How to Play Darts 501: Mastering the Classic Game

If you are planning to sharpen your dart skill in a challenging way, there’s no better game than playing dart 501. 

It is one of the easiest games dart players learn in their earlier days.

The goal of this game is to lower your score from 501 to 0. Quite interesting, isn’t it? You will find this game more interesting and exciting when you start playing. 

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of this fun game without making it look complicated.

Darts 501 Rules: A Comprehensive Guide to Playing the Classic Game

Darts 501 Scoring

Dart 501 can be played with or without multiple players or teams. Though you can play this game alone, it’s ideal to play in teams with many participants.

For equipments, you’ll need a dartboard, darts, and scoreboard. Pen and paper can be used to keep the score if you don’t have an electronic dartboard. 

Before starting the game, set up your dart board properly and stand at a safe distance from the dartboard. To decide the starting order, you can toss a coin or throw dart at the bullseye. Whoever hits closest to the center of the bullseye gets the first turn.

The rules of dart 501 are very simple. You’ll be given a starting score of 501 at the start of the game. You will get three darts to throw at your desired segment in a dartboard. 

You cannot deduct immediately because you have to ‘double-in’ first. In dart 501 ‘double-in’ means to hit any segments in the double sections around the outer ring of the board. If your dart lands on the bulls-eye, it will also be considered as a double-in. 

Smart players aim for the double 20 or the bulls-eye, as these are worth 40 and 50 points.

If you play in teams, only one member needs to double in. Any dart you throw before you double-in does not count towards your progress.

After you’ve double-in , you can throw darts with the intention to lower your score.  Wherever your dart lands on, that score will be deducted from your starting score 501. 

You’ll keep taking alternate turns against your opposite team until you reach zero. At the end of the game, if you can reduce your score to exactly 0 from 501 before anyone else, you win. 

Darts 501 Scoring

Darts 501 Score Board

The score is determined by the segment of the dartboard you hit, and then the points are subtracted from your current score. So, you need to know how the score is calculated. 

The 20 segments of a dart board have different values. Each section has a double ring (outer thin ring) and a triple ring (inner thin ring).The bulls-eye comprises two circles, an inner circle, and an outer circle. These are worth 50 and 25 points, respectively. 

If you hit the outer ring, your score will be doubled (of that segment number) and hitting the inner ring will triple the score which will be deducted from the base score of 501. Thus your score reduces quickly. For example, suppose you hit a single 20, so your score is 20 points. 

If you hit the double ring, the score will be double of 20, 40 points. And if you hit the triple ring, the score will be 60 points, triple of your current score. This score will be subtracted from the base score of 501. 

If you hit any area outside the outer circle, you won’t get any score. If your dart bounces off or you hit another dart on the board, again, you won’t earn any score. 

Remember that you must get exactly zero to win. If your score goes below that zero, it will be called a ‘bust” and your score will go back to whatever it was before your turn. 

To win dart 501 you have to ‘double-out’.The term double-out means throwing the dart specifically on a zero-point segment. Thus you complete the game and win it. 

If you can’t manage to score zero and your score is 1 or below zero, that’ll be considered as a bust. So doubling out should be done carefully so you don’t score more than you need. If you miss it, your turn goes to the opposite participant.

To keep the score of Dart 501, you have to assign someone as the marker or chalker. The scoreboard will have a division in the middle, and each player’s or team’s score will be calculated on their row. 

After each player’s turn (three throws per person), the marker will add the total score and then subtract it from the main score to determine the final score of that round.

The marker of Dart 501 should be well aware of the dart game and the rules of 501 to be good at the scoring job. 


Dart 501 is one of the most played games that made it to various dart tournaments. Because of the easy rules, any dart player with minimum skills can enjoy this exciting game.

Moreover, playing dart 501 regularly can help uplift your gaming skills and learn new tricks and strategies. 

Now that you know how to play dart 501, don’t be late playing it with your friends and share your experience with us in the comment section below.

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Written by Zach Barnes

Zach Barnes is a sport enthusiast and a sports column writer. He is dedicated to continuously expanding his knowledge and sharing his expertise with others who have a passion for indoor games like foosball, badminton, air hockey etc. Zach Barnes aims to use his expertise to educate new players in improving skills and heighten excitement for these exciting games.

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