How to Play Darts: 301, 501, Cricket and Chicago Format

Learn about the different game formats and how to play the game of darts.

Every dart board has numbers 1 - 20 and a bullseye in the center. Each number on a dart board has small sections called the double and triple. The triple is the small interior ring closest to the bullseye, and when it is hit the score is worth 3 times the number. The double is an exterior ring on the edge of the board that doubles the value of the number when hit. 

How to Play Cricket

The most common form of cricket is 'dirty cricket,' where each player is looking to hit numbers 16 - 20 and the bullseye three times. It is considered dirty cricket when the numbers do not need to be hit in consecutive order. After a player has hit a number 3 times (aka 'closed it', the player can score additional points if the opponent has not yet closed that number. For example, if you have hit the 20 two times already and hit it another two times before your opponent has closed it, you have closed 20 and scored 20 points. Bullseyes are worth 25 points and 50 for the double bull (the interior circle).

How to Play 301

In the game of 301, each player starts with 301 points, and the goal is to deduct points to get exactly zero. In order to start scoring in 301, a player must hit a double zone in any number, 1-20 or bullseye. To win the game, a player must also hit the double zone on the number that wil leave the player's score at exactly zero.

How to Play 501

In a game of 501, both players start with a score of 501 and are working to make their score exactly zero. While similar to the game of 301, 501 is different because doubling in is not required, but doubling out is. Each player throws three consecutive darts, deducting the total score of those three darts from his or her score. The player keeps subtracting the 3-dart total until the score reaches exactly zero.

Chicago Format Games

In a Chicago format game, players play one game of 301, one game of 501, and one of dirty cricket.