Even today, the trend continues, with darts now being officially considered a pub sport and with official dart tournaments and championships being organized. What started out as a simple entertainment has now become a world renowned indoor sport. Following are the official American dartboard regulations, as recognized by the American Darts Organization (ADO).
Parameters of a Dartboard
- The diameter of the board should be a maximum of 18 inches or 457 mm.
- The first ring beginning from the outside, after the ring with the numbers, is known as the Double Ring.
- Further inward, the narrow ring is called the Triple Ring.
- The ring encircling the exact center of the board is called the Bull.
- The circle at the exact center of the board is the Bull's eye.
- The maximum size of the dart should not exceed 12 inches.
Placing the Board
- The center of the dartboard or the bull's eye should be placed at a height of 1.73 m or 5 ft 8 inches from the floor.
- The minimum distance from where a player will throw a dart is 2.37 m or 7 ft 9¼ inches.
- A hockey (pronounced 'okki') line marks the position of the player. Ideally, it should be a 38 mm or 1½ inch raised bar, and 610 mm or 2 ft long, placed at the minimum throwing distance. In case a bar is not available, you may use a tape to mark the hockey line.
- The scoreboard is to be placed laterally at a distance of 4 ft from the board.
- All darts are to be thrown by the hand, held in the manner one holds a pen.
- Every throw provides 3 chances, unless the bull's eye is hit before that.
- No dart is to be touched, once it hits the board. If it is touched, the throw will be deemed completed.
- If a dart bounces off the board, or falls before a minimum of 5 seconds after hitting it, it cannot be thrown again.
- The game is usually played between 2 players, though in some cases, there may be team events. The decision as to which player will begin is decided by flipping a coin. The player winning the coin flip decides who goes first.
- The game begins by 'throwing the cork', that is, hitting the bull's eye or bull. Thus, the player throwing first throws the cork. The player who throws closest to the cork throws the 1st leg or the 1st game of the match.
- The player who loses the first leg, can begin first in the second leg. A third leg may be necessary in cases, where the player who lost the coin flip can throw the cork first.
- The second player or thrower may ask for the dart of the first player to be removed, after acknowledging it as an inner or outer Bull or Cork. If the dart is removed without consent of the second player, then there will be a re-throw, where the second player will go first.
- A re-throw also occurs when a scorer is unable to decide the placement of the dart closest to the cork. However, the decision of the scorer will be final.
- The game is played when each player has been given a preset score, either 501 or 301. The game is completed when the score is reduced to an exact zero. If a player attains a score that is less than zero, then he is 'busted' and his score is reset to the required score at the beginning of the throw.
- A leg is completed when a player hits the 'double' that is necessary to reduce the score to zero.
- A dart must remain fixed on the board for a minimum of 5 seconds after the third or last dart has been thrown by the player. It should be affixed to the bristle of the board.
- A score is decided by the side of the wire on which the dart hits the board. If it hits the connecting wires of a board, the higher value of the segment is considered as the score.
- No dart should be touched by any person in the room without the consent of the scorer. The throw will be considered complete in case such an event occurs.
- The score should be verified by the player before removing the darts from the board, and before beginning a new throw, else the scores are final and binding on the player.
- The scoreboard should be visible to the players at the hockey.
- When the dart hits the double ring, the score of that segment is doubled. For instance, if he hits the double ring in the segment marked 18, the actual score is 36.
- Similarly, if the dart hits the triple ring, the score of that segment is tripled. As such, if he hits 18, the score will now be 54.
- Hitting the bull will give the player 25 points, while the bull's eye is worth 50 points.
- All these scores are deducted from the set total of 501 or 301.
While darts originated in the UK, this game has now been universally accepted. The rules and regulations may slightly differ in different parts of the world, but the basics remain the same as per the World Darts Federation.