in a few legs and is scoring a little bit more consistently but he's been given too many easy legs, Michael should be able to close things out and take them away from him.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

It's coming home

Oh wait, McGeeney lost, so despite having a number one seed in one code and a semi finalist in the other, Stockport will continue to wait to have a world champion. Still, if there's a debutant at Lakeside at 61, I've got a quarter of a century to work out that drift into both the five and the one at the same time.

Tomorrow we've got effectively ladies day, with four quarters, I can't see anything interesting in the top half (I'd lay Gulliver again, but Winstanley may not even be the best darts player in her own family at this stage given her average in the first round). There's some mens games, but Durrant is prohibitive, Mitchell more or less is, and while McKinstry should win, he's too short and hasn't done anything to suggest that we should look at things in the slightest.

Probably back tomorrow. We ought to be at the quarters/semis phase in the mens/ladies respectively and have a bit more data to work with.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Couple more BDO punts

0.25u Whitehead 13/5 vs McGeeney, I'm going with what I was thinking the other day. I'm still yet to be convinced that Mark's a legitimate top top BDO player, Whitehead's first round wasn't great but McGeeney's wasn't either, while earlier in my database Whitehead was playing fairly competently, compare what both have done from 2018 Lakeside onwards and it's quite similar. It's a big price and seems worth the shot.

0.25u Warren 11/8 vs Unterbuchner, this is based on a couple of things, firstly Warren was the stand out performer of round one so far, averaging very strongly despite not getting a huge amount of help. Secondly, Warren's been that much more consistent over the year, 70 legs since 2018 Lakeside and around 65% of them are in fifteen darts. Michael's played a lot more but is twenty (!) percentage points lower.

0.25u Williams 2/5 vs Reynolds, he's just that much better. Reynolds won one leg in fifteen darts against Day and averaged under 77. The numbers don't lie. Williams did what he needed to against Janssen, and seems like a very classy operator. Ought to be very safe here.

0.25u Suzuki 1/3 vs Prins and 0.25u Sherrock 2/7 vs O'Brien, I'm just looking at the difference in averages and doing nothing else here, these two look incredibly safe bets and should run down to a tasty looking semi final.

The tournament's getting to the interesting stage now, we've lost most of the weaker players and, Ashton and Hedman aside in the ladies, haven't had too many major casualties so it should be primarily big guns facing off against each other from here on out.

Monday, 7 January 2019

More BDO matches in the book

No bets spring out as huge value at this stage, I might have a nibble at Conan Whitehead over Mark McGeeney as that looks a fairly large price between players who, Whitehead's losing average aside, didn't look too dissimilar in the stats. Warren played alright yesterday, but to date he's the only player who won their match with more won legs in fifteen darts or less than sixteen darts or more (Veenstra was one off being level and threw four twelve dart or better legs, which isn't bad and actually accounts for half of all the twelve darters or better thrown to date). That's got to make him somewhat favoured if he can keep this up. Still, Unterbuchner's starting soon, Williams starts tonight, and Parletti/Mitchell/Durrant kick off tomorrow, so maybe it improves a bit?

It'll be interesting to compare the 32 first round losers in the PDC with the 32 players to make the tournament proper in the BDO and see who scores better. Another week to go on that. On Whitehead, he doesn't play again until Wednesday apparently so I've got a bit of time to think about that one.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Brief BDO thoughts so far

I've not watched a single dart, what with not having Eurosport and spending yesterday afternoon on higher priorities like buying shoes and this afternoon on higher priorities like watching us lose at home to Barnet, so any thoughts are based purely on the stats. It really hasn't kicked off yet, has it? We've had, with the Warren game yet to come through the teleprinter, nearly 200 legs, of which well over 40 have taken more than eighteen darts to win. That's not a good standard. Sure, Durrant's not played, neither's Williams, Unterbuchner or Mitchell, but that's not a good standard. If anything, the standard in the ladies event is better and it's a more interesting event to look at. Suzuki's at least blown that right open, and once some of the deadwood has been cleaned out of that one, it should be pretty exciting.

