No More Throwing Darts at the Wall: Developing Fair Handicaps for Darts using a Markov Decision Process

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Timothy C.Y. Chan, Craig Fernandes, Rachael Walker


Darts is a popular sport that caters to players of all different abilities, and it is therefore common for opponents to have mismatched skill levels. Handicaps are useful interventions that address this mismatch, keeping the game competitive by increasing the weaker player’s chances of winning. However, the design of handicaps in darts has historically been a lot like “throwing darts at the wall” with no rigorous approach. To fill this gap, we develop a framework to model the game of darts with different handicaps, allowing us to evaluate current approaches and design a novel, fairer handicap system.