As Bobby George says “trebles for show and doubles for dough!” Finishing games are what it all about! It’s great when you can score high but if you can’t finish you are not going to win! 

Many people when first starting to play find it difficult to remember combination checkouts. Some combinations are better than others purely because if you miss the first shot you may still be in line for an easy single then double to finish. But knowing how and why can make the difference of winning or losing. This again can depend on what is the best three dart finish or two dart finish! Scholars of the board may give different opinions and their preferred combination route. 

To get you started here is an example showing a couple of options facing a dart-thrower.


To win you need 77 and must finish on a double! 77 can be finished by hitting treble 15, double 16, one of the nicest doubles on the board. But what if you hit a single 15? This leaves you with 62, – Single 12 Bull? , Treble 10 double 16? Both are not easy to hit. But what if you decided to go for 77 a different way? Treble 19, double 10? And you missed treble 19 but hit the single? Then this still leaves you a shot at single 18 then double 20. This seems a better route and there are many shots similar to this. There are also a number of ways to finish and below just give you one way, but not necessarily the best when you have three darts for a two-dart finish.

Darts Checkout Chart

The checkout sheet I have produced will help new players and players that find it hard to remember out shots. The checkout sheet is FREE to download and use. So why not place one up near your board in your club so it helps you or others improve their game!

Many games are still scored using marker pen and paper or marker pen and whiteboard or even chalk and a chalkboard. Professional matches are still scored this way. The only current exception is the TV/ Stage stages of BDO events when they now opt to use a computerised scoring system.

Now That’s the way to do it!

The Darts-UK checkout chart is in PDF and designed to fit A4 paper. Download it here: 


Darts-UK Checkout Chart 

The dart average gives an indication of a dart thrower’s darting ability. The higher the average normally indicates the better player. It is quite easy to calculate dart averages; basically, you just divide the score hit by the number of darts thrown. Over a match that has several legs, the average is calculated over the entire match, not by a single leg. I have shown a printable example of how to calculate a single leg of 501 but if you lose the game what is your average? This is easy to work out just divide the total score obtained by the darts thrown e.g. 400 scored in 15 darts = 26.67 per dart or 80.01 per throw.  If you are calculating a match that is over several legs then the calculation is the same. Just total the number of points scored by the number of darts thrown. 


An example of  a three-leg match, each leg 501

Leg One: Player ‘A’ wins in 18 darts, Player ‘B’ scores 401 with 15 darts. Leg Two: Player’ A ‘loses, scores 469 with 21 darts, player ‘B’ wins in 22 darts Leg Three: Player ‘A’ wins in 17 darts, player ‘B’ scores 424 in 16 darts. 

Match Averages

Player ‘A’ scored a total of 1,471 with 56 darts their average per dart = 26.27. This is usually expressed in TV darts as a three dart throw, therefore, 78.81.

Player ‘B’ scored a total of 1,326 with 53 darts their average per dart = 25.02 their three-dart average would be 75.06.

Also, some TV events (BD0) will show the first 9 dart average as well as the overall average.This is to show how good or bad the scoring power of a player may be. Shots at double are sometimes shown as an average statistic and this is worked out in the same way.



Eric Bristow, the five-times world darts champion, has died aged 60 after suffering a heart attack at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.

Bristow, who dominated the sport in the 1980s, winning three successive world titles between 1984 and 1986, was at the Echo Arena in Liverpool to watch a Premier League fixture when he was taken ill and collapsed.

A statement from the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) later confirmed his death.

Barry Hearn, the promoter who helped transform darts from the bar room to the big screen, described the man known as the Crafty Cockney as a legend of British sport.

“It’s just unbelievable. He was working as normal in hospitality, started feeling ill and collapsed and died. Our thoughts go out to his wife and family because this has come as a massive shock to the whole sport of darts,” Hearn said.

“He was a tremendous player and a huge character and even after his retirement fans would travel for miles to meet him and see him play.”

News of his death was greeted with a rendition of “There’s only one Eric Bristow” by fans at the Echo Arena as Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney stopped playing after breaking down in tears.

