I grew up shooting pool. My dad used to take me to the VFW when I was a kid and give me a handful of quarters to play 8-ball all night while he and his friends sat at the bar discussing what were undoubtedly the deepest philosophical topics of the day. Today I would probably lose my kids to CYS if I took them to a smoky bar at the ripe old age of 10, but back then it was entirely acceptable…and a ton of fun.

Then, in my early 20s, I was playing pool at a bar in Pittsburgh when this beautiful woman put a quarter on the table to challenge the next winner. Thankfully I won, because I got to play against that woman – an awesome pool shot – who later became my wife and the mother of my kids. We still play every chance we get, which is admittedly very rare, due to the aforementioned kids.

But in our office, we have a dart board, along with a bunch of software engineers who keep score on a giant white board – a white board that doubles as a writing surface for the illegible (at least to me) equations that adorn every flat surface in the building. I never threw darts very much, so I usually get my clock cleaned when I play.

So I got to wondering what kinds of people choose pool over darts and vice versa. It seemed to me like everyone has a clear preference. Our data proves that out.

Below are the results to a nationally-representative survey of 2,690 US consumer age 13 and older.


While pool is more popular, the numbers are still fairly balanced, giving us over 1,000 respondents in each group to analyze. So what differentiates them?

Who Is the Pool Player?

66% of men chose pool, compared to only 55% of women.

Pool players are well travelled. Of people who say they’ve been to 21-30 US states, 67% prefer pool. Of those who have been to 31-40 states, 80% choose pool.

Your grandfather is much more likely to choose pool. In fact, 79% of people we identified as grand-dads picked pool over darts.

People who follow the NFL “very closely” are much more likely to prefer pool at 79%.

Who Is the Dart Player?

Dart players are more likely to be women (45%) than men (34%).  The youngest respondents in our sample (13-17 y/o) were the only age group to choose darts over pool (54% to 46%). Dart players are wealthier (including young respondents who have wealthy parents). People who claim over $150k in household income were the only income group to choose darts over pool in aggregate (53% to 47%).

Dart players are home-bodies. Of people who have only been to 1-10 US states, 59% prefer darts. They are also more likely than pool players to have no kids. 50% of people without kids choose darts.

Dart players are the most casual NFL followers. Those who say they follow pro football “a little” choose darts over pool 59% to 41%. And, dart-throwers are more likely than pool players to be Democrats. 47% of Ds choose darts compared to 38% of Republicans.

How DON’T they differ?

There don’t appear to be any strong correlations with race or education. And, aside from the super-young respondents who prefer darts, the age categories are remarkably consistent.

So What Have We Learned Here?

Well, it looks like the dart industry might have a bright future ahead of it if all of those 13-17 year-olds aren’t lured away to the pool table once they’re old enough to hit the bars. And, while I found love on the pool table, it looks like the guys will have a better chance of meeting ladies at the dart board.

Have fun this weekend, whatever bar game you choose.