How to Play Darts 301: In-Detail Explanation

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Last updatedLast updated: May 16, 2024
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The game of darts has been around since the late 1800s Trusted Source Darts - Wikipedia Darts or dart-throwing is a competitive sport in which two or more players bare-handedly throw small sharp-pointed missiles known as darts at a round target known as a dartboard. , and though the boards and darts themselves have changed over time, it hasn’t lost its popularity. There are a ton of games to choose from, but a favorite among beginners and expert players is the game of 301. It is easy to learn how to play darts 301, plus there are a few variations on gameplay that allow you to mix it up a bit to keep each round fresh and interesting.

Of course, you still need to have some skill at the game to be able to compete and possibly even win a round of 301. You also need to know the rules, especially if you’re adding extra players or special requirements to get “in” the game. To help you get started with 301 dart games, check out the following sections for all the rules and variations this game has to offer.

Number of players

Darts 301 isn’t normally played with a bunch of people. In fact, this game is designed for only 2 players, though you can add a few extras if you like by creating 2 teams of players. As long as there is an equal number of people on each team, you can add as many people as you like.


The objective of a game of 301 is to score that amount during the game. You don’t work your way up to it, though. Instead, each player or team starts with 301 and works their way down to zero. The first one to accomplish this wins the game.

You can use any of the numbers on the dartboard to score points but higher numbers, like 19, 20, or a bullseye are best since they reduce your score quicker. Hitting those doubles and triples is also a good strategy, especially with the higher numbers for the most points possible each round.


There are a couple of different dartboard types to pick from, though there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to 301. It is all about preferences when choosing a dartboard. One type to consider is the traditional dartboard style, like the Winmau Blade 5. These include high-quality bristles, durable wire dividers, and a classic look, plus they are tournament size for proper gameplay.

There are also a variety of electronic dartboards available. Though these may not always be tournament-sized dartboards, they offer convenience by adding scoring, game, and even training options. This makes it easier to play 301 or any other game you like by doing most of the work for you.

The beginning of the game

The beginning of the game is rather important since you need the proper setup of the dartboard and throwing line before you can even throw your first dart. You also need to determine what order the players throw their darts in to ensure the game is fair for everyone involved. The following sections discuss the 301 dart rules.

Dartboard position

The Darts Regulation Authority has developed standard rules Trusted Source Rules of Darts, Darts Regulation Authority - PDC Make sure you come here and read all the rules that the Professional Darts Corporation follow that are laid down by the Darts Regulation Authority. Check them out here! when it comes to positioning your dartboard. The recommended height is 5 feet 8 inches from the floor to the bullseye in the center of the dartboard. Of course, if you’re playing with small children, you can adjust this position as necessary to suit the smaller players but for teenagers and adults, this is the proper height. Anyone trying to hone their skills for competition play should try to be as accurate as possible with this height to be sure that they are preparing themselves for the proper throw every time.

Throwing line and distance

How to Play Darts 301: In-Detail ExplanationThe throwing distance is also something you should try to be accurate with, especially if you plan to join a tournament or prefer proper gameplay in your home. The throwing distance, also called the oche, should be 7 feet 9.25 inches. This is not measured from the bottom of the wall to the toeline. Instead, you need to measure from the front of the board diagonally to the floor for the proper toeline placement. Everyone must be behind this line when throwing.

Who starts first

To determine who goes first in a game of darts 301, you first need to flip a coin. The winner of this coin toss then decides who gets to throw first at the bullseye on the dartboard. Each player then takes their turn and whoever’s dart lands closest to the bullseye is the first to throw in the game of 301.

If both player’s darts land an equal distance from the bullseye, the last person who threw in the first round goes first in the second round of throws. Repeat this pattern of throwing until there is a clear winner.

There is also the possibility of both players hitting the bullseye during this process. If this occurs, it doesn’t matter if one player’s dart is more centered than the other. In the event of a dual bullseye shot, a tie is called and both players throw again until a winner is determined.


The rules for playing darts 301 are quite simple. Once you’ve determined who gets to throw first, each player takes a turn to throw 3 darts. To start earning points, you first need to “double in”, which means that you need to hit a number in the double ring on the outside edge of the playing area. Once you’ve done this, every dart you throw counts towards your points.

There is a variation on this that allows “straight in” instead of “double in”. This adaptation to the rules allows you to hit anything on the board to begin earning points, including singles, doubles, triples, and bullseyes. This may be a good option for beginners who haven’t developed the aiming skills needed for accurate double shots.


How to Play Darts 301: In-Detail Explanation

Once you’ve doubled in to start your game, you score points as you would with any other dart game. Wherever your dart lands, that’s the number of points you receive. For instance, if your darts land on the 20, the 18, and the 6, you would score 44 points for that round, which is then subtracted from the score of 301 that you start with.

You should try for higher scores, though, aiming for the double and triple circles on the board to give you a few extra points using the same 3 darts. If you had hit doubles on those same 3 numbers, you would have a total of 88 points for that turn, while triples on those 3 numbers would be 132. The higher you score, the quicker you subtract points and the faster you win the game.

To keep track of the score, you can use a piece of paper with each player’s name and score. To make this easier, you can also purchase an electronic dartboard that keeps track of the 301 darts score for you or a separate scoreboard, like the Viper ProScore Digital Dart Scorer, which allows you to set the game, player number, and score for each turn.

Finishing on a Double

Finishing on a double is similar to starting on one, though it is a bit more difficult since you need to be exact to end the game. This means that if you have 40 points left, you need to hit the double 20 to drop your score to zero and win your game of 301. If you hit a single 20 on your first throw, you’ll have 20 points left and will need to hit the double 10 to finish the game. If you don’t hit a double on your last dart, you lose the points for that dart and need to try to double out again on your next turn. If you reduce your score below zero, that counts as a bust, and that dart also won’t count.

Some tricks and tips to win

As with any dart games, there are some tricks you can use to win a game of 301. As we said above, aiming for those double and triple spots, especially for high numbers like 18, 19, and 20, makes for high scoring rounds.

When doubling in, aim for the sides of the board. This way, if you aim too high or low, there’s still a chance to hit a double. As your score lowers, try to stick with even numbers for easy double outs, especially if you miss on the first shot. You can also create an Out Chart, which lists the best options for finishing a game with scores of 170 or less.

Final thoughts

Darts 301 is one of the oldest and most popular dart games due to the simplicity of the gameplay for beginners and the challenge it offers for everyone who picks up a set of darts. Once you learn how to play darts 301, you soon develop the skills you need for the longer and more difficult 501 game, as well as a variety of others.

You can play this game on any dartboard, from the classic models to the modern electronic versions, and you can try manual scoring or digital scorers to help keep track of your progress throughout the game. No matter which options you choose, darts 301 is an exceptional game for both single players and teams to enjoy.


Darts - Wikipedia
Darts or dart-throwing is a competitive sport in which two or more players bare-handedly throw small sharp-pointed missiles known as darts at a round target known as a dartboard.
Rules of Darts, Darts Regulation Authority - PDC
Make sure you come here and read all the rules that the Professional Darts Corporation follow that are laid down by the Darts Regulation Authority. Check them out here!
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