How Do You Decide Who Goes First In Darts?

How Do You Decide Who Goes First In Darts

Key Takeaways

  • Flipping a coin or playing “Middle for Diddle” are the two most common ways to decide who goes first in a game of darts
  • It is a clear advantage to throw first in darts so that you’re always ahead of your opponent’s score and are the first to reach the double
  • If players are skilled enough to hit the bullseye on demand, an alternative using their weak arm is used to play diddle for the middle
  • Another option is to let the youngest player go first, or the least experienced of both players

What is the Importance of Determining Who Goes First in Darts?

When it comes to the game of darts, determining who goes first can have a significant impact on the outcome.

In games of darts, the player who throws first nearly always has the advantage as they have the potential to be the first to get to a finish, which obviously affects the winner of the game.

In some games like, for instance, sudden death darts or 420 darts, it doesn’t necessarily matter all that much who goes first. However, in race to the finish games like gotcha darts or chase the dragon, there is more importance placed on who throws first.

Common Methods for Deciding Who Goes First

Some of the most common ways for deciding who goes first in darts include:

  1. Flipping a coin
  2. Diddle for the middle
  3. Using the weaker hand 
  4. When one player keeps losing
  5. Rock paper scissors

Flipping a Coin

One of the simplest of ways to decide who gets to throw first is by flipping a coin. It is one of the fairest ways to decide, as it offers an equal chance to both players.

It’s also not very difficult to understand, as most people in the world know how to play.

  • One person flips the coin
  • The other player picks a side of it
  • Whichever side the coin lands on, that player goes first in darts

Diddle for the Middle

Diddle for the middle, also known as middle for the diddle, is a game where each player throws a dart at the bullseye. In some parts of the world, it is also known simply as “throwing for the bull”.

It is one of the most popular ways that is used to get to decide who goes first. 

  1. Each player has one dart
  2. One player takes their turn and throws as close as possible to the bull
  3. The next player does the same
  4. Whoever is closest to the bullseye wins and starts the game

Retaking the Throw for Bull

If a dart bounces out, a player doesn’t get to retake their shot and the attempt will count. 

  • When two darts look like the same distance to the bull, both players need to retake their shots
  • If both players successfully land in the inner bullseye, again, both will need to take their shots again

Using The Weaker Hand 

To make things a little fairer for inexperienced players, diddle for the middle is sometimes thrown with the weaker hand.

This is usually when there is a clear difference in the skill levels of players. 

When One Player Keeps Losing

Some players, use the “winner throws first” method to decide who starts.

The only problem is that if one player keeps losing, the game can become a bit dull. It comes back to the skill level of players again.

If there is a clear, handing over the advantage of throwing first to the weaker player can make the game more interesting.

Some players even let them start on 301 instead of 501 and play catch up. 

Rock Paper Scissors

One method players can also use is Rock Paper Scissors, which i all honesty is not very common. However, if you have kids, it can be a fun way to decide.

To play you need to beat the hand gesture that the other person made and rock beats scissors, paper beats rock, and scissors beat paper.

Letting the youngest go first

As I mentioned earlier in the article, the first thrower has the advantage of setting the tone and getting a mental edge. So, it’s key to have a fair and effective method to decide.

  • Some players decide who goes first, through a coin toss or mutual agreement
  • However, closest to the bullseye remains the most widely used way of deciding who deserves to go first

There are times when you may not mind which player throws to begin the game.

If you play darts with your kids often, you will probably just let them go first.

I always let my kids throw first, but when both mine are playing against each other, I usually let the youngest go first.

However, that is because there are a few years in the difference with them. If they were closer in age, I would choose one of the methods below for a fair and unbiased start to the game.

Dart Leagues’ Guidance on Determining Who Goes First

Dart leagues provide guidance on determining who goes first fairly. To decide the order, a few points are taken into account:

  • Throwing for the bullseye: The closest to the center goes first.
  • Coin toss: The winner chooses to throw first or second.
  • Player agreement: Taking turns for each game or set.
  • Previous winner: May have the advantage of going first in the next game.
  • League rules: Rotating the order or following a predetermined one.
  • Random selection: In cases where no method is prescribed, a random draw can be used.

Guidelines may differ according to each dart league, however fairness and impartiality are usually maintained as best as possible.

FAQs about How Do You Decide Who Goes First In Darts?

How Do You Decide Who Goes First in Darts?

There are several common methods for determining who goes first in darts. Some popular ones include flipping a coin, playing “Middle for Diddle” where players throw one dart at the board, or playing a quick game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to break ties.

Is Skill Level a Factor in Determining Who Goes First in Darts?

No, skill level should not be a basis for determining who goes first in darts. The method chosen should provide equal play and fair play for all players.

How Can the High Score Determine Who Goes First in Darts?

One method is playing a practice game or “triple-up” where the player who scores the most points goes first. This can be a fun way to determine the starting player.

What Are Some Best Practices for Deciding Who Goes First in Darts?

It is important to establish clear rules beforehand and encourage good sportsmanship. Skill, strategy, and precision are critical elements, but the most important aspect is to have fun while playing darts.

What Is the Middle for Diddle Method in Darts?

“Middle for Diddle” is a method where each player takes a turn to throw one dart at the board, and the closest person to the bullseye wins the opportunity to go first in the game.


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