American Dart Etiquette

It’s not a big secret that there are fundamental differences between American Style darts and Pub darts. But, after having had three separate experiences with playing English darts in an English dart setting, it became apparent to me that not only the equipment and the games differ, but the etiquette between dart shooters is somewhat different as well.

Some things almost go without saying, but for the sake of being thorough, here are a few no-brainers for anyone venturing out into the public to shoot darts . . .

Don’t distract the shooter – and that means everything from being noisy to being in the line of sight, or just too dang close.

Be prompt when it’s your turn to shoot – it’s not cool to have to constantly track down a teammate or opponent.

Fits of temper.

Intense celebrations – and that includes inappropriate trash talking.

Those things are universal. But, there are subtle differences between how the players behave during the different games that you may not realize. Well, I didn’t realize them until I did some playing.

In English Darts, there is a whole list of do’s and don’ts for the scorekeepers. In American Darts, the scorekeeper is more of a bookkeeper. They don’t judge the scoring, they simply record it onto the scoresheet. And as a result, they are usually positioned behind the shooters at a table, writing onto a scoresheet. English scorekeepers stand near the dartboard itself, in plain view of the shooters and onlookers, writing on a scoreboard that hangs on the wall.

SCORING – In an American style game, Player A stands at the line and throws his three darts. Then he’s finished.

He can go directly to his beer (or anywhere else) after he throws the third dart. Player B goes to the board, and calls out the score so that everyone, especially thee scorekeeper, can hear. There is usually a set of hand signals that accompanies the called score, so there is less confusion in a crowded, noisy room. If there’s any doubt about the darts, the players can all walk right up to the board and inspect them.

Pub guys, read this: In American darts, players share the darts, so you do NOT shoot the darts and then go up to retrieve your darts, and then get out of the way for the next shooter. You shoot the darts, and leave them in the board.

If you’re shooting Pub darts, people generally bring their own darts. So, you take the line and shoot your darts. Someone calls out the score and marks it, and then you go pull your own darts. It’s different.

I was shooting pub darts recreationally, and as the beer flowed I slid back into a habit of taking the line, throwing the darts, and finding my barstool. Meanwhile people are looking at me like “what the hell? go get your darts out of the board, will ya?”

Team Celebrations – In an english dart setting, everyone seems to have darts in their hands. So, when a teammate throws a nice inning, they’re returning with a handful of darts. In that setting the high fives do not flow freely. In the most recent pub dart tourney, the hand slapping seemed to be replaced by this gentle fist bumping action. 

I’m not sure if that’s standard everywhere, but I do know that in an American dart setting when the shooter does well, returning to the team he’ll get the same sort of greeting that someone who just hit a home run would receive – high fives, handshakes and hand slaps. 

Chatter at the line – on this topic I have to say that some traditions are local. Some teams chatter when a teammate is at the line the same way little leaguers chatter when a batter is in the box. You’ll hear all sorts of lines “fill in the reds”, “follow that up”, etc. Some teams treat time at the line as if it were time at the altar, and you can hear a pin drop.

I’m sure I missed some, but those are the things that struck me when I noticed them. Feel free to add any dart etiquette rules in the comments section.

The above article appeared on our original darts blog. The comments were as follows . . .


1. Author: Official PRO Sports Darts | Date: July 29, 2009 | Time: 4:28 pm | So I take it a pat on the butt with combination of a high five is out of the question? LOL What brand of darts are the best for tournaments hard tip and soft tip?

2. Author: chuck | Date: August 4, 2009 | Time: 11:32 pm | check out the internet’s newest dart site

3. Author: mike blass | Date: September 11, 2009 | Time: 6:43 pm | ihave been throwing darts for 30 years. Played in the minutemand dart league for years. Never once saw anyone leave their darts in the bristles for the next chap to use, and the scorekeeper ALWAYS stood to the left of the board.

4. Author: admin | Date: September 15, 2009 | Time: 3:16 pm | Mike, you’ve been throwing english darts.

5. Author: Harry | Date: October 19, 2009 | Time: 9:31 am | Hah that is hilarious! I’m a darts player from England, you’ve picked up on a few things I had never really thought about, fantastic! I’ve made a website that you might find helpful, it’s an aid to keep score during a match and it allows you to play against yourself (using your score history as a template for an AI character), if you get chance please do take a look and let me know what you think! Keep up the good work! H.

6. Author: Darts Tip | Date: October 28, 2009 | Time: 11:56 am | Keep up the good work

7. Author: electronic dartboard | Date: January 29, 2010 | Time: 3:00 pm | I guess a pat on the butt depends on what sort of bar you’re in.

8. Author: Victor | Date: July 7, 2010 | Time: 9:57 am | I’ve been playing darts in America my entire life and never have I left my darts in the board. The only time someone would share darts is if they’re sharing the house darts. However, the scorekeeper is like a bookkeeper!

9. Author: Unicorn Darts | Date: July 28, 2010 | Time: 12:32 am | Coming from the land of pubs, I have been caught out a few times in the US when trying to retrieve my darts after my throw. It was only after a near-miss that I learnt the local rules! LOL!

10. Author: darts flights | Date: August 13, 2010 | Time: 11:14 pm | Yeah, I got caught out when last in the UK – they take their darts real serious over there! I had good fun though – the Brits are a great crowd!

11. Author: Burton Obray | Date: November 13, 2010 | Time: 9:08 am | Hi I want to to write a remark on this page regarding you to let you know how much i Liked this read. I have to run off to work but wished to leave ya a quick remark. I book marked you So will certainly be returning right after work in order to read more of yer quality posts. Keep up the quality work.

12. Author: Jim Filey | Date: November 19, 2010 | Time: 9:06 pm | Love the websites and the dart varations! I suggest taking a look at for another variation that combines darts and golf.

Author: bob

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