How to Play Dominoes

Domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block with a face bearing one or more dots resembling those on dice. It can be arranged to form long lines on the table and then tipped over, starting a chain reaction that causes every domino in the line to topple over and eventually all of them. This phenomenon has given rise to the term “domino effect,” which is used to describe a chain of events that starts with a small initial action and ultimately leads to much greater (and sometimes catastrophic) consequences.

Dominoes can be used to play many different games. Most of the games shown on this site are played by two or more players, and most have basic instructions listed here under Line of Play. However, there are also many domino games that can be played by one player alone. In these cases, the rules that apply to multiple players do not apply.

A game of domino typically begins with a shuffle of the domino tiles and then each player draws a number of tiles from the stock according to the rules of that particular game. A player may draw more than he is permitted to take, which is known as overdrawing. In this case, the player to his right takes the extra tiles without looking at them and returns them to the stock, where they are reshuffled before the next player draws.

If a player is unable to play any of the dominoes in his hand, or if he has no more legal moves, he “chips out,” and play passes to the player to his left. If the game reaches a point where no player can continue playing, the winner is the player whose combined total of pips on the remaining tiles in his hand is the lowest.

When a player plays a domino, he or she must place it on the table with its matching end touching an open edge of another tile already in place, unless it is a double. The double is then placed perpendicular to the line of play.

Some domino games have a rule that the players must be able to see all of the other player’s hands in order to determine who has the best chance to win the game. This is called blocking and is an important strategy for some of the more competitive domino games. The game of domino can be a fascinating exercise in strategy. The best way to learn the rules of domino is to play them often with friends or family members and to experiment with different strategies. By taking the time to practice and refine your skills, you will find that you are a more effective domino player. In the same way that practicing a musical instrument requires regular and repeated practice, playing domino can help improve your mental agility. By utilizing the same techniques that professional domino players use, you can increase your confidence in your abilities and improve your overall performance.