What's Darts? Understanding the Game and How It Works

Darts is a popular pub game that has grown into an international competitive sport. It involves players throwing small, pointed missiles, known as darts, at a circular target called a dartboard. While it might seem simple at first glance, darts combines precision, strategy, and skill, making it an engaging activity for players and spectators alike. This blog post will explore the basics of darts, how it works, and provide an informative overview for those new to the game.

What’s Darts?

Darts is a traditional game that dates back several centuries, believed to have originated in England. It is commonly played in pubs, clubs, and at home. The standard dartboard is divided into 20 numbered sections, with each section offering a different score. The primary objective is to score points by hitting specific sections of the board with darts.

The Dartboard and Scoring

A standard dartboard measures 18 inches in diameter and is divided into 20 numbered segments from 1 to 20. The segments are separated by thin metal wires known as spider wire. The dartboard is further divided into:

  • Bullseye: The center of the board, consisting of two parts:
    • Inner Bullseye: Worth 50 points.
    • Outer Bullseye: Worth 25 points.
  • Treble Ring: Located halfway between the bullseye and the edge, scoring three times the segment's number.
  • Double Ring: The outermost ring, scoring double the segment's number.

Basic Rules and Gameplay

The game of darts can be played in various formats, but the most common is the "501" game. Here’s a basic outline of how it works:

  1. Starting the Game: Each player starts with a score of 501.
  2. Throwing Darts: Players take turns throwing three darts each.
  3. Scoring: The score of each turn is deducted from the player’s total. For example, if a player scores 60 in their first turn, their new total is 441 (501 - 60 = 441).
  4. Winning the Game: The objective is to reach exactly zero. The last dart must land in a double or the bullseye to win.

Types of Darts and Equipment

Darts come in various shapes and sizes, but they generally consist of four parts:

  1. Point: The steel tip that sticks into the dartboard.
  2. Barrel: The main body, typically made of brass, nickel-silver, or tungsten.
  3. Shaft: The part that connects the barrel to the flight.
  4. Flight: The wing-like section at the end that stabilizes the dart’s flight.

Players may choose different dart weights and designs based on personal preference and throwing style.

Strategy and Techniques

Success in darts requires more than just throwing accurately. Here are a few key strategies and techniques:

  • Practice: Regular practice helps improve accuracy and consistency.
  • Focus: Concentration is crucial. Players need to maintain focus to execute precise throws.
  • Counting and Calculation: Quick mental arithmetic is necessary to adjust strategies mid-game, especially as players approach zero.

Competitive Darts

Darts has evolved into a professional sport with major tournaments like the PDC World Championship and the BDO World Championship. Professional players compete for large prizes, and matches are often televised, drawing significant audiences.


Darts is a game that combines skill, strategy, and precision. Whether you’re playing casually at a pub or aiming to compete professionally, understanding the basics of the game, the equipment, and the rules is essential. So next time someone asks you, "What’s darts?" you can not only explain but also inspire them to pick up a dart and give it a throw!

For those looking to dive deeper into the world of darts, plenty of resources, clubs, and online communities are available to help you get started and improve your game. Happy throwing!


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