Photography by Lawrence Lustig

Stick ‘Em With the Pointy End: The World Series of Darts Arrives in Las Vegas

If your knowledge of darts is limited to the bar, here’s a cheat guide to get you up to speed.

The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) is hosting the first-ever World Series of Darts event in the U.S. July 13–15 at Tropicana Las Vegas. Join darts fans from around the world to watch players face off in a sports environment with such boisterous audience participation that’ll give Raiders die-hards a run for their money. If your knowledge of darts is limited to the bar, here are seven pointers to becoming a darts spectator pro.

1) “501” is the game played at the PDC World Darts Championship. But this is just one among many “01” games, all of which are played the same way, varying only in the starting scores ranging from 101 to 1001. To win, a player must reach a score of exactly zero before his or her opponent does.

2) A “turn”—or “throw”—is lobbing three darts at the board in a row.

3) Best way to hold a dart? Keep the tip up, have a relaxed grip, use a finger placement that feels natural and know how much force is required for the size and weight of the dart.

4) Before each match, popular Scottish competitor Peter “Snakebite” Wright’s wife spends three hours painting a snake on the side of his head and dying his Mohawk a vibrant color to match his clothes.

5) Speaking of flashy, don’t be surprised to see a man decked out as a beer bottle or nuns with foam fingers walking around. Fans traditionally dress up at these rowdy events, including costumes such as crayons, traffic cones, movie characters and bananas.

6) The 2016 PDC World Darts Championship final peaked with 1.7 million viewers. For comparison, the NBA averaged 1.19 million total viewers for the season.

7) Darts stud and Netherlands native Michael van Gerwen won 25 tournaments in 2016, and his career earnings to date nears $6.5 million. Ranked no. 1 in the world, The New York Times recently profiled him, saying, “He’s the Michael Jordan of darts.” So when in doubt, just argue about van Gerwen’s status as the GOAT and don’t back down.

$40–$150, Tropicana Las Vegas,