HOW TO PLAY CRICKET
Learn how to play cricket, the classic dart game.
Cricket Dart Game Rules
As the most popular dart game in the US, Cricket is an essential game to know for any dart player or bar-goer out there. With the right instruction, learning how to play cricket darts is easy. This guide will start you on your journey to becoming a Cricket master.
On this page:
- Number of Players
- How to Play
- How to Win
- Tips and Strategy
- Cricket Variations
Number of Players
One or more people can play this game. It can also easily be played in teams of two.
How to Play
In a standard game of American Cricket, players take turns throwing three darts at the dartboard in an attempt to hit the specified targets. The object of the game is to have more points than the opponent once the targets have been closed out.
Targets: 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and bull
The targets are "open" for each player at the beginning of the game and must be "closed" by scoring three marks. This can be done in a variety of combinations, across several turns if necessary. A single counts as one mark, a double as two, and a triple as three. The outer and inner ring of the bull count as one and two marks respectively.
1 Mark - Single
2 Marks - Double
3 Marks - Triple - Target is closed
The first player to close a target “owns” it and is able to score points on it until their opponent closes it too. Keep in mind that once both players have closed the same target, it no longer awards any points. Because of this rule, it is advantageous for players to try to close out the highest targets first before their opponent, so they can start scoring a high amount of points. It is possible to score points by earning more hits on a throw than a player needs to close the target. For example, if a player has two hits on 20, and then hits a triple 20, they would close the 20 and earn 40 points.
How to Win
To win a game of Cricket, a player needs to close all target numbers and have more points than their opponent. If a player closes all of their numbers but they have fewer points than their opponent, then they have to keep scoring until they are ahead or their opponent closes all target numbers. Whoever achieves both first, wins.
Tips and Strategy
A good strategy for Cricket is to aim for the highest available numbered targets first and save the bull for last. For example, if a player aims to close the 20 first, they can start scoring points off of it, which will accrue a higher score faster than if they had closed out the 15 first. As for the bull, many experienced players opt to go for that target last because it is the most difficult area to hit, which means scoring on it once it is closed is more difficult than the other targets.
It's worth mentioning that there is an advantage to going first in Cricket, so in order to determine who goes first, it's best to use 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.
There are many variations of Cricket to try out if you want to switch it up. The most popular variations are listed below, but feel free to come up with your own rules to play with your friends.
No Score Cricket
This is the same as regular cricket but there are no points, each player just has to close all of the numbers. It’s recommended beginners play this way while they become familiar with the game.
Wild Mouse/Minnesota Cricket
In Wild Mouse or Minnesota Cricket, in addition to the standard cricket numbers, each player also has to close doubles, trebles, and three-in-a-bed (three darts in the same segment).
As in tactics, the throw can only count for one requirement. If a player hits a treble 20 on their first turn, they can either count it as one of the three trebles, or close the 20, but not both.
Spanish Cricket is another variation of Cricket that expands on scoring options. In this adaptation, each player has to close 11, 12, 13, and 14, along with the standard cricket numbers of 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and the bull.
Cut Throat Cricket
In this variation, the lowest score wins. Once a number is owned by a player, the points they score go to their opponent instead. Otherwise the rules are the same.
In this variation, players win by closing each Cricket number. Once a player closes a number, additional hits will remove their opponent’s hits instead of giving points.
In this game, each player takes a turn scoring on open numbers while the opponent tries to close them as quickly as possible. After each player takes a turn scoring, the player with the highest score wins.
Low Pitch Cricket
This is the same as regular Cricket but the numbers are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and the bull.
Single/Double/Treble Only Cricket
These variations change how much each throw is worth and can be used with any set of numbers. In single only, each dart counts as one mark, regardless of if it is a double or treble.
In double only, single and treble segments are not used. Players can only score marks on double segments, and those hits will register one mark.
Trebles only is the same as doubles only but with treble segments. Additionally, only the inner bull may score marks. Again each hit only counts as one mark.
This is a UK variant of Cricket that follows the same rules as regular cricket but also adds doubles and trebles as scoring options. There are two ways to play “slop” or “strict”. Slop rules state all of the doubles and trebles count as scoring options, while strict states only the doubles and trebles on the numbers 15 through 20 count.
The throw can only count for one requirement so if a player hits a treble 20 on their first turn, they can either count it as one of the three trebles, or close the 20, but not both.