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Understanding the Dart Board Numbers and Their Meanings




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Key Takeaways:

  • The current sequence of numbers on a dartboard was developed in 1896 by Brian Gamlin.
  • The arrangement is purposeful, balancing high and low numbers throughout the board.
  • Dart board numbers form the basis for many darts games. They range from 1-20 and are accompanied by double and triple rings, as well as the bullseye.
  • Players who take the time to understand and memorize the layout of the dartboard will find themselves at an advantage.


Have you ever wondered why certain “dart board numbers” on a dart board seem to be easier to hit than others? Whether you’re a novice still trying to gauge your skill level or a serious competitor understanding the importance of a double segment, having an understanding of the distribution of numbers on a dart board can greatly improve your game.

In this article, I commit to immersing you in the captivating universe of dart board numbers, elucidating their origins, architecture, and importance. Did you know that in the 19th century, dartboards were quite different than the ones we use today? And much like other traditional pub games, dartboards have evolved over time, adapting to players’ needs. I’ll address critical inquiries such as” What are dart board numbers?” and” Why are the numbers on a dartboard where they are?” Moreover, I’ll touch upon the difference between standard boards and traditional boards, the debate between soft-tip darts versus steel tip darts, and the curious case of Belgian darts.

“A dartboard has numbers 1-20. These numbers aren’t in order. Why? It’s the interplay between rewarding accurate throws and penalizing inaccurate throws. Hitting numbers in a row isn’t easy. Every player tries to hit high numbers like 20. But, if you miss because of a lack of accuracy, you might get a low number next to it, and there’s a penalty for lack of precision. So, aim well and score big, and always keep an eye on your current score!”

You also read this article :- Best Electronic Dart Board

Throughout this exploration, anticipate developing a newfound appreciation for dart board numbers, transcending their simple operational aspect, and comprehending their crucial role in the evolution of advanced dart gameplay. The compelling story of how these numbers transformed the darts game awaits you! So, without further ado, let’s plunge into the realm of dart board numbers and unravel the mysteries they hold.

Dart Board Numbers

What are “Dart Board Numbers”?

Dart board numbers refer to the numbering system used on a standard dart board to provide scoring for darts games. The numbers range from 1 to 20 and are arranged in concentric rings around the bullseye. The innermost ring contains the numbers 20, 1, 18, 4, 13, 6, 10, 15, 2, 17, 3, 19, 7, 16, 8, 11, 14, 9, 12, 5 in a set order that is important to memorize for some games. Surrounding this main ring are outer rings containing doubles and triples of each number. Hitting scores double or triple the points for that number. At the center is the bullseye area divided into an outer bull (green, 25 points) and inner bull (red, 50 points). This numbered dartboard provides a standard scoring system for darts. Different games utilize the numbers in different ways, but knowing the number order and score values is key.

For left-handed players, getting accustomed to the board can take some time. Yet, the layout remains consistent. In many games, like 501, players reduce their score by aiming for specific numbers and their double or triple counterparts.

301 darts rules

Why Are the Numbers on a Dartboard Where They Are?

The placement of numbers on a dartboard traces its roots back to the 19th century. Brian Gamlin, a reputed wire worker, wanted to ensure that the game rewarded precision and penalized poor throwing. The system he developed challenged players to refine their technique.

Prior to Gamlin’s innovation, dartboards would feature the numbers grouped together, which allowed highly skilled players to repeatedly hit the same high numbers and run up scores.

Gamlin’s new numbering system aimed to make scoring more challenging by spreading out the numbers evenly around the board. This forced players to develop accuracy across the whole dartboard, not just on certain number groups.

The sequence intersperses high and low numbers so that they alternate around the circular board. Adjacent numbers never differ by more than two steps. No three consecutive wedges contain sequential numbers.

This distribution makes it harder for players to score high points consecutively or “streak” by sliding over to the next number. It essentially balances out the odds by scattering high and low numbers unpredictably around the dartboard.

The random-looking but calculated numbering scheme revolutionized darts and became universally adopted. It prevents excessive clustering of values and enables skillful dart throwing.

How Many Different Numbers Are There on a Dartboard?

