To decide who plays first, each player or someone from each team throws one dart and the player closest to the bull has the option of starting the game or letting his opponent go first. In the event of a tie, both players throw again. (note: a single bull is beat by a double bull and you do not measure when both players hit either a single bull or both players hit a double bull, you throw over.)
Each player’s turn consists of throwing three darts and all thrown darts count. If a player raises his hand and arm in the beginning of a throwing motion toward the dartboard, the dart counts. If someone is preparing to shoot and drops a dart while standing at the line, regardless of whether or not the dart falls over the line, the player is allowed to pick up the dart and throw it. If a dart’s tip does not stick within the scoring area of the board for whatever reason (falling out, knocked out, missing the board) it counts as a thrown dart but does not score. A dart that sticks in the back of another also does not score.
The only numbers used in Cricket are 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and the Bull’s Eye. The object of the game is to close each of theses numbers by hitting three of each number. This can be accomplished with 3 Singles, or a Single and a Double, or a Triple (with the exception of the bull – there is no triple bull). The numbers can be closed in any order.
The other aspect of the game is the scoring of points. If Player A has closed a number and Player B has not closed that number, Player A can score points by continuing to hit that number. For instance, if Player A has closed the number 20 and Player B is still open on 20, Player A receives 20 points for each additional 20 he/she hits until Player B closes the 20. Doubles and Triples count. A player must close all numbers and have the same or more points to win.
Each player starts with 501 points (hence the name of the game). The object of the game is to reduce your score to exactly zero by subtracting the points you hit in each round. Doubles and Triples count. The tricky part is that, in order to win you must hit the Double that when subtracted from your score, gives you zero (this called doubling out). In other words, with 36 left, you must hit a Double 18 to win. If the points thrown in a round are more than the remaining score, or that player is left with a score of 1 (which cannot be doubled out) that player has Busted and that player’s turn is over. The whole turn is ignored and the next player goes. For instance, Player A has 32 points remaining and throws 35 points – a Bust. Player B goes and Player A then begins his/hers next turn with 32 points.
The principles of this game are the same as “501”. Each player begins with a score of 301 points. However, in order to begin subtracting, each player must hit a Double to start (double in). Each player’s first scoring dart is his/hers first Double. Like in “501” the winner is the first player to Double Out.
In any dart game it is obviously important to know what to shoot for. For both “501” and “301” the most crucial aspect of the game is setting up to Double Out. The preferred number to Double Out on is 32 (double 16), because if you miss the double and hit the single, you have the greatest number of doubles left. In other words, starting with a score of 32, hitting singles each time would leave you D8, D4, D2 and D1.
DART BOARD MEASUREMENTS
Steel-Tip and Soft-Tip Dart Boards are measured at 5′ 8″ (or 1.72meters) from the floor to the center of the double bull.
For steel-tipped play, the toe line is marked by taking a plumb line from the face of the dartboard straight down to the floor, and then measuring 7′ 9 1/4” (or 2.37m). For electronic play or soft tip darts, the distance is 8′ or 2.43m. This distance must be observed by each player throwing a dart during his turn. The line should be marked on the floor and no stepping over the line is allowed.