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A statistician plays darts

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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.

Keywords: EM algorithm; Importance sampling; Monte Carlo methods; Statistics of games

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-985X.2010.00651.x

Affiliations: Stanford University, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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