Meanwhile in the PDC, Labanauskas has claimed the last tour card (after Christian Bunse got one on Saturday), which is long overdue, and much to the relief of autocomplete functions everywhere, kept Vincent van der Meer out - except he'll almost certainly get one on countback. Razma's there, Kantele and Meeuwisse have the same points, so it's then a case of how they divide up the 18 spots on countback. If there's twice the entrants in the UK event, then it'd be John Michael (whatever happened to him the last couple of years?) and then one of de Sousa and Kuivenhoven, if there's not so much of a late run of entrants and they give not seven, but eight spots to the Euro event, then they've got a six way clusterfuck to sort out involving Rasztovits, Sedlacek, Gödl, Steyer, Jirkal and Koltsov. Still, at least if they don't get in they should get into the UK Open qualifiers... oh.

I think if they get up to 400 entries, which they should do, then it'll be a max of seven spots. I really hope that de Sousa manages to get one, I don't know how they'll sort out ties, but he's shown more than enough over the last month to show that he belongs on tour.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Some random BDO punts I like

These are mostly stabs in the dark, so use with caution:

0.25u Whitehead evs vs Phillips - his numbers from what I've got don't seem bad, at least compared to Martin's

0.25u Hogan 8/13 vs Newton - unless Wes has improved his game a lot from earlier in the year, which in fairness is perfectly possible, I don't see how he can live with someone like Paul

0.25u Warren 2/5 vs Layton - Wayne's been great all year and it's got a hint of just glad to be here for Mark.

0.1u Suzuki 7/2 vs Ashton - this is purely because Burton's hyping Mikuru up and not based on anything concrete at all.

0.1u Pogdorska 7/5 vs Gulliver - I'm not convinced that Trina's been useful in years and if her darts are as good as her commentary she's done.

Mike van Duivenbode won the second tour card today, a second Dutch youngster who just turned 20 today. Nice for him, he's not done a great deal on the senior circuit but has won on the Development Tour, the Dutch invasion continues.

Final quick comment - can anyone think of a single good reason why someone, if they have PDC ranking money into the end of 2018, but has no tour card, shouldn't be allowed to retain it if they win one in Q-School? By the time everyone else at the relevant year's Q-School is at the spot where they've used their two years it won't count anyway, surely this is fairest to those who for all intents and purposes have kept a card continuously, and will potentially help to turf out those players drakking around just above the cutoff?

Thursday, 3 January 2019

2019 Second/Third Division Darts results page

Holding page for results and tables

Division 2:

Adrian Lewis 9
Darren Webster 9
Dave Chisnall 9
Ian White 9
Jeffrey de Zwaan 9
Joe Cullen 9
Jonny Clayton 9
Krzysztof Ratajski 9
Simon Whitlock 9
Steve West 9

Division 3:

Chris Dobey 9
Danny Noppert 9
Dimitri van den Bergh 9
Josh Payne 9
Keegan Brown 9
Luke Humphries 9
Martin Schindler 9
Max Hopp 9
Nathan Aspinall 9
Steve Lennon 9

Meet your BDO entrants

As Niels Zonneveld claimed the first tour card of Q-School, a Dutch lad who finished in the top 10 of the Development Tour last year on the back of two finals, one of which he won, we're also just a couple of days from Lakeside - let's do a one line preview of everyone who's there, at least on the men's side for now:

