The most common variant of darts is the game of 501. As a matter of fact, most tournament-level games are games of 501. 

The rules of 501 are fairly straightforward: All players start with 501 points, and each turn they subtract from that the total number of points they score on that given turn. The winner is the first player to bring the score down to zero.

However, there are two caveats to these rules: your final score must be exactly zero and your final dart must hit a double.  Meaning that in order to win, the player must hit a double with their last dart, and that double point value must be exactly the same as the player requires to get to zero.

What does it mean to bust in darts?

A bust in darts occurs when a player throws a higher score than their remaining point value. A winning throw must score down to zero exactly. When a bust occurs, no score is marked, and the players turn is over.

A bust also occurs if a player has a remaining score of one, because a double is required to win the game and no double has a point value of one.


  • A score of 10 is left to finish the game. Most players would aim at the double five (10 points). If you miss and hit the 20, you have hit more than the required 10, and you bust.
  • A score of 4 is left to finish the game. While aiming for the double two, you hit a single three, leaving one point remaining. This is a bust because there is no double on the board that equals one

What happens if I get a bust?

If you bust on your last turn, your score is reset to what it was before your throws regardless of which dart you busted with.

For example, if a player needs 32 to close and his first dart is a single 16, he needs to score 16 with his remaining darts while meeting the double out rule.

If he scores a double 8 on his second dart, he wins. However, if he busts, none of the thrown darts count, and on his next turn, he would still need 32 to close.

2 Other Things To Remember About Busting In Darts

  • The lowest score that you can finish on is a two (double one). If you have a score of two remaining, any section you hit on the board will cause you to bust, except the double one.
  • It may also be worth noting that 182 is the highest score you can leave and not have to worry about busting the next round. As the highest score you can obtain in one round is 180, which would leave two points remaining.