The bullseye is arguably the most iconic symbol for darts. Players throw closest to the bull to decide who starts a game, it’s the highest single number that you can checkout on to win a game, and it’s so iconic that there’s even a game show named after it!
For all of its popularity though, why don’t dart players go for bullseye more often?
Watch any professional game of darts and you’ll find that the use of the bullseye is rare and this is for players that have an elite level of accuracy and can hit it with frequency and ease.
Read on to see why it’s such an underused segment by both casual and professional dart players.
What Is the Bullseye In Darts
The bullseye in darts is the round center segment of the dartboard, usually a red circular segment like in the image below.
The color can vary on some dartboards but for easy reference, the bullseye is the inner circle in the center of a dartboard and is worth 50 points. The bullseye can also be referred to as the double bullseye or inner bullseye and that is because it’s technically classified as a double, meaning this is a number you can checkout on to win a game of X01 darts (or another variation that requires a double finish).
As it’s the double bullseye, you’ll see it’s surrounded by a larger circular segment, this is the outer bull and is worth 25 points.
Why Don’t Dart Players Go For Bullseye?
Dart players don’t throw for the bullseye for two main reasons:
- It’s only the fifth-highest scoring segment on the board so it doesn’t produce the most points when scoring.
- There’s an unpredictability that comes with missing the bullseye which can impact a player’s rhythm and outshot calculations.
We’ll cover each of these points separately to explain them in a bit more detail.
The Bullseye Isn’t a High Scoring Number
When playing 501 darts or a similar scoring-based game, a key factor in winning the match is maximizing your score on each throw. This is the reason why most players throw for treble 20 in order to score 60 points with a single dart.
The bullseye in comparison is worth 50 points when hit. This means that if all factors were equal and player A throws for treble 20 while player B throws for the bullseye and they hit the numbers with the same frequency, player A will gain a 10 point advantage with every dart thrown.
This would be fine for just a single dart but as darts have 3 darts per throw, the player throwing for treble 20 could mathematically gain a 30 point advantage every throw. Over three throws this would increase to 90 points giving player A a clear advantage and an improved chance of winning most games.
The bullseye is the fifth-highest scoring number behind the following:
Treble 20 – 60 points
Treble 19 – 57 points
Treble 18 – 54 points
Treble 17 – 51 points
Bullseye – 50 points
This means that if you want to maximize your scoring potential, there are four better options on the board and this is one of the primary reasons why treble 19 provides a better cover shot when the treble 20 segment is blocked, it maximizes your chance of scoring more points.
The more points a player can score each throw, the better chance they have of winning a game.
The Bullseye Doesn’t allow Consistent Scoring
While in the above example we’ve assumed that players will hit the target number with every throw, in reality, not even the professional players can guarantee such accuracy and consistency.
With most professional players averaging around 100 for a 3-dart average, this means they hit a treble 20 with 1 in 3 darts (finishing brings this average down but for a professional player it’s still around 1 in 3 darts will hit the treble). This means that for every dart throw at the treble, at least one of the darts will miss.
If you want to improve your scoring and dart averages, check out our guide on improving your darts average.
If this is the case at the professional level, it’s a fair assumption that people reading this will miss the treble with far greater frequency than what they hit it with. For most people, you’ll hit a single 20 at least once per throw with the occasional stray dart going into the 1 or 5 segments.
This makes it easy to calculate shots and keep a record of your remaining points – something that’s essential for maintaining your throwing rhythm and consistency. If you throw for the bullseye and miss with at least 2 of your 3 darts, one might hit the outer bull and score 25 points but another is likely to land on any segment.
This is because a missed bullseye is located in the center of the board with all segments surrounding it. You could be fortunate and hit a single 20 with a missed dart but it could just as easily be a single 3 below the bull. This means you are constantly trying to calculate random scores and will have an incredibly inconsistent throw each turn.
The Bullseye is Smaller Than a Treble
An additional (and more obvious) reason why players don’t frequently throw for the bullseye is that the bullseye is smaller than a treble segment meaning it’s harder to hit and will score fewer points than a treble 20 which is not a good combination!
The bullseye and treble dimensions are as follows:
- Inner Bull – 1/2″ diameter
- Treble Segment – 1/4″ Wide — 6-11/16″ radius
When converted into a target area they measure the following:
- Inner Bull – 0.20 square inches
- Treble Segment – 0.40 square inches
In reality, the inner bullseye is half the size of a treble segment. This means you’re far less likely to hit it with the same level of consistency and statistically, you’ll miss the bullseye more times than you’ll miss a treble.
Is a Treble 20 Better Than a Bullseye
When looking at the reasons above, it’s easier to see that the treble 20 can be considered better than a bullseye.
The main reasons why the treble 20 is better than a bullseye is because it has a greater point total (60 points for a treble 20 vs 50 points for a bullseye), has a larger surface area making it statistically easier to hit, and also provides more consistent scoring due to a predictable point total if you miss the treble 20.
With all these factors combined, it makes more sense for a player to throw for a treble 20 and it’s therefore arguably better than the bullseye. A treble 20 provides more points than a bullseye and as it’s a larger segment, you’re also more likely to hit it!
The bullseye may be a very popular and iconic segment on a dartboard but in reality, it’s something that very few players will often throw for. Unless you are left on a checkout of 50, it makes less sense statistically for you to throw at the bullseye over higher scoring numbers like the treble 20 or treble 19.
For this reason, the bullseye is somewhat of an overhyped number. It allows for higher checkouts and is therefore utilized by professional players more as they have the accuracy to hit it with consistency, but even the pros throw for it rarely because the treble 20 provides more points and increases your chance of winning a game.