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There are many games that can be played on a dartboard, but darts generally refers to a game whereby the player throws three darts per visit to the board with the goal of reducing a fixed score, commonly 501 or 301, to zero ("checking out"), with the final dart landing in either the bullseye or a double segment.

A game of darts is generally contested between two players, who take turns. Each turn consists of throwing three darts. When two teams play, the starting score is sometimes increased to '701' or even '1001'; the rules remain the same.
A throw that reduces a player's score below zero, to exactly one, or to zero but not ending with a double is known as "going bust", with the player's score being reset to the value prior to starting the turn, and the remainder of the turn being forfeited.
In some variants (called a "northern bust" in London) only the dart that causes the bust is not counted. That is felt by some to be a purer version of the game, as under the normal rules, a player left with a difficult finish, e.g. 5 and one dart remaining will often deliberately "bust" it in order to get back to the easier finish that they had at the start of their go. For example, a player with 20 at the start of their go could miss the double 10 and get a single, miss the double 5 and get a single, leaving them 5 and only one dart remaining. Their best option is to deliberately bust it to get back onto double 10. Under the "northern bust" they would remain on 5.
A darts match is played over a fixed number of games, known as legs. A match may be divided into sets, with each set being contested as over a fixed number of legs.

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