How to Play 301 Darts
301 darts is the most common game played in amateur darts when you are first starting out. In this post I’ll be covering the rules, scoring, strategy and more when it comes to 301 darts. Let’s dive in!
Darts 301 Rules:
- Each player will begin on a score of 301.
- To finish you must hit a double
- To finish your score must end on exactly zero.
- In this version of the game the “Bullseye” will be split into two segments. These are known in The Netherlands as “Semi-Bullseye” and “Double Bullseye” and are also called “25” or “Bullseye” in the rest of the world.
- A semi-bullseye/25 will score 25 points.
- A bullseye shall score fifty points and if a player has fifty remaining the segment shall also class as a double.
Darts 301 Scoring:
Scoring in 301 is very straightforward. Both players will begin on 301 and will alternate in throwing three darts at the dartboard. Whatever is scored by the players is subtracted from their overall score. The goal here is to be the first player to reach exactly zero. Additionally, this game requires that you finish on a double.
301 Darts Strategy:
Darts is a game that requires a lot of strategy these can be split into two categories “Mental Strategy” and “Game Strategy”.
Mental strategy is a controversial strategy within the game which requires you playing small mind games with your opponent in order to put them off. Sixteen-time world champion Phil Taylor often would use mind games with his opponent. He’s also been known to do things to try to throw his opponent off, such as allegedly moving his opponent’s darts to the other side of the table both during and before games. Getting down to a low score quickly in 301 is relatively easy so the “Phil Taylor Approach” may not work in this sense.
If you are familiar with the game 501 darts the strategy will be almost identical. There will be three key stages which are the opening, mid-leg, and finishing stages.
In the opening stage it is essential that you start strong. You can’t afford to have your opponent open with a score of something like 100 and you follow with a significantly lower score. This puts you in a tough spot from the start. There’s nothing worse than putting unnecessary pressure on yourself from the onset of the game. However, you must also keep your score in mind and set yourself up for success on future throws.
Although the opening phase is important with setting yourself up with the optimal position, in the mid-leg phase it’s even more critical. In this phase you need to set yourself up well for the finishing phase of the leg. Below I have outlined some of the essentials to remember.
- In 301 it is possible to leave a finish after three darts, so remember 140, 131, 137 and 134 are all valuable score in 301 but you must be careful not to leave a score you can not finish (those being 159,162,163,165,166,168,169 and 171+)
- Take time to learn positions that require a certain target. This will take time to learn, but it is good to know and will lead to you winning more games.
When it comes to finishing it’s kind of like putting in golf. They say drive for show putt for dough. The same can be applied to finishing in darts. You can put up a high score in the opening and mid-leg phases, but if you can’t finish strong it really doesn’t matter. I recommend spending the majority of your time practicing doubles and checkouts.
Again, the more time you practice this the more natural it will become, and the better you will get at winning games. I hope you enjoyed this 301 darts overview. If you’d like to see more darts games check out my easy dart games post!