How to Play Dominoes


Playing domino can be a great way to relax with friends or family. It can also be a fun challenge. To play the game well, you need to keep track of your opponents’ hands. This will allow you to play tiles that block them from making their next move.

Once the stock is drawn, a player (determined either by drawing lots or by who holds the heaviest tile) makes the first play.


There are a number of different ways to play domino. Each game has a set of rules that are agreed upon by players. In general, a player places a domino on the table and then moves other dominoes around to match with it. The first player to place a matching domino wins the hand. Each player has a personal train of dominoes that they can only place in their turn. If a domino is placed that blocks another player’s train, the player must remove it and make their train public again.

The winner of the hand then starts the new hand. In most games, the player with the highest double in their previous hand will start the new hand (except in Draw Dominoes where the non-default option ‘No 1st hand forced double’ is enabled). The server can also decide to rotate who starts each hand. This is often used in Five-Up and Draw Dominoes. The game is typically played until one player empties their hand or the round reaches a predetermined point limit.


Historically, domino sets were made from a variety of materials. European-style dominoes were often made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), or ivory with contrasting black or white pips (inlaid or painted). They may also be made from stone (e.g., marble, granite, or soapstone); other woods such as ash, oak, redwood, and cedar; metals like brass or pewter; and ceramic clay.

Modern mass-produced dominoes are almost always made from a plastic resin such as ABS or polystyrene, although some are also available in different colors to match specific themes and styles. These materials are durable, inexpensive, and easily re-stackable for storage.

Many domino players keep track of their scores with a pencil and paper, though some prefer to use a special specialized set of small narrow wooden or cardboard boxes designed for this purpose. The boxes are open on one side, allowing the stacks of tiles to be stored flat against the back wall and the ends to rest against the edge of the box.


Dominoes can be played in many different ways. Regardless of the variation, the basic rules remain the same. Each player places a domino on the table positioning it so that one of its ends touches an open end of an existing chain. Other players may then add more dominos to the chain until it reaches a desired length. If a player has a “train” of dominos, it is his responsibility to remove any obstacles that prevent the train from proceeding.

Some of the most popular variations of domino include Matador and muggins. The former involves scoring the number of domino spots on a single tile; the latter is similar to draw but has the added rule that if a player plays a tile that makes the total of the open-end pips on the layout a multiple of five, he scores the amount shown on that tile. The game may also be played using an extended set of dominoes which increase the maximum number of pips on a single end by three.


Dominoes are scored by arranging them end to end so that the exposed ends of the dominos match: a one touches a one, a two touches a two, etc. The player then counts the points on all sides of each exposed double (called a spinner).

If a player gets rid of all his tiles, he announces “Domino!” and wins. If all players cannot make a play, the game is blocked, and each player turns over all his dominoes face up, totals the pips on them, and reports his score to the opponents.

In many domino variants, part of the winning player’s score comes from counting the number of times the sum of the end dominoes can be divided by five or three – for example four at one end and five at the other makes nine, which is divisible by three two times resulting in a score of three points. Other scoring methods exist, as well.

Continue Reading