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Of the many  so-called “tile” games (games played with rectangular shapes of wood or bone) that were popular since the beginning of time, only Dominoes and Mah Jongg are still played today to any degree.


Dominoes in one form or other is played in most countries of the world.  Its biggest popularity is in Latin American gambling countries where gambling with Dominoes is second only to cards.  the biggest sum of money this author has ever known to have changed hands in a Domino session was $54,000.  It involved two players and took place in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles.

            Dominoes is a fascinating game whose origin has never been definitely established.  It has been definitely established.  It has been widely claimed that the game was invented by the Chinese and reached Europe in the
fourteenth century, but this claim has little foundation in fact.  Dominoes has been traced back only as far as the eighteenth century in Italy, where it had great popularity among the idle courtiers of Venice and Naples.  The game as it now is played was, I am sure, an Italian creation.

The Domino Set.  The standard Domino set is comprised of 28 pieces called dominoes, and sometimes stones or bones.  They are oblong pieces of bone, stone, ivory, wood, plastic, etc.  Each domino is divided by a line across its center separating the two ends.  Its face looks like the two uppermost faces of a pair of dice, and each half bears the sports from one through six or is blank (without spots).  The dominoes rank in value from the double six or 6-6 (12 points, high), to the double blank (0 points, low).  All dominoes are valued at their sum total 6-5 is 11 points, 4-3 is 7 points, etc.

            If you examine a standard double-six Domino set, you will see that there are seven “double” dominoes, one for each double number from blanks up to sixes.  The six dominoes that possess two identical numbers, plus the one bearing a double  blank, are call double and sometimes spinners.  The other 21 dominoes  (known as mixed numbers ) all belong to two suits: the 4-2 belongs to both the 4 suit and the 2 suit; the 6-3 belongs to the 6 suit and 3 suit, etc.  The spots on all 28 dominoes, added together, total 168.
            All Domino games are based on the principle of matching or following suit, which means that each domino played must belong to the same suit and match one of the open ends of the layout.  The layout consists of the played poker dominoes which are resting on the table.

Most Domino experts hold as many dominoes as possible in one hand and leave the others remaining on the table.  The illustration above shows a hand holding six dominoes and the seventh resting on the table.


Standard partnership Block Game


Dominoes is played in many different ways, but if one first learns the Standard Partnership Block Game the others can be mastered very quickly.  This is the most interesting and the most popular form of Dominoes throughout the world.  Also, this four-handed game lends itself to more skillful play than do the two-or three-handed variants.


  1. Four players, two against two as partners.
  2. A standard set of dominoes.

The Object of the Game.  A game consists of an undetermined number of hands or deals, and the partnership that first obtains a score of 200 points or more wins the game.

Selecting Partners and Seating Positions.  Players team up as partners either by mutual agreement, or by lot.  If by mutual agreement, the partners take seats facing each other.  If by lot, the players first sit at any of the four straight partnership as follows:

  1. All 28 dominoes are placed face down on the table and mixed in a haphazard manner, The four players all join in the mixing, all at the same time,
  2. Starting with the first player (selected by mutual consent), each player in turn (moving clockwise) draws one of the face- down dominoes and turns it face up, The two players who draw the two low-scoring dominoes become partners, as do the two players who draw the two high-scoring dominoes, If dominoes of the same scoring value are drawn, additional draws are made until two low and two high dominoes have been drawn, When the partners have been teamed up, they then take seats facing each other,
  3. The player who drew the highest scoring domino becomes the first dealer,

All 28 dominoes are now mixed face down by the dealer, After this mixing, each player, beginning with the player on the dealer's left (and continuing clockwise), selects seven dominoes from the shuffled face-down dominoes, The dealer takes the last seven remaining dominoes, (In Latin-American countries, the play moves counterclockwise, to the dealer's right,)

