Darts Game 501

The most traditional game in darts is the “darts game 501”. 501 is only one game in a series of darts games called “Darts 01 games”. The series of darts 01 games consists mainly of the following 10 games: 101, 201, 301, 401, 501, 601,……1001 etc. 501 is the easiest 01 game for novice players to learn and to start with to learn the game of darts and it’s rules.

It is also THE game played at the Darts World Championships.

It’s your choice which darts 01 game you want to play due to the variety of choices you have. All the 01 games are played exactly the same, except for their starting scores which varies, and could be anything from 101, 201 – 1001. If you play by yourself or with a friend and you both struggle to hit the target and you want to play a very short game, play "101".

If you are quite accurate and prefer a short game with a friend play 301 or 501. If family or friends visit and you make up two teams play 701, 901 or 1001 etc.

    The object of any darts 01 game is to reach EXACTLY ZERO before your opponent / friend / competitor or the other team.
  2. Starting SCORE
    In this example we’ll assume we are playing the darts game 501. Each player or team starts with a total score of 501. Your aim is to get to exactly zero in the shortest time possible.
  3. What TURN or THROW means
    Each player gets a turn to throw. One turn or throw means, throwing 3 darts.
    Both players take a turn to throw one dart at the bullseye(center of the dartboard). The player who is closest, will throw 1st in the 1st game and the other player will throw 1st in the 2nd game and so on, always alternating, no matter who wins or loses.
    Before any score is calculated, a player must first hit a double, also called a "double-in", which means the player need to hit any number in the thin outer ring of the dartboard, counting twice the score of that specific segment, before score can be deducted. Throwing the inner or double bull also counts as a double.
    Once a "double" is thrown, that dart and all subsequent darts will count as score. The score is determined by subtracting each darts score from 501.

    For example, lets assume player 1 miss the double with the 1st dart, but hit a double 12 with the 2nd dart, and with the 3rd dart s/he throw a single 20. The double 12 counts as 24 score plus the single 20 added to that, counts as 44 score. The 44 is then deducted from the score of 501 which leaves the player with 457.

    Now player 2 throws his 3 darts. Player 2’s first aim is to also hit a double and if s/he misses with all 3 darts, tough luck, s/he stays on 501. Now player 1 throws again, and deduct each darts score from 457 and so on.

    In order to claim a win, a player must end the game by throwing a double equal to the remaining score, also called a "double out".

    For example, if player 1 has 32 score remaining, s/he must hit double 16(32) to win, while if player two has 35 remaining s/he must hit a single 5, and then a double 15(30) to win. Another way of throwing the 35, could be by hitting a single 15 and then a double 10(20) etc.or any another combination you can think of as long as you close or end your game with a double.

  8. Reaching 170 or less score
    Once a player reaches 170 or less score, it is possible to end the game with only 3 darts or less, depending on the score at that time.
  9. 3 & 2 Darts Checkout Table
    To make it easier for you, I have included a 3 & 2 Darts Checkout Table, which you can download and learn through time, which will show you which numbers to throw, to end your game within the next 3 darts, or 2 darts, depending on your score.

    For example, lets assume a player has 170 score remaining. It is now possible(but not that easy) to finish the game with only 3 darts. This can be accomplished, by hitting a Treble 20(60 score) with the 1st dart, hit another T20(60 score) with the 2nd dart and then hit the INNER or Double Bull(50 score) with your 3rd dart, for a total of 170. Game FINISH!

    Hitting the score as stated in the above example, is NOT SO EASY. It takes a lot of practice, but luck sometimes happen. It is good custom or habit to learn the tricks of the game early on and to know the shortcuts. If someone don’t know about the 3 & 2 dart checkouts, it will be to your advantage.


    Remember, just as you "doubled-in" by throwing a double first, you always need to “DOUBLE OUT” in any 01 game before you can claim you won that game. (Some people play the game but don’t “double out”. The only reason for this is that they really throw crappy and can’t finish the game).

    A player can only "double-out" on an even number. The lowest number a player can "double-out" on is "2", which means the player need to throw a double 1(2) to win.

    All the general rules apply for any dart game i.e. if a dart should fallout that dart doesn’t count.

    If you ever watch darts competitions on TV, you will notice in some of the major tournaments the professional players don’t double-in but they always double-out. This is done to make the game more interesting for the viewers. It won’t be that exciting if one person still struggles to double-in while the opponent is already busy to double-out.

  2. Playing Games in different formats

    01 Games can be played in different formats. One way to play the game is to play in the "BEST OF.." format, whereby a player or team winning three legs in a "BEST OF 5 LEGS" game wins the match.
    Eg. Once you have won 3 games(also called legs), you win. The score can typically be 3 – 0 or 3 – 2 etc.

    Another way to play the game is to play in a "SET" format, whereby a player or team must win the "SET OF 5 LEGS", before claiming to win the match.
    Eg. Here you have to play until any player wins a total of 5 legs, then you win. The score can typically be 5 – 0 or 5 – 4 etc.


Did you know the quickest way to start and end a 501 game during a professional tournament is with only 9 darts. Here are 2 examples of how it can be done.

Round 1 – Throw a T20(60 – 1st dart), T20(60 – 2nd dart) and T20(60 – 3rd dart) for a total score of 180 leaving you with 321
Round 2 – Throw a T20(60 – 1st dart), T20(60 – 2nd dart) and T20(60 – 3rd dart) for a total score of 180 leaving you with 141
Round 3 – Throw a T19(57 – 1st dart), T18(54 – 2nd dart) and D15(30 – 3rd dart) for a total score of 141 leaving you with ZERO or

Instead of throwing
T19(57), T18(54), D15(30), you could throw
T20(60), T15(45), D18(36) to completely wipe out your score of 141.

*T20 = Treble 20 D15 = Double 15


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