Mark McGeeney - #1 seed. Dutch Open back to back winner. Beaten finalist last year. Not sure how he's number one.
Derk Telnekes - Youngish Dutch player. Second time here having lost to de Vos last year. Two games away from stealing Meeuwisse's Ally Pally spot.
Martin Phillips - Hugely experienced Welsh international. Twice semi finalist earlier in the decade. Former World Master.
Conan Whitehead - 32 year old Englishman who had a good run in the UK Open in 2013 and a couple of years in the PDC to follow, ranking in the 20's seems accurate based on his record this year.
Richard Veenstra - Semi finalist three years ago and Finder Masters finalist this year. Winner of three BDO titles this year, probably having the best year of his career.
Jim Widmayer - USA! USA! USA! Here through their regional table after a four year absence. Got to the last 16 once.
Nigel Heydon - Qualifier, nicknamed the Undertaker given he used to be an undertaker. Had a nice PDC run 7-8 years ago, and made the latter stages of the 2010 UK Open.
Scott Waites - Twice world champion. Only Grand Slam winner from the BDO. Still only in his early 40's and should have switched long ago.
Jeffrey van Egdom - Belgian who's one of the last men in on the main ranking table, nearly beat Jim Williams in the Finder Masters this year, but doesn't even appear to have a quarter final anywhere?
Wesley Harms - Dutch player still with plenty of time on his side, back after a bit of a hiatus and looking to match his semi final runs from 2012 and 2013. Got out of his Grand Slam group.
Willem Mandigers - Eindhoven native making his fifth straight appearance. Only once made the last 16, last year. Won the Denmark Open in 2018.
Paul Hogan - Legend. Guaranteed last 16 in the UK Open every single year. Guaranteed to lose to Gerwyn Price every single year. Twice quarter finalist, gave Durrant real trouble in 2017.
Wes Newton - Former Premier League player and multiple PDC major finalist. In the BDO for the first time after losing his card, in as the first alternate.
Michael Unterbuchner - Possible German number one regardless of code. Semi finalist twelve months ago, best performer in this year's Slam, World Trophy finalist.
Mal Cuming - Australian debutant at the age of 53, won several events there to claim a spot through their ranking table.
Justin Thompson - Also Australian, here for a second appearance after giving Fitton a good game last year. Very impressive in his domestic WDF scene.
Wayne Warren - Veteran Welshman who was a bit of a surprise quarter finalist last year and gave McGeeney issues at that stage. Added a World Masters and Finder Masters quarter as well.
Mark Layton - Even more experienced Welshman, making his debut in his sixties. There's hope for some of us yet! Been in the UK Open a few times and has cashed, semi finalist in the Worthington champions event in 2017.
Glen Durrant - Two time defending champion. Clear best player in the BDO. Can he complete the hat trick?
Mark McGrath - New Zealander who's had several appearances in the worlds in both codes. Beat Michael Smith in the Auckland Masters earlier this year.
Adam Smith-Neale - Current World Master. Wouldn't fear Durrant as he already beat Durrant to do so. Then he broke his leg, so who knows.
Ross Montgomery - Hugely experienced Scot with over ten appearances on this stage, but only one quarter final to his name. British Open winner last year.
Scott Baker - Englishman who narrowly lost to Andy Baetens on debut last year. Won a BDO event in Wolverhampton in July, and a quarter finalist in the World Trophy.
Gary Robson - Been in the game for more than 20 years, arguably having his best season ever, definitely since earlier in the decade. Multiple finalist this season, just made the Slam and got a win over Joe Murnan.
Dave Cameron - Not the former Prime Minister, the Canadian is making a sixth straight appearance but has only got past the prelims once.
Andy Hamilton - Former PDC world finalist and Premier League player, the Hammer lost his tour card and opted to rebuild through the BDO. Needed the qualifiers to get here, but is playing better darts of late.
Chris Landman - Lost in the prelim on debut last year, but is seeded this year thanks to multiple quarter final or better runs. Clearly his best season to date.
Kyle McKinstry - Big Northern Irish hope, has had a bit of a weird major record but makes his second appearance after losing to Veenstra last year. Won the England Open this year.
Jim Williams - Welsh number one, has won multiple events this year to be the three seed, reaching the semi finals in all of the World Trophy, World Masters and Finder Masters. Lost a thrilling quarter to Durrant this time last year.
Roger Janssen - Belgian who's qualified through the regional tables, lost in five sets to McGrath two years ago. Good consistent record in the European opens in 2018 nearly got him here through the main ranking table.
Wouter Vaes - Second appearance here, like Janssen he made it two years ago, losing to Fitton. Decent runs in the Dutch Open and World Masters in 2018, he also won the Antwerp Open.
Daniel Day - Peripheral name on the PDC circuit earlier in the decade, now having his best season on the BDO side, claimed a couple of titles to sneak into the seeds.
Dean Reynolds - Young Welsh talent who declined a tour card from the Development Tour a couple of years ago but has been missing a bit since then. Just crept in through the main ranking list.
Scott Mitchell - Winner in 2015 after years of trying. Twice World Masters semi finalist. Has wins in Spain, Denmark, Germany and England this year, schooled Schindler in the Slam but missed out on the knockout stages on leg difference.
Oliver Ferenc - Serbian making his Lakeside debut having played the PDC event in 2012, losing to Joe Cullen in a prelim. Want to say he's a soft tip player primarily?
Ryan Hogarth - Scottish debutant who won through the qualifiers, young enough to have played the Development Tour in 2017, has had a few quarter finals in the second half of the year.
Dave Parletti - Multiple time UK Open qualifier, turned the BDO form on this year to get a seed, won the Welsh Masters and made the latter stages of the World Masters. Weekly Dartscast alumni.
Brian Lokken - First Dane here for a while I think? Good record in the Scandi and Baltic scene, best of a final in Lithuania where he lost to Labanauskas. On debut.
Krzysztof Kciuk - Pole who played the PDC worlds in 2010 and nearly again last year, knocking Ratajski out before losing himself in the final. Won through the main qualifier and reached the TV stages of the World Masters this season.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Euro Q-Schööl and Barney

