Darts is one of the most-loved sports in the world. It's easy to get into if you want to try playing, as all you need is a board and some darts or someone who will let you borrow theirs. Of course, darts are also hugely popular as a spectator sport, with millions watching games in person and on TV. Many also enjoy placing bets on matches, particularly major events like the PDC World Darts Championship and the Grand Slam of Darts. This is boosted by the fact that many of the biggest bookies run free offers and promotions that can be used on darts markets, among others.
If you're new to darts and looking to learn more about this incredible sport, you might be wondering where to start. Well, wonder no more! Here's a beginner's guide to darts to help you find your feet.
The rules of darts are fairly simple to understand. It's played by two or more players who take turns throwing their darts at the board. In the standard game, each player gets three darts that they launch at the board one after the other before stepping aside for the next player.
While there are many UK Regional Dartboards, a standard design is used by most players and in almost every major competition. It comprises a centre circle, an inner ring that surroundings it, and then 20 segments that radiate from this. These segments are punctuated by an outer ring and an intermediary ring that's halfway between the centre and the circumference.
The individual segments are assigned a number, though these are not distributed sequentially. Instead, they place low and high-value numbers next to each other to reward accuracy and punish inconsistent players.
The outer ring doubles the points you earn from that segment, meaning 20 becomes worth 40 and six becomes 12. Similarly, the middle ring triples the points on offer, turning 20 into 60 and six into 18. Meanwhile, hitting the central circle, known as the bullseye, will bag you 50 points, and the ring surrounding it, the outer bullseye, gets you 25.
In the standard version of darts, each player starts with either 501 or 301 points. Their task is to be the first player to reach zero by throwing their darts at the optimum spots on the board. Since the most points you can earn in a single round of three throws would be 180 (three triple 20s), you'll need at least two rounds to win a game of 301.
Getting started with darts is easy. Most sports bars and pubs have dartboards that you can use for free. However, there may be a small fee for soft-tip dartboards. They're also relatively inexpensive to buy if you want to practice at home. Buying anything fancy is unnecessary, though decent quality will help you find consistency.
Learning to play darts has two main components. Firstly, you need to understand the rules, particularly the scoring system, so spending some time brushing up on this can be helpful.
Secondly, you need to be able to throw well. The only way that you can do this is by practising a lot. As you do this, you'll want to try out different grip methods and stances to see which ones work best for you.
If you would rather (or also) watch the professionals show off their dart-throwing prowess, then you have two main options. You can watch games on TV, or you can go and watch in person.
Of course, television allows you the freedom to watch matches at your leisure without having to travel. However, many fans also enjoy seeing darts live, not only because they get to see some of the most talented players on the planet compete in the flesh but also because tournaments have an incredible atmosphere.
If you ever watch a major competition on TV, you'll notice that there is often just as much going on in the crowd as there is on the board. This is because darts fans create a festival-like atmosphere, often dressing up in a fancy dress, singing, dancing, and chanting.
This makes darts matches a unique experience you'll want to see first-hand.