Darts Rules and Dart Games-Learn How To Play Darts

How To Play Darts

Before we start with learning how to play darts and darts rules, let’s learn something about darts game history.

A lot of things have been written over the years about the game of darts and its history, but one fact is indisputable when it comes to the history of darts. The game of darts was originally created in England. Playing darts has been a popular activity in pubs and taverns across the UK for the past 100 years or so.

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Darts Rules and Dart Games-Learn How To Play Darts

Many things are uncertain, but if the rumors are true, the game of darts had its origin during the reign of King Henry VIII of England. What is believed is, that he told his archers to practice their skills any chance they get, so they would be sharp and ready for battle at any time.


As time went by, the game evolved, and it became what it is today. One of the most loved games with many different variants. That’s why, in this article, we’ll give you a better insight in the rules of darts. So, let’s begin.


Darts rules

When it comes to darts games, the two most common variants are the 301 and the 501. If you’re wondering how to play darts, don’t worry, here are the basic official darts rules for these 2 games.  Most professional matches are “501 up”.  This is the simplest of dart boards games, played between two players. Each player starts with a score of 501 and takes turns to throw 3 darts.  The score for each turn is calculated and deducted from the total amount of points.  Te draft in the bullseye values 50, while the outer ring shot is worth  25. On the other hand, a dart in the double or treble ring doubles or trebles the segment score.  The goal is to be the first to bring the score to exactly zero, the only catch is that the last dart thrown must land in a double or the bullseye.

Darts rules


As for the 301 variant of the darts game, the rules are basically the same as with the previous one.  The game is played in exactly the same way but players start the game with 301.

When it comes to professional dart boards games competitions, the basic game rules are the same, as expected; but some other aspects of the game can vary. We’re talking about legs and sets.

The games that are being played in the ”legs” format, can accordingly be played in a format called ”best of”, where a player or team winning six legs in a ‘Best of 11 Leg’ game wins the match. Most Professional Darts Corporation events are played in a Legs format.

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As for other tournaments, these will be played in Sets format, which means players must win a Set by winning the Best of Five legs, before claiming the match in the Best of three, five, seven, nine, eleven or thirteen sets, depending on the occasion.

The Professional Darts Corporation World Championship and World Grand Prix are commonly played using the Set format, with different games lengths at each tournament.

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The Most Popular Darts Dames


dart games

When it comes to popularity, the aforementioned 301 and 501 variants are among the most popular dart boards games but are not the only ones. Since there are many different darts games, it is only fair we mention some of the most popular ones you might not be so familiar with. One of them is cricket; a darts game very popular with amateur players.  Some other pretty popular variants are the Around the world, the Killer, the Legs, and Shanghai. As cricket is most famous with amateur players, who play it just for the fun and the beauty of the game, in the next section you’ll find out more about darts rules of this particular darts game variant.

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How to play Cricket Darts?

Cricket Darts Rules
So, let’s begin with the darts cricket rules. There are a number of darts board games that are based around other pub games and this is the most common, and the most popular among them.  Each of the players usually takes turn to throw 3 darts.

At the beginning, players toss a coin to decide who of them bats first.  The winning player starts and, his task is to try to score as many points as possible using the common 501 scoring system during each turn.  When the batting player scores over 40 points in one turn, the number of points passing 40 is added to that player’s score.  For example; if the batting player scores 58, 18 points (runs) are added to his score.  If different, the batting player scores nothing.

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The opposing player logically has a more difficult task and therefore aims only at the bullseye. This player is commonly called the bowling player. The bowling player earns 2 wickets for the bullseye and a single wicket for the 25 ring. During the game, players take until the moment when the bowling player throws a dart with which he scores the 10th wicket.  At that point, the roles are reversed and the other player takes the bowling role  The game should end when both players have played two innings each. At that particular point, the player with the highest score is the one winning the match.

If the dart of the batting player lands in the bullseye or the 25 ring, he loses a wicket or two according to the land.  If the bowling player throws a dart which doesn’t land in the board, 20 “extras” are awarded to the batting side-so to the opponent. These cricket darts rules might be confusing at first, but you’ll get comfortable with them in no time.

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How to play 301 and 501 darts game

As we said, in the 501 darts, the two players compete to reach 0, in other words, to eliminate the 501 from their scoreboard.  However, there are some situations and 501 darts rules during the game that must be mentioned more in detail.  For example, If a player reduces the score to 1 or simply goes below zero, the score is bust, which essentially means that turn ends at that very moment, and the score returns to what it was at the beginning of that same turn.  Let’s see for example if a player needs to earn 32 points to go out and the first dart hits 16, while the second one ends up being a 15, the player is bust, which means his score is being returned to 32.  So on the last turn, the player is not obliged to throw all three darts – a player can win thanks to the first or the second dart of the turn.

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Since a player who misses a targeted double, will probably score the single of that segment, good players usually try to leave themselves with a repeatably bisectable number such as 24 or the ideal 32 – as it is the double of 16. So for example, if a player has a double 16 left, and ends up hitting a 16, he in that case has a double 8 left and if he then hits an 8, he is left with a double 4, and so on – this is certainly an advantage, because no extra darts need to be thrown in order to reduce the score to an even number. It often happens that people reduce their score to 1 (typically while aiming for double 1), some people play a very unofficial rule called “splitting the 11”. This 501 darts rule says that when the score is reduced to 1, instead of going bust, the player must “split the 11” by throwing a dart between the two numbers forming the number 11 on the edge of the board. This is tricky. As complicated as it might seem at first, these 501 darts rules are pretty easy to follow once you get acquainted with the game.

In case you’re still wondering how to play a 301 darts game; the 301 darts game, can be called a sister game, given the fact that the aforementioned basic darts rules are generally the same as in the 501 darts. However, some games require a double to start scoring as well as to finish the game.  When the score goes below 171 points, professional players know which are the numbers they need to aim for, in order to check out in a single turn with their 3 darts.

It feels too complicated? Don’t worry! As with every other game, practice makes perfect, and this darts 301 is no exception.

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Tips on How To Play Darts Like a Pro

In case you got hooked to playing dart board games, here are some tips on how to play darts like a true professional. Before we start, we must accentuate that darts rules must however, be obeyed.

Tips on How To Play Darts Like a Pro

For starters, you’ve got to be comfortable and balanced. Comfortable when being on stands and aiming towards the darts board. At that moment, your aiming hand should be close to your body, and you need to be still. The goal is as little movement as you can, so the dart would land on the right spot.

The hand in which you hold your remaining darts should be calm and relaxed as well, a too tight grip can bring tension to the whole body and thus affect the outcome of the game.

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When throwing a dart, be sure to put your throwing hand under the 90 degrees position, so your pitch would be more or less under your chin. In that way, your aiming will be just where it needs to be to hit the darts board perfectly.

Another important thing is concentration.  When throwing a dart, concentrate on the part of the dartboard you’re aiming for. As banal as it may seem, the com+ncentration is the key to every good result, and is particularly important if you want to learn how to play darts like a pro.

The last but probably most important thing when it comes to any game, and dart boards games are no exception is fun. You got to have fun. If you’re not enjoying it, you’ll have no particular success. It all comes from having real fun and being at ease.

Try it yourself and you’ll see. Let your darts adventure begin!

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