The Best Real Money Domino Game Sites for 2023
If you’re interested in playing dominoes online, then we’re here to help you learn how to get started with domino game sites. This page is the ultimate guide to playing dominoes for real money. We’ll show you how to choose a site that’s right for you, teach you how to play different versions of dominoes, and give you all the tips you need to improve your play.
Where to Play Dominoes Online for Real Money
While there are many places to play dominoes online, only a handful meet our strict criteria. You can start playing today by choosing from our list of recommended real money domino game sites below.
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Domino Basics – Tiles and Sets
The name “dominoes” refers to a family of games played with a particular set of rectangular pieces known as tiles. Similar to a deck of cards, which you can use to play blackjack online, solitaire at home, or poker at a casino, you can use a set of dominoes as a generic collection to play many games.
Today, most dominoes games are played using a 28-tile double six set. Each tile is divided in half into two square “ends”. Each end has several spots – commonly known as pips – ranging from 0 to 6. The 28 tiles contain every possible combination of ends, from double zero through double six.
Each tile belongs to one or two “suits” based on the number of pips on each end. For instance, the 2-5 tile belongs to both the two and five suits.
How to Play Dominoes Online
While there are several gambling domino games out there, the rules are simple for each of them, making it easy to get started. In almost all forms of dominoes, the goal is to score a set number of points over a series of games, either individually or in teams of two. Although there are many ways of accomplishing this goal, each game follows the same basic structure.
Let’s walk you through a typical dominoes game. While real money domino game sites may offer variations on the rules, and there are multiple styles of games out there, the basic structure of play is consistent through most domino variants. That means the following guide will give you a good idea of what to expect when you play your first dominoes game.
Shuffling the Tiles
Before each game, you must shuffle all the tiles in the set face down. You move them around with your hands, like “washing” one or more decks of cards. When you play at domino game sites, a random number generator will handle the shuffling for you.
Just like in poker, the seating order can prove important in a game of dominoes if three or more players are at the same table. You won’t simply choose your seat when you play dominoes for money. Instead, seating will be randomly assigned.
How that random assignment works can vary by site. Sometimes, the casino will choose your seat for you. Others may simulate the live practice of picking tiles to determine seating. Typically, the player who picks the title with the most pips has first choice of seats. The player with the second most pips sits to that player’s left, and so on. In team play, teammates sit across from each other, meaning the teams will always exchange turns one after another.
Drawing Your Hand
Each player draws several tiles, depending on the rules of the game being played. In a live game, players arrange their tiles so that only they can see them. When playing online, you will see your tiles, but none of the other players will see your hand.
Order of Play
A few different methods can determine who goes first in a game. An online casino may instruct you to make the first play. In some domino games, however, the player with the “heaviest” domino (a double-six) goes first instead. After the first game, the winner of the previous game often starts the next by playing first.
Regardless of the method used, play typically proceeds clockwise after the first player. Be aware that anticlockwise rotations are not unheard of, though you will rarely see this at online casinos.
Starting the Game
The leader, the setter, and the downer are all terms for the first player to start a game. Similarly, you might call the first play of the game the lead, the set, or the down.
As we mentioned in the last section, some dominoes games require the player with the heaviest domino to play first. This means that the player who holds the highest double must place that tile to start the game. Usually, the players will call “double-six” to see if anyone has that tile. If someone does, they will play it. Otherwise, “double-five” will be called, and so on down the line until a tile is played.
If no player starts with a double, the players then call for the highest non-double, starting with “six-five”. This continues until someone has a domino that can start the game. In some variants, if nobody starts with a double, the players discard their hands, reshuffle, and choose new hands instead.
Passing, Drawing, and Buying
The rules of each game of dominoes determine how players may place tiles. This is usually based on needing to play a domino with the correct number of pips on a particular end. In some games, a played domino’s end must match one already on the board. In other cases, the ends must add up to a certain value.
Sometimes, you may not have a tile that you can legally play. Depending on the game, you may have several options. One may be to pass, or “knocking” as the experts say. Play then passes to the next player. If no player can make a play, the game ends.
Another option is drawing or buying tiles from the remaining stock, also known as the “boneyard”. Some games require you to draw until you find a playable tile. Some variants use auction systems in which drawing new tiles costs chips. At the end of the round, the final two tiles are auctioned off to the highest bidder, if anyone wants them.
The Line of Play
The line of play refers to the configuration of tiles that are in play on the table, or displayed on screen at domino game sites. Most variants begin with just one tile in play. You then play matching tiles, typically end-to-end.
In many games, doubles can act as “spinners”. These tiles allow play not only on the two ends, but on all four sides. This allows the line of play to spread in additional directions as the game goes on.
As we have talked about throughout this page, different domino games have varying rules, and that means scoring can vary as well. However, most types of scoring refer to the pips on the tiles themselves: either those on the board, or those remaining in your hand at the end of a game. Here’s a quick look at the main scoring methods in dominoes games.
- In many games – particularly in blocking games – players only score at the end of each game. Once one player has emptied his or her hand, they score one point for every pip remaining in every opponents’ hand.
- A blocked game means that nobody can play. Most rules state that the player with the lowest pip count wins the game. This player scores points from each opponent based on the difference in their pip totals. For instance, if you have five pips remaining, and your opponent has 12, you score seven points (12-5).
- In other domino games, players can score based on the pips at each end of the line of play after they play a tile. You might score points equal to the total number of pips on the ends of the line of play, or score only if the ends add up to certain numbers.
