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The Rules of Darts Explained
The rules of darts for professional playing are set out by the DRA (Darts Regulation Authority) to ensure fair and accurate games. If you're new to darts, understanding the rules can be a bit challenging. In this article, we will explain the rules of the most commonly played game of darts, 501.
Where do the players stand?
In 501 darts, players must stand behind the "oche" line. Crossing this line is considered a foul, and any darts thrown won't count. The oche is located 7 feet 9 1/4 inches away from the dartboard, and players can lean forward as long as their feet remain behind the line.
How high is the dartboard?
In a game of 501 darts, the dartboard is positioned 5 feet 8 inches above the floor, measuring from the bullseye.
The Game of 501
Why is the number 501 relevant?
In 501 darts, each player starts with a score of 501. The objective is to count down from 501 to 0, completing a "leg" to win the game. Unlike other sports, darts aims to reduce the score rather than accumulate points.
How many darts do you have?
In a standard game of 501 darts, each player receives three darts. All three darts must be used in each turn, except when reaching a score of 0 to win a leg.
How does the counting down work?
The dartboard is divided into segments with different values. The number ring on the outer circle indicates these values. Players can throw their darts at any segment. After throwing all three darts, the total value of the segments hit is subtracted from 501.
For example, if a player hits two 20s and an 8, their score would be 48. Subtracting 48 from 501 leaves them with a score of 453. Generally, the higher the score on the board, the better.
Finishing the game
To win a game of 501 darts, a player must hit a double to reach a score of zero. The minimum number of darts required to win is 9.
Understanding the Dartboard Numbers
The dartboard segments can be confusing, but each has a specific value. Let's use the number 20 as an example:
The Double Ring
The outermost circle under each number is the double ring. Hitting this section doubles the number above the dart. Hitting the double ring under 20 would give you 40 points.
The Single Ring
The segment below the double ring is the single ring. Hitting this section scores the number itself. Hitting the single ring under 20 would give you 20 points.
The Triple Ring
The inner circle is the triple ring. A dart thrown into this section earns triple the number. Hitting the triple ring under 20 would give you 60 points.
The Outer Bull
The section surrounding the bullseye is called the outer bull. Regardless of where you hit on the outer bull, you always score 25 points.
The bullseye is the central point of the dartboard. Hitting the bullseye successfully gives you 50 points.
Highest Score in One Turn
The maximum score you can achieve with three darts is 180. This requires hitting all three darts in the triple ring under the number 20. It's an impressive feat that often receives cheers from spectators.
We hope this explanation of the rules has helped you understand the game of darts better. Remember to explore our beginners collection if you're new to darts and looking to get started!