This is probably the most talked about subject concerning the sport of darts. I hope to cover most of the possibilities below. Now these rules only apply to steel-tip darts. Electronic darts are another issues since the machine determines what does and does not count.
Disclaimer: These are the rules that we play by here in the CCDA and are the rules that have been explained to me through the years. If you play by different rules, I would be interested in knowing what they are. Also, if I've left any other possiblity out, please let me know so that I can add it to the list.
First off, the simplest way to phrase it is for a dart to count, the point must be touching the surface area of the board in a scoring number. Note, I did not say the dart had to be imbedded into the board, that is not the case. If, for example, you throw your first two darts and they land close together in the single 20. You then throw your third dart and, after making contact with your first two darts, it comes to rest on top of them. As long as the point of that third dart is touching the scoring area, it counts.
You throw a dart and it sticks into a previously throw dart (either in the shaft or the flight), this DOES NOT count as a scoring dart but DOES count as a throw (you do not get to throw it over again).
Your dart lands in the single 19 pie, but, because of the way it entered the board, the point went behind the wire and is sticking into the double 19. This darts scores as a single 19 since that is the scoring area the dart entered the board in (now you know why boards have wires).
I've actually seen this happen on a number of occasions. This can happen when either the flight fell out on the way to the board or when the thrower didn't notice his dart didn't have a flight in it prior to throwing it. This dart does NOT score any points. The rule is the point has to be in contact with the board, not any part of the dart.
If it falls out right after it hits the board, it does not count. If it falls out while you are still throwing your turn, it does not count. The only possible exception is if it is your third dart and it falls out while you are scoring your turn (hopefully you will have a scorekeeper and the dart won't have to hang in the board as long). Now, on-the-other-hand, if both teams/players agree to score the dart, then it will count. It's really a judgement call and good sportsmanship should quickly resolve the issue.
There is no such thing! If, for example, you have 8 points left and need to hit a double 4 to win the game and your first dart lands into the double 18, your turn is over. You CAN NOT throw your other two darts at the dart sticking into the double 18, hoping to knock it out. Your turn was officially over when you hit the double 18 and you should walk up to the board and remove your dart, not take practice throws at the double 4 with any remaining darts.
For this to happen, the dart either needs to split the wire or the wire splits the point of the dart. If it does happen, the scoring area worth the MOST points is the one that will be scored. Now this sounds like a good thing, right? It can be a bad thing if you're trying to hit a double one out and you split the double one/double twenty wire. This would be a bust (40 points would be scored). I have only broken one wire since I've been throwing and that was with my old set of 30 gram HammerHeads.
As long as you remember that the point has to be in contact with a scoring area of the board, you really can't go wrong in determining what does and does not count. Splitting wires/points is really the only exception and I've seen that done once since 1985.
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