- In the most common variants, players or teams race to a certain score, such as 100, playing games until someone reaches that score. In some casual variants, the first person to play all their dominoes simply wins, with no scoring involved. Players might also play a certain number of games, with the winner being the player or team with the highest score at the end of that series.
Variations of Domino Games
There are dozens of popular versions of dominoes. Much like how you can use a deck of cards to play countless games, there are lots of ways to play with a set of dominoes, and it would be impossible to talk about them all here.
Real money domino games sites only offer a small subset of the most popular variants that are common in competitive play around the world. Two of the most popular are block and draw. Both variants use the standard 28-tile set, though they have one major difference.
Block Game Rules
In the block game, two to four players are attempting to be the first to eliminate all the tiles from their hand. Each player typically starts with seven dominoes in a two-player or three player game, or five dominoes if there are four players. The remaining tiles are set aside and never used.
The player with the highest double tile starts the game. On your turn, you may play one tile if one of its ends matches an open end on the line of play. If you cannot play a tile, you must pass.
Once one player gets rid of all their dominoes, they win the game, usually by announcing “Domino!” to the table. That player collects points equal to all the pips remaining in their opponents’ hands.
If the game ends in a block, with no player out of tiles or able to play a tile, all players reveal their hands. The player with the fewest pips in hand wins. The winner scores one point for every additional pip beyond their own total that an opponent holds. For instance, if a player wins with two pips, and the other players have five, six, and eight pips, the winner scores 13 points in total.
After each game, the tiles are reshuffled and dealt again. Commonly, the first play rotates clockwise with each game. The first player or team that reaches 100 points is the winner, though you can play to other agreed point totals as well.
Draw Game Rules
The draw game is very similar to the block game, with one major exception. At the start of a two-player game, each player should draw seven dominoes. If three or four people are playing, each player draws five dominoes instead. The remaining tiles go to the boneyard, face down.
Play proceeds just as in block. However, if a player cannot play a tile from their hand, they must now draw a domino from the boneyard. They must continue to draw tiles until they find one that they can play on one of the open ends of the line of play. The only exception is if there are no more tiles available in the boneyard; in this case, the player must pass.
As in block, the game ends when one player empties their hand, making them the winner. They then earn one point based on the remaining tiles in each opponent’s hand. If a round ends in a block, everyone reveals their remaining tiles, and the player with the fewest pips in hand wins. They collect points by subtracting the number of pips in their hand from the number in each opponent’s hand.
Once a game has been scored, the tiles are reshuffled and players draw new hands, with the first play passing to the left. The winner is usually the first player or team to collect 100 points in total.
Free vs Real Money Domino Game Sites
Domino game sites offer you two main options for playing dominoes online. Some sites allow you to play free games, while online gambling sites offer real money competitive play.
There are many differences between these two types of dominoes sites. For instance, free sites allow players of all ages to compete, and you can often jump into a game without registering an account. Meanwhile, online gambling sites are age restricted – you normally must be at least 18 years of age to play on them – and you must create an account to play.
Both free and real money dominoes exciting and fun games, but they offer very different experiences. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of both ways to play domino games online.
- Accessible to all ages
- Very beginner-friendly
- Opportunity to learn new games or test strategies
- More casual play with lower level of competition
- No opportunities to win real money
Real Money Dominoes
- Serious, competitive dominoes play
- Opportunity to win real money
- The best arena for testing your skills and strategies
- Potential to lose money
- Only adults can play
Tips to Help You Win Money Playing Dominoes Online
If you’re thinking about playing at real money domino game sites, you might be interested in some strategy advice. That’s why we’ve put together this set of tips that can help take your game to the next level. Here’s a look at a few of the key ideas you’ll want to consider during your next dominoes game.
- Try to play your doubles early. While most of your tiles fit into two sets, doubles can only match one number, and will prove harder to play. If an opportunity arises to get rid of a double, you’ll usually want to take it.
- When you still have several tiles in hand, try to keep a wide variety of suits available to you. This makes it more likely that you will have legal plays on future turns. If multiple plays are possible, the one that gives you more options in the future is likely the best one.
- When in doubt, play your heaviest – or highest-total – tiles first! Getting rid of big numbers ensures that you won’t give your opponents a huge number of points, even if things don’t go your way in the current game.
- Pay attention to when your opponents have been blocked. For instance, if your opponent couldn’t play when the ends were a four and a two, you’ll want to leave those numbers as ends in your future turns to stop them from winning the game.
History of Dominoes
Domino games date back at least 700 years. Zhou Mi wrote about the game during China’s Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century. Sets didn’t always look like those we play with today, however. Originally, dominoes simulated the roll of the dice, with 21 tiles featuring two squares of 1-6 pips each. In traditional Chinese play, they used two suits of dominoes: civil and military.
By the 18th century, dominoes had made their way to Europe, first appearing in Italy. That’s when the standard set eliminated the use of multiple suits but added the blank sides and the double blank to bring the total number of tiles to 28 – the same number we play with today.
Many myths have been told about the history of dominoes. One persistent story places dominoes in Ancient Egypt, with a set supposedly being found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb. However, while several ancient games and game pieces really were found during excavations of his tomb – including Senet and the Royal Game of Ur – dominoes were not among them. Of course, you can still play dominoes at Egypt casinos today.
Play Dominoes Online for Real Money Today
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