How to Play Knockout Darts [Rules, Tips, Tricks]

Are you looking for a quick and easy dart game?

Then you are looking in the right place. Knockout darts is one of the easiest dart games that you can play with your buddies. Best of all, it takes just a few minutes to learn.

How to Play Knockout Darts? To play knockout darts, each player throws three darts per turn. Each player tries to outscore the player who threw before them. If a player fails to outscore the player who threw before them three times, they are eliminated from the game of knockout darts.

Below you will find more information, tips, and interesting ideas, so if you are curious to learn more, read on.


Rules of Knockout Darts

Knockout darts can be played with a minimum of two players.

Each player throws three darts each turn—the goal of each player is to throw a higher score to what the player before them have scored. Except for the first player who is opening the game-even if they throw three single 1’s they will not be penalized in any way. The second player just needs to score more than three points in that case.

If a player at any point in the game fails to score more points than the person before them, they receive a strike (or circle or an X – it is up to you to decide how you will mark it.) The strike is marked beside their name on the scoreboard.

Once a player receives three strikes, they are out of the game — or should I say, knocked out.

The points are calculated as usual – a single 20 is worth 20 points, a double 20 – 40 points, a triple 20 – 60 points, and so on

The game continues until only one player is left.

An Example of How a Knockout Darts Can Unfold

Let’s take a look at a quick example of how a game of knockout darts can unfold. Let’s say that we have three players (P1, P2, and P3) playing knockout darts.

Round 1:

  • P1 scores 60.
  • Now, P2 needs to score more than 60 points on their turn. P2 succeeds and manages to score 85 points.
  • P3 needs to beat the score of P2, which is 85 points. However, P3 fails to do so, and they score only 65 points. P3 receives one strike beside their name on the scoreboard (two more and they are out).

Round 2:

  • Now we are back to P1. P1 needs to beat the score of the player who threw before them – P3, which is 65 points. P1 succeeds and scores 120 points.
  • P2 now needs to beat the score of P1, which is 120 points. Unfortunately, P2 does not succeed and scores 105 points. They receive one strike.
  • Next is P3; they need to outscore P2 by throwing more than 105 points. They succeed and score 120 points.

Round 3:

  • The game continues in this manner until all players, but one have been eliminated. For example, if P1 gets eliminated first, the game will continue between P2 and P3.

As you can see, especially when playing with more people, the score will go sky-high. Even if one player throws 180, this does not mean the score will not fall back down to a more manageable number.

This number affects only the player that will be throwing next that one round. It is a one-time kind of a thing unless that particular player throws 180s all the time, that is.

Who Goes First in a Game of Knockout Darts?

There are no set rules about who goes first. 

You can determine that any way you seem fit, you know, age before beauty and all that. 

Or you can decide on rotating after each game of knockout darts, or you can add a little extra challenge and determine who plays first, second, third, etc. by taking a shot at the bullseye.

Each player takes a turn and throws one dart at the bull; the player whose dart is closest to the bullseye goes first.

How Long Is a Game of Knockout Darts?

A game of knockout darts can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of players and their skill level.

What Is the Throwing Distance When Playing Knockout Darts?

A game of knockout darts is played by using the standard throwing measurements, which are as follows:

  • For a steel tip dartboard: 7′ 9 1/4″
  • For a soft tip dartboard: 8′

Can a Game of Knockout Darts End in a Tie?

A game of knockout darts does not end in a tie. There will always be one just one player left if the game is played long enough.

The only thing that needs to be decided on is what happens if the second player scores the same points as the person before them. This can either be considered a tie (and not result in a strike), or you can adhere to the rules which state that each player needs to beat the preceding player’s score. This means that if you hit a 180, the person after you will receive a strike no matter what they do.

How to Keep the Score in a Game of Knockout Darts?

There is no need to keep a running total of how much points each player has scored during the whole game. There is only one number that needs to be remembered, and that is the score that the last player throwing has achieved.

The only things that should be marked in some way are the players’ names and their strikes. This can be done on any old dartboard scoreboard or even with a piece of paper and a pen.

What Do You Need to Play Knockout Darts?

There is no need for any special equipment or anything other than what you would normally need to play any darts game. You need a set of darts (3 darts per player), a dartboard, and a means of keeping the score.

On What Kind of Dartboard Can You Play Knockout Darts?

A game of knockout darts can be played on any standard type of a dartboard. This includes:

for detailed info of the best dartboards in each category, make sure to click on the links above.

The type of dartboard will not limit your ability to enjoy or play a game of knockout darts. The only thing you would need to consider is that the different types of dartboards require different kinds of darts.

Strategy Principles of Knockout Darts

Generally speaking, given how straightforward this particular game of darts is, there are barely any strategy principles you will have to worry about.

It does not matter if you start first or second as even if the better player is last, you will still have to face them after the first round.

The only thing that matters in a game of knockout darts is to score as high as possible each turn.

However, be mindful of the skill level of the other players. If they are really good, you may not want to go all-in and score the highest points possible right away.

Don’t get too nervous. It is just a game – it can even be considered a practice game, so nothing too important is at stake here. Getting too nervous can affect your play style and throwing consistency.

Read Next: How to Relax When Playing Darts?

For What Dart Players is Knockout Darts best for?

Knockout darts is one of the best easy dart games that anyone, regardless of their level and experience, can play.

Since the game does not involve any specific strategy, this means that it is perfectly suitable for kids and adults alike.

Of course, a more experienced and stronger dart player will always beat a beginner or somebody who is less experienced.

However, the good thing is that knockout darts does not require you to master any special skills like, for example, doubling out on a 501 game (which I admit can be one of the most frustrating things for a new player).

To summarize all that, I would recommend knockout darts to new dart players that are still new and learning the ropes. Knockout darts is a great game to practice in order to improve your throwing consistency and aim. It is also perfectly suitable for brushing up on one’s throwing skills as well.

Read Next: How Many Hours a Day You Should Practice Darts?

Mike Stephenson

Mike Stephenson Hello, darts enthusiasts! My name is Mike, and I am the person behind I enjoy playing darts with my mates and generally having a good time. Here I share everything that I learn about darts.

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