There are a total of 62 unique numbers that appear on a regulation bristle dartboard. Let’s break this down:

  • Numbers 1-20: These regular numbers appear in the innermost ring of the dartboard. There are 20 distinct numbers in this range, accounting for the first 20 numbers.
  • Doubles: Each number 1-20 has a “double” segment located in the middle ring of the dartboard. Hitting these doubles, the points for that number. As there are 20 unique numbers, when doubled this adds another 20 numbers to the total (i.e., double 1, double 2, up to double 20).
  •  Triples: Similarly, each number 1-20 has a “triple” segment in the outermost ring of the dartboard. This triples the points for that number when hit. Again, with 20 unique numbers, the triples add another 20 numbers to the count (triple 1, triple 2, up to triple 20).
  • Bullseyes: In the very center of the dartboard are two bullseye rings. Both the outer green bull and the inner red bull are awarded 25 and 50 points, respectively. These are 2 additional unique numbers.
How Many Different Numbers Are There on a Dartboard?

So, in total:

  • Numbers 1-20: 20
  • Doubles of 1-20: 20
  • Triples of 1-20: 20
  • Outer bull: 1
  • Inner bull: 1

Adding up everything – the regular numbers, doubles, triples, and bullseyes – there are a total of 62 unique scoring numbers across the entire dartboard. Memorizing these options and point values is key for skilled dart play!

How Are Dartboard Numbers Arranged?

Dartboard numbers are arranged in a specific sequential order around the board. This numbering pattern follows a set logic and layout:

  • The numbers 1 through 20 runs clockwise around the outer ring of the dartboard.
  • Number 20 sits at the top center. The sequence then continues counterclockwise from there.
  • Numbers 1 through 10 occupy the left side of the board. Numbers 11 through 20 are on the right side.
  • Odd numbers appear on the inner portions of the wedge segments. Even numbers occupy the outer wedges.
  • Numbers alternate between high and low value as you move around the ring.
  • No three consecutive wedges have sequentially increased or decreasing numbers.
  • The inner ring doubles each of the numbers.
  • The center circle contains the bullseye (25 points) and inner double bull (50 points).

This carefully balanced numbering system is designed to distribute high and low numbers evenly, preventing excessive clustering. It was invented in 1896 by Brian Gamlin’ to increase the challenge and make darts more competitive.

The sequence forces players to develop precision across the whole dartboard rather than focusing on isolated number groups.

Why Are the Numbers on a Dartboard in That Order?

The numbering order on a dartboard follows a specific sequence devised by Brian Gamlin in 1896 to make the game of darts more challenging and competitive.

Prior to this, dartboards would group certain numbers together, allowing skilled players to rack up high scores by repeatedly hitting the same number segments.

Gamlin changed this by spreading the numbers out evenly around the dartboard instead of clustering them. His motivation was to force players to develop accuracy across the entire board surface area, rather than honing their skills on a few key segments.

The numbering order he designed intersperses high and low numbers randomly around the circular board. Adjacent numbers never differ by more than two steps in value. No three consecutive wedges have sequential numbers.

This arrangement prevents players from easily “streaking” from one number to the next highest or lowest neighbor. It creates a balanced distribution of odds, requiring greater precision and strategy.

By scattering high and low numbers unpredictably, Gamlin’s layout increased the difficulty and competitiveness of darts. It became universally adopted and still remains the standard used on boards today.

The calculated number sequence made the game more challenging and engaging by spreading out the numbers logically rather than grouping them.

Is There Any Logic to the Arrangement of the Numbers on a Dartboard?

Yes, there is a careful logic and reasoning behind the arrangement of numbers on a standard board. While the sequence appears random at first glance, it was strategically designed to make darts a more balanced and competitive game, ensuring that every player, regardless of their skill level, faces a challenge.

The numbering layout was invented in 1896 by Brian Gamlin. His goal was to distribute high and low numbers evenly around the board, preventing skilled players from easily racking up points by hitting the same number groups repeatedly, which could result in a high current score. Furthermore, the penalty for lack of proficiency or poor throwing is evident, given that players need to target not just any double score but also avoid inaccurate throws.

