The Object: The game play starts with a score of 301, 401, 501, 601 or 1001. The object is to get to exactly zero by throwing rounds of three darts and subtracting the sum of those darts from your current score. Games may be played as "double-start" (also called "double-in") or "straight start" (also called "straight-in") this will be explained in THE PLAY section of this page. Games may also be played as "double out" ("double finish") or "straight out" ("straight finish") however "straight out" is extremely rare. Games of 301 and 601 are typically played as double in/double out. While games of 401, 501 and 1001 are typically played as straight in/double out.

The Scoring: The agreed upon starting score of the game is written at the top center of the score board (ie: 301) with a vertical line drawn down the center of score board. "DD" or "SD" are written above or below the starting score to indicate the agreed upon game (double-in/double-out or straight-in double-out). After each round, the total points thrown is written on the board along with the remaining score on that player/team's side of the board. A score of 100 is called a "ton" and is written on the board as a "T". Scores over 100 are called "ton" plus the rest that was thrown. For example a score of 120 would be called "a ton twenty" and would be written on the board "2T0".

The Play: Both players (or one player from each team) throw one dart each at the bulls-eye. The closest to the bulls-eye gets to throw first. Typically this player also names the game to be played. The initials of the players are written above each column of the scoreboard with the winner of the bulls-eye on the left.

If the game was called as a straight-in game, the first player (winner of the bulls-eye) begins by throwing three darts trying to attain the highest score possible. Each dart is scored by the number where it lands with the thin inner ring being worth 3 times the number indicated and the thin outer ring worth 2 times the number indicated while the two large sections score exactly the number indicated. Thus the highest attainable score with three darts is 180 by hitting three triple 20's.

If the game was called as a double-in game, the first player must hit any double on the board before they may begin counting their score. For example if the player threw a single 20, a double 20 and a single 20 the score would be 60 points. The first dart did not count because the player had not yet hit a double so only the second and third darts did count. Once a player has "gotten in" subsequent rounds do not require a double be thrown again.

Play continues alternating the players on each side of the board. When the scores get low the player starts to need to think about how they are going to get "out". The exact number a player should start to think about this varies with ability. A beginner should try to get to 40 or 32 (see the STRATEGY section) while an expert will start looking at 160!

A "double out" game means that you must hit a double that makes your score exactly zero to win the game. For example, if you have 32 points left, you must hit a double sixteen with your first scoring dart to win. If you miss the double sixteen and hit a single eight, you now have 24 points left and now have a score of 24. Lets say that now you score 23 points with your remaining two darts. You have "busted" because you only have 1 point and there is no way to throw half of 1. When you bust, all darts you threw in that round do not count and your turn is over. You also bust if you end up with less than zero or if you hit exactly zero but your last dart was not a double.

A "straight out" game means that no double is needed to win, you must simply arrive at zero points. Therefore, if you had a score of 32, simply hitting two single 16's will win the game. The only way to "bust" in a straight out game is to end up with less than zero as your total score.

Strategy: For beginner to intermediate players there are two simple strategies to follow. As players become more skillful they will be able to hit anywhere they aim for and will simply shoot for the most points and the quickest available "out".

There are many variations of "out-charts" available for various levels of players. An out-chart tells you the proper way to end a double-out game in two or three darts from almost every score of 160 or less. Beginners often try to hard to hit these difficult outs and worsen their position in the game.

Beginners should try to reach 32 points for their out (the double 16). The reason for this is simple, if you just miss the double 16 and hit a single 16, you now have 16 points left and you need a double 8. Do the same with the 8 and you need a double 4, and so on. If an odd number was tried for (say a double 17 from a score of 34) and you missed into the single, you now would have to throw an extra dart to get an out. If we follow the example of 34 out, your first dart misses and lands in the single 17. You now have a score of 17. There is no double 8.5 so you must throw an odd number to make the score even again. This gives the other player more opportunity to get out before you.

The second most important strategy is to throw your strongest number. Obiviously better players will be aiming at the triple 20 to try to score the most points. A lot of players (myself included) don't do well with 20's, so they throw at triple 19's. Even if you throw at triple 15's and can hit one out of six in the triple or can simply throw all three darts into the single 15 your score will be much better than all the 1's and 5's you might hit if you can't hit the 20.

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