Anyone know the why’s of how dartboards are numbered? To the people Ive asked it defies logic or order completely.

I’m going to geuss that its something from merry olde england but Ive no real clues.


It seems as though no one knows. You might be led to believe that it’s arranged to penalize bad throws at high targets: the 20, for example, is sandwiched between the 5 and 1, so a bad throw at a 20 results in very low points. Mathematically, though, if that was the idea, the arrangement is not the optimal one, so who knows? You may find these links interesting:



Yeah, this one’s a stumper. Nearest thing I could find was a reference that the current numbering system used was developed circa 1906

Here’s a little more insight taken from


*The term “clock” comes from the numbering system used on the face of the board. At first glance, the numbering system may appear to be somewhat odd. The numbers are arranged so that, in general, high numbers alternate with low ones and odd with even, although there are 3 groups of two even numbers together, and a block of four odd numbers at the bottom of the board. This arrangement was devised at the turn of the century, and though it is possible to use a more logical sequence of numbers, this numbering system has become so well established and popular that it is highly unlikely that it will ever change.[/i}

Good question. I would like to know why, exactly, since it gives me a headache every time I have to find the damn 13.

Well, it took me a bit of looking but I finaaly found the answer. This is from the October 2000 edition of Maxim magazine. “Q: Any logic to the way the numbers on a dartboard are arranged? A: Not much. Apparently the orginators of the game didn’t thinking winging shap projectiles at a small target after downing 14 boliermakers was difficult enough. The modern dartboard’s numbering sequence was invented in 1898 by Brian Gamlin, a 55-year-old carpenter in Bury, England. His design placed the 20 between the crapshoots of 1 and 5, the 19 between the 7 and 3. The setup makes whittling your score from 501 to 301 to 0 painstakingly slow unless you are an expert player. ‘There are more than a billion combos of the 20 segments but Gamlin’s is almost perfect,’ claims Patrick Chaplin, columnist for Darts World magazine. ‘It cuts out luck and makes you work on accuracy.’”
So there it is for you.