Saturday, 13 Jul 2024

Darts: A Popular Pub Game with Rich History and Simple Rules

Darts, a game that some argue is more of a pastime than a sport, has captured the hearts of many in Britain and beyond. Originating from soldiers throwing short arrows at tree trunks or casks, darts has evolved into a widely played activity worldwide. Former Commonwealth countries, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United States, and Scandinavia are particularly fond of the game. It has also found a natural home in pubs and bars, making it one of the largest participatory sports globally.

The Objective of the Game

In competitive play, the standard version of darts is called 501. The goal is to “check out” by reducing your score to 50 or less before reaching zero. This can be accomplished by throwing a double or a bullseye with your final dart.

Players & Equipment

One of the reasons for darts’ success is its simplicity in terms of equipment. All you need is a board and the darts themselves. The standard board, introduced in 1896 by a carpenter from Lancashire, effectively penalizes inaccurate throws. The current design, made from compressed sisal fibers, is widely accepted. It consists of 20 radial sections numbered 1-20, each with a double (outer edge) and a treble (midway towards the center) section. The bullseye, or “bull,” sits at the center surrounded by the outer bull.

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Darts come in various materials like metal, nylon, and plastic, with different styles and weights. The player’s preference and skill level determine the exact makeup of the dart. However, they must not exceed 50g in weight or be longer than 300mm.


Points are scored by throwing darts at the board. Each player takes turns throwing three darts, aiming to maximize their score. The highest possible score is 180, achieved by hitting three treble 20s. The bull is worth 50 points, the outer bull 25 points, and the numbered sections correspond to their respective values.

Winning the Game

To win, a player must reach zero, hitting a double or a bullseye, after starting with 501 points. Winning a single leg brings one step closer to victory, as the first to win three legs wins the set. Most matches are played in sets, with the major tournaments, such as the PDC World Championship, featuring a best-of-13 final.

Rules of Darts

The rules of darts are simple and straightforward. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • The player who throws the closest dart to the bullseye goes first.
  • A turn consists of throwing three darts, unless the game is won in fewer throws.
  • Only darts remaining on the board at the end of a throw are counted.
  • If a player exceeds their remaining point total, their throw is scored as zero.
  • The center of the bull should be 5ft 8in (1.73 meters) high.
  • Darts are thrown from a clearly marked toe-line, often called the oche, at least 7ft 9 ¼ in from the board.
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For more information on the rules and strategies of darts, visit, the go-to source for all things darts.


Q: How do I determine who goes first in a game of darts?
To decide who throws first, each player throws a single dart at the bullseye, and the one closest to the bull goes first.

Q: What happens if I score more than my remaining points total in a throw?
If you exceed your remaining point total, your throw is scored as zero.

Q: What is the standard distance between the toe-line and the dartboard?
The toe-line, also known as the oche, should be at least 7ft 9 ¼ in horizontally from the dartboard.


Darts, a game deeply rooted in British culture, has become a beloved pastime worldwide. With simple rules and minimal equipment requirements, it has gained popularity in pubs, bars, and competitive arenas. The objective is to reach zero from a starting score of 501, throwing darts at a board divided into sections with various point values. Accuracy and strategy are key to winning, as players aim for doubles and bullseyes. With a long history and a thriving community of players, darts continues to captivate enthusiasts everywhere.

For more detailed information on darts, including rules, scoring, and equipment, visit Join the vibrant darts community and take your skills to the next level!