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Dart checkouts - the most important dart checkout ways at a glance

Shanghai checkout at darts

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Alex Krist
Alex Krist

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In darts, the golden saying goes: Triple is funny, but double makes the money. Just how true this saying is, especially for the pros, can be seen week after week in the big tournaments where a lot of prize money is at stake. The darts checkouts - also called finishes - are an essential part of the tactics in the game of every pro. Time and time again you see pros using the same dart checkout ways to finish a leg. Why this is so and which dart checkouts are especially popular with the pros we explain in this blog post.

What are Checkout Ways?

Checkout ways are all numbers in the classic darts game 501 Double Out, which can be brought to zero with three arrows. As soon as this possibility exists, one speaks in darts jargon of a checkout. As a synonym is often the talk of a finish, which a player leaves himself. A short example, which serves perfectly for clarification.

The highest checkout in darts is exactly 170 points (T20, T20, Bull). The 169, on the other hand, although it is lower, cannot be "checked out" - or brought to zero - by any combination of three squares on the dartboard with a final throw at a double. Down the 170, there are exactly seven of these numbers that cannot be played to zero with three darts. This is called a bogey number.

Especially for beginners it is recommended to hang a so-called checkout table next to the dartboard at the beginning. On this table all useful ways for each checkout down the 170 are written down. This way you can learn and remember all the dart checkout ways quite quickly in practice. We have already published a dart checkout table ourselves and it can be easily printed out.

Darts checkout table to calculate

At what point does a professional start calculating to set himself a particular dart checkout?

The leg starts at 501 and is played down to zero - at least that's how it is in the PDC in professional darts. Especially when there is a lot of money at stake, it is important to keep every option open to finish a leg. Therefore for many players the question arises: at what point do the pros even start calculating to be able to set themselves a finish? The magic limit is 350. Already from 350 points rest players try to put themselves in the best possible starting position to finish a leg.

Why the 350? The answer is simple: If you throw the highest possible shot with 350 points remaining and score 180 points, the highest possible checkout remains at the end with 170. So you keep the option open to end the game with a 170 finish in the best case. Admittedly, this is relatively improbable even for professionals, but the following still applies: If you don't have the option in the first place, you have no chance at all of finishing a leg. If you at least position yourself in such a way that it is mathematically possible to check, you increase your chances significantly. Simple probability calculation.

Tactics with Checkout Ways - Keeping an Option Open

Triple is funny, but double makes the money.

Darts is also tactics. It's not uncommon for players to find themselves so much in the tunnel that they don't do the math and suddenly find themselves with a bogey number - that is, one of the seven numbers below 170 that can't be checked. Therefore, as mentioned in the previous chapter, it is particularly important to start calculating early. But that is by no means everything.

Professional players are looking to set the exact same checkout paths for a finish as often as possible. This also means that a player should set a checkout where it is also possible to finish the leg with only one hit in the triple field, for example. Here is an example of exactly what we mean:

  • With 130 points remaining, the player still has the option to end the leg with only one hit in the triple (20, T20, Bull). Even if the optimal way would be T20, T20, D5, the player still has the option to check if he hits only the single 20 with the first dart.
  • From 131 points this advantage is lost (with the exception of 132). At 131 points it is already mandatory to hit two triples to finish a leg. That's why 130 is a popular limit to keep in mind when you want to maximize your chances of checking out a leg.
Mental arithmetic in darts

Which dart checkouts do the pros ask themselves particularly often - an overview

In the following, we'll go into a few dart checkouts in more detail, and explain why pros have these exact numbers written down over and over again.

  • 170: As the highest finish, it always makes sense to aim for 170 instead of leaving yourself a bogey number.
  • 164: The 164 is so popular because, like the 170, it is possible to finish a leg with two hits on the same triple and the bullseye. By comparison, 167 is considered a much more difficult finish to play because the player has to switch from T20 to T19.
  • 150: The 150 can be played in many different ways, which is why it is also a popular checkout. Whether completely over the bullseye, over the T20 or over the T19, the number 150 can be played variably.
  • 132: The 132 has a very special charm. It can ultimately be checked without any triple. Two bulls and the D16 at the end bring 132 points to 0. Even if the first arrow lands in the single bull, there is the possibility to check via T19 and bullseye.
  • 124: The 124 is listed here as a placeholder for a whole series of finishes (121-130). These numbers are so popular because it is possible to check them with a triple. Using 124 as an example, it looks like this: The favored way might look like this - T20, T14 D11. If the first dart misses, the path changes to 20, T18, Bull. If the second dart misses the target, the path would again be T20, 14, Bull.
  • 64: 64 is so popular because it can be checked over the numbers 8 and 16, which are known to be adjacent to each other on the board. Be it 16, 16, D16 or 16, 8, D20. A very popular finish with beginners, because it forgives a miss throw into the neighboring field.
Highest finish in darts

For what reason do dart players often face the same checkout paths?

This is about routine. Darts players try to acquire a routine that makes it much easier to play certain ways over and over again. Ultimately, it's about security and confidence in one's own game. It's not for nothing that many pros have a favorite double and try to set higher dart checkouts in such a way that they can bring them down to zero with the throw to their favorite double.

While James Wade and Michael Smith favor the D10, Mensur Suljovic prefers to play the D14. A Phil Taylor, however, never let himself be dissuaded from the D16

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