How To Play Gotcha Darts: Game Rules, Scoring & Tips to Win

As you might have learned by now, there is not just one way to enjoy a game of darts. 

From traditional pub games to online darts, there’s a game out there for every skill and experience. But if we were to pick one that is inclusive of all levels, Gotcha Darts makes the top of our list.

It’s fun, simple, and encourages just a touch of friendly competition — all things that a dart game should be. 

To learn more about how to play and score successfully in Gotcha Darts, keep on reading. 

How to Play

Gotcha darts can be played by beginners and master dartists alike, with no limit to the number of people who can play. 

How long each game lasts will be up to you and the target number that you set at the start of the game. Obviously, the higher your target number is, the longer it will take to reach it, for example. 

And that’s how a game of Gotcha starts: by setting a target number. Players usually choose between 301 and 501 as these are the standard scores in a traditional darts game. However, you can choose to set it at 1001 or more if you want. 

Once you have set your target, the whole objective of your game is to chase after this number. Say you set your target a bit low at 301; then, you need to hit this particular number. 

Not 300 or 302 — exactly 301. You’ll be given three darts for every single session to reach your target score. 


As in a typical game of darts, you will also make use of a circle dartboard with 20 randomly numbered segments for Gotcha. You have the black ring called bullseye in the middle, the red 25 ring surrounding it, and then segments broken by double and treble rings. 

Once you land your dart in a segment inside the treble ring and under a specific number, then you have earned the corresponding score for that throw. 

Now, when it comes to Gotcha Darts, one of its main appeals is that it is incredibly easy to tally the score and keep track of the game. Of course, this can quickly be a bit more complicated if you allow “killing” into the game. 

What does killing mean in Gotcha Darts, anyway? This is basically a way to reset your opponents’ score, bringing their score lower or even sending it back to zero. 

You can invoke this game privilege if you manage to hit exactly the same score as your opponent’s latest score. 

So if you’re going to have someone “kill” you and your team, you should at least hope that they do this earlier in the game rather than at the tail end of it. 

Your score may also be reset if you bust. This refers to when you go over your target score. So careful planning, precision, and patience are needed to win at this game. 

Determining the Winner

Two Person Playing Gotcha Darts

Gotcha Darts is not about who scores the highest possible number. Instead, it relies on your precision and deliberate targetting of throws so that you end up with the exact score as your target number, no more and no less. 

Whoever hits the target number first wins. 

The game continues until either of the team hits that specific number. That said, Gotcha Darts can be incredibly fun and challenging at the same time. 

So if you want a game that ends quicker, then you should set your target to maybe 101 instead of, say, 501. 


The target score will depend on what you agree with your opponents. You can choose to set it as low as 101 or as high as 1001, but the typical choices are 301 and 501.

  • With that said, assuming that you have set the score to 501, then this is what the rules might look like: 
  • You should reach exactly 501 points to win the game. Again, the exact number will depend on the initial score that you have set prior to the game. In this case, however, we’re using 501 as an example.  
  • If you manage to hit a score that is equivalent to that of your opponent, then your opponent’s score will be brought back to zero. This is what “killing” in Gotcha Darts means. 
  • If you bust, meaning you go over your target score, then your score will be reset to zero. 
  • You have to play until a winner is declared. So unless you reach your 501 precisely, the game continues.

Tips to Play A Successful Game of Gotcha Darts

Gotcha is a game that requires patience and precision, not just blindly throwing your darts and hoping that you get the highest possible score.

So the rules may be straightforward, but it can be quite a challenge to play. Still, with the right group of people to play with and a commitment to the game, you’ll find this game incredibly rewarding and equal parts exacting. 

Here are a few Gotcha Darts tips we have for you:

  1. While it may be tempting to aim for the highest possible segment at all times, this is probably not the best way to go about the game. Be deliberate in your throws, and make sure that you keep track of your current score to keep from going over your target number that could result in a bust. 
  2. A useful strategy is to score the high points in the first two rounds and then being more conservative in your throws in the later ones. Setting a high score at the beginning makes it more difficult for your opponent to kill you. 
  3. Don’t just keep track of your score, but your opponent’s as well. 

Gotcha is equal parts fun and challenging — perhaps even downright frustrating if you keep on hitting walls and getting your scores to reset. However, with time, practice, and the right people to play with, you’ll be able to enjoy this game and look forward to playing it. 

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Fred Corder
Fred Corder
Fred Corder found his love for darts later in life after graduating from college in 2012. Now, for almost ten years, he has been helping others learn the best methods and tricks for improving their focus and precision and is enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge with a broader audience here.

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