301 & 501 dart games rules of scoring

301 & 501 Dart Games: Learn the Rules and Strategies

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When it comes to a game that is universally liked and can be enjoyed by everyone, irrespective of age, darts are surely at the forefront. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have with this game; playing darts is always fun and thrilling. Right from teens to young people, and more experienced pros, there is something for everyone when it comes to darts. Many popular dart games such as Cricket, Halve-It and Shanghai are well-known and enjoyed by many.

The ’01 dart games are one of the pretty popular dart games among aficionados of this throwing game. The ’01 set is most likely to be played in bars and taverns across the United States and even in some parts of South America. Additionally, there isn’t just one version of this game. Depending on how long you’d like to keep a game of darts going, there are versions of this game including 301, 501, 701, and even 801! As it must be fairly clear by now, the bigger the ’01 number, the longer will the game last. These ’01 numbers refer to the score that starts off the game. The aim is to reach zero points at the end of the game.

How to Play the ’01 Games

Among the most common of the ‘01 games, 301 and 501 are the most widely played versions of this dart game. We’re pretty sure that you most likely have seen a game of 501 being played at the local bar, or at your best friend’s apartment.

At the beginning of any ’01 dart game, the players are given a specific start score – 301, 501, 701, or even 801 – depending on the individuals or teams in play. The longer you want to play, the larger the starting score number will be. In any case, the final goal of any ’01 game is to hit the final score of 0 points. Indeed, this is one of the few games in the world that actually encourage you to duck out n a zero! As each player throws their darts, the accumulated points (depending on where the dart lands), are subtracted from the start score.

Although the game seems easy at the beginning, things tend to veer towards complex and suspenseful nearing the end. In order to win this game, you must reach a final total of zero by hitting a double score. In this case, a zero is the only acceptable final tally. No, if your total score goes below zero and into the negatives, it won’t count.

So, for instance, if you need 12 points to reach that zero, your win is only assured if you land on a double six. Anything else won’t lead to victory, even if it goes below zero. Similarly, if you need 20 points, only a double ten throw will get you there. Likewise, if you need 24 points, only two twelves will be considered valid. Anything else, and you’re losing that ’01 game.

Similar to most other dart games, the outer ring of the dartboard accounts for twice the points, whereas the inner circle of the dartboard will help you get triple points. Keep this is in mind when you throw in your next ’01 game.

Remember that at the start of any of the ’01 games, the focus should rest on rapidly decreasing your score. Sure, you may want to bamboozle everyone with a triple score right off the bat. But in case you miss while doing this, the dart may land on a not-so-lucrative single. This is why it is recommended that you lay your focus on the bullseye.

Towards the end of any ‘01 game, you will need to apply a little bit of mathematics. You will have to keenly plan how you aim at reducing the final score to zero. If you ask our opinion, we suggest leaving the easy combinations like 24, 32, 36, 40, 50, and 60 for the end!

301 Dart Game


These set of dart games are most commonly played and enjoyed by groups of two – it could be individuals or teams. However, with that being said, it doesn’t mean that a bigger group can’t join in on a game of ’01 darts. But then again, you’ll find that these games are more fun when two teams, to groups, or two individuals are playing since the rules of the game were crafted with couples in mind. When you stick to these player numbers, it is the best, as the rules mostly account for this.

The Rules of 301 Darts

Number of Players: As we’ve said before, there is no official limit to how many players can compete in a game of 301 darts. However, since the rules of the game are best suited for two individuals or groups, that’s how the layout of opposing teams usually flows.

Rules in Play: All numbers present on the dartboard are used in play in this scenario. However, some have a greater value than others. For example, 19 and 20, are used to score points with high frequency since they’re the most significant numbers on the dartboard. However, all numbers can be aimed at to throw the needed doubles in this game. As long as you’re inching towards a score of 0 at the end, you’re good to go.

We’ve already told you how this game is usually played by groups of two individuals or teams. Remember that in this version of the game, you will start off with 301 points and consequently, your aim is to end up with an exact end score of zero. To arrive at this number, you will start subtracting each score you hit with a dart from 301. So every time you score points, they get deducted from the total that remained previously. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

While these instructions may sound simple enough, it isn’t all that straightforward. Any player in the game can’t start subtracting points unless and until they have a double in. This means that the process of point subtraction won’t start till they land on one of the twenty-one doubles on the board, or the ultimate double bull. Only once you hit a double will the process of deduction begin.

