The Rise of Darts and the Rise of Mark McGeeney
Held over four days, the Professional Darts Corporation’s Q-School gives the chance to any darts player aged 16 or above to win a PDC Tour Card, which allows them to compete on the PDC circuit. Four players of each day can win a two-year Tour Card, with further Cards allocated to other players based on finishing points in the Q School Order of Merit. Participants in this year's competition numbered 397, with 30 of them grabbing a Tour Card.
Among the winners at this year's PDC Q-School is Mark McGeeney who came really close to winning a Tour Card on the first day of the competition, but was defeated in the semi-finals. The second day, however, saw Mark defeating names like Matt Clark, Jamie Bain and Carl Wilkinson and ultimately attaining his Tour Card. There are 128 PDC Tour Card Holders in total, all eager to start competing in the PDC pro tour tournaments, Player Championships and European Tour Qualifiers.
Indeed, what once used to be just a pub sport has turned into a global sporting phenomenon. Thousands of fans go to watch their favourite darts players competing against each other in huge-capacity arenas, while hundreds of thousands tune in on television. But it's not just about the big shots - the general public are getting involved in darts in increasingly varied ways.
World championships and competitions have attracted darts fans from all over the world, who can now get directly involved in the game by betting on their favourite darts players across a number of tournaments. But that's not all: darts has inspired other games, too, both online and offline. For example, sports-themed online slots games are perfect for big fans of the sport. With Microgaming slots such as Lucky Darts or 1X2 Darts available, darts enthusiasts can enjoy their favourite sport and a flutter at the same time. All it takes is one up-to-date and easy-to-digest list and you'll be well on your way to finding the best online casinos offering darts-themed games.
Darts has also inspired other games and now there are other regional variations with different rules and different scoring systems. Amongst them are Cricket - also known as Tactics - Dart golf, Dartball and Shanghai. Cricket is one of the best dart variations because it is fun, easy to learn and can be enjoyed by both complete beginners and expert players. Usually played with two players or teams of two, its objective is simple - close out all the numbers in play (the Bull included) before your opponent, while being even or ahead in total points.
Shanghai, a name given after the dart term of when a player hits a single, double and triple of the same number in a single turn, is another fun variation of darts. This is the perfect game for a large group of players - the more the merrier. The game is based on innings - a shorter version of baseball - and the goal is to score as many points as possible in each inning. The winner is whoever manages to either score the most points after 7 innings or score a ‘Shanghai’ in any single inning.
Whether it's watching starts like Mark McGeeney rise to the top or dabbling in online versions of this popular pub sport, the darts roadshow looks to be going from strength to strength. With this level of popularity, we see no reason why that expansion won't continue.