Basically, dart games are played between two players or two teams. The teams can be made up of two or more people each.
Nine throws are generally allowed for each person as a warm-up before a game begins. Then, to determine which team or person is to take his turn first one dart is thrown by a person from each team. The team with the dart closest to the bull's eye takes the first turn.
Each player throws three darts in his turn. Then the darts are retrieved. If a foot crosses over the line or a person happens to trip over the oche and releases his dart, the throw counts for no points and may not be re-thrown.
Darts must stay on the board for at least five seconds after a player's final throw to count. A throw does not score if it sticks into another dart or if it falls off the board.
Darts making it on the board score in the following manner:
In the wedge: the amount posted on the outer ring. The double ring (the outer, narrow ring): twice the number hit. The triple ring (the inner, narrow ring): three times the number hit. Bulls eye (outer bull): twenty-five points. Double bulls eye (inner bull): fifty points.
This is the basic method for play and scoring. A wide variety of games and variations are based upon it and will be discussed in the next section.
'01, (pronounced " Oh-One")
The game of '01 is the classic game of Darts, played world-wide. The "01" refers to the fact that the game is played from a certain number of points, always ending in "01". For example, the common tournament game of 501 (pronounced "Five-Oh-One"), is played from 501 points. Other variations are 301, 601, 801, 1001. The higher point games are usually played by teams.
The object of the game is simple... each player starts with the same score (501, for example) and the first to reduce his score to zero wins.
Players take turns throwing three darts each and subtract all points scored from their own beginning score (501). Each player removes his darts and marks his score before the opponent throws. Darts that bounce off or miss the board do not score and cannot be re-thrown that turn.
The difficult part of the game lies in the finish, known as "going-out". To win, you must reach zero before your opponent, but you must also reach exactly zero, and the dart that brings the score down to zero must be a double. Doubles consist of the numbers in the outside narrow scoring band and the center (small) bullseye which counts as 50 points and is an actual double of the outer 25-point bull.
For instance, if you have 2 points left, you must hit a double-1 to bring the score down to zero. From 18 points, a double-9 would work. If you have an odd number left (a number that cannot be divided by 2), then darts must be thrown to reduce the score to an even number, before throwing at a double. For instance, there is no possible double out from 19, so a way to finish would be to throw a single-3 first, reducing the score to 16. The 16 can then be "taken-out" by throwing a double-8.
The games of 501, 601, 801, 1001, etc. are all played the same way, except for starting with more points. The game of 301 is different, however. Because of the potential for a very short game, 301 has an added difficulty...the game must start with a double. That is, each player must hit a double (any double) to start scoring. Each players scoring begins with the score of the first dart that hits a double.