How Long Do Darts Matches Last? (With Examples)

Darts matches can take a long time to decide, but how long exactly does a game of darts take, and what affects the length of the match? In this article, I’ll take you through the different variables and examples of how long professional darts matches took to finish.

The Quick Answer

Professional darts matches typically last between 40-80 minutes. Finals usually last longer than earlier rounds which last roughly 20-40 minutes. Best of 5-leg darts matches usually last 15-20 minutes as they involve fewer legs and sets than professional matches.


  • Why 501 Matches Vary in Length
  • Professional Tournament Formats
  • Examples of Professional Darts Matches and How Long They Lasted
dart point (tip)

Standard 501 Match Formats

The standard type of darts game used in professional matches is called “501”. Players start with 501 points and the aim of the game is to get to “0” as faster than your opponent, which is achieved by scoring as high as possible as your total score from each turn is subtracted from your current score.

Each player has three darts each and takes it in turns to score as many points as possible. However, you must end the game with “0” points by achieving a double or hitting the inner bullseye. If you go over the amount you need to hit 0, then the turn is discounted and you must try again on your next turn.

Once a player has reached “0”, then they win the “leg”. In championship tournaments, the winner is the first player to reach a certain number of sets. The winner of a set is decided according to the best of 5 or 3 legs where a player must win 3 or 2 legs respectively, to win the set. The number of sets varies depending on the tournament.

This is why the length of time a darts match will last is variable.

It depends on how closely matched the players are. If the players have similar ability, they’ll usually winner a similar number of legs and it’ll take longer to complete the game. On the other hand, when players are unevenly matched, the game can be over relatively quickly.

Double Start Rule

Some competitions also require a “double start”. This means the player much score a double in the first turn, otherwise they score zero for the round. This rule again will usually make the game last longer. It is not normally used on TV matches, otherwise the games end up taking too long.

301 Games

The 301 standard format follows the same rules as above, but instead of players working their way down from 501 point, they only need to work down from 301 points. This is common in pubs and local tournaments as it helps to make the game faster, but without reducing the number of sets or legs which arguably would make it harder to determine the better player.

How long does a “leg” last in darts?

Most legs in high-level professional darts matches take roughly 5-7 minutes to complete.

How long does a “set” last in darts?

A set in darts which is in the best of 5 format will involve 3 legs will typically take 15-20 minutes to complete.

How quickly is each turn taken in darts?

Most professional players take approximately 10-12 seconds per turn. The maximum length of a turn is 3 minutes according to most competition rules, but it is rare for more than 15 seconds to be taken to throw all three darts.

Breaks between Sets

There are usually breaks after sets 1, 2, 4 and 5 in 7 set dart matches. These breaks typically last around 5-10 minutes.

Format of Professional Darts Tournaments

Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) tournaments can be played in two modes: set mode and matchplay mode.

Set-Mode e.g. World Championship

A certain number of legs are required to win a set. The most common is best of 5 of sets, best of 5 legs. This means that players much compete to win 3/5 legs, and if successful then they win a set. The first player to win 3/5 sets will win the match.

Another variation is “first to 7 sets”. This follows the same format using the best of 5 legs to determine who wins the set, however instead of the player needed to win the “best of” the sets, they must instead get to 7 sets first to win. This is usually pretty tense as it means a player can win with 7 sets and their can opponent can lose with 6 sets, making it a very close match.

The most recent PCD World Championship final used the set-mode format with 5 legs, first to 7 rules.

Matchplay Mode e.g. PDC Pro Tour

This type of format does not use sets, but instead specifies how many legs will be in each match. The number of legs can vary according to the round, or be set at a certain number of legs as standard.

Common Number of Legs

  • Final: best of 15-19 legs
  • Semi-final: best of 13 legs
  • All other rounds: best of 11 legs

Professional Darts Match Length Examples

Here are some examples of how long professional darts matches have taken (not including the breaks).

PDC World Matchplay Final 2018

  • Approximately 85 minutes
  • Gary Anderson vs Mensur Sulijovic
  • First to 18 legs with 2 clear legs format
  • 40 legs played in total to achieve the 2 clear legs
  • Anderson won with 21 legs compared to Suljovic’s 19 legs

PCD World Championship Final 2019-2020

  • Approximately 80 minutes
  • Peter Wright vs Michael van Gerwen
  • First to 7 set, best of 5 legs format
  • 10 sets in total were played (Wright won 7 sets to and van Gerwen won 3 sets)

PDC World Darts Championship 2016

  • Approximately 80 minutes
  • Gary Anderson vs Adrian Lewis
  • First to 7 set, best of 5 legs format
  • 12 sets in total were played (Anderson won with 7 sets compared to Lewis’ 5 sets)

PDC Gram Slam of Darts Semi-Final 2013

  • Approximately 80 minutes
  • Phil Taylor vs Adrian Lewis
  • First to 16 legs format (no sets)
  • 25 legs in total were played (Taylor won 16 legs and Lewis won 9 legs)

PDC World Matchplay Final 2017

  • Approximately 50 minutes
  • Phil Taylor vs Peter Wright
  • First to 18 legs
  • 26 legs played in total
  • Taylor won with 18 legs compared to Wright’s 8 legs

PDC Grand Slam Semi-Final 2019

  • Approximately 50 minutes
  • Michael van Gerwen vs Gerwyn Price
  • First to 16 legs
  • 28 legs played in total
  • Price won with 16 legs compared to van Gerwen’s 12 legs

Premier League of Darts Playoff Final 2019

  • Approximately 40 minutes
  • Michael van Gerwen vs Rob Cross
  • First to 11 legs
  • 16 lets played in total
  • Van Gerwen won with 11 legs compared to Cross’ 5 legs

What was the longest professional darts match?

The longest professional darts match was played by Gary Anderson and Mensur Sulijovic in the 2018 PCD World Matchplay Final. The format was the first to 18 legs with 2 clear legs, which result in a total of 40 legs being played. Anderson won with 21 legs compared to Suljovic’s 19 legs.

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Hey, I'm Heather, the owner and creator of I made this website to help you learn more about setting up a home entertainment and games room. My favourite games are ping pong, darts and pool, but I also have experience in other games which I aim to share using this website.

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