Darts, like every other game, has rules guiding its overall game play. The laxity surrounding such rules might vary depending on the level of professionalism attached to the game of darts.

The rules for a game of darts in a pub might be different from that in a tournament. However, regardless of where the game of darts takes place, knowledge of the governing rules is important. Below we cover the key rules to playing darts you should know.

1. The Dart Board

The dart board is circular and has a diameter of about 17 ¾ inches, electronic dart boards are generally just a little bit smaller.. The position of the darts board from the floor to its center should be about 5 feet 8 inches. You get distinct points for throws which stick to the segments of the board. However, if a dart hits the board and falls off you get zero point. The oche marks the point where a player can stand to make a throw. The darts score board should be placed in a convenient location usually not very far apart from the dart board.

2. Where to Stand?

Players in a game of darts are expected to stand at the throwing line. The throwing line in a professional dart game is represented by the hockey. You can stand on the line but not before it. A player is allowed to slant but not across the line to achieve a dart throw.

Your stance in a game of dart while non-regulated remains important. You don’t just stand or lean over the line and throw a dart aimlessly! You can trace out the center of the darts board to the throwing line. The traced spot on the line would be a great place to stand while throwing.

Ensure your stance gives your shoulder the freedom to throw. Also, having your dominant foot bear the bulk of the weight is advised but with caution to avoid staggering. This necessitates the need to balance your stance using your other foot. Your stand behind the throwing line is linked to which of your hands is the dominant one. If you are right-handed, then standing on the left side of the hockey would be a good idea. A left-handed person wouldn’t find such a position as effective.

While slanting over the line may help you get closer, if you struggle to balance yourself, it’ll do more harm than good for your aim.

3. How to Aim Properly

Yes, your stance when throwing darts is essential but taking a proper aim before a throw is important. Hold the darts freely with your throwing hand. The dart should be held between the thumb and the index finger. You can aim the darts at an angle or in a horizontal position. Also, you need to have your sights set on the target before you throw.

You can also utilize an intuitive approach which involves the cognitive activities of your brain. Holding the dart over the part of the dart board you want the dart placed would complement the effort of your brain.

Unsurprisingly, having proper darts makes a huge difference in your ability to play. Check out our guide to the best darts and you’ll see exactly how big the differences can be. We also have one on the best soft tip darts for those of you at home with electronic dart boards.

4. How to Throw

After aiming at a target, the next step towards achieving a great dart throw is by properly carrying out the act itself – throwing.

Keeping your elbow level with your shoulder joint is important towards to getting the darts thrown correctly. When you throw your dart with your elbow above your shoulder joint, the dart goes in a projectile format. This corresponds to how a basket player makes a three pointer – it loops! When the dart loops the result is usually negative. Also, a dart which is thrown with your elbow at a position lower than that of your shoulder joint slants with the tip pointing downwards and it most likely won’t hit the dartboard.

When you throw, ensure you completely release the dart, so it hits the dartboard. Doing this means maximum effort is applied to a throw. It’s also important you don’t obstruct the path of the dart with your fingers. Let the dart be loosely held by your thumb and index finger only.

Darts 501 Game Play

Now that we’ve covered the major rules, we’re going to go over the play of Darts 501 to give you an example how the darts rules above fit into a specific game.

Darts 501 can be played by two or more persons. One player starts first which could be decided based on the toss of a coin. A mini competition where each player throws a single dart with the closest to the bull’s-eye of the dart board can also be used. Whoever wins the mini competition starts the game.

You are afforded three throws of the darts though it can be less before your opponent throws. Should you hit the bull’s-eye at the first attempt, you would need to remove the dart before the next round. Any dart which hits the darts board and falls off earns you a zero score. Hitting the inner bull’s-eye gets you 50 points while the outer bull’s-eye is a 25-point earner. Certain segments of the board come with a double score, and others with a single. The numbers around the dart board apply to the distinct segments.

Since you start with a score of 501, you are expected to reduce the score to zero. The player who does so first wins. You are expected to hit a double when you start and a double to finish the game. The outer ring is a double which means whatever radiant within the ring you hit the figure attached is doubled. For instance, you hit the outer ring in the radiant 14 you get a score of 28. The triple ring has the same rules, but instead of a double, you triple your score. Every other segment of the dart board aside from the bulls-eye and the rings are awarded a single.

Looking for more fun games to play? Check out Five Best Dart Games to Play with Your Friends.