Darts is a precision sport where players throw small missiles, known as darts, at a circular target, known as a dartboard, fixed to a wall. The objective is to hit specific areas to score points. The standard dartboard is divided into 20 numbered sections, scoring from 1 to 20 points, with doubles and triples making each section worth double or triple points, and the bullseye scoring the highest. Skills involved include hand-eye coordination, concentration, and strategic planning. Players start with a fixed score, commonly 501, and aim to reduce it to zero, finishing on a double or the bullseye.
Darts is hugely popular in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Germany, with major leagues and tournaments like the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Darts Championship and the British Darts Organisation (BDO) events, attracting top players globally. The sport combines individual skill with a vibrant, social atmosphere, often found in pubs and clubs as well as professional arenas.
Darts originated as a military pastime in medieval England, where soldiers threw short arrows at the bottom of a cask or a tree trunk as a form of target practice. Over time, the game evolved from the battlefield to the tavern. The standardization of rules and the dartboard's design came in the early 20th century, transforming it into a competitive sport. The sport's popularity surged in the UK and spread internationally.
The creation of formal organizations, like the British Darts Organisation (BDO) and the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), professionalized the sport, leading to major championships and televised tournaments, turning darts into both a popular pub game and a serious competitive sport.
Darts is evolving into a more globally recognized sport. Its growth is marked by increasing international participation, with players from various countries rising in the ranks. This diversification is making competitions more dynamic and exciting. Technological advancements in equipment and digital scoring systems are enhancing the playing experience.
The sport's presence on streaming platforms and social media is broadening its audience, moving beyond traditional pub settings to larger, international stages. Major tournaments like the PDC World Darts Championship are becoming more prominent, attracting larger audiences and sponsorships. These trends indicate a bright and exciting trajectory for darts, blending its rich tradition with modern appeal and accessibility.
Darts is played with a variety of different rules and game types with the most popular games being cricket and ‘01’ games. All dart games are played by taking turns throwing all three of your darts at the board from behind the oche line. Cricket games are race-style games where players must hit the numbers 15-20 and the bullseye three times each. ‘01’ style games (301, 501, 701 etc) are fixed score games where players take turns adding their scores attempting to reach the specified 01 number exactly.
To throw darts, comfortably hold the dart with at least three fingers with the end of the dart aligned to your target on the dart board. Throw the dart using your hand, wrist, and elbow. Only your arm should move when you throw the dart. Follow through with your throw after releasing the dart with your fingers pointing towards the target.
To play cricket darts, players take turns racing toward the goal of successfully hitting numbers 15-20 and the bullseye three times each. A hit on the target wedge counts as one mark, while hits on the outer double ring and the inner triple ring count for two and three marks respectively. Cricket games can also be played with points, in which players that have successfully finished (own) a number can continue hitting it for points if the other player has yet to finish the same number. The player must also have the highest number of points to win the game.