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GO Darts in Blackpool

Darts in Blackpool

Whether your view of darts comes from watching TV gameshow Bullseye or catching a glimpse of the beer swilling contestants in your local pub, you’ve not seen darts until you’ve experienced a professional championship.

And if you’re in Blackpool over the summer, you may be able to experience the action first hand at the World Matchplay held annually at the Empress Ballroom [map] in the Winter Gardens.

The Stan James World Matchplay is one of the premier events in the darts calendar. Here you can see the titans of the darts world compete for the glory of the championship. You’ll see one-hundred-and-eight-ties and near misses a plenty, and probably the odd nine-dart finish, which all add to the tension and the drama of the game.

For those who are unfamiliar with the game, darts is a contest between two (or more) people, who take it turns to throw three darts at a numbered board standing a certain distance away. Championship games are usually ‘501’, where contests have to whittle down their score from 501 to zero with their final dart scoring on a double. A player can do this in a minimum of 9 darts but this is a particularly difficult feat.

The game of darts has humble origins that date back to the middle ages. It started as way for bored soldiers to pass the time but soon grew in popularity as a game played by everyone from paupers to princes. In fact Anne Boleyn gave her husband, Henry VIII, a set of ornamented darts in 1530.

Darts continued to be played through the centuries, carried to all corners of the British Empire by the soldiers. However, the game was nearly killed off years later by the Victorians who banned “games of chance”. Darts was eventually saved by a Yorkshire pub owner who proved, in court, that it was actually a game of skill by challenging the magistrates.

Today the game is seen as a professional sport and the Stan James World Matchplay is one of the biggest events held in the UK. But for those who cannot get tickets for this sell-out event, it is also televised so that audiences from around the world can enjoy the darts action from the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool.

If you want to get involved and see how good you are at this game of hand and eye coordination, there are several pubs in Blackpool that have a dart board, where you could try a game or two. However if you want to feel the thrill of competition you could check out the JR Family Darts weekend, also held at the Winter Gardens, or if you are really serious about the game you could try joining a team in the Blackpool Darts and Dominos League.


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