Similarly, in the end, the player must double out towards victory. This means that if they have 32 points remaining to hit the zero mark, only a double 16 has the potential to bring in a win. If you hit a score that’s greater than what points are left, it’s a clear bust. Your turn will end and you’ll have to restart with your previous score, as it was before this turn. Needless to say, at this point in the game, things get nail-bitingly interesting.

The only way to win this game at this end stage is to hit a double that tallies up neatly to leave you with a zero. Only then will you have won.

Advanced Strategies To Ace You Next Game of 301 Darts

By now it must be clear that 301 is a skill-based game and no tips and tricks are going to act as a loophole towards sure-shot victory. I this game, aiming well and quickly hitting the right target is the only way to win fair and square. With that being said, knowing the dart sequences for your out numbers thoroughly is incredibly helpful. Apart from that, there are also some other tips and strategies that can help you ace your next game of 301 darts.

Start Hard and Fast: By now you must have understood that this game has a lot to do with the double line, especially if you’re looking for victory. So, the first most important tip to keep in mind if you want to ace 301 darts is that you will have to double in sooner than your opponent does. This gives you an edge with the score and puts you on a path that is more likely to bring in a win. Simply find a number that you can comfortably hit and go for it. Don’t get caught up in how many points you’ll get, just aim well and throw. By scoring and doubling in earlier, the pressure shifts to your opponent and boosts your winning chances.

Avoid Busting: Once you make it towards the last leg of your game, you have to be careful not to bust. The best way to do this is by aiming for numbers that are not the exact double you need; instead, they’re something slightly less. For example, if you need 48 to reach zero, it may be tempting to try and throw double 24. However, in doing so, you may slip up and hit a triple, busing out from the game. For best results, consider throwing a single so that you have to hit a double 19 or twenty to win. This way, the chances of busting out are relatively lower.

Be Aware of the Outs Constantly: 301 is a fairly fast version of the ’01 games, so much so, that you may be shooting outs within four or five throws if you’re a good player. In any case, it is imperative to understand which sequences will help you get out the fastest. A good place to start would be to memorize the sequences of out numbers for 170 and under this number. However, for the best results, a little mathematical prowess will help you subtract on the go and work out your available options confidently.

501 Dart Game

By now it must be clear that the ’01 game series has great potential to add lots of excitement and fun to your next get-together, bar crawl or dart game session. The unique rules and combinations for each version of the game ensure that you’ll never be bored or stuck in monotony again. If you’re a fan of throwing darts, you’re surely going to enjoy the 501 dart game just as you enjoyed 301.


As was the case with 301 darts, there are no compulsions for how many people may play a game of 501 darts. However, with that being said, 501 darts are best suited to be played by two individuals or two teams. More people can certainly play, but the most effective version of this game involves two opposing sides.

The Rules of  501 Dart

In the case of 501 darts, all the numbers that are present on the board are used during play in this scenario. However, while all numbers are used, some numbers have an inherently higher value than others.

For example, in 501 darts, the numbers 19 and 20 get used very frequently to score points. The main reason for this is that they’re among the biggest numbers on the dart board. With that being said, all numbers may be used by players to score the doubles they need during a game. Although 501 darts can be played as a team event, that doesn’t always have to be the case. You can also play 501 darts as a single event.

Unlike 301 darts that we spoke about previously, you need not double in when it comes to a game of 501 darts. To start, you may hit any number of the dart board. Just as it was in the case of 301, even here you must subtract the number you score from a total of 501 to reach the final score of zero. However, the one key difference is that to win you have to double in while reach zero.

All in all, the only time you need to hit a double in a game of 501 darts is on your last throw.

Advanced Strategies To Ace You Next Game of 501 Darts

If we’re honest, 501 dart games consistently test your ability to hit high numbers each time that you step up and take a turn to throw darts. However, the most important thing in the case of this game is to relax and trust your throwing abilities. Additionally, as was the case in 301, even in this game, memorizing dart sequences for the out numbers will help you get closer to victory.

