How To Play the Shanghai Darts Game?

how to play shanghai darts game

Key Takeaways

  • Shanghai Darts is a great game for beginners and skilled players
  • Can be played in large groups
  • Shanghai darts are played over 20 rounds and is a variation to around the world darts
  • A shanghai, in any round, wins the game
  • If no one scores a shanghai, the highest scoring player at the end of the game is the winner

What Is the Shanghai Darts Game?

Shanghai darts is a fun game of darts that is a variation to another game called around the clock darts, aka around the world.

It is one of the most popular games of darts, because essentially it doesn’t matter where you are in the game, every player has the opportunity to win the game during their throw. 

The potential for upsets, against all odds while losing heavily, is exhilarating and adds excitement.

Even a total beginner can win if they score a shanghai.

What Is a Shanghai in Darts?

A Shanghai in darts is when a player scores in the single, triple and double of the same number during the one turn. 

If you watch televised games, you will hear it called shanghai by the commentators when a player hits all three darts in the three segments of the same number.

During a game of Shanghai darts, a shanghai wins the game outright, regardless of points on the board or positions. 

What Is the Objective of Shanghai Darts?

The aim of the game is to win the game by either scoring the most amount of points during the 20 rounds, or by hitting a Shanghai.

How To Play the Shanghai Darts Game?

To play shanghai darts:

  • Each player get three darts per throw during each round
  • There are a total of 20 rounds during a game of Shanghai 
  • The game is played from 1 through 20 in numerical order
  • The target of each round is the number of the round number (the target in round 1 is number 2, the target during round 2 is number 2, all the way round to 20)

What Are the Shanghai Darts Rules?

The Shanghai darts rules are simple and straight forward:

  • Player’s do not move around numbers during the game 
  • The single, double and triple values represent the value of the number – i.e. during round 6, a single is worth 6 points (1×6), a double is worth 12 points (2×6) and a triple is worth 18 points (3×6)
  • If a player scores a shanghai in the active number in play, they win the game 
  • If no one Shanghai’s an active number, the player with the highest points at the end of the game is the winner 

How to Score Shanghai Darts?

Scoring in Shanghai darts is accumulative, and to score points in this way makes it easier to keep track of player positions. 

The best way to keep track of the scores is to write the player’s names across the top of the scoreboard and round numbers, 1-20, down the left-hand side. 

After each round, count the score and add the points to the player’s running total.

how to score shanghai darts

Variations to the Game of Shanghai

Shanghai darts in itself is a variation of the around the clock darts game, but there are tonnes of ways you can vary Shanghai as well.

Varying the number of rounds 

Over 20 rounds, the game can go on for a while if there are lots of players playing.

Therefore, many people change the rules and play either:

  • 1 through to 10, or
  • 10 through to 20

You can either play it over a shorter number of rounds.

Handicapping Players 

Another popular variant to the standard game is to introduce the triple 10 mandatory hit rule. 

  • Players have to hit the triple 10 or loses their points and starts from zero at number 11.
  • This can be hard for most players, but particularly so for beginners, so you may only want to include this rule change for the more skilled and experienced players 

Tips to Win at Shanghai

As you move further along in the dart game Shanghai, there are more points to play for with the higher numbers, especially from 10 onwards.

Therefore, you can potentially rack up some BIG scores, so missed darts can be more costly.

Early on in the game, missing a dart doesn’t have the same impact, so it is the ideal time to actively attempt a Shanghai. 

  • You also want to leave the doubles to the last shot of your throw 
  • Aim for the triple first, if you hit that
  • Next should be the single
  • Then go for the double if you want to shanghai your darts

Of course, in any scenario, you will want to analyze the gameplay and assess your position in the game.

If you are falling behind, with not much chance of winning, you may have to go for the Shanghai all the time.

On the flip side, if you are well ahead, and the opportunity is there for the shanghai on the last dart, you may as well go for it.

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