The Ultimate Guide to the Rules and Gameplay of Darts

Darts are believed to have started when soldiers threw short arrows at tree trunks and the bottom of barrels. When cracks appeared from dried wood, sections were created. These sections became the standard for scoring. Nevertheless, there are international and regional differences when it comes to scoring.

In professional darts, each player has 3 darts and an initial score of 501. The total number of points a player gets per innings is then subtracted. The one with the closest point to 0 wins the game. But, other darts variations involve other rules and gameplay.

If you are interested in playing it, continue reading to know everything you need to know about the rules and gameplay of darts.

The Basics of Dartboards

Dartboards are made of different materials such as sisal and plastic. Each type of dartboard has pros and cons. However, the ideal dartboards, in general, are the bristled ones that are made from sisal fibers. Depending on how the dartboard will be used, there are various setups too.

You can imagine a dartboard as pizza divided into equal parts. Every segment has a specific score. The double ring is the external ring of the dartboard. Hitting this part gives you twice the score of the segment you hit. For instance, if you hit the double ring at the highest part of the segment, you get 40 instead of 2 points.

The treble ring or the inner ring is located between the bullseye and the double ring. From the name of the ring itself, hitting this gives you three times the score of the segment you hit.

The bullseye or bull is the center of the dartboard. The green external ring is the single bullseye, and the red ring at the middle is the double bullseye.

How to Set Up a Dartboard?

When learning the rules and gameplay of darts, it is crucial to know how to set a dartboard up properly. You can still play on the dartboard that was not set up correctly and feel that your skills are improving. Nevertheless, you can have challenges when you play on a dartboard with the correct setup. That is because there are changes in the distance.

To avoid these, it is a must to install your dartboard properly. You do this by rotating the dartboard. This is to move the 20 segments at the topmost part. After that, you adjust your dartboard to the wall and make sure that the center of the bullseye is 173 cm from the surface.

For the oche, you need a distance of 293.4 cm diagonally behind, starting in the center of the bullseye to the surface. If the height and diagonal line are correct, the throwing distance should be 237 cm.

The Basics of Darts


You are expected to stand at the throw when you play darts. Hockey represents the throwing line when playing darts professionally. You can stand over the line, but you are not allowed to stand before this line. You can slant but not cross the line so that you can throw a dart.

The way you stand is crucial even though there is no regulation for it. Therefore, you cannot just stand or bend over the line and aimlessly throw your dart. What you do is map the center of the dartboard to the throwing line. The area you mapped out is the ideal spot to stand when you throw.

You need to make sure that your position gives enough freedom to your shoulder to have a good throw. It is recommended to place your dominant foot to bear your weight, but be careful not to stagger. Staggering requires balancing your stand on your other foot. Your position when you are at the back of the throwing line is connected to your dominant hand.

If your dominant hand is your right, it is better to stand on the left side of hockey. This stance is not effective for left-handed people. Even though bending over the throwing line can help you aim closer, you might have difficulty balancing yourself, which can have a negative impact when you throw.


Aside from thinking about your position when throwing a dart, it is important to know how to aim your throw properly. You can freely grip the hands with your throwing hand.

You should position your dart between your thumb and index finger. Then, you aim in a horizontal position or at a slant. You need to focus your sight on the target before throwing your dart.

An intuitive method is also helpful. Doing this necessitates cognition. You do this by placing the dart on the segment of the dartboard you want to hit. Your brain complements your aiming effort.

Having the right darts also does a lot in your gameplay. Therefore, it is recommended to research them to have a better understanding of their differences.


After successfully aiming your throw, you need to do to get the throw you want to do the action itself properly, which is throwing. The dart moves to a projectile when your elbow is higher than your shoulder joint.

When you throw with your shoulder joint slanting or higher than your elbow, its tip will go down and not hit the dartboard. A dart moving in a loop is also often bad.

You also have to keep in mind that you release the dart completely when you make a throw. This is to make sure that it hits your dartboard. You need a lot of effort in making this kind of throw. Your fingers should not block the path of your dart. Allow it to be loose between your thumb and index finger.

