Everyone can play darts. Don’t believe me? Just check out Britain’s The Optimists, a team of blind darts players!

However, just because anyone can be a good dart player does not mean everyone can be an excellent player, and darts has an incredibly high skill ceiling. Want proof? Look no further than the coveted Perfect Game of darts!

So, What is a perfect game of darts?

A perfect game of darts or a perfect “leg” happens when a player is able to check out from 501 using the fewest possible number of darts, which is nine. Hence the name, nine-dart finish.

A nine-dart finish is extremely difficult to achieve. In fact, most players can spend their entire lives chasing one and never score it.

I Want To Try To Score A Nine-Dart Finish, What Do I Have To Do?

If you really want to attempt the herculean task of scoring a perfect leg, you’re going to have to arm yourself with patience.

It’s a long-distance trip! You’ve been warned.

There are actually several paths to score a nine-dart finish.

180 is a good goal for your darts

However, it starts, like most other games of darts, with a 501.

  • Since the highest score one can achieve with a single dart is 60, and each shot consists of three darts, 180 is the maximum score per round. Building on that, the minimum number of throws to win is nine.
  • Therefore, if a player scores a 60 on each of their first 6 throws, they would have to score a 141 on the last shot.

This is where things open up as several possible combinations net the player a 141.

  • For example, a player may score a treble 20, a treble 19, and a double 12.
  • A player may also score a treble 17, a treble 18, and double 18.
  • If the player is feeling confident and believes luck is on their side, they may attempt to score a 180 on the first shot, 171 on the second shot, and 3 bulls-eye on the final shot for a total of 501.

The possibilities are too numerous (There are close to 4,000 different combinations of 9 darts that score 501) to list them all, but you get the gist.

Here Are Some Notable Facts About 9 Dart Finishes

A perfect game is notoriously difficult, but darts has had some notably legendary players. So, yes, of course, there have been perfect finishes throughout the years.

  • Phil Taylor, who is an absolute beast of a darts player, has scored 11 perfect legs during televised matches throughout his career.
  • Raymond van Barneveld, Michael van Gerwen, and Adrian Lewis have all scored 5 during televised matches throughout their careers.
  • 2012 saw an astounding 7 perfect legs, and 2014 saw a total of 6.
  • 2016’s PDC World Darts Championships provided fans with the spectacle of 9 perfect legs.
  • 2017’s Premier League Darts had 8 Nine-darters throughout the tournament.

If we study the stats, we can see that the elite players are, in fact, getting better at achieving perfect legs. Nevertheless, they are still incredibly rare. I’m talking about something that happens, on average, about once every 5,000 legs!

Has There Ever Been A Perfect Set In Darts?

No. There has not been a perfect set in darts. At least not one that has been televised or can be proven.

You see in professional dart you play multiple legs (games) per set. Usually, there are 5 legs in a set so best 3 out of 5 wins. Since perfect legs are so rare, a perfect set would be quite an accomplishment. 

The closest we have seen so far is 2 9 dart finishes in a set. The first by Phil Taylor in the 2010 Premier League final, and the second by Michael van Gerwen in a 2017 UK Open qualifier match

Don’t Be Upset If You Never Get A 9 Dart Checkout

Darts is a straightforward game and anyone can play. Without exaggeration, I can confidently say that anyone can play darts and do it well.

This is not true of most sports since many of them have a pretty strict set of physical requirements that can prevent a lot of people from ever becoming good at them.

Throwing a perfect game is the most difficult achievement in darts. If you see one on television, consider yourself very lucky, but If you manage to score a perfect game of darts yourself, congratulations, I hope you got it on video!