How To Play Darts
From installing the board to playing new games, this guide is
to help you cover the basics and a few neat tricks of dart playing.
Instructions and Rules
Board Set Up
The board setup is quite simple. The following are guidelines to make sure
your board meets regulation.
- Mount the dart board on a wall with the center of the double bull at 5
ft 8 in from the floor.
- Mark the oche, or toeline, at 7 ft 9.25 in from the face of the board.
Remember to take into account the dart board depth when measuring the toeline.
A bristle dart board has an average depth of 1.5 inches.
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While most places have their own house rules, the following are some
standards to get you started:
- To decide who shoots first, both players shoot for the bullseye. The
player who comes closest shoots first and turns alternate thereafter.
- A turn consists of three darts, each thrown from
behind the oche.
- The point of the dart must touch the board to count.
- Darts that miss the board or bounce to the floor do not score and
cannot be rethrown. A player may pick up and play a dropped dart.
The playing area is divided into wedges, each with a point value marked
along the outer edge. Two rings overlap the playing area, signaling double or
triple points if a dart lands within them.
- A. Single (face value) points
- B. Double points ring
- C. Triple points ring
- D. Single bull, 25 points
- E. Double bull, 50 points
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Round the Clock
Often the first game people learn is Round the Clock. Players alternate
turns trying to hit each number, beginning at 1 and finishing at 20.
- Each player thows three shots per turn, advancing to the next number on
the board only by hitting each one in order.
- The first player to reach and hit 20 wins.
- If all three darts in a turn score, the shooter continues to shoot for
- Doubles and triples advance a player two and three numbers
- After reaching 20, the player must finish with either a bullseye or a
double 20 in order to win the game.
The most popular dart variation is the X01 game, with 301 and 501 as
the most common singles' games, and 701 or 1001 for teams. The object of
the game is to count down from the starting number to exactly zero.
- Each player takes a three-throw turn subtracting the point value of
their hits from the number (301, 501, 701, etc.) chosen at the start of the
- In all X01 games the player must finish the game with a double.
- If the total score of the three darts in a turn exceeds the remaining
score for that player or team, the player has busted and the score returns to
what is was at the beginning of the turn.
- A double bull counts as 50 and can be used to finish or start a game
- One variation dictates that in order to start scoring a player must
first hit a double. This is in fact the customary way to play 301.
Cricket uses only the numbers 15-20 and the bullseye. The object of the game is to be the first player (or team) to hit each number and the bullseye 3 times each while maintaining the most points.
- The first player to hit a number and the bullseye 3 times has "closed" that number.
- The Cricket board utilizes the single, double and triple-point value areas. This makes it possible to close a number with a single dart.
- For a player who has closed a number, any additional hits to that number count as points in the appropriate amount (hitting the triple 20 gives the player 60 points) until their opponent succeeds in closing the number as well. In a close match, the number of points often decides the winner.
- Once all players have closed a number it is out of play even in terms of gaining points.
- Once a player has hit each of the 15-20 spots and the bullseye 3 times and has the highest score (number of points), that player has won.
- Some players score doubles and triples in a separate tally as above.
This variation can be played according to either "easy" or "hard" rules. In
easy rules any double or triple counts. In hard rules only the triples and
doubles on the numbers from 15-20 count. In both variations a double bull can
used as a double.
- Another variation is an added "miss" tally, counting the number of
three-throw turns a player fails to score. Once the player has three missed
turns, each subsequent miss scores for the opponent until the opponent also has
A game for 2-10 players, where each player throws one dart with their
opposite throwing hand (right-handed players throw with the left hand and vice
versa). This game is won by eliminating your opponents while defending your
- The first number or bull each player hits is their assigned number.
- Each player must have a different number; if a player hits a number that
already taken the player shoots again until the player hits a unique
- Each player shoots for their own number at first. Once a player has hit
their number 5 times, the player becomes an Assassin.
- Doubles and triples count as two and three hits respectively.
- Once a player or players become an Assassin, they can shoot for their
opponents' numbers, taking one hit from an opponent each time they hit their
- If a player loses all their hits, that player is eliminated from the
- This continues until there is only one player left.
- An important note: if, for example, player 1 is an Assassin and another
Assassin hits player 1's number, player 1 must get their number of hits back
up to 5 before regaining Assassin status.
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