by Stephanie Byrne
Freelance Journalist
stephanie.byrne@mac.com
07 February 2009

Cricket is a dart game that is extremely popular throughout America and Central Europe. Cricket is a game that, unlike 501, requires strategy which often provides the opportunity for weaker players to beat stronger players. Due to this, some players adopt defensive strategies by attempting to block other players from scoring; while other players may attempt offensive strategies by making an effort to increase their score.

In Cricket, the dart scoreboard is drawn up with the numbers 20 through to 15 and the Bulls Eye in descending order down the centre of the dart scoreboard. The Bulls Eye is normally abbreviated with the letter “B" or “C" for cork, which is another term for the Bulls Eye.

The players each take a turn throwing one dart at Bulls Eye, the closest dart to the Bulls Eye is allowed to throw first. The first player throws three darts at any of the scoring numbers to try to close that number and/or score points. The player then scores the darts that they have thrown and play alternates until one person closes all their numbers and has more or equal points to the opponent.

The object of the dart game, Cricket, is to “close" all your numbers (being all those that appear on the dart scoreboard as specified above) and finish with more or equal points to your opponent. To “close" a number or the Bulls Eye, you must hit three of that number.

Each dart that lands in any of the games’ numbers count towards closing that number (therefore, any darts that hit 1 through to 14 are void). On the numbers, the thin outer ring counts as two of that number as is referred to as a ‘double’. The thin inner ring counts as three (thus, hitting one of these would close the number for you) and is referred to as a ‘triple’. The two larger sections of the number simply count for one, as with regular darts. For the Bulls Eye, the outer ring counts as one and is worth 25, while the inner circle counts as two and is worth 50.

Scoring for one dart is shown by placing a slash (\) next to the number scored, scoring for two is indicated by placing an ‘X’ next to the number scored and scoring for three is represented by placing a circle next to the number to indicate that it is closed. When three of a number is scored in any combination, it is closed.

After a number is closed, additional "markings" are converted into scores that are equal to the number. However, when a number is closed by all players, which is referred to as ‘All Closed’, then that number is then no longer available for accumulating scores. The winner is the one closes all the numbers first and has the highest score. If scores are even, the player who closes all numbers first wins.

This can make the game of Cricket very interesting as if you have your number 17 closed and your opponent has only thrown one dart in the 17; you are able to hit the 17 and your points will be added to your total score. Therefore, if you through a triple 17, you will have 51 added to your total score. If you opponent then throws a triple 17, it only counts as two to close the number, the third does not count as you have already closed the number 17. If a player has all of their numbers closed including the Bulls Eye but has fewer points than their opponent, than that player has not yet won the game. They must throw enough points to be even or ahead of the opponent. Therefore, if the only number the opponent has open is the Bulls Eye, then the player must throw extra Bulls Eyes to build up their score.

Obviously, different players have different strategies that they feel work best for them however, it is generally thought that the best strategy is to close the highest numbers first in descending order (thus, they are presented this way on the scoreboard for your convenience). This way, if you have managed to close all of the higher numbers, you are at an advantage to build up your score later in fewer darts if necessary. For example, if you closed the number 20 and also scored 20 points in your following round, your opponent would have to hit the number 19 twice or hit a ‘double 19’ (which is obviously much harder than hitting the single) just to make up the points and score 38 to get ahead of you.

This strategy obviously provides a weaker player to beat a stronger player however; this plan also has the capacity to backfire. Your opponent may quickly turn the tables if you have a few misfortunate throws and might not be so forgiving about all of those numbers that you closed and extra points that you managed to throw at his expense. Furthermore, if your opponent is much stronger than you, you may find that the time that you actually wasted your time by ensuring that you had enough time would have been better spent aiming for the Bulls Eye, as your opponent may hit the Bulls Eye quickly and end up beating you! A good indication of your opponents’ capability is if they do not seem phased about the number of points you have accumulated, feeling confident that they will be able to complete and win the game regardless (this is obviously demonstrated if your opponent is not throwing any points back).

There are several different variations of the dart game, Cricket; however the three main ones are described below:

NO SCORE CRICKET
This is a simplified version of the dart game, Cricket. The objective is to close all the numbers and the Bulls Eye as soon as possible. No points are given for a hit on a closed number at any time. Therefore, once a number is hit three times, you should move on to hit other targets. The winner is the one who registers all three hits on all numbers and the Bulls Eye first.

CUT THROAT CRICKET
This is a reversed version of the dart game, Cricket, in scoring, most popularly being played with three players. Two of the players may join up against another player before they turn against each other for a fight.
After a number is closed, a hit for scoring is added to the opponent's scores. The highest accumulative score is the losing score. However, no score will be added to a player who has the number already closed. The winner is the one who has the lowest score and who has closed all the numbers first. If a player has closed all the numbers first but also has a higher score, they must keep on throwing to bring the opponents' scores over or equal to their score. Therefore, the best strategy is to close the numbers as soon as possible to block the other players from giving you points while increasing your opportunity to accumulate points for our opponent.

KILLER CRICKET
This game is much like the ‘No Score Cricket’ with an added twist. When a number is closed, the player has a chance to eliminate an opponent marking by hitting the same number again. However, if the opponent has the number closed as well, then no marks will be taken away from that player. The first player who closes all the numbers is the winner.
Cricket is a really fun dart game with many variations and strategies. Do you enjoy Cricket? What is your strategy for winning?