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Basic Dart Rules You Need to Know

Joshua Wicks

Last updated Mar 21, 2022
My goal is to help others learn about the game and to help them improve their skills.

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Official Dart Rules

If you are bored at home Or looking for something to spice up your time at the bar, dart games can be your best choice.

You just need some darts and a dartboard. But you need to know the rules to play.    

There are different types of dart games with different rules. Some games are best to play alone, some for a group of friends.

At the very beginning, it may seem like a game to chase a target. But it’s not only about throwing a target but also a bit of calculation,  precision, thrill, and excitement.

It will take time to become an expert in darts. It might also seem a bit complicated. Dart that is counted as a score in one game can be a reason for elimination to others.

So If you are a beginner you must have known the rules first. To maximize the chance to hit a target you need a lot of practice following the rules.

In this content, some dart game rules are explained that are played all over the world.

Things You Need to Know about Dart Game 



The round-shaped board is 17 ¾ inches in diameter. It is divided and numbered into 20 segments.

The round shape in the center is called bullseye( by hitting the bullseye, you will get 50 points). 

The outer circle of the bullseye is called the outer bullseye, worth 25 points. 

Circular wires have segmented the board into single, double, and treble areas. You will get points by dart hit. 

The single, double, and treble portion counts the points in single, double, and triple numbers. 

If the dart bounces out or falls, it will be counted ‘0’ point. 

General rules 

Dartboard and darts are all you need to play a dart game. Dart is a game of 2 people or, more, or 2 teams. Each Player or team throws the dart 3 times to collect points. 

Modern dartboards are made of sisal fibers. The distance of the dartboard must be 8 ft away from the oche ( margin line for the participant). The standard distance of the bullseye from the floor should be 5ft 8 in(1.73m). 

A standard dart should not exceed 50gm in weight and 300mm in length.

Counting scores on dartboard

Outer narrow ring counts 2x of the number. The inner ring counts 3x of the number. Large portion counts a single score  as the number marked on the board.

Outer bullseye values 25 points and the Inner bullseye scores 50 points.

Counting scores on dartboard

Some Common Dart Games Rules 

A dart game is played in different ways. The most common dart games are 

  • 501 
  • 301
  • Legs 
  • Cricket 
  • Killer 
  • Shanghai 
  • Baseball 
  • Round the world/ Round the board

501 dart game  

In general, international tournaments are played in 501. It is the simplest form of dart game. 2 players or 2 teams participate.

The first throw that measures how close a player hits to the bullseye decides who will start the game. 

The game starts with 501 points. Each Player or team throws the dart 3 times. After every 3 shots, the points are counted and deducted from the total point. 

The Player who reaches zero first wins the game. But remember, the last shot should hit double or the bullseye.

What if you score lower than zero? Don’t worry. You won’t lose the game. If you score more than your remaining, it’s called a Bust.

Your round will end there. You have to start the next leg with 501. 

You will not score if the dart falls off after hitting the board surface. It’s known as a bounce-out.  

Each set consists of several legs. Several sets are there in a game. 

301 dart game 

It is another common game form of dart, played the same as 501. There are 2 players or 2 teams as like 502. The only difference with 501 is the total score. 

This game starts with a score of 301. Collected scores are deducted from 301. But to start the game, players have to hit a double. Players have to hit a double to end too. 

If one is busted, he/she has to start from the previous score.  


Any number of players can take part in this game. Scoring the highest is the target of players.

Once a player scores a number, the next Player chases it. He has to score as the previous Player’s number or exceed it. 

For instance, if the 1st Player scores 58, the next Player should score 58 or more. Otherwise, he will lose that leg. Every player starts the game with three legs. 

Each Player chases his former players. The last Player with at least one leg wins the match.  


Cricket is another commonly played form of dart game. It is also played on international platforms. 

Two players play to obtain scores as much as possible. But players can’t hit all the numbers. 

Numbers open to hit are 20,19,18,17,16,15 and bullseye.

In cricket, the inner bull is counted as double. Other numbers are not counted for any score. 

If a player hits a number, it marks 1; if he hits twice, it marks 2, and hitting 3 times, it marks 3. Once one gets 3 marks in a number, the Player owns the number.

That means he can score the number until it’s ‘closed.’ If the opponent hits the same number 3times, the number is closed.

So it is important to hit the numbers as much as possible before it’s closed.  

When a player scores the highest while all the numbers are closed, he wins. It’s like tracking the opponent to obtain the highest possible score.  


In this game, three or more people can be engaged. The Player’s aim in this game is to become a ‘killer’ and take the opponent’s life. It’s quite funny. 

To start, each player has to throw the dart with his opposite hand. That means a left-handed player will throw the dart with his right hand and the same for right-handed. That is ensured over by the game authority. 

Players own their number by throwing it to the dartboard. They aim for the doubles of their number to be a killer.    

A ‘k’ is marked after his name if they can do it. So that the others can see who the killer is. Any number of players can be the killer.  

After that, the killer targets the opponent’s number. Each player has 3 lives. The opponent loses one of his lives if the killer hits the doubles of the opponent’s number.

In this way, the play continues. The last one remaining wins the game. 

The killer can also kill himself by hitting his doubles accidentally. that will cause loss of one of his lives.   



‘Shanghai’ is when a player throws the darts and scores a single, a double, and a triple in a single round with three darts. It’s the jackpot to win the game.  

At Least 2 people are needed to play the game. Players start round 1 by aiming 1. Sequentially he aims 2 for round 2, 3 for round 3, and so on until he reaches 7. 

Every time you can score by throwing 3 darts. The scores are marked on the scoreboard. The player who scores the highest till the end wins the game. 

You can also win the game by scoring Shanghai. 


In dart, baseball is a common form of play. It is quite similar to Shanghai.

The player who hits the closest to the bullseye gets the chance to play first. Each player can play 9 innings.

In the first innings, the Player has to hit the segment that is marked 1. In the 2nd innings, the Player hit the segment marked 2. In this way, the game goes on. 

If the player fails to score the number corresponding to the innings, he will obtain no points.

The single is counted as 1 run, doubles mean 2 and hitting treble 3 runs are added to the scoreboard.   

In that same manner, other players play 9 innings and collect as many scores as possible. Scoring the highest run player can win the match. 

Round the world/ Round the board

It’s a game, mostly popular with beginners. Any number of players throw every 3 times in a line.

The aim is to score every number from 1 to 20 gradually. The first one to reach 20 wins the game. 

Players throw three darts one by one. One is the first target to score. Players can hit any portion of the number – single, doubles, or triples. The score continues. 

One has to hit the numbers sequentially. If a player misses any number, he can’t pass to the next. So you need to hit the number in numerical order. 

To win the match, the Player should aim for the bullseye. That means the last three numbers are 19, 20, and the bullseye.

The Player hits the 20 first and successfully aims for the bullseye to win.  


Playing darts will help to boost your patience and intelligence. Practice more with your preferable grip. 

For beginners, it can be hard to detect a suitable throwing posture. A player has to work out on it for a certain time. The grip and stance play a vital role in winning the match. 

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