Some interesting names and some interesting omissions on the list which kicks off tomorrow - it seems a bit off that not only are they playing it during the first two days of Lakeside (although, to the best of my knowledge, there isn't anybody that's on the Euro entry list that's entered in Lakeside, at least not on the days that overlap), but that they're finishing it off a whole week before entries even close for the UK event. How exactly is someone supposed to know what they've got to do in the final event until they know how many cards are available on countback?

Some interesting names in though, mostly from people who I'd assumed were long retired - Artut, Stompe, Greebe, Seyler, then some people like de Vos that I wasn't sure if they would. Looks like all the decent players that we saw at the worlds are back in, it's going to be a tight one.

Was hoping that Burton would do a 2020 Ally Pally race tweet, but he's done a season to date ranking money one which I can use (I can't use my spreadsheet as it counts Euro Tour mincashes), so let's use it and then tack on the 2018 worlds cash:



From Burton's list I've removed Nicholson, Labanauskas, Barnard and Rodriguez as I assume that Nicholson losing his card, Labanauskas never having one in the first place and Barnard and Rodriguez picking one up through the secondary tours resets them all to zero. And then realised that dartsdatabase are super on the ball and already have a qualification page for 2020 up already. So let's look at Barney. He's currently £9k outside the seedings. So, even if Barney reached the final of the UK Open (the only major he's in line to qualify for), it'd only take everybody above him to make £31k across all tournaments all year (and everyone on this list has done a lot more than that, although that does count the worlds, which wouldn't count for these purposes) to dump him back out again. So how on earth is he going to make 2020, unless he does win the UK Open? He is going to have to hit the floor, and hit the floor hard.

The key one is going to be the Euro Tour qualifiers. That's because these effectively count twice - not only will they count for the main Pro Tour, they'll also help him to get in the European Championship (unless they've changed the rules again), and if he's able to get a run in some of them early, he may put himself into the equation for the Grand Prix as well, even if he doesn't hit every single ordinary floor event. If he's able to accumulate enough to do that, he'd have got around 30k or so from floor events - if he's able to do alright in the UK Open and make a quarter, and then win a first game at the Grand Prix and European Championship, that's another 25k roughly. Add that on to what's in the bank and he's up to £140k - roughly what Hopp needed to get the last seed.

Of course, if he was able to get 30k from floor events, he'd be pretty safe to get in through the Pro Tour rankings anyway, but I'm sure he doesn't want to go into the worlds in the first round.

We'll see what happens. But it is amusing right now that Wright's down as low as number 8 and Adrian's barely the highest seeded Lewis in the event.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

2019 Year End FRH Rankings


You have two columns, I couldn't get the Blogger table format to work after getting it to work for last year's scoring. We have slightly less churn than last year in that we've had 23 players drop off as opposed to 24, the highest ranked player to fall off being Robbie Green from number 46 to not even in the top 100. Danny Noppert's the highest new entry.

A reminder to newer readers who may not know how the FRH rankings work - we count all cashes in PDC ranking events in the same way as the PDC do, except we do not arbitrarily remove cash for arbitrary reason. If a seed fails in the first round of a European Tour event, that counts. If someone loses a tour card, gives up a tour card or otherwise never had a tour card their score does not reset back to zero. We then have the value of the prize count in full as the PDC does, but only for the first four and a bit months - it then degrades linearly at 1% every six days until, two years after the cash was earned, it is at zero. Hence more recent cashes count much more strongly, which gives a better idea of where players are at right now, rather than where they have been in the past.

A shout out to Ron Meulenkamp. He's been at number 55 at the end of the year three years running now. Nothing if not consistent!

