Official Darts Rules

Darts Rules worldwide are basically controlled and setup by two main member organizations:

  • The BDO (British Darts Organization) who originally set all the rules which govern the game of darts, and is the official darts body for Britain, the leading darts country and
  • The PDC(Professional Darts Corporation), a rival British darts organization, which runs its own darts world championship and is the leading professional darts body in the sport . Both these organizations operate under the Official National Organizing Body for Darts worldwide, namely the WDF (World Darts Federation).

Until 1992 the BDO and the PDC were both part of the BDO, but a break-away group, containing 16 of the top professional players, frustrated by the lack of opportunity to make a living professionally, and wanting to take the sport to a new level, created the WDC – World Darts Council which later became the PDC – Professional Darts Corporation.

The BDO control and setup their own tournament rules internally while the PDC tournament rules are laid down by the DRA(Darts Regulation Authority).

The development of all rules within the PDC is the responsibility of the DRA. The DRA is also responsible for upholding the discipline within the PDC and also for the Anti Doping Programme which are run in conjunction with UK Sports. For anyone to be able to compete in any of the PDC tournaments you also need to become a member of the PDPA(Professionals Darts Players Association)

There are two types of darts rules which concern all darts players:

  • The General Playing Rules as played on the clock dartboard and
  • The Tournament and Championships Playing Rules which concern all league, tournament and championship dart players.

Darts General Playing Rules

  1. The dartboard shall be setup or fastened so that the center of the bullseye is exactly 5 Ft 8 Inches or 1.73 meters high.
  2. The minimum throwing distance shall be 7 Ft 9 ¼ Inches or 2.37 meters from the face of the board, when measured horizontally.
  3. The toe-line or throwing line shall be clearly marked and be at least 18 inches or 45.72 centimeters long.
  4. Order of starting shall be determined by throwing closest to the bullseye with one dart. The winner shall throw first in the first leg, and in odd alternate legs. The loser shall throw first in the second leg and if applicable in alternate even legs thereafter.
  5. Any darts may be used.
  6. A throw consists of three darts except where a game is finished in less.
  7. Darts cannot be re-thrown, and only darts sticking in the board count to your score.
  8. On request, a player may be told what number he has scored, or what number he requires for the game by the score announcer, but not how to get it.
  9. If the number required for game is exceeded in the course of a throw, the throw ceases, and no account is taken of the score obtained during that throw.
  10. The inner bull(50) counts double of the outer bull(25).

Tournament and Championship Playing Rules

A list of all the Official Darts Playing Rules,(general, tournament, championships and anti-doping rules) can be viewed or downloaded from the table below.


                  Description        BDO         PDC
Playing Rules BDO Playing Rules PDC Playing Rules
Anti Doping Rules BDO Anti Doping Rules PDC Anti Doping Rules
Prohibited Substance List BDO Prohibited Substance List N/A
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