This is the virtual game much closest to the real thing, and for very good reason! Whereas in a virtual football match you’ll see team names such as Islington Reds or Newcastle AFC, here in virtual darts the names and even images of real players are used to make this the most authentic virtual sport on the market.
This makes virtual darts a genuinely great substitute for fans of the sport missing the real live action, regardless of whether they want to bet on it or not.
In this case, virtual matches look identical to real legs of darts matches being played out on TV. The format has been developed by Inspired, the company behind the Virtual Grand National, who use experts including former professionals to get everything right with their virtual offering.
Current and former pros are filmed throwing in front of a simulated backdrop so from the point of view of looking at the players it’s all very real, with the order of the darts hitting the board on close-up decided by a random number generator to make betting on the game fair.
It’s worth keeping in mind then, that while the player’s names and faces are real you should not keep real life form in mind. Who is favourite and who wins is decided by algorithms and may have no bearing on real form, current ability or skill.
Pace and frequency of Virtual Darts
As the very real-looking single darts leg takes around 2 minutes to get through and there perhaps aren’t quite as many possible results are there are in other virtual sports, matches are spaced 5 minutes apart. This of course still means that a bookmaker can show up to 288 virtual darts matches per day.
What takes a little bit of time out of the match is the realism itself. Having been filmed for real, players are shown walking to and from the oche and taking their stance before throwing, meaning in truth there could be room yet for a much quickened-up version of this game.
Bet Types Available with Virtual Darts
As more bookmakers are able to add virtual darts to their platforms, a variation of bets may well be forthcoming. As of now though, precious few bookies have this game at their disposal although luckily for us one of them is bet365.
At bet365 the choice of markets on each sport, even virtual ones, is usually pretty comprehensive and that has proven to be the case with virtual darts. Here’s an idea of the markets you can expect to find on each match:
- Match Winner – just the two choices here of course, and so odds can be a little restrictive. Typical match odds tend to be 4/9 v 15/8, 8/13 v 11/8, 10/11 v 10/11 or 8/15 v 8/5 for example. Don’t expect heavy odds-on favourites to win all the time either, the RNG decides the result and over time keeps the RTP pretty much where it should be.
- Checkout Markets – betting on colours (green or red), darts (double 20, double 10 etc) or totals (under/over 40.5) can all be achieved in virtual darts and make the games much more enjoyable from a wagering point of view.
- Player – First Three Darts – each player can be backed to score under 90, 90-110 or over 110. Backing the favourite to throw under 90 with their first three darts can pay 9/1 or more.
- Match Events – it’s hoped more can be added to this market in the future, but for now you’ll find odds on a 9-dart finish or a 180 being thrown.
- Wincast – as the match winner market is a little thin, wincasts are available. Instead of taking Peter Manley to win at 8/15 for example, you may be able to back him to win and checkout with over 40/5 at 2/1.
Are These Bets Fair?
In terms of whether each participant gets a fair crack of the whip, then undoubtedly the answer is yes. Results of virtual sports games are decided using a random number generator which is check independently, so there is no interference at all from the bookmaker.
No matter how many players are backing the same outcome, the odds on a player or event cannot change as the outcome cannot be affected anyway. So, while there is an RTP listed, in fact if every single player logged in all backed one darts player to win and all were successful, the bookmaker would have to pay out at the price quoted no matter the cost to them.
As for whether you’re likely to get good value; probably not at least in the classic sense. The betting margin on virtual sports including darts is worse than in the real thing, most likely because of the cost of buying in or maintaining the software, while the RTP even leaves a little to be desired.
The return to player on many big-named progressive slot games can be 97%, where as in virtual sports it tends to run at around 90% or sometimes lower meaning in the longer term you’d get more of a return playing slots than virtual sports.
Pros and Cons of Virtual Darts
As with any virtual betting undertaking darts has its good points and its bad. For us, here are the major positives and negatives of virtual darts:
- The Frequency – though virtual darts is not as swift as it could be (maybe a minute could be shaved off), it still offers a match every 5 minutes of the day meaning plenty of betting opportunities.
- It’s High Quality – using CGI and real video of real players past and present makes this a much better watch than most other virtual sports, whether you’re betting or not.
- There’s No Knowledge Needed – this is great for fans of the real thing because of the use of real players, but their form and skills have no real-life basis, so anybody can get involved as the RNG will decide the result.
- It’s Great for Beginners – for those not used to sports betting, getting involved in virtual darts can be great practice even if it is to simply get used to betting terminology.
- All Outcomes Are Fair – given the fact that the RNG is in control, results are fair for everybody and it’s just up to you to guess right.
- There’s a Lack of Control – real darts fans will love this, but without being able to use real darts knowledge there is a lack of control over bets.
- The Temptation – if you can bet nearly 300 times a day with one bookie on one virtual sport, it is easy to keep clicking and get hooked, so look out for that.
- There Aren’t Enough Bookmakers – virtual darts isn’t offered by enough online bookmakers just yet. Instead of this Inspired version featuring real players, even a basic quick version of virtual darts would do. Virtual betting should mirror real sport, i.e. those events popular to bet on for real should be well represented in a virtual sports betting listing.