• Gambling

    The Game of Domino

    The game of domino is played with a set of double-sided tiles whose pips, when lined up edge to edge, form a continuous line or chain of one end to the other. The shape of the chain develops as a result of the way players position each tile on the table as they play their turn. A player can only add a tile to the chain if it is positioned so that both matching ends are touching, or “stitched up” as the term is sometimes used.

    The rules for domino vary widely, but most have the same basic elements. The players draw a number of tiles from the stock, and the first player to make a play starts the game. In some games the order of play is determined by a factor, such as the highest double or the heaviest single; in others it is determined by counting the number of pips on the dominos left in the losing players’ hands at the end of a hand or the game.

    Some of the earliest sets were made from natural materials, including bone (silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell or mother-of-pearl) and ivory; dark woods such as ebony; metals like brass and pewter; or ceramic clay. Many of these sets, called European-style dominoes, have a more elegant look than modern polymer sets. In addition to being more durable, these wooden or metal sets are often heavier and have a more substantial feel in the hand.

    In the Western world, domino sets are commonly made of a material called polymer, which is a resin mixed with a plasticizer to give the set a more substantial and glossy appearance. The polymer is then molded into the shapes required for each type of domino, and a surface coating is added to prevent the dominoes from sticking together or to the table.

    Many dominoes are also produced in a variety of other materials, including stone (marble, granite and soapstone); other woods such as ash, oak, redwood and cedar; and metals like pewter and bronze. Many of these sets are more visually appealing and may be a bit heavier than the polymer dominoes, although they are usually less expensive.

    The most important factor in any game of domino is the skill of the players. A player must be able to recognize the value of each tile and use his or her understanding of the rules of the game to make intelligent decisions on when to move a domino, how to place it on the table, or what combination to try for to score points. Regardless of the game, a winning strategy is based on combining careful planning with good luck.