Each player may (a) hold his seven dominoes in his cupped hand so that his opponents cannot see their faces, (b) place them on the table standing edgewise, the faces towards himself and hidden from the other players, or (c) make use of a domino rack, which holds the dominoes in full view of the player and hidden from the other players, The Play of the Hand, The starting domino of the first deal (hand) must be the double six, The player holding it starts the play by placing the double six, face up on the center of the table, crosswise (vertically in relation to himself), In fact, whenever any double is played, it must be placed crosswise on the layout,
Then each player, starting with the player on the starter's left (and continuing clockwise) must if possible play (add) a domino that matches one of the two open ends of the layout, Example: Since the starter played a double six, the next player must playa 6-spot, For instance, he could play the 6-2 by placing its 6 end against the center line of the' 6-6, The third player can then play to either open end of the layout; he can match either the double six or the 2-spot, If he plays, the 6-3, he puts its 6 end against the center line of the ,6-6 domino, The fourth player can play either a 3-spot or a 2-spot, If he plays a 2-4, he puts it next to the 2-6 domino, the 2 ends touching, Dominoes are usually placed end to end against an open end, However, when necessary to keep the layout from running off the table, dominoes are placed at right angles to an open end,

If a player, at his turn of play, has no end-matching domino, he says “Pass” and waits for his next turn to play poker , This procedure continues from player to player until (a) one player goes domino by getting rid of all his pieces, or (b) the game ends because no player is able to match an open end of the layout, This is called a block game or a closed hand, and the team holding the least number of domino points is declared the winner of the hand, After the first hand ends, each succeeding hand is started by the player who dominated in the previous hand, In a block game, the player of the winning partnership who held the least number of penalty points is the next starter, In either case, the starting player of each hand (after the first) may start with any one of his seven dominoes, be it a double or a mixed number, Should he start a mixed number, he must place it in a vertical position with the highest number facing himself, Should both sides in a block game have identical total scores, the hand is declared a tie or “no game” and the same starter starts again, Should this occur in the first hand, the holder of the double six opens, The player sitting to the left of the winner of the previous hand becomes the next dealer, After the dealer has completed the shuffling of the dominoes, each player (beginning with the winner and continuing clockwise) selects seven dominoes, The dealer takes the last seven remaining dominoes,

How to Score a Hand

When a player gets rid of his seventh (last) domino, he calls “Domino” and wins the hand; In all partnership games his partner automatically goes out too, The points on the dominoes both opponents still hold are added and score for the winning side, Example: Partners A and Band playing against C and D, A and B win by going domino and partnership C and D still hold dominoes whose point values add to 39, This score is credited' on the score sheet to partnership A and B,
In case of a block game, when no player is able to match a domino to an open end of the layout, the hand ends and the partnership holding the least number of domino points is declared the poker winner, This side is credited with the total number of points held by the losing partnership, Example: Partners A and Bare caught with 40 points in hand, partners C and D with 43 points, A and B win and are credited with the loser's 43 points, If a block game occurs and each partnership has the same number of penalty points, the hand is declared, as previously stated, “no game” and there is no winner,


They                            We

36-36                           11-11
41-77                           26-37
84-161                         28-65
53-214                         62-127
                                    --------                                    --------
Total game scores:        214                              170

In the above sample game They, the winners, scored 214 points; We, the losers, scored 170, The partnership score for each hand won is written down in the left-hand column and the cumulative score in the right-hand column, You will note that, in the right-hand column, the score for each winning hand is added to the previous total and brought down as a new total, This makes known to both sides at all times just what the total score is and how far each side is from game, End of Game, The game ends at the completion of a hand when one or both sides has scored 200 or more points, The partnership with the higher score wins the game and is credited with the difference in points between the two scores,


Additional Domino Rules

  1. If a player in a two- or three-hand game draws too few dominoes at the beginning, he must fill his hand from the discard pile as soon as the error is discovered, If he draws too many dominoes he must keep them all,
  2. If a domino is played that does not match, the offending player must correct the error on demand before any other player plays but if the error is not noticed until after another player has played, it stands,

