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Chips and cards could be the key to improving your darts game
Chips and cards could be the key to improving your darts game


Why playing poker can help your darts skills

Previously we told you how playing eSports could be beneficial to you as a darts player. It encourages good hand to eye coordination and improves focus while fostering that desire to win that is so very important in any competitive sport. But did you know that there’s one game that can give you all of this and so much more? We’re talking poker and the fact that a few hands of Texas Holdem every night could have a hugely positive effect on your darts game.


Darts and poker

Aside from the apparent darts poker game, there’s not much to link the two sports. Sure, darts tournaments are often held in casinos, and many of the players such as Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld have been known to enjoy a hand of poker. But that’s where the conversation usually ends. Strangely though, despite the lack of any real concrete links, darts and poker seemingly go hand in hand. Perhaps it’s all down to the benefits listed below.


Strategic thinking

Many of those who don’t play the game assume that poker is a game of luck, with bluffing the only skill involved. While it’s true that bluffing can play an integral role in the game, fate has less to do with a player’s success than you might think. 

Players who play poker regularly always play with a strategy in mind. They may have several lines of logic in their arsenal, and they will choose one depending on the cards that are dealt. Their ability to react to the game and adapt so that they always maintain the best chance of success is pretty impressive. This ultimately undermines the idea that poker is only a game of chance.

So how is this useful to a darts player? Well, if you think about it, dart players have to remain focused on it at all times. However, when the unexpected happens, as we all know this can, it's essential that a player can hold their nerve. People who play poker regularly do this without a second thought.


Learning from loss

The very basics of poker psychology teaches us that learning to lose can have a massive impact on your overall game. Prolific poker players never seem to look on a loss as a loss. They consider it an opportunity to learn and improve their game. Rather than getting angry and upset (more on that later), they analyse their in-game decisions and try to figure out where they went wrong.

Think how beneficial it would be to have this type of attitude towards loss. While others may want to rip the dartboard off the wall, you simply accept what has happened and identify the areas of your game that need to improve. You then practice practice, practice to improve your game.

Once again, this is something that comes naturally to a seasoned poker player. Accepting defeat is pretty much second nature, and they do so without batting an eyelid. This composure in the face of defeat can also be a little unnerving for an opponent! You can easily imagine how picking up this skill can have a positive effect on your darts game.


Controlling your emotions

Keeping those emotions in check is second nature to a poker player


Controlling your emotions is, without a doubt one of the big ones. We all know about the poker face and how a good poker player is will never show their emotions. This is perhaps one of the most important skills that a poker player can learn, and those who cannot master it simply have no chance of success at the table. Once your opponent can read your emotions, they’ll find it extremely easy to beat you.

So you’re probably wondering what this has to do with darts. After all, you don’t need to bluff your opponent or even hide your emotions! However, when playing poker, you not only learn to hide your feelings but also to control them. You keep them in check, knowing that making decisions based on gut feeling or emotions, such as anger, will likely lead to failure.

In darts, the ability to keep your emotions in check when you’ve lost a tricky game can have a significant bearing on the rest of your play. Reeling in those emotions allows you to remain focused on your strategy and make the right decisions based on how the match is progressing. This is much better than making decisions based solely on how angry you are at missing that double finish.


Learning to be patient

Poker is by no means a fast game. If the circumstances are just right, the game could last for hours on end. And frequently, the wins for a player are marginal. But that’s okay because a poker player learns to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to take the pot and possibly win big.

A novice poker player will see what they think is a good opportunity and possibly lose their stack on a wrong decision. A seasoned player will recognise when the odds are in their favour and play accordingly. This patience in the game is something that can take a great deal of effort for a new player, but once they get the hang of it they soon realise that rushing their game can only hurt their overall progress.

Learn to be patient at poker, and you can take this into your darts game. Of course, patience in a match scenario is essential but not crucial. You’re not a pro, so you can’t expect to throw like a pro, but you can improve your skills a great deal by practising. That’s often the difference between the exceptional players and the ones that make up the numbers. While the outstanding players may possess a certain amount of raw talent, the majority of their darts skills are built up over the years. They achieve their level through sheer determination and no small amount of patience during their practice time. Pick up this skill at the poker table and who knows how far you can take your darts game.

So there you have it. Poker skills can have a positive effect on your darts game. So the next time you’re wondering what to do in the evening, forget the TV and pick up a deck of cards. Not only will you have fun and possibly win some cash, but you’ll pick up some excellent skills that will no doubt help.




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