Rules of Darts

All Professional Darts Corporation tournaments are operated under the rules laid down by the Darts Regulation Authority.

Details of the DRA Rules can be found at this link, downloadable as a PDF (rules updated in January 2023), while below is a basic guide for beginners to the sport of darts.

In addition to the standard playing rules for darts, PDC tournaments have their own rules in relation to format, qualification and their Order of Merit status. Visit the Order of Merit section of this website to see these rules.

There are a number of different versions of the sport and also a number of different dartboards which are used around the world.

Here you can find details of the most commonly played version - 501 - used in all PDC events on a standard dartboard.

Dart Board Measurements:
Standard height from the floor to the bullseye on the dartboard is 5 feet 8 inches, while the oche (distance between the front of the board and the toeline) should measure 7 feet 9.25inches.

Basic Rules:
In a game of 501 the object is for one player or a team to be the first to reach zero from starting total of 501.

In simple terms, after three darts are thrown, the throwing player subtracts the total scored from his current total until he reaches zero.

In order to reach zero each player must finish by throwing a double i.e. if player one has 36 remaining he must hit double 18 to win, while if player two has 45 remaining he must hit single 5, double 20 to win - or a another combination of scores provided the final dart scores on a double.

Legs & Sets:
Games being played in the Legs format can be played to a 'Best of' format whereby a player or team winning six legs in a 'Best of 11 Leg' game wins the match.

Most PDC events are played in a Legs format.

Other tournaments will be played in Sets format, whereby players must win a Set by winning the Best of Five legs, before claiming the match in the Best of Three/Five/Seven/Nine/11/13 Sets.

The PDC World Championship and World Grand Prix are played using the Set format, with differing lengths of games at each tournament.

Double Start Format:
Some versions of the game require a 'double start' whereby players must begin the game with a double as well as 'checking out' on a double. The World Grand Prix uses the 'double in, double out' rule.

Click here to visit the DRA Website