Keith Deller, the 1983 world champion who beat Bristow in that final, said: “I’m devastated, me and Eric were together all the time. What he’s done for our game, if it wasn’t for Eric, no one would be here tonight.”

Born in Hackney, Bristow shot to fame as a 23-year-old when he beat Bobby George in the final of the 1980 British Darts Organisation world championships, beating John Lowe the following year to retain his title.

His success coincided with increased television coverage of the sport and his lightning quick action and supreme ability ensured he became a household name – a status he thrived upon. After a shock defeat in 1982 and his loss to Deller, Bristow’s hat-trick of titles underlined his status as darts’ first real superstar.

“When Alexander the Great was 33 he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer,” legendary darts commentator Sid Waddell famously declared following another of his thrilling victories. “Bristow is only 27.”

But the 6-0 thrashing of Dave Whitcombe in 1986 proved to be his last world title due to the onset of a psychological condition known as dartitis – which meant he was unable to release darts in the fluid manner for which he had become famous. He still went on to reach the final three more times, before helping to lead a breakaway of the game’s leading players to form the World Darts Council in 1993, an organisation that later became the PDC.

Bristow also played a key role in mentoring 16-time world champion Phil Taylor and also moved into broadcasting with Sky Sports after retiring from the sport in 2000. He was sacked in 2016 after describing abuse victims of former Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra coach Barry Bennell as “wimps” and “not proper men” on Twitter. He later apologised for acting like a “bull in a china shop”.

“Eric was never afraid of controversy, but he spoke as he found and was honest and straightforward, which is what people admired about him,” said Hearn. “The PDC, and the sport of darts, will miss him.”

Matthew Porter, the PDC’s chief executive, posted on social media that he had been with Bristow before he collapsed: “Awful evening here in Liverpool. Was with Eric earlier and he was in great spirits. A massive character. There are tears for a legend backstage here tonight.”


Rules of Darts

Unlike many traditional pub games, Darts has become popular enough to be organised by large governing bodies.  Since the game originated in England, it is not surprising that the most prestigious of them is the British Darts Organisation and consequently the rules from the BDO have been used as guidelines.  Where there is any doubt, the rules played by the locals should always apply. 

Please note that 1 yard = 3 feet =  36 inches = 0.9144 metres. 



By far the most commonly used design of darts board today is the “clock” or “trebles” board and that is the only board that will be considered in these instructions.  A good board should be made from vegetable fibre and is called a “bristle board”.  The pattern on the board is delineated by wire and hue.   It consists of a circle of 20 segments numbered from 1 to 20 in a seemingly random fashion.  At the centre is a small black circle called the “bullseye” and, surrounding that, a thin red ring called the 25 ring.  The segments spread out from this ring broken only by the “treble” ring about half way to the edge and “double” ring which marks the rim of the circle.  So, for instance, if a dart lands in the segment marked 14 and is within the treble ring, a “treble 14” has been scored.

Each player has 3 darts which are front-weighted, flighted, weapons a few inches long with a sharp point.

The board is placed so that the middle of the bullseye is 1.73m (5 feet, 8 inches) above the ground.  Players should stand behind a raised horizontal block called the “oche” (pronounced “okky”) 38 mm (1 1/2 inches) high, although any mark on the ground will do for casual play.  The front of the oche should be 2.37m (7 feet, 9 and 1/4 inches) from the front of the board.


501 and 301

Most professional matches are “501 up”.  This is the simplest of games.   Each player starts with a score of 501 and takes turns to throw 3 darts.  The score for each turn is calculated and deducted from the players total.  Bullseye scores 50, the outer ring scores 25 and a dart in the double or treble ring counts double or treble the segment score.  The objective is to be the first player to reduce the score to exactly zero, the only caveat being that the last dart thrown must land in a double or the bullseye.  

If a player reduces the score to 1 or goes below zero, the score is bust, that turn ends immediately and the score is returned to what it was at the start of that turn.  e.g. if a player has 32 to go out and the first dart is a 16, the second is a 15, the player is bust and the score is returned to 32.  So on the last turn, it is not necessary to throw all 3 darts – a player can win with the first or second dart of the turn.

