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What is darts 501?

Darts 501 is one of the most common darts games in the world. Its rules are easy enough to understand that anyone can learn it! Players start the game with a total 501 points each.

Their main goal is to be the first player to bring their total number of points down to zero. Sounds easy, right? It’s a little trickier than it seems. You will need skills, strategy and a bit of luck to do well in darts 501 especially if you are a beginner.

Equipment for Darts 501

  • Dartboard
  • Darts
  • Scoreboard

How to Play Darts 501

Darts 501 is very similar to darts 301. Whereas the players in 301 start the game with a total of 301 points each, players in 501 start off with 501 points instead.

Each player takes turns throwing their darts at the dartboard and collecting points that can be subtracted from their total points. For both games, players race against each other to bring their total points to exactly zero points first.

Darts 501 Rules

Here are the rules that you need to keep in mind when playing darts 501:

  1. You can play darts 501 with two players or two teams with as many people as you want.
  2. To decide the playing order, you can flip a coin to decide who goes first. Another option is for all the players to throw darts, and the one whose darts hits closest to the bullseye will go first. The order goes depending how near to the bullseye a dart lands. The player with the dart that lands farthest from the bullseye goes last.
  3. Each player gets three darts per turn. Teams take alternating turns to throw their darts.
  4. Players can start to earn points from their first throw unlike in darts 301 where they need to double in first to be able to earn points.
  5. If a player scores 1 or less than zero, their game will become “busted” and their previous score will be restored. If a player hits zero without scoring a double, this will also be a “bust”.
  6. The game ends once a player brings down their total points to exactly zero by doubling out.
  7. If none of the players get zero points in twenty turns, the player with the lowest number of points wins.

Darts 501 double out

Similar to darts 301, 501 requires players to double out to finish the game. Players need to hit a double and make their score exactly zero to win the game.

If you need some assistance once you reach 170 points or less, try using a Dart Out Chart to determine the numbers that you should target. This chart is especially useful for players who are not so good at making calculations.

What makes 501 different from 301

Darts 301 and 501 are largely similar, but they do have some differences. Here are some of the rules that make 501 different from 301.

1. Number of Total Points

This is the most obvious difference. In darts 501, players start off with a total of 501 points whereas in darts 301, they start with 301 points.

2. No need for double in

There is no need to double in in darts 501. (A double in is when a player hits any double on the dartboard) In 501, you can immediately start deducting points from your total from the first dart you throw on the board.

3. Any-in & Any-out

If you’re going to play darts 501 in a bar, there is a special rule called Any-in & Any-out.

Basically, Any-in means starting a game with any move that a player makes. On the other hand, Any-out refers to finishing a game with any move that a player makes.

These rules help the game finish quickly and are mainly used when playing darts 501 in bars or pubs.

Darts 501 tips

Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when playing darts 501:

  1. 501 can take a long time to finish, so try to be patient and remain calm all the time. This will help you have a clear mind while playing.
  2. Try to hit as many high numbers as possible at the start of the game.
  3. Once your dart lands on the dartboard, make sure that it stays on the board for at least five seconds or until your score is recorded. If your dart falls off quickly, the score will not be counted.
  4. If you are having a hard time hitting any number, aim for triple 14, 12, 11, 9 and 8. This can help you bring up your score quickly when you fail to hit 20.
  5. Always focus on your game first. Don’t pay too much attention on your opponent’s score since it can distract you and make you feel pressured which will not be good for your game.
  6. If you are about to double out, try to aim for the number 32. If you miss to hit a double, you will still get a chance with the other numbers. For example, if you hit a single 16, you can aim for double 8 instead.
  7. Avoid getting “busted”, so that you don’t have to keep starting over.

Special tip for beginners

If you are stuck on an odd number, try to aim for the numbers on the bottom of the board, 7, 19, 3 and 17. This will bring you back to an even number, which you need when you are about to double out.

Darts 501 Scoring

Scoring for darts 501 is similar to darts 301. Here are the points you can collect in darts 501:

  • The bullseye (the red circle in the middle) counts for 50 points. It is also called the “Full Bull”.
  • The outer bull (four fields around the bullseye) are worth 25 points. It is also called the “Half Bull”.
  • The double ring (outer ring) numbers are worth double the points of the number where the dart lands.
  • The triple/treble ring (inner ring) numbers are worth triple the points of the number where the dart lands.

Want to learn more about darts?

Darts 501 is a great game that can be played by both beginner and serious players. You can learn how to play darts and get better at it by understanding the various games and rules and having lots of practice!

Read our article on darts to learn more!

✍️  February 24, 2021

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