How to Play "Around the Clock" Darts

One of the Most Popular Darts Games

Dart board showing the opening three shots of the “Around the Clock” dart game
The opening three shots of “Around the Clock”.

Aaron Bower

Also known as “around the world,” this variation of a darts game isn’t just good for people to play against each other as a bit of fun; it also makes a very good practice routine for people who are a little bit more serious about the game, and are looking to perhaps get better.

It can be a fun game played between friends for people who have never even picked up a dart before. As many people can join in as you want, and it isn’t complex to keep track of the scoring, as everyone simply has to remember what number they are currently on!

Starting Out

Using all of the board, the aim of the game is to hit every single number on the board, plus the bulls-eye, before everyone else in order to win. The person throwing first starts by aiming for 1, 2 and then so forth. For example, if the first three darts have hit three consecutive numbers, then the player will attempt to hit numbers 4, 5 and 6 on their next visit to the board. You cannot move onto another number until you have hit the number you are aiming for, and numbers must be hit in ​numerical order.

Playing to a Finish

As mentioned previously, the game continues with each player taking sequential turns at hitting the next number in their sequence. Remember, the game is a light-hearted affair and is designed to be played primarily as fun between friends.

The game continues until one player hits all 20 numbers on the dartboard. After this, their final target to win the game is the bulls-eye. The first person to do that wins. The final three numbers needed to win the game are the segments numbered 19, 20 and finally, the bulls-eye. Beginners are advised to take an easier route to finish the game; use all of the bulls-eye - the red central area and the green area surrounding it, known more often as the 'outer bull' - in order to make it easier. As the game, and your skill level, advances, make it harder for yourself by using just the red central area!

Raising the Stakes

As mentioned before, this is a fantastic variation of darts to be used as a practice technique. If you’re a beginner to the game looking to touch up your accuracy and general shooting around the board, around the clock is a fantastic game to start with. Of course, the better you get, the easier it is to hit all the numbers around the board, but you can make it harder for yourself. A general rule of thumb among darts players is to play around the clock with only doubles, something that can make you a much better darts player, as hitting the double is the most crucial part of any darts match.

Even the best players play around the clock, and they make it harder for themselves in a variety of ways. One popular method is trying to hit all three segments of a particular number before moving on. This is known as “Shanghai” (the double, the single, and the treble). This is a method of around the clock that is only for advanced, serious darts players!

Around the clock may be one of the simpler games of darts, but it has so many variations that it can be played by people of all ages and abilities. Whether it is for practice for a competition, or a friendly game between friends, around the clock remains one of the most popular darts games around.