Darts is a very misunderstood sport – it’s not the most action-packed watch and has a reputation for being watched by middle-aged men who enjoy a pint. But underneath that veneer, there’s a competitive and strategic game that is full of camaraderie and fun. 

Today we’re going to take a more in-depth look at the sport that will not just help you understand the game, but also get better at darts betting & odds checking – a useful skill to have as darts can have some great markets for championship 301!

Let’s get into it.

The main rules

No matter what style is played, darts breaks down into simple rules:

  • Each player takes turns throwing 3 darts.
  • To start off the round in deciding who goes first, both players throw one dart at the bullseye and whoever gets closest wins. You can flip a coin as well.
  • Whoever turns it is throws their darts, and you total up the numbers that the darts hit in that turn. If your dart misses, bounces or falls off the board, it gets no score. There are smaller rings on the dartboard for double and triple points, whilst the bullseye is worth 25 points for each dart in it.

Depending on the game, each player will start with a total score. The total of the darts is then subtracted from that total, and the winner is the first player to hit exactly zero – your score can’t go into the negative. One additional point is that the last dart has to hit either the bullseye or a double.

They’re the basic rules, but some variations of the game include:


301 is the main version played in tournament and championship darts. This can be played by two players or two teams and as the name suggests, the player or team starts with a total of 21. Before you can start working on subtracting scores from your total though, you have to double in – manage to hit any double on the board.

The same goes for the last dart – it has to hit a double to win the game. If your last dart isn’t a double that subtracts your score to zero, you start again the next turn from your last score.

Round The Board/Round The World/Round The Clock

Again played with two players or teams, the objective is simple: hit all the numbers in a sequence. The sequence is 1-20 and you can hit any part of the number including the double or even the triple section. The first player or team to get to 20 wins – no doubling in or out with this game!

Not to be confused with a totally different sport, Cricket in darts is another game that can be played by 2 teams or players. The rules for this one get a bit more complicated than usual though:

Each player takes the usual turn to throw three darts, but only certain numbers are in play – 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20. Each round is played as an ‘inning’, and to close an inning the play must score 3 of the same number, being able to hit any part of the number so doubles and triples count.

Players hit numbers to score points, but they have a side objective. Once any player hits 3 of any single number and closes the inning, they then ‘own’ that particular number.

The aim of the game is to complete all the innings whilst also having the most points. This adds a whole new level of strategy to the game – do you race to close the winnings but leave points on the table, or do you leave your innings and try to go for points?


Killer is a darts game that is played with 3 plus players. To start the game, players throw a dart at the board with their non-dominant or throwing hand to select a number. If the dart lands in a number someone else has, then you throw it again.

Once each player has their number, they have to hit the double section of their number to become the titular ‘killer’ Killers can hit the double of an opponent’s number to take one of the opponents’ lives, with each player having 3 lives. Hit your own number? Then you lose a life. If a player who isn’t the killer hits double their number, then they take the killer mantle from the current one. The winner is the last player standing.

There are other versions of darts out there, but these are the most popular! If you aren’t the Yokee Karaoke type and fancy something a bit different, why not give one of these games a try?