What Does Bust Mean In Darts? (Full Overview)

Let’s say that the remaining points of a player are 157. To win the game in one round, he or she needs to hit a triple 20, a triple 19, and a double 20. If, by any chance, the player hits the inner Bullseye (50 points), the score becomes a negative or below zero, resulting in a BUST.

Simply put, a bust happens if a player hits a score that reduces his or her remaining points below zero. 

In the given example, when the player has hit the Bull, his score becomes minus 10, satisfying the definition of a bust. He or she receives no score for the round but gets to play another round and starts with the same score before the bust.

Other Conditions

Getting a negative score is not the only condition for a bust. The other cases that can also be considered a bust are the following:

1. The One-Point Difference, Double Out

For this condition, let’s use a lesser point value. Let’s say that the player’s remaining points are 45. He or she can win the round by hitting a single 20, a single five, and double ten or a double 20 and a single five.

However, the player hits a double 20 and a single four, resulting in a difference of one. It’s considered a bust. If you look at the board, no number can be doubled and give a value of one. The player must play another round again with the same remaining points before the bust.

Splitting the 11: Even if the remaining point is one, there is still a way to avoid the bust and win the game. It’s called the “Splitting the 11”. The player has to hit the spaces between the two digits of 11 (between 1 and 1 to make it clearer) on the no-scoring area. It’s a tricky shot but worth a try.

2. Zero But No Double Out

The other condition that satisfies a bust is when a player reaches zero points, but the last hit is not a double. One of the basic rules in a darts game is to end the game with a double out. 

For example, the remaining points are 45. A player can win the round with a shot of triple 15, right? But he or she has not won the game yet because the last throw is not a double. It means another round has to be played with the same remaining points before the bust.

Consequences of A Bust

Showing Consequences of A Bust in Dartboard

If a bust happens in the last round, there is no reduction of points. Players have to play another round with the same number of points before they got “busted.”

Let’s say that the player has 32 points left to finish the game. He or she can aim for a double 16. If the player hits a single 16 on his first throw, he or she needs 16 points with the remaining darts. 

But the player has to make sure that a double-out is still satisfied. It means that if the player is able to hit a double eight after the single 16, then he or she wins the game. If the player busts, the points reset to 32.

Whenever there is a bust, the remaining points will reset again and again until all conditions are met. But remember, this is a race of who gets to zero first. 

As much as possible, players need to avoid the bust to win the game. If you want to see professional players who got busted, check out this video.

When Several Busts Happen

Busts can happen for several turns, but there is a limit of 20 turns per game. If none of the players has reached zero after 20 turns, the one with the lowest remaining points wins the game. 

But in the event when the score is tied after 20 rounds, the game continues, and players will play another ten rounds.

Of course, the one who reaches zero wins the game. The player who has the lowest remaining points within the extra turns after the 20th turn will also be declared the winner of the match. But the game ends in a draw if the scores are still tied after playing the extra 10 turns.

Few Reminders

On every final turn, players don’t need to use all three darts. They can win the match after the first or second throw as long as all conditions are met. 

For example, the player has 10 points to close the game. To win the round, he or she must aim for a double five or a single one, a single five, and a double two. Otherwise, the turn ends in a bust, and players have to play again.

The lowest score to finish a game is two. Players aim for a double one to end the match, and they can only do it with one throw. There is no other way to do it if there are only two remaining points.

On the contrary, the highest possible number of points to have a safe win without busting is 182. Players can aim all three darts at triple 20 with two remaining points. 

The next round is only double one, finishing the match. Other remaining points that can be won with a single turn with three darts without busting are 160-triple 20, triple 20, and double 20; 158-triple 20, triple 20, and double 19; and 156-triple 20, triple 20, and double 18.

These rules, including the bust conditions and double finishes, are applied to all ’01 games. The most popular dart game matches are 301 and 501.

The Takeaway

If you watch professional dart players, you can say that darts is a fast-paced game. They start aiming at triple 20 to reduce the points faster. The match becomes more interesting as the points get lower and harder to close into zero points due to possible bust turns. Most of the time, it’s challenging to finish the game with double-outs.

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Fred Corder - SportsDean
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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