Dartboard Rules and Distances – The Essential Info

Dartboard rules and distances

In this section we look at dartboard rules as well as the dartboard distance and height that you need to set it up for.

Before playing darts for the first time it is good to familiarize yourself with the darts rules and distances and how to set up a dartboard.

There aren’t many rules and regulations for playing darts but to play properly you need to know how high the dartboard should be and also how far away you should stand from the dartboard when throwing your darts.

Here’s a summary:

Dartboard rules

The most common form of darts game is “501”, where each player starts on 501 and has to score points as quickly as they can until the score reaches zero.

Each player takes it in turn to throw three darts at a time.

The collective score of the three darts is then subtracted from the overall score (beginning at 501).

The last dart thrown before the score reaches zero must be a double or a bullseye.

Once a player gets to below 180, he can checkout in 3 darts. Most numbers under 180 can be checked out.

[Take a look at this handy Darts Checkout Table]

For example, if a player needs 24 and take his turn to throw, he can finish in one dart by throwing a double 12.

If he misses and hits a single 12 he will then have 12 left, meaning he can finish by scoring a double 6.

If the player then hits a score higher than 12 he will “bust” which puts his score back to what it was before his throw of darts (i.e. he would go back to 24 and in the next three darts would need to hit a double 12 again.

When a player’s score reaches below 180 he has a chance to reach zero in three darts with a scoring double as the last dart. The accomplishment of this is called a “checkout”.

A checkout is not possible for all combinations below 180, for example, it is not possible to score 163 in three darts with a double score on the last dart. Therefore, you cannot checkout on 163.

In some matchplay versions of darts each player must begin the game by throwing a double, as well as finishing on a double. This type of game is called a “double start”

A number of games are played to decide the winner. Typically, players will play the best of five “legs” to decide who wins the “set”. Each leg starts at 501 and finishes once a player has checked out with a double. Any number of sets can be played. Both the PDC World Championship and World Grand Prix use the “set” format for deciding winners.

Dartboard distance and height

Dartboard distance

The oche (the regulation dartboard distance from the front of the board to the your toeline as you stand to throw) should measure 7 feet 9.25 inches (237 cm). For a standing darts player both feet must behind the oche line. For a wheelchair user both rear wheels of the wheelchair must be behind the line, although the front wheels of the wheelchair can be in front of the oche line.

Dartboard height

For a standing darts player the regulation dartboard height measured vertically upwards from the floor to the center of the bullseye should be 5 feet 8 inches (173 cm).

For a wheelchair user (seated darts player) the height should be 4 foot 5 inches (137 cm) from the floor.

Dartboard height and distance regulation
Summary diagram showing the regulation dartboard height and distance