People are only just realising why they start on 501 in darts and not 500

Darts is a unique sport in many different ways – not least because you don't exactly have to be an Adonis of physical fitness to be a world-beater.

It's also different in the sense that, unlike other sports, the darts gods don't seem to be a fan of round numbers.

Considering how the game is scored and the accuracy with which some of the game's top players throw, it's unsurprising to see why each leg begins with both players on 501.

Even then, a few well-placed arrows can see a player pull off a much loved nine-darter – where they win the leg without having to break into double figures in terms of the number of darts thrown.

The is, of course, a reason behind why the number is 501 rather than its nice round neighbour just one point below.

No, it isn't simply to irritate those who prefer everything in their lives to be nice and neat and tidy – it's to add a bit more competitiveness into the game.

If each leg began with players on 500, all they would conceivably need to do would be to keep aiming at the 20 to score without having to travel around the board.

Having the scores start at 501 and making players hit a double to win they need to score at least one odd number before checking out – making it more difficult.

Seems simple enough – but even now it seems not everyone is aware of why the scoring system is as odd as it is.

What's the weirdest rule you can think of in any sport? Let us know in the comments section.

For even now, there are people asking that very question online, causing darts fans everywhere to groan in exasperation.

Several of them gave detailed responses to the question, while one fan even went further to explain that the game wasn't always played with 501 as the starting score.

"For what it's worth, before the professional circuit started, the normal game was 301," he explained.

"Double start, double finish – no score until you hit a double!!"

Considering how talented some of those at the top of the sport are today, one darts aficionado suggested the idea of possibly raising the starting number to 1001, as is sometimes the case in team matches.

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But, as they themselves admitted, more lengthy legs could make the action boring for viewers – especially considering there are times when even some of the best have trouble recording simple scores.

It even happened in the World Darts Championship final this year, as the game got off to a terrible start with Peter Wright and Michael Smith serving up a stinker in the second leg.

Between them they missed 21 darts at double to check out, before Smith finally put everyone out of their misery by hitting double one.

It was Snakebite who had the last laugh, though, as he went on to win the match and claim his second world title at Ally Pally.

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