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It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!
Tuesday,December 8,2015

As the holiday season approaches, we're getting closer to hearing those three immortal words…LET’S PLAY DARTS!

The World Championship is Christmas, two sessions a day plus previous day’s highlights in case you missed any because of any uninvited in-laws who decided to foist themselves on you just as you were snuggling down with the remote control. This year Sky Sports even have a dedicated channel...and i-Pools has it all covered with a series of fun pools that let’s you turn all that ‘research’ in front of the telly into cold hard cash!

You could, of course, just have a bet at the traditional bookies, but having been a one-man show for the best part of 20 years, this year’s World Champs looks like another one-man show, albeit a different one man! Michael van Gerwen has won the last four darts tournaments leading up to the world champs, a run of form that has seen his price crash to an almost unbackable even money. It looks like the 2014 champ’s tournament to lose, but as someone who was on him in 2013 at 50/1, I won’t be in a rush to back him to come through two weeks of tough competition on top at even money.

For the best part of 20 years this has been Phil Taylor’s domain, and you might be tempted by The Power. After all, when was the last time you could back him at 5/1 for the worlds? Don’t forget Bravedart, Gary Anderson, is the reigning champ, having defeated Taylor in a thrilling final a year ago.

An outright bet on the tournament is one option, but really that’s for the guys who won’t particularly be watching. They can have a bet, stick it in a draw and get it out just after they’ve posted their Facebook brags. I want to be involved every day. I want to be involved in every match. I want to be sweating every dart! 

Our Last Longest Pools will keep you interested in each of the six rounds. All you have to do is pick a player to make it through to the next round. If he does, you’re still in. Easy. The catch is, like all of our Last Longest Pools, you can’t make the same choice twice. So you might think in Round 1 Michael van Gerwen will get through. You’re probably right, but we’re going to need van Gerwen at the business end of the tournament, The trick is to pick the right man to get us through a round, but who is unlikely to progress much further. At the same time, there’s no point having all the superstars left if you’re knocked out in Round 1, so choose carefully.

The Fantasy Pick 8  sees the draw split into eight sections and you're asked to choose a team of eight to take on all comers. As well as how far your charges progress, you’ll also get points for 180 maximums, nine darters and the like, so you’ll want a team of winners, but those that win with a bit of flair too. Before you rush to just pick one of the favourites, we’ve leveled the playing field a little, with, for example in the first section, top seed van Gerwen’s score being multiplied by one, while Raymond van Barneveld and Stephen Bunting, the next highest seeds here at 16 and 17, having x2 and x3 multipliers respectively. So rather than just picking the players you think will make the last eight, there may be scenarios where those going out earlier are worth more to your fantasy team, depending on their multiplier. Fans of our weekly Fantasy 5-a-side will be familiar with the tactical decisions faced here; go for a superstar with his guarantee of a decent performance, or hope for an outsider to bring better returns if he can turn it on. Stick or twist, that’s the question.

For the real hardcore darts fans, our Daily Coupons (keep your eyes peeled for these, they will be open a few days before), will keep you right in the heart of the action every day.  There’s four matches in each session, and some days two sessions to make sure you get your fill of the action, running from 1pm-5pm with a two hour break to order a pizza and get the beers in before the 7pm-11pm evening session.

The action starts on Thursday 17th with the champ top of the bill, Bravedart Anderson taking on either Per Laursen or Andy Boulton, but the best game of the night looking to be the preceding match, where 2014 runner-up Peter Wright faces one of the new breed of future superstars, former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown. Friday night sees van Gerwen get his quest for a second title get underway, while Phil Taylor powers into the action on Saturday night looking for world title number 17! Play concludes for Christmas on December 23 and reconvenes Boxing Day evening after the Christmas break.

We’ve got a 16-time champion looking for one more shot, a young buck dominating the current scene but can he deal with being such a hot favourite? A reigning champion no-one expected to take the title last time determined to hold onto it. And a supporting cast of arguably the most talented bunch of darts players ever assembled.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. LET’S PLAY DARTS POOLS!


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