  3. If a player in a two-or three-hand game overdraws (takes) one or more dominoes from the discard pile when he has one in his hand that could be played, he must announce the fact that he has overdrawn and he is penalized 10 points, Should he fail to announce an overdraw, the penalty is 20 points,
  4. If a domino is exposed in drawing or before the game starts, the dominoes must be shuffled again,
  5. A domino is considered played when a online poker player takes his hand off the domino,
  6. Each hand must be played out to a finish, A player is not permitted to concede a loss and throw in his dominoes,
  7. In a three- or four-handed game, no indication of any sort by word or deed may be given that will impart information to other players,
  8. If a player makes a move to play on a particular domino he must make the play if the domino is available for play,

Standard Partnership Dominoes.  Holder of 5-4 domino and ( his partner ) holder of 2-1 domino are credited with three points.  Holder of 1-0 domino and (his partner) of 2-0 domino are the losers.


Strategy of Dominoes

To playa good game of Dominoes requires that you give some study to your hand, In many hands you will have but one play, so there is nothing you can do about it, However, you will often have the choice of two or more plays, which will afford you the opportunity to use your skill, Some study of simple arithmetic as it is related to dominoes will be time well spent, Please keep in mind the fact that dominoes is a pastime, and you must not make work out of play, However, if you learn a bit of the game's strategy, it will add a lot of zest to your game, At the beginning of the chapter you were told that when the spots on each of the 28 dominoes are added together, they total 168, Should we divide 28 into 168, we get an average of 6 spots to a domino, It is very important to keep this in mind; one should give some thought to this factor if he wants to become proficient at the game, as the entire strategy of the game is based on this factor, If you play (set) a double four, for instance, have a 4-2 or a 4-something to match its end, If you can't set a double, playa domino that will indicate to your partner that you have a match for one or both ends, If you set a 5-1, be sure you have a 5-spot of some sort and/ or a I-spot of some kind, Should your partner make a play that indicates to you what number he wishes you to set, try not to cover it (change an end number), Try to keep the same number alive, that is, unless you are strong in one particular suit and you believe you can go out in the next few plays, Should your, partner set a double, don't play on it unless you are forced to do so, for that is his number and you should steer clear of it, Either of the above plays may not be possible at times, But later on you may have the opportunity to give your partner back his original played end number; or if the situation develops, you may follow through with your own opened strategy poker and try to go out, If your hand appears weak after several plays, try to get rid of your high-scoring dominoes,

If your hand appears strong, forget the value of your dominoes and play to go out; but by all means try to force your opponent to pass, Always try to help your partner go out, always try to compel your opponent on your left to pass, and always watch the dominoes being played to figure out what dominoes your opponents hold, There are times when you must dispose of high-scoring dominoes to cut down the penalty points in your hand and this requires a study of the domino layout to decide which domino you should play, As a rule, when your opponent sets a double, your play is to cover the double as soon as you can for the obvious reason that most of the time he has at least another play on it, Remember, there is nothing difficult about playing Dominoes well-just a little patience and some study is all that is needed to become a good Domino player, Note: Most of the tips given above apply to the two- and three-hand Domino Draw Games,

Block Dominoes or The Block Game

It is played like the Standard Partnership Block Game, except for the following:

  1. While it can be played two-hand, it is best with three or five players, each playing for himself, (When played with four players, the game is frequently called Fours,)
  2. With two and three players, take seven dominoes each; with four or five, each takes five,
  3. If no one can go domino and there is a block game, whoever has the lowest number of spots wins and adds to his count the number held by his opponents, If there are two players with the same number of spots, there is no count or no game,
  4. The number of points required to win the game is 100, but it may be made less by agreement,

Standard Three-Hand Draw Domino Game

The rules of the Standard Partnership Block Game prevail except as follows:

