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Darts may seem like a very simple game that just involves throwing sharp objects at a dartboard. That is, of course, true to a certain extent. However, there are actually many variations of this game, some simpler than others, with one of the most popular ones being known as cricket.
Cricket in darts is extremely popular in the USA, Canada, and many European countries. This game is not quite as simple as a normal game of darts, but also not too difficult either. Let’s take a closer look at how to play it.
How Many People Can Play Cricket?
Cricket is a game that requires at least two players. Although this is a game that could technically be played by a single person, you would have to keep the score from one game to another, and then try to beat your own record. It is generally at least a two-player game that sees two opponents facing off with one another. Cricket in darts can also be played by teams of two, three, or four.
If cricket is being played with more than one player per team, each time it is a team’s turn to throw, the players would alternate with one another, with only one player throwing per turn, until all players have had a turn.
How to Play Cricket in Darts: The Rules
Cricket in darts might sound a bit complicated to a beginner, and in all fairness, it is not quite as straightforward as a normal game of darts, or even a game of around the world in darts.
However, once you get the hang of it, particularly of the rules surrounding scoring, it’s quite easy. It’s quite fun and competitive too.
Let’s take a look at the general aim of the game, followed by some more specific rules.
The End Goal of Cricket in Darts
The end goal of a game of cricket is to “close out” numbers 15 through 20, plus the bullseye. This means that each team must hit numbers 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20, as well as the bullseye, three times each.
Once a team hits a specific number three times, that number is then closed out, at which point hitting that number counts towards the final score until the other team has closed out that same number. Yes, this is a bit complicated, so we will elaborate in the section on scoring below.
There is no specific order in which these numbers must be hit. For example, a player could hit numbers 15, 16, and 17 three times across three different turns. As long as each number has been hit three times, it is then closed out.
All other numbers besides 15 through 20 and the bullseye are irrelevant in the game of cricket. If a player hits any of the numbers from 1 to 15, this does not count towards the final score and should be counted as a miss.
Besides closing out numbers, there are also points that can be allotted to teams. For example, if we have the number 15, and one team has hit that number 15 three times, it is closed out. However, it’s not quite over yet for the team who first closed out that number, because players from that team can continue to hit the number 15, and each hit will provide that team with 15 points.
This can continue until the other team also closes out number 15, at which point hitting the number 15 will no longer count for anything for either team. Once all teams, close out a specific number, that number is then no longer in play.
On a side note, once the bullseye has been closed out, the outer bullseye counts for 25 points and the inner bullseye counts for 50 points.
Two Ways to Play Cricket
What is also important to note is that there are two ways to play cricket, at least when it comes to ending the game. First, the game of cricket can be finished when one team closes out all numbers plus the bullseye, or in other words, the first team past the finish line is the winner.
The other way to play cricket in darts is to keep track of points. As mentioned above, once a team closes out a number (three good hits), say number 17, that team can then continue to hit the 17 until the other team (or all other teams), also close out that number, thus adding 17 points to the tally for each hit.
If you play this way, the game ends when both teams have closed out all numbers, at which point the winning team is the one with the most points.
Doubles, Triples, and the Bullseye
The other important thing to note here is that the single rings on the dartboard count as a single hit, so you would have to hit a single ring three times to close out a number and is marked on the scoreboard using a slash (/).
The double ring on the outside of the board counts as two hits and is marked on the scoreboard with an “X”. The triple ring counts as three hits in one, thus allowing a player to close out a number in a single hit. This is marked on the scoreboard with an “O.”
To close out the bullseye, the inner bullseye counts as two hits, and the outer bullseye as one hit.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
One tip that most professional players will give you, especially if you are playing with point totals, is to always close out and score on the bullseye first, as it is worth the most points. In general, most would recommend first going for the higher numbers, and then the lower ones.
Another big-time tip that all dart players regardless of the game need to follow is to aim a bit higher. Darts, while they are light, are still affected by gravity. They don’t fly straight, but instead drop towards the ground during flight, so you need to accommodate for this.
Finally, always hold a dart with three fingers using moderate pressure. A big mistake that amateurs make is to hold the dart too tightly, thus producing tension, which results in hand fatigue and uneven flight.
There you have it folks, everything you need to know about the game of cricket in darts.
The scoring system may seem a bit confusing in the beginning, but as you get the hang of it, you might just realize that this is one of the most exciting variations or games that can be played with a dartboard.