A statistician plays darts


Ryan J. Tibshirani, Department of Statistics, Stanford University, 390 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94306, USA.
E-mail: ryantibs@stanford.edu


Summary.  Darts is enjoyed both as a pub game and as a professional competitive activity. Yet most players aim for the highest scoring region of the board, regardless of their level of skill. By modelling a dart throw as a two-dimensional Gaussian random variable, we show that this is not always the optimal strategy. We develop a method, using the EM algorithm, for a player to obtain a personalized heat map, where the bright regions correspond to the aiming locations with high (expected) pay-offs. This method does not depend in any way on our Gaussian assumption, and we discuss alternative models as well.