With the demise of the traditional British Pub, darts players are now seeking alternatives……but is online play a viable option?

Dartsmad.com has recently become (one of many) sponsors of www.DartProLeague.com (DPL), a site dedicated to furthering the online darts game and bringing players together from all over the globe.

Considering the site has not yet celebrated its first anniversary, DPL has almost certainly become the biggest UK online darts site and quite possible the largest site of its kind in the world.

We caught up with Gareth Ainsworth, owner and founder of the site to get the low-down on this growing community of dedicated online tungsten chuckers.

DM: How did DPL originate?

G: I had the idea for DPL after playing online darts on a general darts forum. Within a few weeks of it starting, the league moderator had been banned and the league was then non existent. I moderated a league there for one season which ran smoothly. During that time I made a handful of online darting friends, and decided to set DPL up and invite the serious darters that I had got to know. The aim was to set up an online league which contained only “serious darters”, as a major complaint towards standard forums running small leagues was that players would sign up and then not turn up to play their fixtures. This is still the case with a lot of forums today. DPL is unique and after 5 successfully completed seasons and cups we have experienced only minimal problems. We have developed and the fact remains that DPL is a site for the “Serious Darts Player”

DM: Did you have any experience of running a website prior to setting up DPL? Presumably there are cost implications to consider maintaining the site?

G: Before DPL I had zero experience of creating or running a website, fortunately for me a life time friend of mine Kevin Reid better known as “The Tech Wizard” on site worked side by side with me in order to get D.P.L ready for launch. Without this help there would be no DPL.

There is a hosting cost as with all websites but due to members generosity through donations the site’s running costs are covered for the next 2 years. We introduced a small league fee last season which also helped towards the funding, and members now have opportunities to win gifts and vouchers.

DM: Could you give us a brief overview of how online darts is conducted and how any new players can get started, what the equipment requirements are etc?

G: It is really easy to get started; all that is required is a webcam, a free download of Skype and another free download of russy dartpro software. Once you have these set up you can literally be playing an opponent hundreds of miles away within minutes.

Skype is used to “Video call” your opponents, this enables you too view your opponents dartboard through their webcam, hear their voice and vice versa. It really is as if you were in the same room.

DM: Obviously when playing online there is an element of trust, do you have problems with dishonest members?

G: One thing to remember here is that the web cam serves the purpose as it was intended; a cheat is not hard to spot when you can clearly see their dartboard in front of your very eyes!! No games on DPL are ever played without webcams. As new members arrive they take a few small steps to become “cam checked” before they can enter any matches.

Unfortunately I think that whatever sport is being played there will always be a small minority of cheats out there. Since the site began we have removed just one member who was deemed to be cheating. I can honestly say that DPL has such a great community of like minded darters that cheating does not happen between the members we currently have.

DM: What is the standard of play from your current members?

G: At present the standard is very varied, players 3 dart averages range from 30 to 90. We have members that play exclusively at home, others are in regular pub teams, we also have super league and county players.

DM: The site started with only a handful of players as previously mentioned, you currently have maybe a thousand members? How does this compare to the early days?

G: Yes, DPL started out with just one league with 9 players and currently has 1255 members, 6 leagues, numerous cup competitions, weekend tournaments, and a ladder match system. The site has absolutely exploded over the last few months. With our international membership there are always games to be played at any time of the day or night; it is truly amazing how far it has come in such a short time

DM: Does DPL have the backing of any professional players?

G:  Not exactly, Robbie ‘Kong’ Green is a member but we are yet to get a pro player fully involved with online play. If any Pro’s happen to read this please get in touch!

DM: How do you see the online game evolving and do you have aspirations to take the online game to a higher more recognised level?

G: I see online darts evolving to another level definitely; I have many exiting ideas and plans for DPL, which I am trying to implement right now. In my eyes the concept of online darts is still in its infancy. I believe this time next year the whole experience at DPL will be phenomenal, not just for the players but also for the thousands of darting fans around the world. This really is just the very beginning. As for being recognised in a higher level I would have to say right now that DPL probably won’t get the recognition it deserves until it has been experienced by influential persons in the industry.

DM: Has getting DPL this far been a labour of love?

G: I would say that yes it has taken a lot of time and effort but when players and members come to you with such positive feedback and appreciation for what you are doing, knowing how happy you have made them makes it all totally worth it.

DM: What about managing the day to day running of the site?

G: At the beginning of D.P.L there was a ridiculous amount of work and time that needed to be put in to ensure the site ran smoothly. There is now even more work however, the work load has been spread out some what. We have 3 tournament moderators (mods), 2 rankings mods, 6 league mods, 3 global mods, and 4 administrators, with the help of everyone doing there little bits the site runs beautifully.

The tournament mods, have brought consistent weekend tourneys to the site running each and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, these are all highly successful. The rankings mods put in a great amount of time, we now have a DPL Order of Merit system in place which is great to see, we have an all new ladder system in place which is also very very popular.

The league mods are doing a fantastic job, with yet another successful season behind us. The global mods do a great job of ensuring new members get answers to the questions and are always pointed in the right direction. I have another 3 admins which work side by side with me on the daily running of DPL. These guys are truly amazing and always seem to have the answers when I’m lost!! There is a lot to remember in certain cases and if I can’t…then they usually do!!

The success of the site is thanks to all of the team above and down to every last member who is active on site, we have built a massive family at DPL, we have a lot of darts, a lot of fun, and a whole lot of laughs.

DM: Well thanks for your time Gareth, would you like to take this opportunity to offer any other relevant information to our subscribers?

G: I can only say sign up and give it a try, you will be amazed. I am also interested to hear from any companies in the industry which may feel they can add something to DPL. We currently have fully sponsored events and leagues, however the aim is to have darts related sponsors as this would probably benefit the sponsors somewhat and keep to the darting feel of DPL.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions:

madforit@dartproleague.com

All the best and I hope to see you at the oche soon!!!

Gaz

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2 Responses

  1. welsh evs

    a truly amazing experiance the standard of darts is frightening well done gaz…