Your Ultimate Guide To Dartboard Scoring — How To Play, How To Score, And How To Win

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Looking for a laid back but mildly dangerous way to spend your Thursday night at home? Fling darts at the wall! Just kidding. Buy a dartboard, Lady. But, be prepared, if you buy a board with regulation darts, whatever wall you put it on is likely to end up looking like swiss cheese. Worth it for some fun? That’s up to you. Why anyone thought throwing sharp, pointy objects while sipping on a Schlitz is a good idea is beyond comprehension. But, here we are.

Darts are a drinking game and tradition as old as time, it seems. But, now you can find them in basements and garages across the globe. Unless your handy-dandy dartboard is electronic and keeps score for you, though, it can seem pretty pointless. Do you know how to keep score? Does your bestie? Or your partner? Probably not. And you’re not alone in that department, either. According to the latest search data available, how to score dartboard games has a search volume of nearly 4,000 per month. That’s a month! Believe it or not, though, there’s actually multiple ways to play and multiple ways to score. You might have to put down the White Claw in order to do a little math, but it’s totally worth it. (And always, always drink and dart responsibly.)

If you’re teaching the kiddos how to play in quarantine, make sure they’re old enough to handle sharp objects, and uhh, obviously not drinking.

Scoring Math

You’ve probably noticed that your dartboard is sectioned off in multiple ways. First, notice the sections like pie wedges and the large numbers (1-20) labeling each one. If you land in the wedge marked with a 10, your base score is 10. If you land in one of the bigger (usually yellow or black) sections, you keep only your base score of 10.

But, wait! There’s more. Look a little closer in that wedge and you’ll notice slivers of red and green. If your dart lands in one of the outer green or red sections, you’ll double that score. (Now you’re at 20.) It gets better, though. If you land in one of the inner green or red sections, you triple that base score. (10×3=30)

Then, of course, there’s the bull’s eye, which is also sectioned into green and red sections. If you land in the green section, it’s called “Bull” or “Single Bull” and awards you 25 points. Land in the very center red circle? That’s “Double Bull” or “Cork” and you score 50 points.

Who Goes First?

Take turns throwing the dart. Whoever gets closest to the double-bull goes first.

Ways To Play

Did you know that there are multiple ways to track your scores and declare a winner? Yeah, it’s not just as simple as adding your scores up until you get bored. So, it might be time to put down that booze after all.

01 Rules

01 Rules are the most common rules for darts. You start with a total (ending in “01”) and subtract your points each round until you work your way down to zero. One-on-One games usually start at 301 or 501. Larger games, where you might play in a team, can start as high as 1001. Take heed: You have to end on exactly zero — no negatives. As your total points lessen, you’ll have to start being more mindful of where you aim.

Cricket Rules

For Cricket Rules, players don’t focus on the whole board. Instead, players only focus on numbers 15-20 and attempt to “close out” each of those numbers. You can close out the numbers by hitting one “wedge” three times, hitting it on a triple marker, or hitting it once for a single score and once in a double marker. This requires a lot of record-keeping, so keep a chalkboard, whiteboard, or pen and paper handy to mark off each time you hit a number.

Other point-making strategies -If you hit a number you’ve already closed out, but that your opponent hasn’t, you get that many points. -You can still go for the bullseye, too.

Where To Stand

If you’re playing with kids, you might lighten up on this rule a bit. However, if you’re feeling extra competitive, it’s worth knowing there’s an actual “regulation” distance to stand from the board. To play properly, mark a line exactly 7 feet, 9 1/4 inches from the board. This is the “oche” and all players should stand behind it to throw their darts.

How To Perfectly Throw A Dart

All that is left to do when playing darts is mastering your throwing ability. You’re welcome to just absently fling it at the dartboard. However, your teammate and your walls would prefer you work on your skill. Tips and tricks seem to vary between different experts, but it seems like they’re all in agreement on one thing: When you pull back your dart before throwing, your elbow should point at the board. But, what’s the best way to hold the dart? How do you aim? And how do you correct your mistakes? This video does a much better job explaining the perfect dart throw than any other video out there.

Throw, Stance, Grip from EverythingDarts

Think you have it under control? We strongly suggest you keep some cork or styrofoam behind your home board until you’re positive you’ll hit the board every time.

How To Always Win At Darts

So you came to Google dot com looking for the magic elixir, some miraculous move or darts strategy to make sure you always win at darts. Well, you can’t always win, but expert players have a few hacks up their sleeves that might come in handy.

Statistician Ryan Tibshirani came up with a system to maximize his score, without hitting a bullseye at all. A 2009 article in Wired explained his thinking: “Winning wedges are adjacent to losers — 20 is next to 1, for example. But some are more forgiving: If you miss 14, you still might land on the respectable 11 or 9. So, Tibshirani figured, your accuracy should dictate your target.”

Tibshirani tested out his method by throwing 50 darts at the bullseye and tracked where they landed, running his results through an algorithm to craft a heat map of sorts of showing his best bets on the dartboard.

Dart Jokes

Want to have a few laughs before you start racking up bullseyes? These jokes will entertain you between rounds.

1. For my holidays last year, I threw a dart at a map of the world and decided to go wherever it landed.

I had a fantastic two weeks sitting next to the skirting board. 2. You haven’t played darts blindfolded? You don’t know what you’re missing. 3. What do you call a dart manufacturer? An arrowsmith. 4. Earlier today I felt like throwing up… So I put a dartboard on my ceiling. 5. I often get a 180 when I play with the local darts team. It’s the bus that takes me to the pub. 6. Have you heard the new idea about playing darts in space? It probably won’t work out; there’s just no atmosphere. 7. What happens if you accidentally wash darts in the laundry? They’ll make for some nice clean shots. 8. What do you need if your darts won’t stick to the board? A few good tips. 9. I was barred from a foam-firing toy tournament for lighting my darks on fire. They didn’t approve of my scorched nerf policy. 10. Two friends were playing a game of darts. “Nearest the bull goes first,” said one. So he said, “Baah.” The other friend said, “Moo.” The first friend said, “You’re closest.”

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