# Understanding the Basic Rules of Darts

By Dawn Marcotte , last updated November 17, 2011

Darts is an ancient game dating back to medieval England and archery training, and understanding the basic rules of the game is important before beginning to play. Darts has evolved into a sport with small darts thrown by hand at a standardized dart board. There are rules about the board and rules of play to ensure that everyone plays fairly.

## Rules About The Board

A dartboard size, shape and configuration are standardized so darts can be played anywhere. The bull's eye of the board should be hung exactly 5 feet 8 inches from the ground. The board is 18 inches in diameter and is divided into 20 pie shaped sections, each worth a specific number of points. The 20 point mark is always hung at the top of the board. The throw line or toe line should be 7 feet, 9 ¼ inches from the board.

The colors on a standard board alternate so that each section of the board is easily visible. The pie shaped slices are dissected by 6 rings that go all the way around the board. This bull's eye in the center of the board is surrounded by a thin ring of one color. The next ring is wide and is colored with alternating light and dark colors. Then there is a thin ring again followed by a wide ring, thin ring and the final wide ring around the outside. This outside ring has the numbers 1 through 20 around the edge similar to the way a clock has numbers, though not in numerical order. The numbers 1 through 20 indicate the number of points for the large rings. The thin rings score double the points of the number indicated on the outside ring.

## Rules of the Game

The game known as ’01 in darts is played by subtracting points from the starting score. The game starts with each individual having the same score such as 301 or 501. Each player throws three darts at the board and subtracts the points from their score. That player removes their darts from the board before the other player throws. This process is repeated until one of the players reaches a score of zero. They must reach exactly zero after throwing all three darts for their turn. For example if a player has a score of 20 points remaining and they throw a dart to the 15, 3 and 2 points they would win. If they throw to the 20 on their first dart they do not win because all the points for all three darts are counted. If a dart falls from the board, none of the darts for that throw count. There are variations on this game. For example a player must hit one of the double point rings to start scoring or they must hit one of the double point rings to get to a score of zero. Darts is a game that is easy to learn, but can be difficult to master the skill needed to control where the dart hits the board.

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