Evaluate and Target Your Hot Numbers: Hot numbers in darts are those that you throw with heavy frequency. One of the most interesting strategies when it comes to 501 is being aware of your hot numbers and capitalizing on them. Needless to say, the highest number on the board may not be the hottest. However, when you run with numbers that your hot on, you are more likely to get the job done. When you remember that this is a numbers game, you’ll understand that your hot numbers have the potential to help you win.

Ignore Your Opponents: Unlike many games where focusing on what your opponent is doing can make or break your game, darts don’t need your focus on the opposing side’s moves. Sometimes, if your opponent hit the bullseye or another desirable number, it may mess with your focus and cause you to perform poorly. Similarly, if your opponent is performing poorly, it could get to your head and cause you to become overconfident and suffer a loss.

Follow Your Aim: Even if you’re a legendary dart player, sometimes your performance may suffer if you end up trying too hard. If you find yourself in a situation when you’re trying too hard to aim and hit a target, it could have the reverse effect and cause you to miss or throw poorly. In such a situation, it is easy to spiral out of control. Instead, the best course of action is to relax, take a deep breath and focus your aim only on the dart in hand. Once you throw, use this first dart as a marker to repeat this success and recreate the results. With a marker dart, all you have to do is follow your aim and recreate what you already did successfully. This can take a great deal of pressure off you and help your game.

Important Practice Tips and Guidelines For Dart Games

Regularly Practice Dart Game Techniques

On a very basic level, we understand that you can’t excel at anything unless you put in the required practice and hard work. This holds true even in the case of excelling at darts. If you wish to excel at darts and throw like a pro, you will have to consistently play competitive darts and practice with some level of commitment. If you were to believe those who have made a living with their dart prowess, you should practice for at least an hour a day, if not more. While that recommended hour may work, it is not the duration of your practice that matters, but the overall quality of your practice. When you are practicing, make sure to try out as many new techniques and throwing styles as you can, till you find ones that work best for you.

Evaluate Your Weakness and Work On it

Even the most amazing dart players have some flaws and weaknesses in their style, technique or some other aspect. If you want to improve your game truly, one important step is to identify your weaknesses when it comes to the game and work on fixing them. Perhaps you need help with aiming. Others might need some help with the follow-through. No matter what it is that you’re slightly weak at, practicing and doing so consistently will dramatically improve the results.

Practice Seriously in High-Pressure Conditions

Look, if you want to play darts professionally, the stakes are always high during a game. No matter how intensively you train with the best, it is not nearly as competitive as an actual game of darts against a seasoned opponent. To ensure that you’re prepared thoroughly, approach your practice sessions like you would a match. To must remain focused throughout and keep the pace fast, you have to keep going till the end. The tendency to rest easy once your pre-decided session goals are achieved can do only so much. The quality of the practice session you put in, ultimately, contribute the most to your match performance.

Practice With Players With Superior Skills

As is the case with any skill you want to develop, learning from those with superior skills and experience can bring valuable insights and speed up your learning process in the case of darts. When you play with better-experienced players, you will learn techniques about elements like follow through, aiming, throwing correctly, scores and so on. With time, this will help you be a better player by improving your technique, strategy implementation and so on. Sometimes you will find that some players prefer to keep their tips and tricks secret. Don’t let this discourage you. When you play against them, keenly observe what they’re doing, and you’ll surely pick up on something useful.

Observe Professionals In Their Natural Element

Observing professional dart players has a host of benefits. Check out the pros during a competition or tournament and look out for tips on how to stand and throw. Do they grip the dart differently? Is there something unique they do before or after throwing? By noticing how these players move and eventually mimicking their movements, you’ll see that your own game improves and gets closer to that of a professional or expert. If you don’t have the time or resources to check out players for real, the online route will not fail you either.

Keep Experimenting and Track Your Progress

If you do the same things over and over again, you are sure to grow weary and bored. While repetition to a certain degree is needed to gain perfection, you must make sure that you are equally excited to practice. This has a significant impact on your performance. To keep your practice sessions exciting, try and change things up. Add new moves and techniques regularly and set realistic goals.

Additionally, your practice location should also change to keep you on your toes. Don’t just be cooped up around the dart board at your man-cave. Take things to new surroundings like your friend’s house or the local bar every once in a while. Remember to also measure your progress by noting down stats and other important markers in an easily-accessed format. This keeps you updated on how far you have come and will help you stay motivated through any lows.

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