How to Win in Dominoes

By Will Conley

Dominoes is a simple game with a long history and a huge worldwide following. If you want to win, there are a few strategies to keep in mind when playing the most common variant of the game, the Double-Six Draw. A certain amount of luck is always involved, but strategy can play a big part.

Play a bone if you can. Do not try to stockpile the bones to create a series for a rainy day. If you do, your opponents will nickel-and-dime their bones away, likely leaving you holding the bag when it comes time to tally the booty.

Go for a double if you can. In dominoes, doubles are half as common as suits, so your chances of being able to play a double are half as good. Get rid of those doubles pronto.

Consider yourself lucky when faced with the choice of playing one domino or another; your chances of winning have just improved. This is the crucial moment. Try to block your opponent so he cannot follow your play.

Understand the odds. Each time a suit is played, its chances of recurring decrease. Look for an opportunity to play a bone so that the free ends are comprised of suits that already have been played. This cripples your opponents' chances of following you. They will have to draw from the boneyard.

Attempt to block specific opponents, such as the next player in the rotation, by paying attention to their draws. For example, if your opponent draws bones when there is a 1/3 showing, leave the 1/3 showing. Keep hitting 'em where they're weak. Their losses are your benefits.

ignore conventional wisdom. Many experts recommend keeping your hand diverse in numbers. For example, if you followed that advice, you would avoid having too many four suits and few of anything else. This supposedly increases your ability to play something. Reject that reasoning. The chances of playing a bone are the same for all 28 bones. In the aforementioned example, if you can dominate the four suit, your inability to play other suits is offset since you can play all the fours.