For players that are new to darts or have recently invested in a dartboard, the next logical step once the throw has been perfected is to find out more about the darts games you can play. It isn’t just a case of throwing darts to see who gets the most points, there are also a lot of tactics and skills involved in playing this popular sport. If you have a standard dartboard there are a great number of different games you can play. Some have been around for years, others have been invented by players and caught on thanks to the darts grapevine.
If you want to experiment with achieving different scores and combinations of darts, or find a new and fun way to practice, here are five of the main darts games you can play on a standard dartboard.
501 is probably the most commonly played version of the game, thanks to the fact it is used in all PDC (Professional Darts Corporation) tournaments. In 501 the rules are simple - a player or team of players aim to be the first to get to zero, from a starting score of 501. Players throw darts in sets of 3, subtracting their scores from the total until they reach zero, which must be done on a double. So, for example, if your remaining score is 45 you’ll need to hit 5 and then double twenty to checkout, or if your remaining score is 38 you’ll need to hit double 19 to finish the game.
Some versions of 501 also require that you start on a double as well as finishing on one, which is known as ‘double in, double out’.
A quicker version of the standard 501 darts game, 301 is often played in league matches. It works on the same principle as the 501 game but this time your starting score is 301. Players must aim to reach zero, exactly, by subtracting the score of each dart, before their opponent/s can do the same. A double will be required to finish, and possibly to start. If a player throws more than they need to get to zero, that throw or turn is void and they will not score anything and return to the previous total for their next turn.
A popular recreational darts game, Cricket is a fun point scorer where players or teams vie to be the first to close all numbers in play whilst being ahead or even on points. The numbers used in Cricket are 15,16,17,18,19, 20 and the inner and outer bull. Players must close the number by scoring three times on it - either in separate single shots, a double and a single or a triple. Numbers don’t need to be closed in order and once a player or team has hit a number three times they own it, meaning they can carry on scoring from it until the other player or team closes it, at which point no further scores can be taken from that number. Players and teams take it in turns to throw, with a turn consisting of the standard three darts.
If both players, or teams, are tied on points at the end of the game it is the one who closes all the numbers first who wins.
Around the World
Sometimes called around the clock, this game is, as it suggests, a sequential journey around the board. Around the World is a great practice game as it gets players used to hitting every number on the board. It can also be used as a warm up game to playing 301 or 501. Players start with number one and move around the board to hit each number in sequence until they reach 20. Hitting doubles or trebles doesn’t count for more than a single and the bull’s eye is not usually used. Players alternate after three throws and the first to 20 is the winner.
This is one of the best darts games to play in a social setting, when you’re entertaining friends and everyone wants to have a go. It’s a strategic game that you need at least three players for and you can only hit doubles. Each player draws a number from a lot of 1-20, they then have to hit the double of that number 3 times to become a killer. Everyone gets three lives, with bonus lives added when they hit the double of their number. Once a player is a killer on their own number, they can start to hit doubles of their opponent’s numbers, taking a life away from them each time they do. The score board will need to show each player’s name, with the numbers they have drawn and how many lives they have.
In addition to these five popular darts games there are a multitude of other games you can play on a standard dartboard. If you’ve tried them all, why not make up your own and leave your comments below?
For playing tips, darts and equipment search for Double Top Darts.