How to Play '01

Learn how to play the popular 301, 501, 701, 901, 1001 and any '01 family dart games.

How to Play 301 Darts

301, 501 Dart Game Rules

Test out your dexterity and your math skills with the classic 01 dart game. This dart game is popular all around the world due to its easy-to-learn rules and its status as *the* game played in the Darts World Championship.

Number of Players

Games of 01 are typically played with two players, that being said it's very easy to have more people join in. In fact, most dart games allow large groups of people to play together, which is what makes darts so great.

You can also easily adapt the rules to play on teams, where each team alternates having a person throw and each teammate’s throws count toward one score. This makes playing with teams a great option when playing high point games like 901 or 1001. 

How to Play

The most popular variations of 01 are 301, 501, 701, 901, and 1001. These are some of the most common dart games you'll see people playing in bars, and 501 is the game that's played in the World Darts Championship. Each variation of 01 follows almost identical rules, the only difference being the the starting number.

Determine who goes first in a game of 01 by using a method such as a coin flip or a bull-off. A bull-off is when each player throws a dart at the bull and whoever hits closest goes first.

Object of the Game
Players start with the score of whichever variation they are playing and each player takes turns throwing three darts. The object of the game is for each player to reduce their score to exactly zero, with the final throw being a double. 

Straight-In and Double or Triple-In/-Out Rules
There are a few different ways to start and finish 01 games. Games of 501 usually follow the straight-in and double-out rules. The straight-in rule means that any throw will count for points at the beginning of the game, whether it hits a single, double, or triple. The double-out rule means that the final throw has to be a double, otherwise that turn doesn’t count and the player "busts" and has to start their next turn with the same number of points that they began that turn with.

Games of 301 also follow the double-out rule, but they also will typically follow the double-in rule where you don’t start counting points until you score a double.

If playing casually you can change these rules around and make the game easier or harder depending on your level of skill. 

In 01 games, a player can bust, which means their previous turn's score is returned to them and their turn ends. A bust happens in the following situations:

  • The player scores more points than they have left, i.e. if they have 10 points left and score 20, then they’d be at -10 which is a bust.
  • The player ends with 1 point. Since the game requires a double to win a score of 1 would make it impossible.
  • The player reaches 0 points, but the throw isn’t a double. 

How to Win

To win, players simply need to aim for the highest numbers on the board until they get down to a reachable "out". Triple 20 is the highest scoring area on the dartboard, so experienced players who have a reliable throw will aim for that segment. Beginners can aim for the triple 20 as well, but it's worth noting that the 1 segment is just to the right, so a miss to the right could greatly jeopardize the player's chance of winning.

Once a player gets down to a reachable out, they need to plan out their strategy for getting to exactly zero. This is one of the most fun and challenging aspects of 01 dart games. Using an Outchart can make this much easier, as it shows different dart combinations to finish, depending on how many points are needed.

Check out the Viper Printable Outchart to help you with your game.

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