All about scoring in 501 darts

24th January 2024

Darts has long been a popular game in the United Kingdom, winning the hearts of aristocrats and working folk alike since roughly the 14th century. It is only relatively recently that the game has expanded across the globe, with fans all around the world both tuning in to professional games and starting their own leagues. In this article, we’ll explain how scoring in the 501 darts variation works as well as some of the different elements of the board to keep in mind.

The 501 standard

The 501 standard is one of the most common and widely played traditional darts games. It is popular worldwide and boasts players of all skill levels. Scoring in 501 darts is simple. Each team in the game begins with 501 points. The goal is to work from 501 to zero, which denotes a win. While scoring is typically straightforward, there are few things to know with this version of darts.

Scoring zones

In order to calculate scores accurately in 501 darts, you must understand the rings, or scoring zones, on the dartboard. The outer ring is the doubles ring. That means that scores in that ring are doubled. If you hit a 19, for example, you win 38 points. The inner ring is the trebles ring, which means that points are tripled. Hitting a 19 on the inner ring nets 57 points.

The most points that can be won per dart is 60 (20 in the trebles ring) making the total number of points you can score in three darts 180 (hitting treble 20 three times). In order to maximize the number of points you win, your goal should be primarily to hit a treble 20, then, rather than solely aiming for the bullseye.

Finishing on a double

In order to end a 501 darts game, you must “double out”. That means that you must hit the points you need to get to zero on the doubles ring. If you have 32 points left, for example, you will aim to hit a double 16.

Unlike doubling in, where any number can be used if it is on the doubles ring or is the bullseye, doubling out must take your score exactly to zero. Landing anything less than that will not end the game, and hitting more than that will go bust.

Busts and going over

Busts in darts are the same as they are in games like blackjack. If you land too many points and go over the amount of points you have left, you go bust. Hitting a treble 19 when you need a double 19, for example, will make you go bust. If you bust, you can’t end the game and are not awarded any points. Instead, you’ll need to go for the double 19 in the next round.

Variations in game formats

There are a few variations on 501 darts. One of the most popular variations requires players to both “double in” and “double out”. Players must hit either a number on the doubles ring or the bullseye in order to start the game. The double 20 and bullseye are the most desirable targets to start the game off as they are worth the most points (40 and 50, respectively). Once both teams have doubled in, the game begins. Doubling out occurs as described above.

Another variation on the 501 darts format is the straight start, straight finish. Instead of requiring players to double in and out, players can hit anywhere on the board to begin the game. Ending the game does not require hitting a number in the doubles ring, but it still must also take you exactly to zero without going over.

Scoreboard mathematics

The main thing to remember about the scoreboard in 501 darts is that you’re counting down from 501. Winning 32 points, for example, takes your overall score to 469. The lower the score on the scoreboard, the better your team is doing. You don’t have to be a professional goal scorer to keep track of your plays!

Hopefully you now understand the basics of scoring in 501 darts and feel ready to take on the task in your next game! There is a wealth of information online, so don’t be afraid to do some research if house rules throw you off – the more time you spend researching, the more accurate your calculations will be.