Different Gameplay and Rules of Darts

Darts can be played in various styles. The most common are 301, 501, 701, and 1001. The chosen dart game in competitions and professional tournaments is 501. Even though the scoring differs, the different dart playing styles have similarities.

301, 501, 701 and 1001

As mentioned, 501 or 501 up is the one preferred in many pro matches. Players begin with 501 points. Then, they alternate in throwing 3 darts. Whenever they finish their turn, their points are added and subtracted from their total score.

The goal is to achieve zero points. Nevertheless, the last dart must hit the bullseye or double segment to be a winner. 301, 701, and 1001 have the same idea, but they just begin with different numbers of points.

You end in a bust, and your turn ends when you go to 1 point, below zero or zero without finishing a double. Your score also remains the same when you started the round. You also do not need to use 3 darts in every round.

Around the Clock

You need to hit the numbers 1 to 20 on the board in order for this game. 2 people play this dart game, and each player can throw 3 darts successively. The player who succeeds in hitting all the numbers wins. To make this more difficult, you can pick to hit the internal and external bullseye at the end of the game.


2 teams or 2 players can play cricket. For every round, each team or player has 3 darts. Each round is called an inning. The only numbers used in this dart game are 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, and the bullseye.

The game’s main goal is to hit these numbers on the board and score the highest possible number of points. To win an inning, three of a number which can be one single and a double, a triple, or three singles.

When a player or team wins an inning, they own the number. When they own a number, they can score a lot of points for that number before their opponent gets this number. Their opponent can get the number by getting a score of three for the same number.

For the bullseye, the external bullseye has the value of a single. The internal bullseye, on the other hand, has the value of a double. The team or player that has the most number of points and wins all the innings is declared the winner.

If it is a tie, the winner is the team or player who got the final inning. Nevertheless, if the team or player got all the innings but lacking in points, they get to have points on the innings that were not won.


Fives are ideal to be played if there are many players. The game begins by picking a target number. This number is often 50 or 100. However, the number can be lower if many people are playing.

The goal of this game is to throw three darts on the board and get a score that can be divided into 5. You score a point for every five points. You do not get any points if your score cannot be divided to 5. Keep in mind that you will not use doubles or trebles for this dart game.

The Killer

The killer is a perfect dart game if there are three or more players. It is better if there are more players. Players throw a dart using their non-dominant hand on the board at the start of the game—the number where the dart lands becomes their designated number. If two players get the same number, the one who got it second should throw again.

After all the players have their numbers, the game goes on with players trying to hit their pre-decided area. Three darts can be thrown in every turn. After a player hits their area a pre-decided number of times, they are the killer.

The killer can remove other players by hitting another player’s predetermined area. When this area is hit, the player is removed from the game. The killer can remove themselves from the game accidentally. The last player standing is considered the winner.


Two or more players can play Shanghai. Each player gets three darts for every round. The rules are simple. They need to hit the single, double, and treble sections for the same number, which begins at 1. There is no particular order in hitting it.

The player who gets all the sections in a round wins the game. Nevertheless, if none of the players hit all the sections, the game continues. To make the game more challenging, players can be eliminated if they do not get any points for a particular number. 5, 7, and 9 are often used since they are the hardest.

Strategies in Playing Darts

Take It Slow

Many pro dart players want to finish a game fast to get big numbers. For instance, they try to hit the treble 20 to get many points for their turn. Nevertheless, if you are not very skillful yet in the game, this is not advisable. This can hurt your score. It is best to go for 19.

Go for a Power of Two

When you play 301 or 501, the ideal strategy to reach zero is to have a number that has a power of two. You can more easily get zero when you have even numbers.

Comprehend the Rules and Scoring System

Many pro dart players say that understanding the rules of the game is crucial. Therefore, you need to familiarize yourself with the scoring system and what can make you lose a turn. You also need to know how you get scores so that you know if you are close to winning. If you do not know the scoring system, it will be difficult to strategize during a game.


Finally, you have a better understanding of the different rules and gameplay of darts. Aside from practicing darts, you need to know what the game is about. Throwing darts aimlessly will not give you significant improvements. Nevertheless, if you understand the information here, it can improve your game performance.