301 Darts: How To Play

301 darts is one of the most popular zero-one dart games you can play. The goal of the game is to go from having 301 points at the start to having exactly zero points.

Each player in 301 darts will start the game with 301 points. Each throw will reduce the total number of points a player has, with each player aiming to get to zero points before the others can. The game requires precision and accuracy, as a person has to get to exactly zero points at the end of the game without going over that total.

301 darts is a popular game for beginners learning to play competitive darts. Players who become experienced in 301 darts can move on to other zero-one dart games that require more points like 501, 701, or even 1501 darts.

How Does 301 Darts Work?

A typical game of 301 darts will work like this:

  • Each player will start with 301 points.
  • All players will take turns throwing darts on the board.
  • The number of points a player has will drop based on whatever one hits on the dartboard. For example, if the player has 301 points and hits a double 15, a single 6, and a single 5, the score goes down to 260.
  • When a player gets close to zero, that person will need to score a total equal to whatever is necessary to reach zero.
  • The person who gets to exactly zero points first wins the game.

How Many Darts Will You Throw In Each Turn?

Most 301 darts games entail each player throwing three darts during a turn. Some groups may allow a player to throw one or two darts in one turn, although such a strategy would be more suitable for the later stages of the game.

How Do You Determine the Order?

The most popular method of determining the order is bulling-up, a practice where each player will throw one dart at the board. The player who is the closest to the bullseye will go first. The rest of the order is determined by whoever was the second closest to the bullseye and so forth.

How Does the Scoring Work?

The scoring for 301 darts works like any other dart game:

  • The double ring on the outer end of the board doubles all point totals. A dart that hits the double part on a 17 will get 34 points, for example.
  • The triple ring in the middle triples the score for that throw. The highest score someone can get is a 60 for hitting the triple section on the 20 wedge.
  • The outside ring on the bullseye is worth 25 points, while the inner ring in the middle is 50 points.

Players in 301 darts will typically go after the 18, 19, and 20 wedges at the start because those spots will get them closer to zero faster. But the target wedges and sections will start to drop as a player gets near zero, requiring a player to prepare to go after every part of the board.

The Endgame

A player will win a game of 301 darts if that person is the first to reach exactly zero points. A player who scores more than the total number of points necessary to get to zero will bust. That person's round will end, and the score will reset to whatever that player's score was at the start of the round. The player will then start the next round with the same goal of reaching whatever points are necessary to win.

For example, you might have a score of 15. You would have to get a single 15 or a triple 5 to win the game.

The Double-In and Double-Out Variant

One of the most popular rule variations for 301 darts is the double-in and double-out rule. A double-in start requires a player to hit a double on the board before that person can start counting down one's score in the first round. This rule only applies to the first round, so you won't be obligated to throw a double in any other stage.

The double-out end involves a player hitting a double to get one's score down to zero, plus the double must occur on one's first scoring dart. For example, if your score was an 18, you'd have to get a double 9 on your first dart to win. You could throw three darts in that round, but you would bust if you either go past zero or have an odd score at the end.

This version of playing 301 darts adds an extra challenge, but it is better for more experienced players. You can stick with a straight-in and straight-0ut version of the game if you're new to 301 darts. The straight-in and straight-out variant doesn't require you to get a double to start or end the game, but you'll still need to get to exactly zero at the end.

Tips For Playing 301 Darts

There are many tips you can consider when playing 301 darts:

  • Try to get to an even number near the end of the game to improve your chances of winning. With an even number, you could have two or three options for getting to your target score.
  • Aim for double and triple points at the start to quickly lower your score.
  • Don't be too concerned with trying to hit the bullseye, as the 25 or 50 points you could score there won't be as much as what you'd get from many double or triple spots.
  • For games where you throw three darts per round, make sure you spread the darts around well enough. Attempting to hit the same spot two or three times in a round could be a challenge, what with your old darts being in the way.

What About Other Zero-One Games?

You can move on to other zero-one games after you become used to 301 darts. These include games like 501 and 701 darts that take longer to play. The rules for these games are the same as for 301 darts.