How to Win With Yahtzee Hints

By Cindy Day
Yahtzee, an anonymous Canadian couple, the early 1950s, their yacht
yahtzee image by dead_account from

Yahtzee is a family-friendly dice game made by Milton Bradley (which is owned by Hasbro) that is based somewhat on poker hands. Notoriously addictive, it is played with five standard six-sided dice and can be played alone or in a group at a table. While much of the play within an individual game depends largely on luck, there are strategies players may employ to optimize their scores.

Step 1

high points, multiples, the fours, fives
Five white dice and yamb scoreboard on a blue background image by Rade Cojbasic from

Concentrate on the upper section of the score card at the beginning of the game. You need 63 points - the points you would get if you scored exactly three of a kind for each die face - to earn the bonus 35 points. When playing against others, scoring these bonus points is nearly always necessary for a winning turn. If you get four of a kind for 4s, 5s or 6s, use those points to fill in your score in the top section, rather than in the space for three or four of a kind in the bottom section. The extra points will allow you to use the 1s and 2s for disappointing turns and still earn the bonus 35 points.

Step 2

Full houses, the fixed point
Five white dice and yamb scoreboard on a white background image by Rade Cojbasic from

Do not take risks to attempt to get a full house early in the game. In general, full houses often come spontaneously, without effort.

Step 3

you, twice the chance, it
dice image by Bartlomiej Nowak from

Go for a large straight when you roll a small straight. These can be difficult to get, so take advantage of any chance you might have to get one.

Step 4

chances, the alternative, your chance, bonus points
Five white dice and yamb scoreboard on a red background image by Rade Cojbasic from

Don't waste chances early in the game. Instead, fill in the 1s or 2s in the upper section, even if that means you will enter a zero. These are relatively easy to make up with four of another die face in a later turn.

Step 5

high point yahtzees, you, it, the points
dice image by Robert Grzywaczewski from

Look for opportunities to make second and third yahtzees (five of a kind). These are worth 100 points each and make up for an otherwise mediocre game.

About the Author

Cindy Day has been writing and editing since 1977. She was an editor for "Moody Monthly" magazine, a reporter for the "South Bend Tribune" and has contributed to "Advertising Age" and "Notre Dame Magazine." Day has a Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.