Rules of Play

Rules of Play

As Observed by the ABDA & PA State Dart Tournament

(League Rules may bend a little from League to League)

The basic game played in American Darts (leagues & tournaments) is called “Baseball” and it originated in Philadelphia as did our unique Basswood Board with it’s equally unique scoring rings arrangement!

The narrow outer ring (unpainted) is the triple (scores 3 points for each dart that hits the mark). This is the double on a British board.

The red painted ring next to it toward the cork (and about twice as wide as the triple) is the double (scores 2 points for each dart that hits the mark).

The rest of the scoring wedge to the cork is the single (scores 1 point for each dart that hits the mark).

The blue painted area is out of bounds. No Score!

To start the game a coin is usually flipped to decide choice of position at the cork. Winner of toss has choice of position (first or last) at the cork. Winner (closest to cork) has choice of position (first or last) in the match. Cork always beats cork. All cork shots need to stick. If your dart falls out here you get to shoot again! Not so in the match! Darts must stick during match play or no points are scored for the fallen dart(s).

Nine innings are shot by each player (first player shoots three darts at the 1, then the last player shoots three darts at the 1, then the first player shoots three darts at the 2, then the last player shoots three darts at the 2, then the 3 and so forth through the 9.

Players on a team all shoot after each other followed by all the players on the other team in the same fashion 1 through 9.


This example shows a player hitting a single, a double, and a triple.

Total score for this player in the second inning is 6.

A perfect inning score is 9 and is usually referred to as a “ginsberg”. Some local terminology may call it something else like a “white horse” or a “hat trick”. We have all kinds of lingo for particular scores but I will save that for another page. It will be interesting to find out how the lingo differs geographically so help us out here!

The player or team with the highest score after 9 innings wins! If there is a tie score after nine innings you shoot the 10th, the 11th, the 12th or however many additional innings are necessary to break the tie.

 Here are some additional rules to note:

All shooters must toe the line. Any shooter over the line will forfeit any points which are accumulated while he/she is over the line. If a dart sticks in another dart that is already in the board (called a “piggyback”, “humper”, or “William Tell”) then no points are awarded for the dart that is stuck in the existing dart. Any shooter that shoots the wrong inning will forfeit the dart or darts that are in the wrong inning. Any shooter that shoots out of turn (Team Play) will forfeit all points he/she scored that inning.

Lunging Toward The Board Is NOT ACCEPTABLE!

So what is a Lunge anyway?

What is generally accepted (even in world level play) is that your back foot cannot make contact with the floor in front of the line while the dart is STILL in your hand. Throw the dart BEFORE your foot comes down in front of the line and it counts.

To begin the first game of a match all shooters are allowed to throw 3 practice darts at any inning except the 1st inning (you must verbally announce 3 practice darts to the score keeper).

The wires on an American Basswood Board are imbedded and provide for extremely accurate scoring. It is either in or out (no arguments, no interpretation necessary). The only exception here is where each wire that forms the scoring rings overlap. If a dart point gets between that overlap it is called a “split wire” and makes a distinctive sound when it hits. A split wire is always scored in favor of the shooter.


The Proper Dimensions for Mounting an American Dartboard

The center of the cork will be measured at 5 feet 3 inches from the floor to the center of the cork.

The toe line will be a measurement of 7 feet 3 inches from the face of the dartboard to the shooter side of the toe board. Hint: If you measure from the wall (out of convenience) you need to allow for the thickness of the board which is 1 1/4 inches. Total measurement 7 feet 4 1/4 inches.

The toe board will be made of wood with a radius of no more than 4 feet, and will measure 107.5 inches from the center of the cork to the outside radius of the toe board.