  1. Each player plays for himself,
  2. Each player draws one domino, and the player drawing the highest becomes the first starter, In turn, thereafter, the starter position moves to the left,
  3. Each player draws seven dominoes, 
  4. The remaining seven dominoes form a discard pile, They are pushed to the left of the starter and their position helps players remember who is to start the next hand,
  5. The starter of a hand may play any domino to start,
  6. When a player cannot play (match an open end of the layout), he keeps drawing from the discard pile (often called the bone- yard) until he gets a domino that can be played, or until only one domino remains in the discard pile, If all but the last domino have been drawn from the discard pile, and the player or any player cannot play, the hand ends; the player having the lowest total count in penalty points wins the hand and receives the total penalty count from his opponents,
  7. A player who dominoes (goes I scores the total of the points left in the hi of both opponents, The same scoring h true as for the winner of a block game,
  8. Game may be played for 100, 15C 200 points, The winner receives the differ, in points from both players, Note: A facing three-hand poker variation, played without discard pile, is as follows: At the start 01 game the double blank domino is removed  from play and each player draws nine Dominoes , Thereafter, the play is as above wit a discard pile,

Standard Two-Hand Draw Domino Game

The rules for the Standard Partnership Block Game prevail except for the following:

  1. The player drawing the highest Dominoes becomes the first starter, Thereafter the to start alternates from player to player,
  2. Each player draws seven dominoes,
  3. The remaining 14 dominoes form a card pile, They are pushed to the left 01 starter,
  4. The starter of a hand may play domino to start the hand,
  5. When a player cannot play (match open end of the layout) he keeps drawing  from the discard pile until he gets a Domino  that can be played, or until only two dominoes remain in the discard pile, If all but dominoes have been drawn from the discard pile and a player cannot play, he passes until he can play, When neither player can play, the hand ends and the player having lowest total count in penalty points wins the hand and receives the total penalty count from his opponent,
  6. A player who dominoes (goes out) scores the total of the domino points left in  the hand of his opponent,
  7. Game may be played for 100, 150 or 200 points, The winner receives the difference in points between the two scores,

Additional Domino Rules for Two or Three Players, Irregularities are handled same as, except for the lowing:
If a dominoes poker is played that does not the offending player must correct the error on demand before any other player plays; b the error is not noticed until after am player has played, it stands and the offender is penalized 25 points,

AMERICAN WHIST =================

Pinochle Many Variations

Pinochle Many Variations
Two-Handed Pinochle
Two-Handed Doubling Redoubling
Auction pinochle
Strategy at Auction
CAD found
Partnership Auction
Auction pinochle without wido Individual play
Partnership Aeroplane Pinochle
Radio Partnership Pinochle

Other Members of the Bezique Family


The Bezique Family
Rubicon bezique
Two-handed sixty-six
Two-handed piquet
Boo-Ray or BOURÉ

The Big Euchre Family

The big euchre family
Strategy of euchre
Auction euchre
Table of scoring points
Spoil five
Double hasenpfeffer
Three-card loo

The Heart Group

Heart Group
Spot Hearts
Black Widow Hearts

The All-Fours Group

All-Fours Group
Shasta Sam
Auction Pitch Joker

Banking Card Games

Banking Card Games
Black Jack, Casino Style
Black Jack Strategy
CHEMIN DE PER must play
Baccarat Banque
Faro or farobank
Banker and broker
Red Dogs

Card craps

The Stops Games

Stops Game
Skarney® and How It Is Played

Skarney® and How It Is Played
Alternate Skarney
Skarney Singles
Skarney Gin Doubles

Cheating at Card Games

Cheating at Card Games
Professional Card Cheats
Nullifying the Cut
The Peek
How to Shuffle Cards

Dice and their Many Games

Dice and their Many Games
The Casino Game: Bank Craps
English Hazard
Double Cameroon
Partnership Straight scarney Dice
Scarney Duplicate Jackpots
Scarney Chemin de Fer

Games Requiring Special Equipment

Hasami Shogi
Follow The Arrow

Lottery and Guessing Games

Lottery guessing game
Tossing Game
Race Horse Keno
The Match Game

Glossary of Game Terms