by Stephanie Byrne
Freelance Journalist
stephanie.byrne@mac.com
04 January 2009

The number of dart games is considerable, with new games or different variations of old games being created every day. However, 501 and Cricket are definitely the most popular, being played professionally and for recreational purposes throughout the world.

501 would have to be the most popular game internationally and it is believed to reveal darting talent like no other game. This is a classic game, which also offers the highest prize money in the world when playing professionally. 501 is also one of the simplest dart games to play. Starting with 501, your score is taken away from this total until you get down to 0. To finish the game you must double-out, this means that the finishing dart must land in a double ring (obviously corresponding to your score, which will need to be an even number of 40 or smaller). Although it is agreed upon that one must double-out in the game of 501, there is some contention regarding whether one must double-in or not. However, this being said, in actual tournaments, you are not required to double-in, only out. The only other way to finish the game is if you have 50 points outstanding and manage to hit a Bulls Eye.

In order to establish the fastest and most efficient way to complete a game of 501, our out shots calculators come in very handy. These business card sized guides outline how to hit every score up to 170 in three darts or less. Therefore, if you were playing 501 and followed the out shots calculator perfectly (not missing a shot) you would be able to complete the game in 9 darts. If you also manage this as an amateur, please feel free to contact us for sponsorship – you may want to start considering a professional career.

Youth players who are under 18 should generally prepare themselves to be able to finish the game of 501 in 18 darts or less to be in the running to win an international competition. As a woman player, 18 darts or less is the average on the international scene. Male players on the other hand, need to be capable of shooting 12 darts or less and very rarely do they ever get a second chance at the double.

Finishing a game of 501 is not always as easy as it may seem though, with many dart players struggling with the ‘bust rule’. The ‘bust rule’ means that if you score more than you need or just one less than you need than you are ‘bust’ and the score is voided for that turn. You would then start the next turn with the same score that you had before. A scenario that many players dread is to end up on the painful double one and keep missing it. The double one finish is often referred to as “Annie’s House" although no one is really able to explain why.

Despite the popularity of 501, home dart players generally desire more variation and thus, the myriad of other dart games and variations on the classic games, which will be explored in future posts.