Column #HR33 “Jackpot” Hits the Jackpot!

Thursday, January 6, 2011
Column HR33
“Jackpot” Hits the Jackpot!

A number of years ago a young English dart player was in Las Vegas to play in the Las Vegas Desert Classic. Being big for his age – actually he’s big for any age – he was playing the slots at a popular Strip casino.

He “allegedly” hit a jackpot for an “alleged” $72,000 dollars. When he “allegedly” tried to collect he found out that he had a small problem. He couldn’t provide identification to prove he was 21 years old so therefore he couldn’t hit a jackpot because he couldn’t legally play. Then he informed the always polite casino personal that, “It wasn’t me who hit the jackpot. It was me mate.” The casino then reviewed the video. Upon further review he could have been asked, “Is this you?” “Hmmm. It looks like me.” The lad that day was escorted out of the casino avoiding a possible starring roll in “The Lock Up in Las Vegas” with no jackpot but the nickname “Jackpot.”

On January 2, 2011 at the Ally Pally in London Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis finally hit a jackpot he could keep. He wasn’t tossed out of the venue; he got £200,000 and the title World Champion.

World Champion Adrian Lewis defeated Scot Gary Anderson 7 sets to 5 for the title in a match that displayed a level of brilliance that deserves the title World Champion. The rap on Lewis has always been he gets discouraged and gives up when faced with adversity. Whether that’s fact or fiction Lewis showed no signs of that tendency against Anderson. In the first set Lewis tossed a nifty 9-darter, the first in the World Championship, winning 3-1 with a 123 average. Lewis’ roll continued in the second set with a win 3-zip. After losing the third set 0-3 Lewis came back with a 3-1 win.

Anderson’s rap has always been that when he misses doubles he does so in bunches. He lived up to his reputation way too often in the final. When Anderson didn’t, he leveled the match at three with a pair of 3-1 wins. The “collapse label” on Lewis was dispelled when tied at three as he took the next three on the trot. Lewis was challenged only once during that run with 3-2 win by Anderson in set eight.

As is oft said, “You score for show but finish for do-re-me.” Lewis hit twenty 180s to ten for Anderson. In this case Lewis’s scoring allowed him to miss doubles without penalty. Truth be told he probably missed as many doubles as Anderson. He was saved by scoring. The difference in average scoring was only one-hundredth of a point for each handful as Anderson led the scoring average 99.41 to 99.40. Lewis maximums allowed him to survive missed doubles. Yes it is a funny old game.

PHIL TAYLOR WHERE GOETH?

That’s an excellent question. More important, “Is the Lewis win the first sign of a changing of the Royal Guards in darts?” Gone after the round of eight were Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld. Gone prior to that were James Wade and Simon Whitlock. Lewis with the win moved from #5 to #3 in the Order of Merit with the biggest jump made by Gary Anderson who cracked the top 4 from the number 10 spot. Taylor still leads the ranking but the blush has come of the rose. An early test for Taylor will come on February 10 at the O2 in London. Taylor and Lewis will meet in the first round of the 2011 Premier League. They’ll be joined this year in the “PL” by Gary Anderson, James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Simon Whitlock, Terry Jenkins and Mark Webster.

Taylor’s slump now stretches from August though January with the end not in sight. Regardless, Taylor was named Player of the Year and elected to the PDC Hall of Fame. To be polite to Taylor when he gets to hitting doubles lately it looks like he is in the early stages of the “yeeps.” Where before he missed by a “tad” it’s now a “tad plus.” That’s the malady that ended the brilliant career of Eric Bristow those many years ago. It also stalled a potentially great career for the Old Dart Coach. His attack of the “yeeps” came shortly after he tossed his first darts at 2:10 a.m. on January 1, 1977 at the Pine Meadows Golf Course in Martinez, California. He didn’t see the warning signs. Does Taylor?

OLD DART TAKES THE HEAT

The late Harry S. Truman use to say, “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.” The Old Dart Coach got the heat turned up on his chubby cheeks after the last Toeing the Oche. The readers toed it up and let fly. He’s still in the kitchen although in an undisclosed location.

Soft point guy, BW, pointed out, “You are a funny man! Very nice! (Not too Chablis! How Merlot can you go!).” The ODC has no shame. Nor does his pal in Dayton, Ohio (pronounced O-Hi-O), Dave Servis, who punned right along with “A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart” and “Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.”

Mr. David Brook, from Patong Beach and the Island Lager Bar, reminds the ODC, “Mind you ‘Whips and Jingles’ could have a whole new meaning out here in Thailand.” Brook also adds, “…and by the way… a ‘cookie’ is something you get in your computer or is a person who cooks things… a biscuit is a biscuit… I’m off to have one with my morning coffee!”

Oh really?

A biscuit is something that goes with grits and country gravy. A cookie, such as an Oreo, is to be dipped in milk. You English folk may have invented the language but like everything else it was up to us Colonists to bring any sense or order to it. We do the polishing.

One who doesn’t need any polishing is Sid Waddell. He didn’t need a trip to Las Vegas when he hit the verbal jackpot during the telecast of the recent World Championships. Following a particularly great match he explained, “Only one word to describe that, ‘Absolutely classic with a capital K.’”

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.

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