The two most popular versions of darts are :

 

ENGLISH DARTS, The traditional steel-tipped dart.  While the barrels of these darts were originally made of wood, virtually all darts are now made with metal barrels.  English darts, which are thrown at a bristle dart board, is the most popular version of the sport.

ELECTRONIC, or SOFT-TIP DARTS, are the most recent arrival on the dart scene.  These darts have flexible plastic tips (hence soft-tip), and are thrown at a plastic board with molded holes in it which accept and hold the point of the dart.  These darts are most commonly used on electronic machines, which score automatically.  The popularity of soft-tip darts is growing tremendously.

All dart games are played using the same fundamental rules :

 

THE GAME

Each player’s turn consist of 3 darts.  A player’s feet must remain behind the throw line (oche).  All thrown darts count.  If a dart point 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.  Before each game, each player will throw a dart at the Bull’s Eye.  The player closest to the center will go first.  In the event of a tie, both player’s throw again.  Single Bull ties Single Bull, Double Bull ties Double Bull, Double Bull beats Single Bull.

 

“CRICKET”

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.

 

“501”

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.

 

“301”

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.