World Championships roundup

Congrats to Michael van Gerwen, it wasn't a classic final but Smith's got to be thinking that if he'd hit a couple of key doubles at key moments, that could easily have been five sets each rather than over. Oh well, he'll come back stronger and as I stated in a 2019 predictions thread on Reddit, I think Smith finally bags a major this year - it feels like he's exactly on the same career trajectory as Adrian Lewis was just before he won his world title, and we all saw what he ended up doing.

In the fantasy competition, congrats to Redditor 16redbird16, whose team of Gary Anderson, Michael Smith, Dimitri van den Bergh, Devon Petersen and Royden Lam scored 705, to nick it from Scothead180 who also had Smith but his other selections of Cullen, Dobey, Clemens, Dekker, Humphries and Malicdem ended up 5 points short. They were the only players who broke 700, with Twitter user @warrenallsworth rounding out the podium with Smith, Wilson, Dobey, Evans, Brown, Clemens and Ilagan to finish on 592. It's not anywhere near the dream team of all the cheap players who overperformed (if you think of someone cheap who's done good, they'd be there, only Michael Smith breached the top 15 in terms of points per cost who would have set you back more than 20) which ended up at nearly 1500 points.

They've just announced the Premier League lineup, and it's the lineup everyone thought it'd be - van Gerwen, Cross, Anderson, Wright, Gurney, Price, Wade, Smith, Suljovic and van Barneveld. Think what you like of the Barney selection, but it's an exhibition and there's not anybody that's really outside that staked a huge claim without it being really too soon for them, or wouldn't be a less interesting retread (i.e. Whitlock, Chisnall etc). If only Ian White hadn't gone to pieces on TV at the business end of the season.

Speaking of White, he ended up winning the Second Division Darts, with only the match between Chisnall and Jamie Lewis affecting the rankings from before the world championships - that pushed Chizzy up into second just ahead of Joe Cullen, so they are the two automatic selections based on their 2018 performances. The selections based on the FRH rankings are Simon Whitlock (10th), Dave Chisnall (12th), Darren Webster (13th) and Jonny Clayton (14th), which leaves a question of four wildcards. I'm going to give one to Jeffrey de Zwaan, whose defeat of the world champion twice this season in major events, Matchplay semi final run and win of a PDC title goes along with having the highest points per turn of anyone not already selected makes him obvious. A second will go to Adrian Lewis - he didn't win anything, but he's the highest ranked player in the FRH rankings that isn't yet in, and is scoring more than multiple Premier League players. A third will go to Joe Cullen - he's one spot behind Lewis in the FRH rankings, was only pipped by Chisnall in the very last event of the season to an automatic spot, and his TV and European Tour appearances highlight that he's very much a top 16 player and should be in the mix. That leaves one spot, and I'm going to give it to Krzysztof Ratajski - what he's been able to do over the past 15 months without having a tour card has been nothing short of remarkable, he has one now and I'd really expect him to progress hugely from here.

There's a few that were close to selection - Aspinall and Hopp probably being the closest, Steve West was there or there abouts, Mervyn King and Stephen Bunting maybe - they were certainly the five with the highest ranking not in, but for some of these we have the new third division, exclusively for players younger than 30 as of today.

edit 3/1/19 - I double counted Chisnall, whoops. Thus I'm giving the tenth spot to Steve West, as he seems to be peaking in terms of the quality of his darts right now. Bunting still seems a bit off his best but is trending the right way, King did manage to win an event but doesn't really look like he'll ever get back to his best at this stage.

I'm including both of Aspinall and Hopp obviously, Dimitri van den Bergh is in based off of his world youth title, Danny Noppert gets in through winning a PDC event and going very deep in a major, Luke Humphries did great in the worlds as well and jointly won the Development Tour. Chris Dobey is in having come very close to winning a couple of events and also putting it together on the TV stage, having reached a European Tour final, Steve Lennon also earns selection. That leaves three spots - Martin Schindler can have one as he continues to build on an impressive record on the senior circuit. Keegan Brown's top of more or less any metric that you could care to look at who's not already in, which leaves one spot, and I'm going to give it to now twice PDC senior event winner Josh Payne, who like many here appears to be pulling everything together. I can't include Cadby, as there's still so much that's unknown as to his current status, Richard North and Ricky Evans were also very close.

I'll post up the year end FRH rankings in another post, but needless to say van Gerwen is number one by quite some distance, having a quarter of a million more points than numbers 2 and 3 combined. Then again, getting 300,000 points added to your total today does help...