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Gotcha Darts: Rules, Strategies, and How to Play

Curious about how to play "Gotcha Darts," a game favored by dart players worldwide? Gotcha Darts is known for its thrill and competitive edge. In this game, each player throws a dart at the board, aiming for specific regions marked with different point values. The goal is to outscore opponents by hitting higher-value points on the dartboard.

In this article, we’ll introduce the basic concept of Gotcha Darts, explore how it differs from the traditional 501 and 301 games, and explain the unique rules and scoring system of Gotcha Darts. Additionally, we’ll share strategies on how to play Gotcha Darts proficiently.

A dart board hung on a blackboard.

Understanding Gotcha Darts

Let's first comprehend the basic concept of Gotcha Darts before delving into the game's rules and how to play it.

The Gotcha Darts game is played with a dartboard with numbered parts and a bullseye in the middle. Your objective is quickly bringing your score from zero to a predetermined point (often 301 or 501).

The thrilling game of Gotcha Darts begins by setting the "oche" or "throwing line" at 7 feet (2.37 meters) from the dart board. Like ordinary darts, the Players take turns throwing three darts per round at the dartboard to hit particular targets or score points. Based on the game's regulations, they can shoot for specific numbers or regions on the board.

Now, the exciting part comes: what sets Gotcha Darts apart is the "gotcha" element. Some segments or areas of the dartboard are designated as "gotcha" zones. When a player successfully hits those regions, he can steal the previous player's score. This aspect elevates the game level in terms of rivalry and excitement.

When a predetermined target score is reached, the game ends, and the person who did so is declared the winner.

Similarities And Differences Between Gotcha Darts And Traditional Dart Games (501 and 301)

At first glance, Gotcha Darts shares a family resemblance with the traditional dart games 501 and 301, as players in both realms strive to accumulate points. However, the route they take to reach their scoring goals unveils a world of difference.

In the traditional domain of 501 and 301:

  • Players kick off with a score of 501 or 301 respectively and with each dart thrown, they whittle down their score, aiming to hit the bullseye of zero.

  • The dartboard is their battlefield, with each numbered section representing a fixed point value. The mission is clear: hit the numbered areas to shave off points, and do the math to reach zero without overshooting.

On the flip side, Gotcha Darts flips the script:

  • Here, players start at the base camp of zero, with eyes set on the peak of 301 or 501 points. Each successful dart throw propels them further up the scoring ladder.

  • While the dartboard retains its numbered sections, Gotcha Darts tosses in a curveball with the "gotcha" zones. Hitting these special zones allows players to snatch points from their rivals, adding a layer of strategy and rivalry that’s absent in the more traditional games.

In a nutshell, while traditional dart playing is a race to descend to zero, Gotcha Darts is a climb to the set score, with the added zest of the "gotcha" zones making the ascent a thrilling contest of strategy and skill.

Gotcha Darts Rules

In a Gotcha Darts game, you have to count up from zero instead of counting down like in 501 or 301.

Target Number

To start the game, you must choose a certain target number, i.e. 301 or 501. This target number is set as the winning point. Therefore, you have to achieve the target to win the game.


You toss darts at a dartboard to meet your score. You score extra points if you reach a higher number. The Gotcha Darts scoring structure is simple:

  • You receive 50 points if you hit the bullseye, which is the little circle in the center.

  • The thin ring surrounding the bullseye, known as the outer bullseye, is worth 25 points.

  • The dartboard's numbered portions have values ranging from 1 to 20.

  • The aim is to hit the bullseye or these numbered portions to earn points.

  • By striking your throws in the appropriate spots on the dartboard, you can earn one, two, or three points.

Killing Rule

In the killing rule, you can reset your opponent's score to zero. The killing strategy helps you defeat your opponent in the Gotcha Darts game. Here is a simple math to clarify your concept:

Player 1

1st Attempt – 40 scored (40 total)

2nd Attempt – 45 scored (85 in total)

Player 2

1st Attempt– 40 scored (40 total)

2nd Attempt – 80 scored (120 in total)

Since player 2's win over player 1's overall score (85) with his 120 scores. Now, player 1's overall score will reset to zero, and he will start again, giving Player 2 a substantial advantage to win the game.

Scoring in Gotcha Darts

Scoring in Gotcha Darts is straightforward once you get the hang of it. Let's delve into how it works.

Start with the bullseye, your gateway to a maximum of 50 points with a single throw, as it sits at the dartboard's center.

Now, it's all about climbing up from zero. Each dart thrown adds to your score, with the aim of hitting specific sections on the dartboard to rack up points.

For instance, the dartboard rings, starting from the outermost, are valued at one point per section, increasing to two points for the next ring, and so on, until the innermost ring which is worth twenty-five points per section.

If your dart lands on the line dividing two sections, you'll score lower. The numbers on the dartboard signify multiples of the section's point value. For example, nail the triple 20 section and bag a cool 60 points.

There's also the double ring, lying outside the triple ring, where each section’s value is doubled. So, hitting the double 16 section nets you 32 points (2 times 16).

In essence, the aim is to accumulate points with each throw to reach the target score, be it 301 or 501, turning the dartboard into a scoring playground.

Strategies for Playing Gotcha Darts

You can make some sensible movements when playing this game to increase your chances of victory. Let's analyze what strategies are required to play the Gotcha Darts game:

  • Tips for the First Round: In the first round, start by hitting higher numbers, such as doubles and triples. This prepares your ground for a powerful opening.

  • Aiming for High Doubles and Triples: The goal is to hit the board accurately rather than simply to hit it. Because they result in high points, go for the high doubles and triples. For instance, hitting a triple 20 can significantly alter your point total.

  • Killing the Opponent's Score: To win this game, you must be perfect in "killing" your opponent's score. This involves carefully placing your darts to lower their points. If they have a high score, aim for numbers your competitor hasn't yet reached.

  • Regularity in Throws: Use the same position, hold, and throw method when aiming your throws. This increases your accuracy and helps you develop muscle memory. While throwing darts, maintain a steady rhythm and avoid hurrying.

Variations of Gotcha Darts

  • You can make the game shorter or longer by choosing how many points you need to win. Try 301 points if you're new to this. Go for 501 points if you can.

  • You can experiment with various Gotcha Darts rules, including "Cricket" (near specified numbers), "Double In," and "Double Out."

  • When played in teams, Gotcha Darts can be even more interesting. While three players per side compete in Triples, two players team up in Doubles Gotcha Darts.

Couple gazing on each other in front of a dart board.

Exploring Gotcha Darts and More with EDARTS

After reading this article, we hope that now you have a better understanding of the Gotcha Darts rules and scoring methods. We have tried our best to put accurate details from how to play Gotcha Darts to tallying Gotcha Darts scores. In contrast to standard darts, it is interesting to know that Gotcha Darts rules work by goal score counting up rather than down.

Moreover, you can become a Gotcha Darts pro player by aiming for high doubles and triples and learning the technique for "killing" your opponent's score exactly. So, gather your friends and set the dartboard to play this game. Remember, by persistent practice and utilizing a little strategy, you can succeed in your game.

Also, if you want to enjoy the experience of a professional Gotcha Darts game, look at the high-end electronic dartboards from EDARTS that offer a better darting experience.

Now you might be thinking, why? Well, the electronic dartboards from EDARTS (Mini, Epoch, A1-Bluetooth) offer a dynamic platform for experienced dart players to test their skill level and advance their game. Each EDARTS machine offers more than 30 games so that people of every age can enjoy endless fun experiences.

Aren't these amazing electronic dartboards enough to convince you to buy one? If yes, then check out the EDARTS website and get the best dartboard to score a big in your next game.



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