In most professional darts matches, each player starts with a score of 501 and takes turns to throw three darts. The score for each turn is calculated and deducted from the players total. Bullseye scores 50, the outer ring scores 25 and a dart in the double or treble ring counts double or treble the segment score. The objective is to be the first player to reduce the score to exactly zero, the only caveat being that the last dart thrown must land in a double or the bullseye.

If a player reduces the score to 1 or goes below zero, the score is bust, that turn ends immediately and the score is returned to what it was at the start of that turn. e.g. if a player has 32 to go out and the first dart is a 16, the second is a 15, the player is bust and the score is returned to 32. So on the last turn, it is not necessary to throw all three darts - a player can win with the first or second dart of the turn.

The standard number of points players start with used to be 301, but when the game became a professional sport, the total was increased to 501 to improve the spectator's experience, and to help make the game more competitive. Some games will even require the player to land a double to start scoring as well as to finish the game.

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