How to Play Shanghai Darts

  • By: Sue
  • Date: June 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.
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Shanghai darts is a simple yet challenging darts game for experienced players. It’s a good way to practice your throwing at all numbers on the board while under considerable pressure to be exact. Before you start you’ll want a good understanding of how to play darts.

Shanghai Explained

The term ‘Shanghai’ in darts is used when a player hits a treble, single and double of the same number, within a three dart turn. Hence a ‘Shanghai finish’ is when a player closes out a game this way. The most common being a Shanghai finish of 120; hitting triple 20 (60 points), single 20 (20 points), and double 20 (40 points).


Be the first player to score a Shanghai. A Shanghai is when a player hits a treble, double and single of the same number.

Check out our free printable scoresheet for Shanghai darts.

Number of Players

Two. Or you can play alone for practice.

How to Play

Decide who goes first.

On the scoreboard write down numbers 1-20.

Starting with number 1, each player takes a turn to throw three darts all at the number 1 and attempt to hit a single, a double, and a triple of number 1.

If a player achieves this, they win the game.

However, if they do not, the score of hitting number 1’s is added to the scoreboard and kept as a running total.

If the darts hit any other number, they count as 0.

Next players take turns to target number 2. And so on.

How to Win

Hit a Shanghai (a single, double and triple, all in 3 darts).

If you get to 20 and no one has achieved a Shanghai, the player with the highest running score wins.


Game narrative of the above game as it’s scored:

  • Betty goes first and hits 3 single 1’s (scores 3)
  • Bob hits a single 1 and 2 x single 20’s (neither of which count)
  • Betty hits one 2, one bounceout and one 15 (which doesn’t count)
  • Bob hits a triple 2 (6 points), a 15 and a 17 (which don’t count)
  • Betty hits a double 3 (6 points) and hits 19 twice (which don’t count)
  • Bob hits one single 3 and a 17 and a miss (which don’t count)
  • Betty hits a triple 4 (12 points) a 13 and a 6 (no points)
  • Bob hits double 4 (8 points) hits 13 twice (no points0
  • Betty hits treble 5, single 5 and double – SHANGHAI!

In the example above Betty has won as when she got to number 5, she hit treble 5, single 5 and a double 5. Notice the running total kept for each attempt at Shanghai in case neither player makes it and you have to add the score at the end.

It’s tough to get Shanghai as it requires a lot of precision. For this reason, it’s a good practice game for players who want to improve. Not only is the focus on hitting small targets, but also managing to do so all within a 3 dart throw turn.

Shanghai for Practice

When you’re playing 501 or 301 darts, you will often want to use the different numbers on the board to round out numbers so you can leave the double to finish out on.

Playing Shanghai is perfect to practice targeting trebles and doubles on the board. It’s also a fun way to focus your practice time when playing alone.

In Summary

Here’s how to play Shanghai darts in a nutshell:

  • Each player takes it in turn to throw 3 darts
  • Numbers are targetted in numerical order, starting with number 1
  • A player wins when they get a shanghai ffinish in the number they are targetting.
  • A Shanghai is hitting a treble, single, and double of one number.

This game is fun and easy to learn, but it does take some skill to master the art of successfully hitting doubles and trebles on command. We hope you enjoy improving your darts throwing with this fun game. Let us know how you get on!

Get Our Free Darts Scoresheets PackThe easy way to keep track of scores whilst playing

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.


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