American Style Darts
Welcome to the game of darts, American style. The darts have feather flights and wooden barrels. The board is different than the English Pub Board, and the games are not the same.
The game of American Darts was born out of Philadelphia, and is most popular in the nearby regions. You can find American style dartboards hanging on the walls of taverns in the coal regions of Pennsylvania, areas in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and sections of New York.
We've been playing at our local tavern for decades, running several leagues a year, hosting tournaments, and of course playing for the sheer fun of it. After surfing the net, it became apparent that someone interested in darts can easily miss the fact that American Darts even exist. And there certainly isn't enough good information to help answer any questions they might have on the game, so I decided to put this website together.
Standard GameIf you're completely new to American Darts, the standard game is Baseball (or 1 to 9).
Baseball is certainly not the only game that players shoot on an American board. But, if you find yourself shooting in a league or playing in a tournament, 90% of the time the game you'll shoot will be Baseball.
If you've never played any game on an American board, here is a link to Scoring and Gameplay rules. They're simple, but you may want to glance over them.
If you are putting together a setup at your home, before playing, you'll need to have a dartboard in place. In order to get your board up and ready, you'll need to know two things.
How high should I hang my board?- The center of the cork is 5'3" from the floor (63 inches). Legendary dart shooter Vince the Hustler had a reliable method for testing the height of any board. The tip of his nose, when standing level headed, was 5'3" from the floor. He could simply walk right up to a board and tell if it was hung high, low, or properly.
How far away from the board is the shooter line?- That is a very good question. Here's the short answer - 7'3".
I call it the short answer because there are two different ways of measuring that distance. You can measure from the front of the board, like the ABDA does, or from the wall (the back of the board essentially) like Widdy recommends.
The ABDA is the group that presides over the largest American Dart tournaments in the world. Widdy is the most respected manufacturer of American dart equiptment in the world.
Measuring from the front of the board is a bother, unless you like hanging string lines. Measuring from the back of the board can present its own obstacles, like molding or baseboard heating that occupies the space at the bottom of the wall. And, if you're mounting your dartboard on top of a backboard that protects your wall from stray shots, you need to take that into account as well.
So, I recommend just measuring from the center of the cork to the throw line with a piece of string.
The math according to the ABDA says use a 107.4" string, according to Widdy it's a 106.4" string. If you're setting this board up for "official use" you might want to choose a standard and stick by it.
If you're setting up a board at home, I'd split the difference and use a 107" string. You won't be "official" anywhere, but it won't take long to get used to a new board either, wherever you go.
It is not unusual for a kickboard (also called an oche or a toeboard) to be placed at the line to help keep shooters aware of their feet during a throw. Players "toe" this line, remaining behind it until the dart is released.
American Darts Home
Rules and Scoring
Schedule Making System
Vintage Darts and Boards
PA State Tournament
Lingo and Hand Signals