It is always satisfying to see your dart hit your target on the dart board. However, when you are just trying it out alone randomly, you will look around for appreciation and get nothing. So, the real delight in dart games comes from making your opponent experience your victory.
Dart games can get really boring over time if you only focus on hitting the bullseye continuously without following a pattern. This is why various scoring techniques are used when playing dart. In fact, these scoring methods make the game very interesting and often increase the difficulty level.
So, if you really want to enjoy and also make your partner enjoy then you should know how to score darts. There are basically three methods- 501, 301 and Cricket. While 501 and 301 dart games are almost similar, Cricket is completely different when it comes to scoring method.
How to Score Darts: The Dart Board Anatomy
Before we get to the part where you learn how to score darts, you have to know what a dartboard is like first. It is no surprise that the bristle board/ dartboard is circular in shape. This shape is again divided into twenty segments with a score allotted to each.
The next thing you will notice is the bullseye in the middle (pretty obvious) and then a circular ring around it. In fact, the Bullseye itself holds 50 points while the circular ring around it holds 25. Moreover, you will notice two more circular rings- one near the outer corner of the board and another somewhere between the ring around the bullseyes and the corner-one.
Apparently, the ring near the outer circumference of the board is considered as an area called ‘double’. On the other hand, the ring along the middle is considered the are ‘treble’ or ‘triple’. If your dart lands on the thin double line, the score of that segment gets double for you and if it lands in the treble line then the score of that segment becomes triple and adds to your existing score.
Other than that, distance is of high importance in dart games (no doubt about that). So, the board is hung at a height of 5 feet 8 inches from the ground to the bullseye. Then, the oche (the line behind which you have to stand) lies 7 feet 9 1/4 inches from the board.
Remember that you have to stand behind the oche. Never step on the oche as it is considered out.
How to Score Darts: The Basic 501 Game
Unlike most other games where you have to start from a score zero, you start from the score of 501 towards zero on a 501 dart game. Now that, that information is out of the way, let’s see how you actually score.
First, both the players take turns to hit the bullseye and the player whose dart lands closest to the bullseye wins the toss.
Three Shots Each Player
The game with each player hitting three darts. It continues in alternate throws of three by each player until one reduces his score to zero and wins the match.
Start With a Double
Apparently, players must land their first dart in the double area. In fact, your score will not be counted until you hit a double. However, some professional dart games may not follow this rule.
Score From Each Turn Gets Subtracted From The Total
After each player completes his three takes, you have to subtract the total score from 501 and the process continues until one reaches zero. Now, if you land your dart in the empty region between the rings in a segment then you score exactly the number of that segment. For example, if you land in the empty 20 segments, you score 20.
Again, if the dart lands in the double ring under the 20 segment then your score is 40. Similarly, if it lands in the treble ring under 20, then your score is 60. If these were the scores from your three turns then your total score becomes 120. Then, you have to deduct 120 from 501 to know your current score.
The highest you can score in a round is three triple 20s which means 180. Players can plan sets of any number to bring their score to zero.
The Last Crucial Turn
You must throw your dart in the double region to score the final score of zero. For example, you may need 36 to win. So, you must throw your dart in the 18 double rings.
Otherwise, if you reach below zero from 501 or even stay behind by 1 then your score is reset to 36 and you cannot throw a dart even if darts are left for this round. You can only get your chance if your opponent does not win.
So, this is how you score a 501 dart game.
There are instances when even if your dart lands on a target, you get no score. For example, if the dart falls off before the scorekeeper announces the score or the player collects it, the scorekeeper cannot count the score. Apart from that, if two other darts hold the dart when it hits with no contact to the surface of the board then it scores no point.
Darts Scoring: The 301 Dart Game
If you have understood the rules of 501 then 301 is a piece of cake for you. Apparently, the only difference between the two is that you start with a score of 501 in 501 games and 301 in 301 dart game.
Scoring in Cricket Dart Game
The game of Cricket begins much like that of 501 or 301- with a toss. However, the target and pattern in this game are completely different.
In Cricket, players target only the numbers from 20 to 15. Each player tries to hit each segment three times to close the segment. Apparently, closing the segment means hitting the same segment three times.
The player who closes all the segments first wins the match.
Closing The Segments
Apparently, the players can close the segment by hitting one triple of the segment as well. Furthermore, they can close it by hitting inside the segment and one double ring of the segment. Scoring in such sets lets the player score fast.
Scoring More Than The Opponent
It is likely you will finish closing a segment before your opponent. Luckily, you can gain an advantage by hitting the same segment until your opponent closes it. For example, you may have closed the segment 19 but your opponent is still trying.
Now, you can hit your darts on more 19s to add to your score. However, once your opponent closes the segment, hitting 19 or any such closed segment will not add to your score.
Even after you close the mentioned segments, the game may continue if you are behind in points or ahead in it. You only lose or win until you or your opponent closes all segments and the point is also crystal clear.
Dart Scoring: Around the Clock
This is another form of a dart game and quite easy to understand. All you have to do is to target and hit the darts on the segments 1 through 20 sequentially. You cannot break the sequence.
Finally, you end the game hitting the inner of outer bullseye to win. The player who goes through all the segments to the bullseye first wins the game.
Dart games are a new level of fun and technical games when you add scoring to them. In fact, they may seem quite boring at first but once you know how to score darts, they are nothing close to boring. The will to score and the body coordination dedicated to achieving it is something you will rarely experience in other games.
It does not make you sweat a lot but it sure does improve your mind and hands coordination. Not to mention, accuracy as well.
I’m Lia and I love playing games. I started this site to share things with friends and they encouraged me to post more and now I’m trying to share things with the world – indoor and outdoor sports, and board and bar games. I write about things like Bocce, Croquet, Billiards, Darts and other fun ways to enjoy time with your friends and family!