Gamlin’s layout follows these key principles:

Is There Any Logic to the Arrangement of the Numbers on a Dartboard?
  • High and low numbers alternate around the ring.
  • No two adjacent numbers are more than two steps apart.
  • No three consecutive wedges have sequential numbers.
  • Odd numbers occupy the inner segments, even numbers the outer.
  • The order seems random but is cleverly calculated.

This sequence prevents excessive clustering of high numbers or easily hit targets. Players must develop a range of skills rather than specializing in one area of the board.

The strategic arrangement forces players to thoroughly learn the board and exercise greater precision, consistency, and focus to score points and win games. So, there is a methodical logic and reasoning governing the numbered layout.

Is There Any Logic to the Arrangement of the Numbers on a Dartboard?

While the traditional boards follow this numbering sequence, there are also Belgian darts boards with different layouts. Additionally, bristle board dartboards are a popular choice among pub owners due to their durability and classic feel.

Type of VariationDescription
Minor Regional VariationsSome traditional dartboards made in different parts of the UK have slight tweaks to the numbering pattern, such as swapping the positions of a few numbers. These regional variations maintain the essence of the standard numbering sequence but may offer a unique twist to the game for local players.
Novelty DartboardsNon-traditional novelty dartboards designed for recreational play sometimes feature completely different number schemes or non-numeric symbols instead of the standard 1-20 numbers. These whimsical designs add an element of fun and creativity to the game, making them popular choices for casual dart enthusiasts looking for a lighthearted experience.
Electronic DartboardsElectronic dartboards aimed at competitive play will follow the standard numbering. However, many models allow games like Cricket with specialized scoring sections. Players can also customize and program the numbering layout to suit their preferences. This flexibility in electronic dartboards caters to players seeking different gameplay options while still adhering to the fundamental numbering sequence.
Alternate Competition LayoutsSome professional governing bodies have adopted minor modifications to the standard numbering order for specific tournament formats. These alternate layouts aim to provide diverse challenges and strategies for competitive players while still preserving the core numbering sequence. The changes are carefully curated to maintain a fair and balanced playing field for participants in these specialized competitions.
Custom LayoutsDartboard manufacturers will sometimes produce custom numbered boards on request for consumers who want a unique setup. These custom layouts allow players to experiment with different numbering arrangements, enabling them to devise personalized gameplay experiences. Custom dartboards cater to players with specific preferences or those seeking novelty in their basic dart games.
Is There Any Logic to the Arrangement of the Numbers on a Dartboard?

So, while Gamlin’s layout is recognized as the standard worldwide, various regional quirks, novelty designs, and custom options provide some alternatives. But in professional competitive play, boards always follow the traditional numbering sequence.

What Are the Colors of the Dart Board Numbers?

The most common color scheme for dartboard numbers is as follows:

ComponentPossible Colors
NumbersWhite or yellow numbers are standard. This provides high contrast against the colored board background.
Inner BullseyeTypically red or green.
Outer Bullseye BandUsually red or green.
Double and Triple RingsCan be red, green, or black.
Board BackgroundTraditionally dark green or black. Some boards feature other colors like purple, silver, or blue.
What Are the Colors of the Dart Board Numbers?

So, in summary, the numbers themselves are almost always white or yellow in color. This allows them to stand out clearly against the colored background.

The inner bullseye and outer double/triple rings follow the board’s main background color theme, whether green, red, or black.

There are no universal regulations on dartboard colors, so manufacturers have leeway for creative designs. However, the high-contrast scheme of light numbers against a dark solid background remains the most common and visible layout.

Dart Board Replacement Numbers – What Is It, Explained

Dart board replacement numbers refer to replacement number decals that players can purchase and apply to an old or worn dartboard to restore and refresh it.

Over time with repeated use, the numbers on a bristle dartboard can fade, peel, or get damaged from thrown darts. This can make it hard to see the numbers clearly or determine scoring.

Dart board replacement number kits provide the following benefits:

  • Contains a full set of durable vinyl number decals for reapplying to the dartboard surface. Numbers 1 through 20 are included, along with bullseye decals.
  • Numbers are printed in a high-contrast color like white or yellow for visibility.
  • Allows players to restore worn dartboards and extend their use.
  • Quick and easy to apply by simply peeling and sticking the decals onto the board segments.
  • Low-cost compared to purchasing a brand-new dartboard.
  • Comes in standard numbering patterns or specialized options like randomized layouts.

