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Cricket Dart Game

Learn the rules and strategies to playing the dart game called Cricket.

Cricket Dart Game

My brother was a big Cricket player in college. It was the first Dart game he learned to play. He said he got pretty good at it by senior year. It was how he and his frat buddies blew off steam during exam time. It is the most common game played in bars across America, so I have to wonder how much studying my brother was actually doing. This game requires a little strategy, so it gives an advantage to the more clever player who is perhaps not the strongest player.

The object of the game is to close all numbers from 20 down to 15 plus the bull's-eye and wind up with more, or at least as many, points as your opponent. You must hit three of a number in order to close it.

To keep score, you should write the numbers 20 down to 15 and bull's-eye in descending order down the center of the scoreboard. To score, you must throw your dart at any of the game numbers 20 through 15 and bull's-eye. Again, the outer ring counts as two of that number (double) and the inner ring counts for three of that number (triple).

Scoring for one dart is indicated with a slash “/” next to the number scored. Scoring for two is indicated with an X placed next to the number, and scoring for three is indicated with an O next to the number. These symbols are written to indicate that the number is closed. When three of a number is hit in any combination, the number is closed, and you should use these symbols to indicate this on the scoreboard.

Each player throws his or her darts, alternating between teams and/or players, to try and close a number. Each round is the throw of three darts. You keep playing until you score more, or an equal amount of, points as your opponent.

Winning Plays

One of the early versions of Darts was a game called Huff and Blow. In this game, the dart was blown from a pipe at the target. A folk tale dating back to 1844 says that one man actually drew the dart inward instead of blowing it out. Needless to say, he died just a few days later.

Keeping score is the really fun part about this game. Cricket gets interesting when you deal with the points.

If you close a number and your opponent has not closed that same number, any dart that lands in that number goes to your side of the scoreboard total. If, for example, you close your 15 and your opponent has only one 15, if you throw a triple-15, you have 45 points added to your total. If your opponent throws a triple-15 at this point, only two count to close the number—the third 15 does not count because you have already closed that number. However, if you have all your numbers closed, including your bull's-eyes, but have fewer points than your opponent, you have not yet won the game. You have to keep throwing until you have more points than (or an equal amount of points as) your opponent. If you only have bull's-eyes left, then you must throw extra bull's-eyes, which are worth 25 points each or 50 points for double bull's-eye.

So the art of Cricket is in strategizing the plays. You have to think ahead and try to outwit your opponent. You have to have a good aim, but the real key is in the brain.

A good trick is to close your highest numbers first in descending order. Why? Because the player with the highest numbers closed first has an advantage. This is the great part of the game: If you close your 20 and score 20 points in your first round, your opponent will have to throw two 19s after he or she closed just to make up the points and score 38.

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