Number of Players: 2 and up
Type of Dominoes Used: Any Domino
Type of Game: Blocking Game
What's unique: The game is played with a pool.
Excellent party game for 3 to 6 individual players. May also be played by teams.
Number of dominoes drawn: Divide the tiles between the players, leaving at least 8 dominoes in the boneyard. For example: If 3 players, draw 6 tiles; 4 players, draw 5; 5 players, draw 4; 6 players, draw 3.
Set: Draw lots to determine who makes the first play. Any domino can be set. Before the game begins, each player puts an equal, agreed upon, amount of money (or number of chips, dried beans, etc.) into the pool. And, once the pool has been won, each player puts an equal, agreed-upon, amount of money into the pool again before beginning the next game.
If there are any remaining tiles after the draw, they are discarded, not used during that hand because there will be no drawing from the boneyard.
Set domino: Any domino may be used.
Variations: 1) highest double, and in the event no double is drawn, re-shuffle and re-draw; 2) 6-6, and in the event the 6-6 is not drawn, re-shuffle and re-draw; or 3) highest double, and in the event no double is drawn, play the highest single. After a tile has been set, play continues to the left.
How to play: Each player tries to match the pips on one end of a tile from his hand with the pips on an open end of any tile in the layout. If a player is unable to match a tile from his hand with a tile in the layout, the player passes his turn to the player on his left. Each player may play only one tile per turn.
The first player to get rid of all dominoes announces "Domino!" and wins the game. if none of the players can make a play, the game ends in a block. If a game ends in a block, all the players turn the tiles in their hands faceup, count the pips on each tile, and add them together. The player with the lowest total wins the game and earns the points (1 point per pip) of all the tiles left remaining in his opponents' hands. The player who first reaches 100 points or more is the overall winner.
Scoring: The winner of the hand gets the pool. The winner of the hand is 1) the first player to domino; or 2) the player with the smallest count left in his hand, if the game ends in a block. In the event the low count is tied in a game ending in a block, the pool is divided among the low hands.
Variation: The first player or team to reach 100 points wins the pool.
Other rules: The game can be played with no spinners (which seems the most often used rule) or by using the first double as the only spinner of the game.
In most places, Domino Pool is played to 100 points. However, there are many different variations, including to 50, 150, 200, or 101 points.
Reprinted with permission of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., NY, NY from GREAT BOOK OF DOMINO GAMES by Jennifer Kelley, ©1999 by Jennifer Kelley. (The Sterling book is available as PUREMCO'S GREAT BOOK OF DOMINO GAMES)