The popular dart games

There are a fair few dart games to choose from apart from the standard 501 game. If you look at the specs of any decent electronic dart board where all these games are programmed in you will see some of them have up to 40 games and a hundred or more variations on these games. I have to confess I’d never heard of some of them till I went through the booklet that came with the board. Cricket is one of the most popular games with lots of different playing rules for different versions of the game. In fact I think most electronic boards have at least 6 different versions of this game. But for now lets examine some of the standard versions of the games of cricket and 501.


Lets start with the game of Cricket; The cricket scoring board is marked as follows, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, B: The B on the card signifies the Bull. Before you can start scoring points, you must hit a number 3 times (or 1 treble or 1 double and a single); the number is then Open for you to score on, indicated by an O next to your name and thereafter every time you hit that number you score points toward your total with doubles and trebles scoring as normal as well. But don’t forget you have an opponent, who can stop you from scoring on that number by also hitting it 3 times, in which case the number is marked with an X and no one can now score on that number. If you hit the number 20 5 times the number 20 is then open for you to score after 3 hits and you have scored 40 towards your total, indicated by an O by your name. When the other player also hits the 20 3 times the number 20 is closed, indicated by an X, and it is no longer available to score points with by either player, and game moves on to the other numbers. To win the game you must get more points than the other player and hit every number and Bull 3 times. (The centre bull is counted as a double and the outer bull a single) It can get very tricky to decide if you go for points or close out your opponents scoring numbers.


The game of 501 is one of the simplest games to play and is the game played in all the big money professional tournaments. Starting with a total of 501, your score is taken away from this total until you get down to 0. The finishing dart to the game must land in the double ring, (obviously corresponding to your score and so be an even number of 40 or smaller). The bust rule means that if you score more than you need or just one less than you need then you are “bust” and the score is voided for that turn. You start the next turn with the same score you had before. The dreaded scenario is to end up on double 1 and keep missing it. The double one finish is often called “Annie’s House” for reasons lost in the mists of time.


This is basically a shorter version of 501, the difference being, most local rules dictate that you must start your scoring with a double as well as finish on a double.

There are more dart games than this of course, but knowing these basic games means you can get a game of darts virtually anywhere as most darters in the world will know these games at least.