How to Play Domino

A domino is a small tile bearing from one to six pips or dots. A set of 28 such tiles makes up a domino.

Each player takes turns placing a domino on the table positioning it so that its ends match with an adjacent one. This creates a domino chain that develops into a snake-line shape.


Before playing a game players must establish the rules. The heaviest domino is drawn to determine who starts. After that, players draw tiles for their hands. The winner of the previous hand starts the new one.

The player must place his tile on the table matching one end of it to an open side of the starting domino or to an end of a domino chain. The other end of the domino must touch a double or another tile. Depending on the game, the double may count as one or two.

The next player must then play a tile from the boneyard (the unused dominoes). The tile must match either an open perpendicular side of the starting domino or the end of a domino chain. Some games allow byeing (taking a tile without placing it on the table). The number of dominoes left in the stock is determined by the rules of the specific game.


There are several ways to play domino. Some of them involve a number of tiles that must be stacked on top of each other with matching numbers. The player who has the fewest dominoes wins after a certain number of rounds. In a positive scoring variation, each round’s winners share the score of all remaining dominoes.

Some domino games use special markers to identify a train that cannot be played on or to identify the last tile placed. These markers are used for many different purposes. They can also help to speed up the game by allowing new chains to be started from the ends of the train.

Other games are scored by dividing the total number of open ends of a line of dominoes by five or three. These games are often played in bars and social clubs. Some games even feature dice. The resulting total is then added to the winner’s score. Some of these games are played in teams or against another group.


Over the centuries, dominoes have been made of many different materials. Some were even made of bakelite, a type of plastic invented in 1917. Today, the majority of dominoes are made of wood or common plastic. The original dominoes were made of animal bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), or ivory, with contrasting black or white pips.

Some sets were even decorated with etchings, or painted. Tobacco companies paid for space on the backs of dominoes to advertise their products. They also gave away sets of dominoes to bars and inns.

For most domino games, the individual pieces are called tiles or bones. They are twice as long as they are wide and have a face with an arrangement of spots that represent numbers or blanks, which represent zero. They are usually molded or drilled and then painted. There are a few coding technologies that can create a contrasting code on a domino, but Domino North America utilizes laser technology because it is safer for the workers and customers.


The score in domino is determined by the number of points left in each player’s hand at the end of a round or game. This number is computed by subtracting the value of each opponent’s domino tiles and then rounding to the nearest multiple of five. The winner of the round is the player who has the lowest number of points.

In some games, doubles are counted on only one side if they’re not spinners. A spinner is a domino that can be played on all four sides. The scoring system also depends on the rules of the particular game being played.

There are two main strategies in domino: playing to score or to block. Playing to score aims for the largest possible positive score, while blocking focuses on getting the lowest negative score. A successful blocking strategy involves counting suits and ensuring that no opponents have the same suit exposed on their arms of the tableau.