This simple guide will teach you how to play cricket darts in no time at all.
While there are many different dart games played using a standard board and darts, one of the most commonly played is Cricket.
Cricket can be played independently, with partners or teams if you have several people who want to play.
If you have wanted to join in a game at your local watering hole (or a friend’s basement), you are in luck. The basics of this game are quite simple.
1) Learn the Board
Take a look at the dart board. There seem to be a lot of numbers and scoring sections. But, with Cricket, you only need to worry about numbers 15 through 20, plus the bullseye.
The numbers can be shot in any sequence. Winning the game means that you need to hit each of these numbers three times. You also need to be ahead on points, if applicable, but will get to that in a bit.
2) Understand the Multipliers
On a dart board, there are three main scoring areas – the single, the double (outer ring) and the triple (inner ring).
For the bullseye, the inner circle is a double.
If you throw in a double or triple you receive credit for two or three shots. With points, your double 20 would count as 40 points. A triple 20 would count as 60 points. And so on.
3) Decide Who Shoots First
Shooting first is an advantage that some people prefer, so skill is utilized in deciding who gets the first shot. For the first game, whoever is closest to the bullseye can shoot first. For subsequent games, flip a coin and the winner decides who throws first.
4) Collect Points
Once you have hit all marks for a point you “close” it. If you hit that number again, before your opponent has closed it, you receive that many points.
The bullseye scores 25 points for the outer ring and 50 points for the inner circle. The winner of the game will have all numbers closed AND as many or more points as his or her competition.
Because of this point requirement, the first person to close all numbers may not necessarily become the winner.
5) General Rules
The general rules of darts apply to playing cricket. Here are a few of the basics to keep in mind.
Three darts are usually thrown per turn, then the next player shoots.
All players will throw from the same spot—generally placed 96 inches from the face of the dartboard. Some bars provide darts, especially if an electronic machine is used.
However, in some cases, personal darts can be used as well. Flights are expected to be under 8” long and less than ¾” wide.
6) Keeping Score
Today’s electronic dart machines can keep score for several people at once.
However, if you are playing on a manual board or have unique score keeping needs, you can keep track on paper or using a chalkboard. Dartboards usually have a preprinted scoring chart for Cricket.
To mark your score, use the following standard marks to indicate one hit, two hits, or three hits (aka closed):
If you’re playing with points, keep a running total in the margin under each player’s (or team’s) initials.
7) Tips for Better Cricket
Cricket is the perfect bar game because it doesn’t take long to set-up and games can be played quickly and casually. But there is plenty of strategy involved in a well-played game of Cricket.
Aiming for Triple
For example, some players always aim for the triple ring. This will keep you aiming at the meat of the number and increase your chances of at least landing a single. If you happen to hit a triple, you close that number and can start adding on some points.
Close the Bulls
Don’t forget the bullseye. The bullseye is often a player’s Achilles Heal. Even if you’re way ahead on numbers and points, you still need to close out that bulls to win the game.
So, if you happen to be in a position where you’re leading in points, it might be a good time to try and get a bullseye or two out of the way.
Try to go first. We mentioned that some players see this as a big advantage, and for good reason. The player who shoots first can close a number and add points before their opponent has even started. It can be a big advantage to get out ahead like this.
Know Your Comfort Zone
If you have some numbers that are easier for you, try to close these first and build a buffer with points.
For example, many players start with the 20. But most games are not played in sequence. So, if you’re more comfortable with numbers at the bottom of the board (i.e. 16 or 19), aim for those initially to create some room and give yourself more time on the numbers that typically cause some problems.
As you can see, Cricket is a relatively straightforward dart game, but there is skill and strategy involved in becoming a regular winner.
Also, like many games, there are certain detailed situations that may require in-depth rulings.
To follow up on this basic guide with some detailed ruling, check out the guide from the National Dart Association. In the meantime, check out a game at your favorite local spot and give it a try!