How to Play Dominoes

Do you want to learn how to play dominoes? Jump right in! Dominoes is an enjoyable game played with rectangular tiles featuring dots or pips on their faces. This game is played worldwide with various rule variations. Each tile is divided by a line, and on either side of the line, you’ll find a square with dots ranging from zero to six.

How to Play Dominoes
How to Play Dominoes

While the game has slight differences, it’s particularly popular in Western Europe and America. Some recognized versions of the game include straight dominoes, Mexican Train Dominoes, Domino Whist, Matador and Muggins, Texas42, Chicken Fives, Threes, Double Fives, and more.

In this tutorial, we’ll explain the basic rules of playing dominoes.

How to Play Dominoes 

Here’s a simplified step-by-step to play dominoes:

Step 1 – Number of Players:

You can play this game with 2 to 4 players using a double 9-set with 55 tiles. If there are more than 4 players, you’ll need a double 12-set with 91 tiles.

Step 2 – Preparing to Start:

Lay out all the dominoes face-down on a surface. The person responsible for shuffling usually draws first. The previous winner can also shuffle, or players can choose someone for this task.

Step 3 – Seating Arrangements:

Decide where players will sit. You can do this by lot or by having the player with the highest-pip tile choose first. The player with the second-highest pips sits to the left, and so on.

Step 4 – Starting the Game:

The game can start in different ways. It could begin with the player holding the heaviest or highest double domino, or by drawing lots. The winner of the previous game usually starts, and seats are assigned in order. The game typically proceeds clockwise or anticlockwise.

Step 5 – Collecting Dominoes:

Each player picks seven dominoes from the pile/stock. These chosen dominoes are kept hidden from the other players, usually standing on their edges on a solid surface.

Step 6 – Beginning the Game:

Start by placing a domino face-up in the middle of the playing surface. The next player must match one end of their domino with an open end of the tile on the table, either lengthwise or crosswise.

Step 7 – Passing and Drawing:

If a player can’t match their domino to the open end with the same number of pips, they draw from the stock. They may also pass their turn to the next player. Each round involves seven turns or more if players draw additional tiles.

Step 8 – Scoring:

The game continues until someone reaches the winning point total (usually 100 points). The player who empties their hand wins. The remaining tiles add points to the winner’s score. If multiple players have tiles, the one with the lowest total score wins.

Step 9 – Errors with Dominoes:

If a player mistakenly overdraws a domino and it’s noticed before the next player starts, it should be revealed to everyone. If not noticed, it’s considered valid. A player who doesn’t draw enough tiles can pick up the shortfall from the pile.

Step 10 – Misplays:

Playing out of turn or using the wrong domino is considered a misplay. If this is caught before the next player’s turn, it’s invalid, and the player can make the correct move. If not noticed, it stands.


Domino games can be grouped into four main categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games. Keep in mind that there can be variations based on the players and their rules. It’s essential to ensure everyone agrees on the rules before beginning the game.



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