How To Play Sudden Death Darts

Are you ready to take your dart game to the next level? If you’re tired of the same old 501 double-out matches and are looking for a thrilling and intense challenge, then Sudden Death Darts might just be the game for you. In the world of professional darts, where every point and round matters, this variant has gained popularity in recent years. Imagine a scenario where the stakes are higher than ever, and only the best can emerge victorious.

We will dive deep into the rules and strategies and how to play Sudden Death Darts, a game that has left both players and spectators on the edge of their seats since its inception in 2013. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the darts scene, this guide will provide you with the essential knowledge to navigate through the exciting world of sudden-death darts. So, let’s step into the Winter Gardens arena of darting excitement and discover how to play this high-pressure game that could change the way you view darts forever. 

Rules and Gameplay: How to Score and Win in Sudden Death Darts

Sudden Death Darts is played with the same basic rules as traditional darts, but with a unique twist that adds suspense and excitement to each throw. Here’s how you can score and ultimately win in Sudden Death Darts:

  1. Scoring System: In Sudden Death Darts, the standard scoring system of 501 or 301 points is often used. Each player starts with this predetermined score and tries to reach zero by subtracting their score with each successful throw.
  2. Scoring Targets: Aim for the standard dartboard scoring sections, including the triple 20, triple 19, triple 18, and so on. Hitting these high-value sections can quickly bring down your score.
  3. Sudden Death Rule: The unique aspect of Sudden Death Darts comes into play here. If a player’s score reaches exactly one, they must hit the double 1 to win the game. Missing the double 1 means they have to try again during their next turn.
  4. Double Out: Like traditional darts, you must finish the game by hitting a double (e.g., double 16) to reach zero points and win. This adds an extra layer of challenge and excitement.
  5. Going Bust: If a player’s score goes below zero, they “bust,” and their score resets to what it was at the start of their turn. This keeps the game competitive until the very end.
  6. Winning the Game: The first player to reach exactly zero points by hitting a double wins the game. If both players reach zero in the same round, the player with the lower starting score wins.

How to Play Sudden Death Darts

Playing Sudden Death Darts is straightforward once you’re familiar with the rules. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

How to Set Up

    1. Hang the dartboard at the regulation height (5 feet 8 inches) and mark the throwing line (usually 7 feet 9 1/4 inches from the face of the board).

    1. Divide the dartboard into two halves, with one half for each player.

    1. Each player chooses a number, 1-20.

    1. Each player should have three darts to throw per turn.

  1. Write down the numbers on a piece of paper.
    • Determine Starting Score:

    • Decide Who Goes First:

    • Players can flip a coin or use any fair method to determine who starts the game.

    • Taking Turns:

    • Players take turns throwing their darts, aiming to reduce their score to zero.

    • Sudden Death Rule:

    • When a player’s score reaches one, they must hit the double 1 to win. This is where the tension and excitement of Sudden Death Darts come into play.

    • Double Out:

    • Always remember to finish the game by hitting a double to reach zero points. If you miss, your score remains the same.

    • Winning the Game:

    • The first player to reach zero points by hitting a double wins the game. If you both reach zero in the same round, refer to the rules mentioned earlier.

    • Players take turns throwing three darts at the board.

    • If a player hits their number, they win the game.

    • If neither player hits their number on their turn, the game continues until one player wins.

    • Post-Game Etiquette:

  • Shake hands with your opponent, congratulate the winner, and discuss your next game.

Sudden Death Darts Variations: Adding Fun and Challenge to the Game

There are a few different variations of sudden-death darts that can be played.

    • One-life sudden death darts: In this variation, players only have one life. If a player hits their number on the board, they lose a life. If a player loses their life, they are eliminated from the game.

    • Team sudden death darts: This variation can be played with two teams of two players each. Each player on a team takes turns throwing three darts at the board. The first team to have both of its players hit their number wins the game.

    • Tournament sudden death darts: This variation is played in a tournament format, with multiple players or teams competing. Players or teams are eliminated from the tournament as they lose games. The last player or team remaining is the winner.

Tips and Strategies

Here are a few tips and strategies for playing sudden-death darts:

    • Aim for the center of the target: The closer you can aim to the center of the target, the more likely you are to hit your number.

    • Use your off hand: If you are right-handed, try using your left hand to throw the darts. This can help you to improve your aim and accuracy.

    • Be patient: Don’t rush your shots. Take your time and aim carefully.

    • Don’t be afraid to take risks: If you are close to winning, don’t be afraid to go for the big shot.

Additional Tips

    • Use the right darts: Choose darts that are the right weight and weight distribution for you. It is also important to use darts with the right grip.

    • Practice regularly: The more you practice, the better you will become at sudden-death darts. Try to practice for at least 30 minutes a day.

Additional Safety Guidelines

    • Do not throw darts if you are intoxicated.

    • Be aware of your surroundings and make sure that there are no people or objects behind you before you throw a dart.

    • Do not throw darts at a dartboard that is damaged or has loose wires.

    • If you have any questions or concerns about safety, please consult a darts expert.


In the end, It is concluded that mastering the art of playing Sudden Death Darts can be an exhilarating experience for any darts enthusiast. Whether you’re following the professional PDC World Matchplay Championship in Blackpool or just enjoying a friendly match with friends, understanding the rules and strategies is crucial.

To achieve success, aim for that elusive bullseye and strategically employ triples to gain an advantage. Remember that in Sudden Death Legs, it’s all about being the first to secure a two-leg lead, ensuring your victory. Keep track of your score, apply your knowledge of the game rules effectively, and you’ll be well on your way to triumphing in this thrilling darts format.

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