It takes some good skill and calculated throws to be able to win a game of 301, and while skilled players can get away with shooting for the most points and finding the quickest possible out, beginners and intermediate players might need to employ a bit more strategy.
Beginners are advised to try getting to 32 points for their out which would call for a throw that strikes the double 16. This is a perfect strategy because in case you miss the double and strike a single 16, you now have 16 points left which calls for striking a double 8.
If you miss this again and hit a single 8, you now have 8 points left which calls for a double 4, and this could go on till you get to zero.
Another winning strategy is to throw your strongest number. The ideal dream is to be able to hit the triple 20, therefore, scoring the most points, but not many players can achieve this with ease.
While aiming for the 20, many players will end up hitting the 1’s and 5’s, therefore, getting pretty low scores. Instead of aiming for the 20, focus on other numbers you are good at.
Ultimately, even throwing all three darts in the single 15 area will give you a much better score than all the 1’s and 5’s you land on while aiming for the 20.
To decide who gets to go first, both players take turns to throw one dart aiming at the bull’s eye.
The player whose dart lands closest to the bull’s eye gets to throw first. Typically, this is also the player who gets to name the game.
The 01 games series begin either as double-in or straight-in and end either as double-out or straight-out.
The 301 in particular typically begins as double-in and ends as double-out. What do all these terms mean?
Straight-in: also called straight-start, is whereby the first player throws three darts in an attempt to get the highest score possible (the highest attainable score is 180, obtained by hitting three triple 20s).
Double-in: also called double-start, is whereby the first player has to hit any double (the thin outer ring of the dartboard) before they begin counting their score.
Any throw made before hitting a double does not get to count in their total points and if the player cannot score double, then their score will not ‘open’.
This only counts for the first round though, so in subsequent rounds, the player would not have to throw a double again.
Double-out: this is whereby to win the game, a player has to hit a double that makes their exact score zero, and they have to achieve this with their first scoring dart.
Straight-out: the player simply has to arrive at zero points. No doubles are necessary. Not however that the straight-out style is rarely ever used.
Scoring In Darts 301
The first throw a player makes is often deducted from the start number (i.e. 301), then subsequent throws are deducted from the subsequent reduced total points.
The person appointed to keep scores should show the score obtained in a throw as well as the resultant reduced total points. The thin outer ring is a double, the thin inner ring is a triple, the outer bull is 25 points, and the inner bull is 50 points.
In 301, it can get to a point where the player is said to have “busted”. When this happens, all darts thrown in that round do not count, and the player’s turn is over. Situations that count as a “bust” include:
If the player ends up with less than zero when playing both double-out and single-out.
If when playing double-out, the player hits exactly zero, but their last dart was not a double.
If they remain with 1 point when playing double-out (you cannot throw half of one).