“Stories of Local Businesses” – Archive5789343437 03/22/2023 Play Darts across the Country without Leaving Your Local Pub

“Stories of Local Businesses” – Archive5789343437 03/22/2023

By: David Allen : #658423 – X709

Play Darts across the Country without Leaving Your Local Pub

Darts has been a common game for centuries and a great way to connect socially with like-minded pub and tavern dwellers. A new concept in the traditional game of darts has come onto the horizon and presents dart players with flexibility in who they play around the world without having to travel.

Typically a player will visit their local watering hole and challenge an opponent to a game of darts, whether it be for fun or on a competitive level. Some competitors will travel throughout the country to play and qualify for tournaments and move up in ranking in order to make it to the finals and larger prize money. 

Through Partners Promoting Darts (PPD), an organization run by Jim Turtine, a player can now compete by remote play across the nation.  This is possible by an electronic computerized pro dartboard, the Arachnid Galaxy 3 (G3), which features live online play (via internet), two play tracking video cameras and worldwide player rankings. The video cameras are located at the top of the cabinet, one which is angled towards the dart face so that the other player can see every dart hit and the other camera is pointed toward the player.  

Players can now qualify for the PPD Annual Tournament of Champions (TOC) held in Kansas City, Missouri by accumulating points playing remote play leagues or traditional leagues. This tournament is held each year in October and is the highest prize payout dart tournament in North America.

Midstate Amusement Games was started by Kevin and Don Stowe in 1978. Midstate Amusement is based out of Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, which is located an equal distance from Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee and services a wide scope of pubs in this area of east-central Wisconsin.

Emily Pickart, Promotions Director & League Coordinator with Midstate Amusements stated, “We started remote play small with higher skilled players about one and one half years ago.  The remote play has grown between three and four times as many as last year from running promotions and advertising on the Darts Tournament of Champions website but mainly attributed to word of mouth. The response has been very positive and has been growing steadily. People like having this extra option.” 

The remote play league is a good supplement to the traditional leagues if players don’t want to or are unable to travel to different pubs. It is also beneficial to be able to start a remote play league at any time throughout the year. With the traditional league, if a player has missed league start up, which is in the fall, they would have to wait until another league start up.  With remote play, players can start a league whenever they want. Emily stated, “That’s been huge for us.  We have a season, start in fall – end in spring. There are a few in the summer but not very many so this gives them another option.”

The league matches are set up just like a local league with schedules, stats and scheduled times of play. All of the remote play teams have the same benefits of a traditional league with automatic scoring and stats, weekly stats and standings updated on the website. The biggest advantage of remote play is the ability to compete with a variety of opponents with various skill levels and playing styles from all over the world. You have the opportunity to meet the most interesting and diverse people with a like interest that would not be possible without remote play.

Midstate Amusements, and all other operators, purchase qualifier vouchers from PPD. The vouchers are sold in packages and one package includes 8 men’s and 4 women’s vouchers.  Midstate purchases two packages which gives them 16 men and 8 women a spot to the big show in October in Kansas City. The remote league vouchers are priced slightly higher than the traditional league but remains comparable and negligible considering the large prize money to be won.

The players have to have played a minimum of 350 games in league within the year for the PPD TOC to qualify for the year end tournament. The year runs July to July and the 350 games required include both traditional and remote play. The players must have a certain skill level and, due to the large number of players, there is a ranking list by points. You get one point per game, so six games played would be six points. A player can get more points by playing in certain types of leagues. For example, playing in a PPD remote doubles league with 15 games would earn you 15 points. You could also earn more points playing in a master’s league or earn bonus points as an incentive to participate in leagues that are generally smaller or that were newer, in order to grow the size of the league. At the end of the year in July, whoever has the most points will receive a qualifying voucher. 

The players who earn a qualifying voucher during remote league and tournament play, then advance to a pre-qualifying tournament in August, and if successful, to the final event at the TOC in October in Kansas City. 

All of the player’s rankings, games played and league points are posted on the TOC website.  

Devin Nowak and his wife, Jami, from the Sheboygan, WI area, are highly skilled and highly ranked dart players. Both are on track for qualifying for the TOC in Kansas City and are eager to compete for the first place price of $20,000. 

Devin, has been shooting traditional league since 2000, and remote play since the Arachnid G3 was installed, about two and one half years ago. Devin stated, “I used to shoot all traditional league but now out of the four leagues that I play in, three of them are remote play.” 

For all of the novice dart players who are intrigued by playing remote league but holding back because they feel that they are not good enough, Devin advises to just get your feet wet. Devin struggled with this initially as well but once he started to shoot, he loved it. “It’s important to know that you don’t need to be the best shooter in your area, you just have to like darts.” 

Devin’s wife Jami, and her Women’s A partner, Jen Kealiher, have a passion for the game and drive from half an hour to an hour to shoot league together.  Their many hours of play and dedication to the game brought them to winning the Women’s Open B Double at World’s last year in May.  Jami and Jen are both Women’s A and are aiming for AA at the World’s this year in Kansas City. 

Jen has played in traditional leagues for almost fifteen years and has just recently become involved in the remote play league. “It’s something different. I’m a very social person and shoot in multiple cities but still probably within one half hour to forty-five minutes from home (Oshkosh) for league. I travel and shoot tournaments and love it because I get to see the people outside of this area. By shooting remote play. I am also able to shoot against some of those people that I only see at the big tournaments. You want to shoot against the best so that you can push yourself and beat the best. It makes you better.”

Jen has found that the remote league has grown exponentially and now hears everyone talking about it and is interested in playing.  The remote league gives you more exposure and an opportunity to pre-qualify so everyone can do it. “When we are shooting in the league, spectators that don’t even shoot darts become interested in playing remote play,” said Jen.

Kevin Stowe of Midstate Amusement has stated, “We’re very heavy into the dart industry and probably have more teams in the State of Wisconsin than anyone else that participates in the State tournament.  This is the way that we reward the players for shooting for us and to keep them involved with our company.  The State tournament has always been huge and Wisconsin is a hotbed for dart players and has been since day one.”