How is a Dartboard Numbered?

  • By: Sue
  • Date: March 23, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.
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Darts players know that just throwing darts at the board won’t result in consistent scoring. There is an unusual order to the numbers on a dartboard. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how dartboards are numbered and how this sequence can affect your game. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, understanding board numbering will help you score more consistently.

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Why Are the Numbers Arranged in That Order on a Dartboard?

why are dartboards numbers in that order
numbers on a dartboard illustrated

Looking at the above diagram of a dartboard you can see that the number order clockwise starting at the top is: 20, 1, 18, 4, 13, 6, 10, 15, 2, 17, 3, 19, 7, 16, 8, 11, 14, 9, 12, 5.

Dartboard numbers are arranged this way to remove the element of luck from the game.

By placing low numbers next to high ones, if a player is not extremely accurate with their throw, they will be punished with a low score. For example:

  • 20 is surrounded by 1 and 5
  • 19 is surrounded by 3 and 7
  • 18 is surrounded by 1 and 4
  • 17 is surrounded by 2 and 3

As you can see from the way the numbers are ordered on a dartboard, on either side of the 4 top numbers, are low numbers. In fact, only once is the number greater than 5 (the 7 next to the 19).

If a player is aiming to score as many points as possible and is aiming for the triple 20, if they miss to the right, they will hit triple 1 (a score of 3) or a single 1 point. Any darts player will tell you how frustrating this is.

And it’s no accident. The numbers are arranged that way deliberately.

This drastically increases the level of skill required to be good at darts as it severely punishes inaccuracy.

Also, check out How to 9 Dart Finish in 501.

Is There a Logic to the Numbers on a Dartboard?

There are tens of millions of different possible numeric combinations that the numbers one through 20 can be arranged.

The math of the number sequence of a dartboard has been workout out using a distribution percentage and some may find the details interesting – Dartboard Numbers Math. However, there is no numerical sequence or pattern to the numbers.

The origins of the specific arrangement are hazy because the order was introduced over 100 years ago.

However, there are two possibilities, Brain Gamlin, in 1896 or Thomas Wiliam Buckle in 1913 but because of a lack of original sources, it’s impossible to clarify who used this exact sequence first.

How Many Numbers are on a Dartboard?

There are 20 numbers on a dartboard. The popular specific sequence is called the London board or London Clock but the term is rarely used now as it is the accepted sequence used on nearly all dartboards.

However, it was not always this way as when darts were first popular in the 20th century, many regional variations were common. Unfortunately, few of them survived and are used today.

examples of alternative dartboards
examples of different dartboard layouts

However, now that the numbers have been standardized it means that Pro darts players play on the same type of dartboard no matter their region.

Final Thoughts

The numbers on a dartboard may seem to be in a strange order and they are! Just know that they were designed that way to achieve the following:

  • Remove the element of a lucky shot from the game
  • Make the game more difficult

Over time, you’ll learn where all the numbers are and instinctively go to them – just like the keys on a keyboard. They are not in a ‘logical’ order, but it makes sense and works really well. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Darts rules and regulations to ensure you understand exactly how the games of darts works.

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