Because a player who misses a targeted double is likely to score the single of that segment, good players attempt to leave themselves with a repeatably bisectable number such as 24 or most ideally 32 – double 16. So for instance, if a player has double 16 left, and hits a 16, he has double 8 left and if he then hits an 8 he has double 4 left and so on – this is advantageous because no extra darts need to be thrown in order to reduce the score to an even number… It so often happens that people reduce their score to 1 (typically while aiming for double 1), some people play a very unofficial rule called “splitting the 11”. This rule says that when the score is reduced to 1, instead of going bust, the player must “split the 11” by throwing a dart between the two numbers forming the number 11 on the edge of the board. This is tricky. 

301 is played in exactly the same way but players start the game with 301.  Some games require a double to start scoring as well as to finish the game.  

When the score goes below 171, professional players know the numbers to aim at order to check out in a single turn with 3 darts. Here is a table of such combinations.

For all numbers lower than 146, there are at least 3 check-out combinations. 

Around the Clock

A popular game played for fun is “Around the Clock”.  In this, each player takes turns to throw 3 darts and is required to throw a dart in every segment starting from 1 up to 20 and then to finish with the 25 and bullseye.  Players must start with 1 and cannot proceed to the next number until a dart has been successfully thrown at the current target segment.  Doubles and trebles are ignored.  First player to hit all the targets and then finish with the bullseye wins.



There are a number of games played with a darts board that are based around other pub games and this is the most common of them.  Each player takes turn to throw 3 darts as per usual.  

To start, players toss a coin to decide who bats first.  The batting player starts and, during each turn, attempts to score as many points as possible using the usual 501 scoring system.  When the batting player scores more than 40 points in a turn, the number of points above 40 is added to that player’s score.  e.g. If the batting player scores 58, 18 points (runs) are added to that players score.  Otherwise the batting player scores nothing.  

The opposing player is deemed to be bowling and this player aims only at the bullseye.   The bowling player scores 2 wickets for the bullseye and 1 wicket for the 25 ring.   Players take turns until the bowling player throws a dart that scores the 10th wicket.  At that point, the roles are reversed and the other player has an “innings” (turn to bat).  The game should end when both players have played two innings each at which point the player with the highest score has won the match.

If the batting player should land a dart in the bullseye or 25 ring, the batting player loses a wicket or two accordingly.  If the bowling player throws a dart which does not land in the board, 20 “extras” are awarded to the batting side.

For less skilled players, the game can be made easier in a variety of ways.  Here are some suggestions: 

  • Each innings consists of less wickets e.g. 4.
  • The target for a wicket can be changed to be the segments 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20.
  • The batting players scores the absolute amount each turn rather than the amount beyond 40.



This is the most popular game for large groups and is good swift fun. There are variations but this is the basic game.

To begin, an order of play is decided, and each player throws one dart ‘bad-handed’ (left-handed players throw right-handed and vice-versa) at the board to decide their number. Obviously, if a dart misses or hits a number that is already allocated, the player retries. Each player is allocated a set number of lives (usually 5) and is generally required to put a small stake into a pot. It is a good tactic to avoid being adjacent to somebody elses number.

Players start by taking turns to aim at their allocated number, scoring a life for each dart that hits it, 2 lives for a double and 3 lives for a treble. Once a player has scored 5 lives, that player is a ‘killer’ until somebody else deducts one or more lives from his score. However, a player must get EXACTLY 5 lives to become a killer, if he overshoots, then his score is deducted by the amount exceeded. For instance, if a player is on 4 lives and hits a treble of his number, the first of the 3 lives scored takes the player to 5 but the remaining 2 lives are deducted – so the end result is a score of 3 lives.

Once a player is a killer, they aim at any of the other player’s numbers. Each time they do, the appropriate number of lives is deducted from the victimised player’s score. When a player is reduced to below 0, that player is out of the game. For instance if a player has 1 life and a killer hits that player’s number’s double, that player’s score is reduced to -1 and he is out of the game.

The final player left in the game is the winner and collects the pot.