Sports terminology can be confusing. Take tennis as a good example, to win a tennis match you accumulate points, games, and then sets, yet for a game of 501 in darts, the scoring system is based on legs and sets.
For those unfamiliar with how games work in darts, we’ll answer a common question of what are sets and legs in darts whilst showing the different formats that you can use. There are slight variations depending on the type of competition or organization/personal preferences so we’ll do a full overview below.
Table of Contents
What Are Legs in Darts
Basically, a leg is one single game of darts, be it 501, 301, or another format. Once that single game is complete then the player who wins is awarded that leg. Most matches though consist of a series of legs, it can be 3, 5, 7, and so on so it is totally dependent on the tournament or competition.
It’s also virtually almost always an odd number so one player can always outscore the other in legs and win the game.
Some matches are won just by playing a pre-determined number of legs whereas others are based on a ‘best-of’ format meaning to win a best of 5 legs, a player needs to win 3.
Legs in major tournaments are more often used to make up a set and in professional terms, sets are used mostly to decide darts contests for major tournaments and competitions.
A leg can also be used as a one-off sudden death decider should players be on the same number of sets.
What Are Sets in Darts
So as we have seen a set in darts is made up of a number of legs, which are single games, and the leg is awarded to the winner. Sets in darts are made up of a number of legs with 3 or 5 being the most common, but it can be more and to win a set you must win the corresponding number of legs that a set has.
So if you want to win a set you must outscore your opponent in legs. So for example if a set consists of 3 legs to win it, it’s possible to win 3-2, 3-,1, or 3-0 and it follows the more legs in a set, the more you have to win in order to win the set.
Sets provide a more complex format and for this reason, they are mainly used for major competitions. This is because the game format is longer when using sets as a game decider so this format is only reserved for major competitions with large viewership and tv air time.
In major tournaments, initial rounds will be made up of fewer sets (usually 1 set decided by the best of 3 legs), and then this will increase as the tournament advances through the rounds.
How Many Sets and Legs in Darts
There are many different variations on the number of legs that make up a set or the number of sets that decide a match and indeed these can also change during the various rounds of a competition. So, as you get further into a competition then the number of sets you have to win often increases – though this isn’t always the case.
The extremely high standards of darts at the present time means that the number of competitors and competitions are increasing, especially because TV has made the popularity of the sport surge in recent years to such an extent, that the professional circuit is straining to keep the hoards of darts fans happy.
This means demand on players is high and so numbers of legs and sets can be limited to low numbers in certain competitions to allow them to compete regularly without burning out.
For most amateur league competitions, there is typically 1 set needed to win with the set being the best of 3 legs. This means players need to win to legs in order to win the game.
How Many Sets and Legs are in a Darts Final
In the PDC World Championship Darts Finals, games consist of first to 3 legs per set with the game being first to 7 sets. Therefore, in order to win players need to win 21 legs of darts in total. This will of course be more because this is assuming that they win every game – In reality, you can win 2 legs but lose the set 3-2 so some finals can see players throw up to 35 legs in total.
Sets and Legs FAQ
How Many Darts Is a Good Leg?
There is a different standard for a good leg of darts depending on the level which you play. A good indicator of a good look will usually correlate with your darts average.
Find out how to calculate dart averages here.
For a beginner, a good leg of darts will be around 30 – though getting under 50 will be the aim for many beginners. A good leg of darts for a competitive player is 21 darts. A good leg of darts for a county or superleague player will be around 16-18 legs and a good leg of darts for professional players will be 12-15 darts.
What Is a Perfect Leg in Darts?
A perfect leg in darts is the fewest number of darts that you can win a game with. For 501 darts, a perfect leg is a 9-dart finish. There is a number of combinations that will lead to a 9-dart finish, yet, 9 darts is the fewest number of darts you can throw to finish a game of 501 darts and for this reason, 9 darts is a perfect leg in darts.
A game of darts is made up of two key components depending on the format you play. These are better known as legs and sets.
A leg in darts is a single game whereas a set is made up of a number of legs. Depending on the format you play, to win you will either need to win a certain number of legs or a certain number of sets (made up of legs).