So, in summary, dart board replacement numbers offer an affordable and straightforward way for players to refresh the numbering on an aging dartboard that has seen better days but still has playable life left. Just replace the numbers, and you can enjoy the board like new again.

Can You Suggest Any Dart Games to Play Using the Dartboard Numbers?

Certainly, the numbering configuration on a dartboard lends itself to many fun and challenging games. Here are some popular dart games that incorporate the board’s numbers:

  • 301/501 – Players start at 301 or 501 points and must count down to exactly 0. Hitting a double is required to begin and end the game.
  • Cricket – Hit and close numbers 15-20 and the bullseye to win. Aim for 3 marks per number to close it.
Can You Suggest Any Dart Games to Play Using the Dartboard Numbers
  • Shanghai – Hit single, double, and triple of each number 1-20 in order.
  • Around the Clock – Hit every number 1-20 in sequence.
  • forty-one – Similar to Cricket but hits must be in descending order from 20 to 15.
  • Killer – Each player is assigned a number. Eliminate your opponents’ numbers without losing your own.
  • Baseball – Throw “single,” “double,” and “triple” like bases to score runs. First to 9 runs wins.
  • HALO – Hit the High (triple 20), Air (triple 19), Low (triple 18), and bullseye Outer in order to win.
  • The numbering provides a framework for boundless creative and strategic games to enjoy. Dartboards are extremely versatile for competitive games using the numbers.


What Is the Lowest Number That Cannot Be Scored with a Single Dart?

The lowest number that cannot be scored with a single dart is 23.
All other numbers from 1 through 20 can be hit with a single dart throw on a standard bristle dartboard. This includes the outer single segments, as well as the inner double and outer triple rings.

Additionally, the bullseye and double bull located in the center also only require one dart to be scored.

The bullseye is worth 25 points, while the smaller double bull is worth 50 points.
So, in summary:

·       All numbers 1 through 20 can be hit with a single dart.
·       The bullseye (25 points) can be hit with a single dart.
·       The double bull (50 points) can be hit with a single dart.
·       The only number that requires a combination of multiple darts is 23.

This means that 23 is the lowest number on a dartboard that cannot be scored with a single throw. All other numbers and bullseyes below it is possible to hit solitary.

Are There Official Regulations for Dartboard Numbers in Professional Competitions?

Yes, there are strict regulations governing dartboard numbering and segment specifications for professional and competitive darts. Major national and international dart organizations oversee these rules to ensure fairness and consistency.

Some key regulations include:

·Number Sequence – Boards must follow the standard 1 through 20 numbering sequence in the traditional clockwise order devised by Brian Gamlin.

·Number Size – Minimum measurement standards exist for the height and width of each number displayed.

·Wire Width – The width of the wire dividers between number segments must fall within a regulated range.

·Inner Bull – The inner bullseye must be a double scoring segment and be colored red or green.

·Outer Bull – A single scoring narrow outer bull band colored red or green must surround the inner bull.

·Wedge Shape – Each wedge must precisely occupy 18 angular degrees and have straight sides.

·Wedge Color – Numbers must contrast clearly against their colored wedges.

·Lighting – Boards used for televised events require specialized lighting specifications.

Adhering to these rules ensures every board is calibrated to the same specifications for fair tournament play. Even slight variations could impact scoring and gameplay.

Final Thoughts

Dart board numbers are not just a series of random digits on a circular target. They represent an intricate and thoughtfully devised arrangement that adds depth and excitement to the perfect game of darts. Understanding the origins, logic, and arrangement of these numbers provides a deeper appreciation for the artistry and skill involved in this timeless sport. As you step up to the oche for your next game of darts, take a moment to marvel at the strategic brilliance behind the dart board numbers that continue to captivate enthusiasts and professionals worldwide. Whether you’re throwing a closest dart or aiming for the bullseye, the game’s history and intricacies are sure to enchant.

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