The 9-dart-finish is a feat of champions in darts and something we can all aspire to. It means to finish a game (or leg) of darts from 501 to 0 only using 9 darts. That is including the checkout.
There are only 31 players who have achieved this on televised games so although a simple concept, its extremely difficult to pull off as it requires huge consistency and skill under considerable pressure.
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Re-cap How to Play 501 Darts
501 is a darts game that uses the standard 20 number dartboard. The rules of 501 are as follows: A match lasts for two, three or four legs (or innings) and each leg is started with 501 points and the objective is to get to zero.
The focus is to win more sets (or games) than your opponent. For each throw, you get 3 darts and the idea is to score as many points as possible with your 3 darts.
Your 3 dart combined score is then subtracted from 501. Then it is your opponent’s turn. The winner is the first to get to zero but you must finish on a double (or inner bullseye) to exactly get to zero.
If you throw over the amount of 501, your throw is nulled and you maintain your score from the previous throw.
For example, if you have 40 points left to score, you must hit a double 20 to win (hitting a double 20 gives you 40 points).
If you manage to check out before your opponent you win the leg. The player who wins the required amount of legs the fastest wins.
Get our free printable 501 scoresheet.
Can You Finish Darts on a Bullseye?
Yes. A bullseye is a double 25 = 50 points total. So if you have scored 451 points you can win by getting an inner bullseye.
This is a particularly difficult, though really impressive, way to finish as the bullseye is the smallest double on the board. If you miss, you are likely to hit the outer bullseye which is 25 points, which leaves you with an odd number and unable to finish on the next dart.
This is the reason why players like to finish on double 20. By aiming slightly low, if they hit 20, they can now try for double 10 to finish. If they miss double 10 and hit a single 10, they can try for double 5.
Engineering your game to finish on doubles that are an even number, makes the road to finishing less punishing. Many players like to leave a 32 dart finish as in going for double 16, if they miss they can try for double 8, then double 4, then double 2.
You might also like our article on how to play 301 darts.
How Many Different Ways Can You Have a 9 Dart Finish in 501?
There are almost 4000 different ways to have a 9 dart finish in 501. However the most common are:
- T20 (60 points), T19 (57 points) and D12 (24 points)
- T20 (60 points), T15 (45 points) and D18 (36 points)
- T17 (51 points), T18 (54 points) and D18 (36 points)
A good way to get more familiar with how to finish is to watch the pro darts players on TV.
In the red, you have the sets, the legs, and how many points each player has left in that particular leg (or game). In green, you have options for finishing. This is so the audience can follow along and see what the player is likely to aim for.
In this example, Van Gerwen has 150 points left. In green, a possible finish for him is to hit:
Treble 20 (60 points), Treble 20 (another 60 points), and then Double 15 (30 points).
60 + 60 + 30 = 150 points. This will let him check out from 150 points and finish on a double.
The example of Anderson who has 50 points left is as follows:
Single 10 (10 points) then Double 20 (40 points) = 50 points that he has left.
Fun Practice Game to 9 Dart Finish
Another way of getting a 9 dart finish in 501 is hitting exactly 167 points with each throw (each 3 darts).
167 x 3 = 501
For each throw the player would need to hit:
- Triple 20 (60)
- Triple 19 (57)
- And bullseye (50)
60 + 57 + 50 = 167
The advantages of this strategy are that each target is nowhere close to the other so you do not have to worry about darts hitting each other. However, moving around the board like this is extremely difficult, especially finishing on the bullseye for each throw as it is the hardest double to hit.
However, a really fun practice exercise at home to pull off a 9 dart finish, and who knows, you may find it’s your thing!
9 dart finish is the holy grail of 501 play and if you manage to achieve it congratulations! You have now joined an elite club of talented darts players. We have lots of articles on how to play different darts games – check them out here: https://dartpicks.com/learn-darts/
Sue has been playing darts since her 20’s when she played in weekly tournaments and she enjoys writing about darts. She’s also a great teacher, and she enjoys helping others learn how to play the game well. When Sue isn’t throwing darts, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
The easy way to keep track of your score is with our printable darts scoresheets. Easy to download and keep on your phone or computer or print straight off from our website. Pop your email address into the box and we'll send them straight to you.