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We have a series of Dart Articles that we've added over time. You'll find games similar to American darts, and dart throwing advice.

We also have a section on Vintage Darts with pictures of darts and boards from days long gone by.

Emmaus Fire Company

Each year after the PA State dart tournament is held, a second major dart tournament begins. Nationals takes place March, at the fire company in Emmaus, PA.

The format has changed slightly over time. Most of the action involves three man teams, but there have been singles events in past years.

What makes the A.B.D.A. George "VIP" Haines Memorial National Championship Dart Tournament different from States is the use of team average caps. There is a database of all the American dart shooters who participate in leagues and tournaments. Each shooter has an official average based on their performance from recent years.

Nationals is actually several dart tournaments rolled into one. There is an "A" Divison tournament, where this year teams are limited to an average of less than 126 points. In the "B" Divison each team can have a maximum average of 110.99. There are caps for C and D Divisions as well.

Some divisions will shoot their entire tournament in a single day. Other divisions will have qualifying days and a finals day.

Shooters can shoot in as many divisons as their schedules permit.

Keith Bauer, the man behind this series of tournaments took some time to talk to me, and here are his answers to my questions. . .

How did Nationals come about?

The concept of capped divisions was by John Petrick whom at the time was running the PA State Dart Tournament. The first year of the ABDA Natioanal Tournament was held at Butler Fire Co. in Butler, PA. It was a small draw. With B/C divisions having the most entries. With John phasing himself out…and myself with a feeling of obligation. George Haines and I assumed responsibility for keeping the ABDA Nationals growing.

I then opted to move the tournament down south a bit to the Laurel Fire Co., Cementon, PA. The tournament stayed there for about 2 or 3 years. With the tournament growing, I was approached by people about looking at the Emaus Fire Co. as a new host site.

Well, once I saw the size of it, and their great parking, I was sold. I moved the ABDA Nationals there and it has been growing larger and larger every year. It is now the biggest American Dart Tournament around. I as Tournament Director and George Haines as the brains behind the ABDA website. We felt we built a quality tournament. And it has been a pleasure to give shooters a chance to compete.

How many divisions were there the first year?

There were three divisions: A-130 B-110 C-90

I incorporated the D-75 division later, mainly because there are many shooters that average well under 30. I wanted to give all shooters of all calibers a chance to compete in a division. The D-75 has been a great draw since its inception into the ABDA Nationals. It has been filling its 16 team compliment for many years.

I’m going to assume that you just used league averages and kind of took people’s word for it.

Yes.

League averages was the original method of choice to enter. Dropping tenths on the shooter averages was done. As the tournament was becoming larger and more competitive, some shooters/teams were getting smarter on how to pick up points on other teams.

Some shooters were not submitting their HIGHEST league average if they shot in more than one league. So, it was required if you had more than one league average, we would combine those averages and get a composite. That was the rule of thumb for quite some time.

We then decided to stop dropping the tenths on the shooter average(s), mainly because some teams could pick up 2 to almost 3 points on another team that way.

For Example:

Team 1
  • 38.97
  • 37.91
  • 35.89

DROP TENTHS = 110 - Actual 112.71

Team 2
  • 38.09
  • 37.22
  • 35.15

DROP TENTHS = 110 - Actual 110.46 and the DIFFERENCE = 2.25 pts.

So, with some new ideas between George, Dave Hascup and Myself, The American Darts Database was created.

League Averages and Tournaments have been incorporated into a shooters database average. This has been key in determining a shooters “TRUE” average. Many tournaments and leagues use the database as a baseline for entering averages for their respective tournament(s). It really prevents the “sandbagger” from sneaking into a tournament.

So, current day ADBA Nationals all shooters and teams carry the decimal points to the very end on with determining the teams entering average. We do allow a little flexibility with the caps NEW A-div. at 125.99….B-110.99….C-90.99….D-75.99.

The decimal points get dropped off of the TEAM average only Ex. 110.79 = 110. No team is allowed to enter if over the caps. All shooter averages/stats remain in the database for a rolling 800 day cycle. New stats get entered…some old stats drop off within the 800 day cycle.

Prior to the start of the ABDA Nationals, all shooters/leagues are required to send in a CURRENT league stat sheet to be entered into the database to show progression of their league(s). There is a weight system to certain Tournaments and Leagues. Here is that breakdown.

CATEGORY 3 TOURNAMENTS – 200%
  • 13th Annual ABDA Nationals
  • 45th Annual PA States
  • 12th Annual ABDA Nationals
  • 44th Annual PA States
CATEGORY 2 TOURNAMENTS – 150%
  • 3rd Annual Lehigh Valley Dart Championships
  • 14 Annual Battle of the Bars
CATEGORY 1 TOURNAMENTS – 100%
  • Chambersgurg Dart League 1st Annual 3-Man
  • Red Lion Elks HML Tourney
  • Dorko’s Hi Low Tournament
  • 2012 Hard Coal Tournament
  • Dorko’s Summer 2 Man Handicap
  • 2012 Clancys Triples Tournament
  • Tonys TopCat Singles Tournament
  • 2012 Jersey Doubler
  • Wilkes-Barre 2012 ABDA Qualifier

ALL LEAGUES COUNT AS 100%

Did you do singles right away?

No.

I incorporated Singles in as a pilot project one year. It went over very well but was overwhelming and hard to handle, 4 divisions and a singles event.

So, I opted to break it away from the ABDA Natioanals event and created the Lehigh Valley Dart Championships held in summer or late fall annually. It, too has been growing and is a very nice draw. This tournament follows the ABDA Nationals capped formats being incorporated into A, B and C Doubles events and two Capped Singles events.