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How To Play Knockout Darts (Fast Paced Game for Large Groups)

Knockout Darts

Most dart games can take a while to play and finish, especially for large groups and this is because each player only gets three throws per turn. If you’re playing darts with a large group of players then this isn’t ideal! 

Therefore, it’s good to have some dart games that are fast-paced and will finish within a set time frame, regardless of how good or bad the players are. Knockout darts are one of these games. 

Each round of knockout darts will see players lose a life and this intensity makes knockout darts a great game for players of all levels. Below I’ll cover how to play knockout darts with rules, scoring, tips, and strategies all covered…

Number of Players

2 or more players

Knockout darts can be played with any number of players. Since the purpose of the game is to beat the other players’ scores, there will need to be a minimum of two players in every round. Each player plays as an individual.

Knockout Darts Rules and Scoring

The rules to Knockout Darts are very easy to follow. Each player will get to throw 3 darts for their turn. The aim of the game is to score higher than the previous player. If a player doesn’t score higher than the previous player, they will get an X beside their name. Once a player has 3 X’s, they are eliminated from the game.

All points will be worth the section the dart lands on. Players should try to aim at doubles and trebles to increase their scores. If a player lands their dart on the outer bullseye, it will be worth 25 points. The inner bullseye will be worth 50 points.

Knockout Darts Objective 

The objective of knockout darts is to beat the previous player’s score or you lose a life. The winner is the player with a life/lives left at the end of a game 

How to Play Knockout Darts Game

Knockout Darts is very challenging, despite how basic the rules are. If you do not score higher than the player ahead of you, you could lose the game. Let’s take a look at how to play Knockout Darts:

  1. Each player will throw a dart to determine who goes first. The player who hits the bullseye (or closest to it) will get to throw first.
  2. All players will receive 3 darts each turn. 
  3. The first player will throw all three darts. Their score will be totaled up, and the following player will try to get a score that is higher than what the first player threw.
  4. If the second player doesn’t beat the first player’s score, they will receive an X on the board. However, if they scored higher the following player will now need to beat their score.
  5. Each player will be attempting to beat the score of the player who threw previous to them. Every time they do not achieve this, they will receive an X beside their name. Once a player receives 3 X’s, they are out of the round.
  6. This will continue until there is only one player left. 

Knockout Darts Example Game

One of the best ways to understand how a game works is to look at an example. Take a peek at this example game of Knockout Darts:

  1. In this example, there will be three players in the game. All three players throw a dart at the board to determine which player goes first.
  2. Before they begin the game, they write down all three players’ names on a board to keep track of the score. An X will be assigned to a player’s name every time they are unable to beat the previous score.
  3. The first player takes their turn. They throw 3 darts and land on single 14, double 16, and single 18. Their score is 64. 
  4. Player B takes their turn. The three darts they throw land on single 16, single 18, and double 19. This gives them a good start with a 72.
  5. Now it’s Player C’s turn. They land one dart on the double 14, single 16, and the outer bullseye for 25 points.  This gives them 69 points. They are the first player to receive an X. 
  6. Player A needs to beat Player B’s score of 72 points. They throw the three darts and land a double 17, single 19, and double 20. This gives them a high score of 93 points.
  7. Player B steps up to play. They throw the three darts and land on the outer bullseye, double 18, and double 20. They now have a score of 101.
  8. Player C takes their turn. They land the darts on single 16, single 20, and treble 20. Although this gives them 96 points, it’s not enough and they receive a second X.
  9. Player A takes their turn and lands the darts on single 16, single 18, and double 19, This is not enough points to beat Player B, and they receive their first X. 
  10. Player B throws the 3 darts, and lands on treble 13, treble 20, and inner bullseye for 50. This gives them a high score of 149.
  11. Player C throws but was unable to beat this score. They receive their third X and are out of the game. The game continues as such until Player B is left standing as the winner.

Knockout Darts Tips & Strategies

The rules for knockout darts are very basic, to score more points than your opponent. With such a very specific aim, it’s difficult to have exact strategies as your focus should be on scoring as much as possible with each throw. 

Something you should do to make the game fair is to change the order that players throw each game. If the best player always throws after the worst player, they’ll have minimal pressure with each throw. By mixing the throwing order up each game you’ll be able to prevent this. 

Another thing to do is make the score difficult for your opponent throwing after you. This sounds obvious but emotion will often dictate your concentration. Let’s say the player before you scored 140 and your first dart lands in treble 5 scoring 15. 

You can’t beat the score now and will lose a life but – you should still make it difficult for the player throwing after you. If you follow the score of 15 up with 2 x treble 20s your score for the round will be 135.

Sure, you’ve lost a life but there’s a good chance the player following you will also lose one which will help keep your chances of winning achievable. 


If you want a fast-paced darts game that is well suited to large groups, few games are more enjoyable than knockout darts. 

With a simple objective and scoring system, this is a game that anyone can learn to play and it’s suitable for all playing levels. 

If you’re looking for some other games for large groups then you might also want to check out:
Killer darts 
Looper darts