Tips on Playing Dominican Dominoes

by Kara Bietz
In the Dominican Republic, dominoes is a serious game.

In the Dominican Republic, dominoes is a serious game.

Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images

Dominoes is a popular game played all over the world, but it has gained particular popularity in the Dominican Republic. Though there is some dispute, many players believe the game originated there over 300 years ago. Dominoes is played in teams of two in the Dominican, and the goal of the game is to discard all your pieces first, and collect points based on the number of pieces retained by your opponent. There are several tips to playing the Dominican version of this game competitively.

Domino Arrangement

When the game begins and each player chooses his pieces, arrange your dominoes into sets. For example, if you have four pieces of the same suit, group them together in order to help plan your moves. If you have four dominoes with the number two on one side, group these together. When the game gets moving at a fast pace, you will be able to find the pieces you need without hesitation.

Remember the Rules

There are several hard and fast rules when playing the Dominican version of dominoes. The more you commit these rules to memory, the less distracted you will be during the game. The player holding the double-six domino will begin the game, and play continues to this player's right. All double dominoes add to the end of the play chain horizontally, therefore cutting off play to that chain. You cannot play on a chain that ends in a double domino.

Help Your Partner

Ideally, play dominoes with the same partner each time. This way, you learn each others' moves and play style, which makes it easier to help each other defeat your opponents. If you have several pieces of the same suit in your hand, continue to play that suit until your partner notices your repetition. Your partner should continue to play that suit, too, if possible. This will ensure that you will both discard pieces at the same rate, and at the same time block your opponents from playing that suit. Also, if your partner begins to forfeit his turn because he no longer has the right pieces to finish a chain, be sure to block that chain so that your opponents cannot play their pieces there any longer.


Dominoes, when played in the Dominican Republic, can be a noisy game. From the slapping of the pieces onto the carved wooden playing board, to the lively conversation that often accompanies the game, the noise can distract new players. Some players say this combination of noise and movement is a strategy for team members to cover their signals to each other, while their opponents are distracted. If you want to play team dominoes in the Dominican, devise a method of signalling that can be covered by conversation or game noise.

About the Author

Kara Bietz has been writing professionally since 1999. Her professional observation work has appeared in the early childhood education textbook "The Art of Awareness" by Margie Carter and Deb Curtis. Bietz has worked in the field of early childhood education for more than 16 years. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in child development from Mesa College.

Photo Credits

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