One of the best things about darts is the versatility it offers in terms of game variety. 301 delivers a perfect balance of challenge and simplicity.
It’s the ultimate party game for newcomers, who will enjoy its straightforward rules with an easy scoring system that anyone can play; while experienced players relish trying out new strategies to see how quickly they can finish.
If you are up for doing some math, let us talk you through 301. This guide will explain the scoring and rules of the game.
Objective of 301
The objective of 301 is simple – be the first player to get to zero points exactly by finishing on a double (the bullseye also counts as a double). If you score higher than the points needed to finish, your points reset to the number you started with on that turn.
You can either play in a team (2 v2) or individually (1 v 1).
Each time a player has a turn they add up their score from 3 darts and subtract it from the 301 total.
The following three zones are the basis of the scoring system:
- Triple: A triple is represented by the thin middle ring. If you’re looking for a triple, aim for this ring. Triple the number.
- Double: The thin outer ring, the bullseye, and the ring surrounding it are considered to be two times as thick. The score you receive for landing should be multiplied by 2. Because the bullseye scores 50 points, it is regarded as one.
- Single: Score that hits one of the larger areas in the board’s innermost regions is not multiplied. It will count only twenty if you score in one of the 20 sections.
Starting a Game
Get our free printable scoresheet for 301.
Before you can earn points on the scoreboard, you must throw a double.
In tournaments, each game is called a ‘leg’ and you can play three legs at tournaments – best of three, or in other words, the first player to win two games. In subsequent games, the player who did not win gets to go first.
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How to Score in 301 Darts Game
The scoring system for 301, is simple and straightforward. Begin by listing each player’s name on the sheet. Separated by a straight line. Then another line to divide the score per round by the running score.
Space will be divided into two sections by each player. The outside will show the player’s score for the turn.
The inside will show the running total. In the example pictured,
- David threw a score of 80 with his first 3 darts, and that was subtracted from 301, to get 221.
- Then Andrew scored 141 with his first 3 darts, subtracted from 301 equals 160.
- Then David threw 96 points which is subtracted from his running total of 221 to get 125.
- And so on.
Tips and Tricks
The most important thing is to “double in” quickly. This can put pressure on your opponent and lets you start scoring immediately. The sooner you get the double and can start to score, the sooner you’re done! But, it can put tremendous pressure on your opponent if they just keep missing those doubles and can’t get started when you’re scoring up a storm.
When deciding on which double to start with, it is important to choose a number you can hit consistently. It doesn’t matter what number it is. The only thing that matters is how fast you can get into the game.
When trying to close out on a double, aim slightly outside – to minimize busting, you are better to score zero than perhaps hit an odd number that means you need a minimum of 2 more darts to finish out. 1 dart to make the number you have left even again, and one dart for the double.
When thinking of how to finish out, you can attempt to manipulate which double you are left with to finish the game. For eg. many players will try and be left with 40 so they can hit ‘double top’ or double 20, to close out the game. If they miss and hit a single 20, you can then go for double 10 to close out.
These are some more tips you might like to read about.
301 darts has been standard for darts for many years. Although darts have evolved to 501 and even 701, 301 still serves players who enjoy faster games and of course beginners. Like anything in life, the best way to improve at 301 darts is to practice.
To get started if you are a complete beginner, you can start by playing “straight in” instead of “double in.” If it’s someone’s first time you can ignore the ‘double-in” start and make it much easier to get things going.
Double starting does make the game more challenging, so if you are looking to improve your darts game, spend time practicing how to play 301 darts with double-in/double-out rules. We hope you love this game as much as we do!
Alex Cooper is the editor of this website. He loves darts and helping people. Alex started playing darts at the young age of 10, as his father was also a keen darts player, and has loved it ever since. Alex enjoys writing about darts and helping others learn more about the sport.
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